What's the difference between Programmers and Stack Overflow?

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migrated from programmers.stackexchange.com Sep 10 '10 at 17:15

This question came from our site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development.

    
Woohoo, 42 upvotes! –  JavaAndCSharp Jul 15 '11 at 18:57
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fwiw, programmers.stackexchange.com/about and stackoverflow.com/about have nearly identical descriptions. Maybe they should both at least link to meta.stackexchange.com/questions/82988/… ? –  Rob Starling Dec 5 '13 at 22:32
    
Originally, P.SE was for questions that were too subjective to be asked at SO (which by intent was meant to be black and white X + Y = Z type questions). That seems to have morphed over the years to something that's basically the same as SO and discourages the kind of questions that used to be encouraged; questions that were more philosophical than proven. –  Wayne M May 23 at 1:20
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2 Answers 2

From 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.

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.

Additional Resources:

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The top paragraph in that quote should go right at the top of the FAQ. –  cdeszaq Feb 10 '12 at 17:51
    
@cdeszaq I agree. Perhaps you should make a meta post suggesting that –  Rachel Feb 10 '12 at 18:21
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Both stackoverflow.com/faq and programmers.stackexchange.com/faq list "algorithms" as appropriate topics. It's also unclear why "programming tools" falls under SO instead of programmers.se. –  jamesdlin Apr 28 '12 at 1:09
    
@jamesdlin You need to consider the blockquoted paragraph when deciding where to ask questions, not just the bullet-point list: if you're asking about your code, ask on Stack Overflow. If you're asking something conceptual about algorithms, ask here. Most questions about programming tools aren't conceptual, which is why they're on-topic on Stack Overflow. The few that are tend to be recommendation questions which are off-topic here. –  user8 Apr 28 '12 at 1:12
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So a question such as "Is there a tool that does X?" would be off-topic both on SO and here? :( –  jamesdlin Apr 28 '12 at 12:44
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@jamesdlin As worded, it's definitely off-topic here and probably won't do well on Stack Overflow. Instead, ask "How can I do X?" on Stack Overflow. If the answer is "use X tool", so be it. –  user8 Apr 28 '12 at 20:03
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may I humbly suggest you define this in the about page of each service –  user2254951 Jul 24 '13 at 3:35
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One might think that:

"... 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..."

but this is only a nice theory, in practice this site is a redundancy, any question that I thought to ask here I could ask on Stack Overflow. The real "white board" questions are not welcome here as they are too broad and usually get downvoted and closed.

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Just out of curiosity - can you point to some "white board" questions that are not welcome are and have been refused as too broad? My impression is that white board question by definition must be broader than pure programming questions. You are just more far away from the solution. –  Trilarion 16 hours ago
    
I had a qestion about design patters for extension points. I had to delete it after looong debate of where it belongs. The bottom line was that it is opinion based. How can you ask a white board question that is not opinion based is beyond me. –  tatigo 12 hours ago
    
Anyway, I found the use for this site, i use its forum, there is a nice forum community here that is not too big as on stack overflow, so you get to know the people :) I do not post questions here anymore, if I have a specific question I find the answer to it usually just by googling or using the stack overflow. –  tatigo 12 hours ago
    
Okay. I see. This is unfortunate. I wanted to ask one or two questions about design patterns but now I fear they might get shoot down. Anyway maybe you asked for the "best pattern" which might be seen as matter of opinion. Maybe a better formulation would be to ask for "most commonly used patterns and their pros and cons" (which is essentially the same as asking for the best) and maybe you would have gotten away with it. Don't know. –  Trilarion 12 hours ago
    
Well, you can try asking, even if your question will be closed as too broad you might still get some responses. –  tatigo 12 hours ago
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