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Choosing between Stack Overflow and Programmers Stack Exchange?

Or why use one over the other? Does one deal with principles and one with bugs? I'm confused but not lost (yet).


2 Answers 2


From the blog post Introducing programmers.stackexchange.com:

In a nutshell, Stack Overflow is for when you’re front of your compiler or editor working through code issues. Programmers is for when you’re in front of a whiteboard working through higher level conceptual programming issues. Hence the (awesome) whiteboard inspired design!

Stated another way, Stack Overflow questions almost all have actual source code in the questions or answers. It’s much rarer (though certainly OK) for a Programmers question to contain source code.

  • 4
    Ok clear, still I regularly ask for design questions and get good answers. Feb 10, 2012 at 13:01
  • 5
    I got to say, this difference is certainly not stated clearly in the two site's "About" pages, and I still think this is much too loose of a separation. A better solution would be to work on 'types' of content, e.g. differentiating between "practical" (source code) and "theoretical" (high level explanations) post types.
    – Erlend
    Mar 28, 2012 at 17:21
  • @Erlend Check the FAQ page for each site. Mar 28, 2012 at 17:24
  • 9
    The name 'programmers' is a very bad choice then! It should be 'software architecture' or 'software design' instead.
    – deamon
    Aug 1, 2013 at 7:49
  • But, anybody comes from some old times? I think there was one site before... The distinctions came later.
    – mariotti
    Feb 13, 2015 at 2:08
  • Yes @mario, and IMHO that used to make much more sense. I've seen DBA, "Programming", Tests etc and other related questions on either StackOverflow OR on their respective counterparts. I'm still not sure where I should ask a question if I have something funny happening with my code: StackOverflow ou Programmers? The separation for math, chemistry, biology, parenting, economy and whatnot.stackexchange are way more obvious though, but for Software related questions I think they are fairly close together making their separation quite arguable. Apr 21, 2015 at 18:58

@Bill's definition is of course the formal and correct one.

But I'm afraid another definition would be "StackOverflow is for when you want your question to be seen by every goddamn programmer in the world. Programmers is for when you want to ask it to the small clique that hangs out there".

It's an arbitrary separation which mainly has the effect of splitting the community so that fewer people are going to see your question.

  • 4
    The traffic on SO can be a double-edged sword. Your questions and answers can get lost in the flood. Recently I've noticed I'm getting more blog traffic from Programmers than SO, and I've only posted on Programmers a few times (with only one blog link). Jan 28, 2011 at 14:54

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