# Not quite main, not quite meta questions

I want to broaden Doorknob's post a little bit. That post is mostly about , but what we're really talking about are "middle ground" questions. In other words, there are three types of questions:

• Challenges These clearly go on the main site
• Rules and Policies These clearly go on the meta site
• Programming posts that are not challenges themselves, but are related to PPCG - This is where the debate is.

From what I've read so far, (feel free to correct me) it seems that many of us have been arguing about what the exact wording in the help center is. Example:

• Argument for Meta:

“I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here.

• you are asking an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?”
• Argument for Main:

Meta Programming Puzzles & Code Golf Stack Exchange is the part of the site where users discuss the workings and policies of Code Golf Stack Exchange rather than discussing programming puzzle or code golf itself.

As far as I'm concerned, the rules are ambigious on this subject. As such, there will never be clear agreement about the interpretation of the site's rules... and that isn't the best way to make a decision either way.

The best way to make a decision is to think about the effect of one or the other on the site itself, which some of us have done. Here are some questions to consider:

• Do we want users getting reputation for ?
• Do we want users getting reputation for FAQ posts?
• The main site always gets more views than the corresponding meta site. Do we want new users to see these posts more easily?

I encourage everyone to edit more such questions into this list. What are we trying to accomplish with these questions, and which site (main, meta, or neither) best serves these goals?

P.S. Perhaps this is a straight duplicate of Doorknob's post. If people think that, comment and maybe we can merge Doorknob's post to focus on the question from this perspective.

• Neither of those quotes argues for the thing you say it argues for. The first one is says what doesn't belong on main, not what does belong on meta. The second one says what belong on meta, not what belongs on main. – Peter Taylor May 9 '14 at 16:24
• As for editing more questions into your list: that way lies chaos. Meta needs focussed questions which can receive focussed answers, not rambling ramified discussions. – Peter Taylor May 9 '14 at 16:26

We had this discussion in the chat yesterday. It boils down to:

• If it's about the main site or about meta, then post it in meta.
• If it's about golfing or programming challenges, then post it in main.

If it's not about either of those, then it's probably not a good fit here. :-)

• Indeed, quite a long, drawn-out discussion. If the question is about PPCG.SE specifically, post it on meta. If it's about programming puzzles or code golf, post it on main. – Doorknob May 10 '14 at 12:53

I don't see the rules as ambiguous on this matter. Every site on the SE network has a corresponding meta, and this is the only one where I've ever seen this come up. Meta has a clearly defined purpose, and it isn't this.

### Tips are not meta

The argument you give for main (from What's Meta?) tells you why they're not meta, but can be elaborated a bit from further reading of that same page:

Meta is for:

• asking questions of the community
• posting bugs
• suggesting improvements
• proposing new features

Tips don't fall into any of those categories. The closest one would be "asking questions of the community", but taken at its broadest meaning, that encompasses every question on main or meta at all.

Further, there are required tags on meta. Every meta. Those are , , , . Combined, these four define the entire point of meta. Again, tips don't fall into any of these. The case for [discussion] is weak at best. Tips questions are asking for objective answers: ones that save characters. They are not discussions. There isn't anything I can come up with for the other three tags, so what would tips be tagged with on meta?

### Are tips good for main?

Tips are distinguished from regular questions because they are looking specifically for a long list of answers. Each answer should be objective, but it's still a list-type where there's not one correct answer. Most SE sites have banned list questions, due to their open-ended nature.

When they are banned, the popular ones tend to get historically locked, and the rest are killed with fire. They are not moved to meta because of this. Why? Because they're still on-topic at main. If they belong anywhere, they belong on main.

### Wait, do they belong anywhere?

That's ultimately up to the community to decide. Some SE sites allow lists in limited number or scope, while most have been harsh in dealing with them. Personally, I think there's a better way forward than what's currently happening:

The main problem I see with tips is not just that they are lists. Lists can be managed by the community, as long as there are clearly defined rules as to what makes a good one. The problem is that they take the place of specific, answerable questions.

If I'm trying to golf a particular piece of code and I'd like some help, I should be able to ask here (in the spirit of Doorknob's post). I can get one or two good solutions, upvote the ones that work, and accept the one I end up using (or that gets me closest to a solution).

I don't expect votes/rep for the question itself, any more than I do on SO, EL&U, or any other SE site. If the question was useful to others, I don't see the harm in giving someone fake internet points for it. Reputation as a whole is supposed to measure your usefulness to the community.

The answers, though, are most likely useful. At least to the asker, but possibly to others. Those deserve rep. Period. Many of the answers I see in [tips] are creative, clever, or otherwise useful. Useful = Reputation. That's the way it should be.

Listy tips questions ruin this model, or at least dampen it. If all the tips are placed in one big CW post, then nobody gains. There is no incentive to write good tips, and they only serve as a big-ass dupe target for many useful questions. Nobody wins. Nobody is rewarded for their useful contributions, which is the entire SE model.

### But we're different here at PPCG!

I see this thrown about sometimes, and while it is true that there are some specific differences, we're still an SE site. We should act like one. Just because we happen to post challenges doesn't mean we should ban every single other question that relates to golfing or puzzling. Why can't we be a community that asks questions about golfing and also does golfing? In that way we can be more like a typical SE site and less of an outlier. That's a good thing in my opinion, if we're going to reside under their roof.

• Clearly others don't agree with your interpretation of the rules. But that discussion is pointless. That's why I'm trying to avoid a rules discussion about whether Meta is appropriate! The question to ask is "What is best for the site?" (which to be fair, you did talk about in the second half of your post, but still). – durron597 May 9 '14 at 16:42
• If you didn't want to talk about that part of it, you shouldn't have made that the entire first half of your question. Nevertheless, I think I covered all the points. Specifically, for your bullets: Yes, depends on what you mean by FAQ posts, and Yes. – Geobits May 9 '14 at 16:45
• +1. This (especially the last paragraph). Thank you. – Martin Ender May 9 '14 at 19:17