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Until about ten minutes ago, the What topics can I ask about here? page in our Help Center was just a generic template. However, now that we have moderators, we are free to decide as a community what to include on that page. This is an important decision to make, as it is always linked directly from the generic “off-topic” close reason:

This question does not appear to be about programming language design and implementation, within the scope defined in the help center.

I have taken the initiative to fill in the page myself with some rough copy that takes inspiration from the copy currently used on Software Engineering. This is what I have added so far, which appears above the generic boilerplate:

Programming Language Design and Implementation Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professionals, academics, and enthusiasts working on programming languages.

If you have a question about…

…then you’re probably in the right place to ask your question.

Some questions, even if they appear to fit into one of the above categories, may still be off-topic:

However, this is really just a rough draft that I’ve based on my knowledge of our existing questions and a quick browse through our meta discussions tagged , and it is all subject to change. What precisely goes here should be a community decision, and I am happy to make amends as the community sees fit.

Therefore, what changes to this draft copy do you think would be helpful? Remember that brevity is important, so we should focus on the most essential points that we expect to be most relevant and most useful to new users. Corner cases and minutia are likely best left to separate meta discussions.

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Interpreter design too

The page currently only mentions compiler design, not anything about interpreter design (or transpiler, but that's probably covered by compiler). "Compiler design" should probably be changed to "Compiler and [or?] interpreter design".

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    $\begingroup$ Good point—I’ve added a bullet that mentions both interpreters and just-in-time compilers, since I think they’re both conceptually different from traditional compilers. $\endgroup$
    – Alexis King Mod
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 16:14
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Esolang questions are still on-topic

The source currently linked to for esolang questions being off-topic (Should frivolous questions about esolangs be on topic?) is, from what I can tell, pretty widely misunderstood, and not a very useful Meta question overall. The main issue is that it asks two questions; "should trivial questions be allowed", and "should esolang questions be allowed", but it seems to be vague about which of these it's focusing on, or possibly to conflate esoteric ("frivolous") languages with trivial ("frivolous") questions.

The top, and accepted, answer to the question makes no statement on esolang questions, instead discussing the first sub-question. Additionally, during our site's proposal stages, it was decided in the Discussion Zone that esolang and golflang questions would be allowed, and no consensus has overridden that since (besides some discussion of what golflang questions would be better suited for CGCC).

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks, I’ve removed that bullet from the list. $\endgroup$
    – Alexis King Mod
    Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ My question was not meant to be "should esolang questions be allowed" as they have been treated as on-topic from the outset. I even say that in the question itself. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 9:03
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Fixing code/specific code problems are off-topic

Questions such as 'I can't get function x to work in my program' should still be off-topic - those are questions for Stack Overflow. There needs to be a clear difference between using a language and designing or implementing features of a programming language.

If someone were to ask about ways to implement function x in a programming language, those sorts of questions would be on-topic, as they are about implementation, not usage.

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    $\begingroup$ I’ve added a bullet that says “Advice or support with specific coding problems or debugging help” that links to this answer. Let me know if you think a different wording would be better! $\endgroup$
    – Alexis King Mod
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ Discussing specific code for the sake of example does make questions and answers much clearer, and more helpful to future readers as well, but I say a question should still make some sense without the code problem to be on-topic here. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented Jul 15, 2023 at 6:39

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