• Question

  • I read the "CONSIDER ASKING EF QUESTIONS ON STACK OVERFLOW" sticky post by Rowan Miller.  I wanted to reply to the post, but the site said I couldn't because it was locked.

    I do not want to start a war about the pros and cons regarding stack overflow.  It has its uses.

    However, I truly wonder why you are suggesting using it *instead* of this forum?

    Time and again, I've run into stack overflow questions that were:

    • Modified by moderator, not because of non-professional behavior, but simply because they didn't like the word "thanks", and the original author was not allowed to edit it back in.
    • Closed by moderators due to the potential of "arguments" or had answers that referred to links that can go out of date (thereby making the whole question out of date after a period of time, not allowing people to update them).

    I guess my point is that while external websites have their merits, I truly:

    • Wish the sticky just referred the forum readers to other websites for possible alternative information instead of suggesting we go elsewhere, particularly to demure to a site governed by thought police.
    • Hope that Microsoft keeps these forums active and does not intend to close them down and use stack overflow instead.  That would be a travesty.  (I've seen it happen to other forums, and we're much the lesser for it.  Thank goodness for the way back machine.)

    Thursday, February 14, 2013 5:30 PM


  • First off - that post specifically states "We will also continue to monitor the Entity Framework forum."  There is no intention of "shutting down" the Microsoft forums.

    That being said, StackOverflow is great for specific types of questions.  SO does provide community moderation for questions, but that's not to act as "thought police," but rather as it has a very specific goal of being very good for getting a specific question answered, but also good for a searchable knowledge base.  It's not intended to be a forum or a place of discussion, so things like "Thanks" are considered noise, and often removed.

    Now - I don't agree that it's a good fit for all questions.  It's probably a better fit if you have a question which is 1) clear and concise, and 2) very focused.  A "How can I avoid this exception?", "Why does this code produce this value?", or "How do I increase the ...?" type of question will get answered more clearly, and more quickly, on SO than on the Microsoft Forums (in many cases).

    However, if you have a more vague question which requires discussion, StackOverflow is a poor choice.  It pretty strongly discourages discussion, and instead promotes focused questions.  The forums, on the other hand, really shine when you need discussion of a topic.

    I believe that thread was started because many of the questions on the forums are a good fit for SO - and now SO results are included in MSDN searches, so there is little downside to posting there.

    (Note that I'm not really partial to either format - both have advantages and disadvantages, and I'm VERY active on both venues...)

    Reed Copsey, Jr. - http://reedcopsey.com
    If a post answers your question, please click "Mark As Answer" on that post and "Mark as Helpful".

    • Proposed as answer by Wyck Thursday, February 14, 2013 6:08 PM
    • Marked as answer by clairestreb Thursday, February 14, 2013 7:29 PM
    Thursday, February 14, 2013 5:52 PM