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For my first question about syntax highlighting, I received the feedback that it is off-topic because it is not really about syntax highlighting, but about implementing an editor. OK, but what about my second question about syntax highlighting? How is that off-topic? What are some good questions about syntax highlighting?

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    $\begingroup$ Anyone can make a tag. Just because a tag exists does not mean questions about a subject are on topic. $\endgroup$
    – mousetail
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 12:38
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    $\begingroup$ On betas the rep requirements for making tags are reduced $\endgroup$
    – mousetail
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 12:39
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    $\begingroup$ There's definitely a line to be drawn about which implementation questions belong here and which don't. I'm trying to justify to myself why your second question doesn't belong here but this one does, and I'm not sure I can convince myself. $\endgroup$
    – Bbrk24
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 15:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Bbrk24 your question asks about a general strategy for implementation, while OP's question is specific, and is better answered on SO. $\endgroup$
    – Seggan
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ Your second question ended up being edited a bit and re-marked as a duplicate, and the other question is open and well received; so I infer that the consensus is that your second question was on topic. I don't think the edit really changed things all that much, although it's a clear improvement. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 8:07

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I did not vote for either of your linked questions to be closed, but I can guess as to why the close voters might have considered them to be off-topic. Though I don’t think the precise boundary has been fully decided, there seems to be a general consensus that questions seeking help with specific programming or debugging problems are off-topic and better suited to Stack Overflow. Questions on PLDI should generally be about programming language design and implementation concepts, not just programming problems that incidentally occur in the context of implementing a programming language.

One way to think about things is that Stack Exchange sites have always operated in a place in between general Q&A and a collaborative wiki. (A phrase that is often tossed around is “repository of knowledge”.) The best questions don’t just provide support for a particular problem, they also provide value to future readers by collecting expertise on a given topic. Questions seeking support for particular programming problems are much less likely to serve this broader purpose.

To answer the question in your title, one could imagine being used to tag more general questions about syntax highlighting as it pertains to programming languages. For example, one might ask about how to conceptually approach the implementation of highlighting that takes semantic aspects of a language into account, rather than being purely syntactic. A question might also ask about whether there have been any user studies on the effects of syntax highlighting. These are questions about programming languages conceptually, not specific requests for support with individual technologies, and those types of questions are generally what we’re looking for here.

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