Example: I would like to know other programmers views of Java IDEs to influence my decision as to which one to download. I ask a question saying (basically) "Which one do you like and why?" I got voted down several times and the question closed as subjective within 5 minutes. Is Stack Overflow not the place to ask those kinds of questions?


3 Answers 3


Programmers FAQ has changed since this answer was posted. These questions are no longer allowed anywhere on the network

Programmers SE would be your closest bet. However you're right, SE is not the place for opinion polls or subjective discussion type questions. It is what makes it stand out from forums which are more suited for these types of questions.


Check out Programmers.

  • To emphasize this: the tension over what to do with opinion "questions" was a large part of why Programmers was started in the first place. //::grumble:: Sure move you comment to an answer and makes me move stuff too. Go ahead, I don't mind. Oct 10, 2010 at 18:38
  • Sorry, dmckee, I didn't see your comment until after I moved my comment. I usually don't post links as answers, but then I realised that in this case the link actually was the answer, so I moved it... Sorry. ;)
    – Mia Clarke
    Oct 10, 2010 at 18:42

That question has a few problems:

  • It's asking for a subjective, qualitative opinion, and can't be objectively answered, as required (if some other criteria aren't met) by the Stack Overflow FAQ. We've been directing folks to http://programmers.stackexchange.com for these kinds of questions recently; try there.
  • It's been asked and answered before.
  • If it were on-topic for Stack Overflow, there's not really enough detail there to give a good answer. There's a reason multiple IDEs exist - some are better at some tasks. What kind of development will you be doing? Have you tried either, and if so, what was your experience?

I saw that question, and didn't vote it down, but in my opinion, the last of my points above make it justifiable to do so.

  • "Stack Exchange is about questions with objective, factual answers." That says it all. So that technically was an off-topic question. And no I hadn't tried one. The point of that question was so I could see which one I should try.
    – John
    Oct 10, 2010 at 18:52
  • @John: yes, it was. Did you mean to assert that it was an on-topic question? Oct 10, 2010 at 18:53
  • @Michael Petrotta I guess I'm not completely clear just what SO accepted topics are. How to I get to this magic blog that seems to explain everything?
    – John
    Oct 10, 2010 at 18:56
  • @John: read the FAQ for the site of interest (there are multiple sites in the StackExchange family. Here's the StackOverflow FAQ; here's the Programmer's SE FAQ ). Did you read the blog post I linked to above? "Magical", I don't know, but it's very informative. Oct 10, 2010 at 18:58
  • @Michael Petrotta: Magical because I can never find it, but as soon as I post a question, there are 3 links saying a should have read it first. I thought my question fit at least some if not all of the big 6.
    – John
    Oct 10, 2010 at 19:14
  • @John: yep, some, but not all. I'd say it's missing much of #1, #2, #4, and #5. Regardless, you asked why the question was downvoted, and you got some answers. You're obviously frustrated. I see that you've been a member for only six days - have you been reading SO before then? I'd suggest that you step back and get a feel for SO for a little while. Oct 10, 2010 at 19:23
  • @John, for a list of the different sites in the StackExchange family, see the homepage at stackexchange.com Oct 10, 2010 at 19:24
  • @Michael Petrotta: I've been reading SO anonymously for about a year now. But getting a feel for it apparently was NOT something that could be done without participating at least a little.
    – John
    Oct 10, 2010 at 19:37
  • @rchern: I had noticed that and wondered why there were so many sites that seemed so similar. Now I guess I know.
    – John
    Oct 10, 2010 at 19:38
  • @Michael Petrotta: How are [this][1] and [this][2] not subjective? [1]: stackoverflow.com/questions/1711/… [2]: stackoverflow.com/questions/75102/…
    – John
    Oct 10, 2010 at 20:35
  • @John: they are. What's your point? Oct 10, 2010 at 20:48
  • @Michael Petrotta: So they weren't closed because......?
    – John
    Oct 10, 2010 at 21:28
  • @John: because five people didn't vote to close them. Oct 10, 2010 at 21:38
  • @Micheal Petrotta: So whether or not asking for people opinions is ok depends on peoples opinions?
    – John
    Oct 10, 2010 at 21:40
  • @John: SO was more open to subjective questions in the early days. It's not so much now. Note the dates on those questions. But, to answer the question I think you're really asking, let me present another situation. Lots of people speed on the road. That doesn't make "everybody else does it" a valid defense in court. Oct 10, 2010 at 21:41

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