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November 4, 2014 7:12 PM   Subscribe

Where can I go to read positive, moderated, Q&A style, general programming discussions?

I went into programming for the love of it. Unfortunately, I rarely get to talk programming with others who are enthusiastic about it... most of the people I work with really just want to write their 150 lines and go home. And meetups are stuffed with people who want to network, not code.

I really enjoyed the first couple of years of, when questions like this or this popped up with fair frequency. Now, stackoverflow is... well.

I've read most of the popular sites (reddit, hackernews, slashdot, etc), but I'd like to avoid the "everyone's code is crap but the elite few that I happen to be one of and you are not" crowd.

Any suggestions?
posted by underflow to Technology (10 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
I think the best discussions are mostly, still, on mailing lists. I read Haskell-cafe and the Clojure Google Group. There are also sometimes really good questions/answers on Quora, though I think that's a lot more miss than hit.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:20 PM on November 4, 2014

I was just wondering this today as well. The last time I tried to ask a stackoverflow question I had an extremely unpleasant interaction with a moderator who just kept moving the goalposts on me for about 7 iterations. It was like trying to publish in scientific journal (actually that was easier).
posted by srboisvert at 7:30 PM on November 4, 2014 [8 favorites]

Mailing lists++
posted by a lungful of dragon at 8:09 PM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Find a small community, like one focused on developing a project, or one around a specific language or technology. There will be tons of focused discussions about specifics by people who really care and, often are doing top of the line work.

And stackoverflow isn't all bad, for specific targeted questions. I recently asked what seems to me a highly esoteric question in an area I barely understand and got back not answers but an entire working demo implementation.
posted by joeyh at 8:40 PM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think it would easy enough to set up a moderated subreddit for this purpose. I feel like the cool discussions tend to happen informally, among friends and co-workers, at gaming nights or a bar.

If you find something or build something, let me know.
posted by gryftir at 12:30 AM on November 5, 2014 is still small, but I think it has the potential to be that place. I found it when I was looking for a site similar to HackerNews but without the negativity and libertarian vibes.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:27 AM on November 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

I think folks interest in talking about programming change, a discussion of regular expressions can be fascinating one day then just a tool tossed in the bag the next.

Have you looked at more theoretical 'computer science' directions, like lambda-the-ultimate?

Perhaps posting on the blue an interesting article on closures or garbage collection, there are really smart software folks around here. Or watch for posts with topical tags:
posted by sammyo at 7:03 AM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Agree with finding good posts elsewhere and putting them on metafilter.
posted by shothotbot at 7:57 AM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's too bad metafilter doesn't have a subreddit category-type thing (or does it?). I'd be all over that in a second. Not an experienced programmer but I'm enthusiastic about it.
posted by northtwilight at 10:25 AM on November 5, 2014

I usually end up on Stack Overflow through a google search for a perplexing problem, and at least half the questions I find useful were closed as off topic or not a question, which seems to indicate that SO has a moderation problem more than it has a tragedy-of-the-commons problem (where HN is all tragedy-of-the-commons, all the time).

I have at various points found the Ars Technica forums useful and informative, although they've been overrun a bit with front page astroturfers and a regular supply of young turks who write with all the self-assurance that comes with not knowing how little you actually know (a fault I recognize in my younger self, so).

The most rewarding discussion I see regularly is on the DC Perlmongers list, but then I think Perl self-selects for a certain sort of person, and this probably doesn't meet the "general programming" criteria you established. I'll say one thing in the Perlmongers list's favor: many Perl programmers have been forced into being polyglots in a way that, say, Java or PHP programmers haven't, so there's a bit more exposure to how other people do things and it's not just an echo chamber. Between the general TMTOWTDI principle of Perl and the polyglot reality of being a Perlmonger in a Java/PHP/Python/Ruby/etc world, there's a lot more well-rounded discussion going on than you might expect.
posted by fedward at 11:22 AM on November 5, 2014

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