Jeff Atwood posted a great question to programmers.stackexchange.com about implementing a method to detect code that has not been formatted in a Markdown code block. I suggested that this really belongs on StackOverflow under the nlp (Natural Language Processing) tag, and cited several similar questions that are already in the nlp tag. Anna Lear suggested that those questions would better belong on programmers.stackexchange.com.

I can't easily argue against a bunch of moderators on programmers, because I don't have lots of reputation on programmers. I have lots of reputation on StackOverflow, and have lots of experience in the StackOverflow nlp tag, so I think I know enough to know that StackOverflow is the right place for this. I haven't seen lots of questions like this on programmers.

Where should this question (and others like it) go?


I'd say you haven't seen lots of questions like that on Programmers because people keep posting them to Stack Overflow. ;)

The SO community is happily migrating bikeshed questions or "plz suggest me a book"/"should I get a job" kind of stuff to us, but not any of the meaty concept questions which are really what Programmers should be all about.

I'm not sure how to go about solving that or if there is a solution at all, but to quote Jeff's Introducing programmers.stackexchange.com post:

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.

Two of the questions you cited as examples were posted late last year when Programmers was still in the process of defining its scope. The last one is very recent. While its phrasing could use a bit of work to move away from asking for a list of algorithms to asking how the OP's task could be solved and letting the algorithm names emerge naturally, it would have been a good question to see on Programmers.

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  • Supposing that I am writing a tool, and I need to know if there is a Cocoa library handle ZIP files, where should I post the question? – kiamlaluno Jun 28 '11 at 20:06
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    @kiam "Is there an X" questions are often in a grey area, cause they're often a variant of shopping recommendations. For your question, it sounds like a pure coding problem, so I'd post it to Stack Overflow as "How do I handle ZIP files in Cocoa" and trust that if there are good libraries for it, that will form a basis for someone's answer. Failing that, I'll get some other technical pointers. On the other hand, if the question is "how do I design an algorithm to handle ZIP files under constraints X and Y", Programmers would be a better site for that. – Adam Lear Jun 28 '11 at 20:09
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    @kiam And if there really is nothing more to the question than "please suggest some good libraries for X", then my personal possibly-not-official opinion is that it should not be asked on Stack Exchange at all. Questions asking for equally valid items on a list are better suited to forums and/or sites like Quora. – Adam Lear Jun 28 '11 at 20:11
  • That's clearer, to me. I was only trying to understand the point about "code issues" versus "conceptual programming issues." Thank you for clearing that out. – kiamlaluno Jun 28 '11 at 20:17
  • Most of what I see on Programmers.SE involves issues about the process of (professional) software development, and philosophical issues, but very little about designing a particular approach to a particular problem. That's very much what happens on StackOverflow. – Ken Bloom Jun 28 '11 at 20:34
  • Maybe if we want to claim these questions for programmers, people who are familiar with SO need to participate on SO and flag things for migration to programmers when appropriate. – Ken Bloom Jun 28 '11 at 20:36
  • @Ken I participate on SO and I've never even seen the questions you mentioned. There's only so much that even several people can do. The volume of questions on SO is very high and the good concept questions are drowned out by the coding questions. Mind you, that's just my experience. Maybe I'm not looking in the right tags. – Adam Lear Jun 28 '11 at 20:43

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