# When and why should we close a question for being more appropriate on Stack Overflow?

While I do miss the early days when this site was more about "academic" quantum computing questions, and not so much of a Qiskit/Cirq forum for people doing programming or trying to use some software, I also noticed this question in the close-review queue with a comment saying that the reason for the close-vote was that it should be asked on SO: How to use pass_operation_over with cirq.Operation?, but it was answered quite quickly by no other than Craig Gidney (the author of Cirq, which is what the question was about), so the asker seems to have come to the right place if their goal was to get an answer. Only 12 cirq questions have ever been asked on StackOverflow and many of them would be more on topic here on QCSE.

• SO does not have a tag like we do.
• SO gets 7000 questions/day, and is a bit of a mess now.
• The mods at SO are not familiar with quantum computing, and the vast majority of the 14 million users there do not either, meaning that it's hard for them to moderate such questions and questions can also easily get "lost" there without the asker ever getting an answer.

On the other hand, Craig is active on SO and can subscribe to get emails when a cirq tag is used (if such a tag does get created there), if people do want to have such traffic diverted to SO.

We may also need to ask the SO mods/userbase how they feel about such potential incoming traffic, but what do people here think?

• These are two distinct issues, (1) should questions like that asked on the QC site should be closed and (2) is SO the right place to redirect traffic. I think theres a strong argument for (1) - closing programming questions (with little qc content) about qc libraries - regardless of where the traffic gets redirected. To me, whether the initial close vote mentions reposting on SO or cirq github or nowhere is only a secondary consideration in adding voting to close. – forky40 Apr 6 at 23:22

My other answer came off as more about arguing why the specific question under examination should be closed, so let me address here the more issue discussion about programming questions, to try and better structure the discussion.

I think programming questions should be on-topic here only if some topical knowledge about quantum mechanics/physics/mathematics is required, or is at least useful, to answer the question. So I'm more or less fine with questions such as (I'm taking a random sample from recently asked questions):

On the other hand, I don't see much of a point in asking here questions such as:

This is a good discussion to have, I've been meaning to ask pretty much this very question for a while now.

There are many questions that I really struggle with in figuring out why they should be asked here. I usually try to find any sort of justification why some physical or mathematical knowledge might be useful in answering the question, in which cases I leave the question be after ensuring it's been tagged appropriately (although I still think most of these are better asked on SO than here).

For questions such as the one you point out, I really can't see any reason to have it here. This is purely a question about programming. Why sholdn't it be asked on stackoverflow (though to be honest, it probably would be even better placed as an issue on the repo itself, given the specificity of it)?

To be clear, I agree that a question being on-topic on another site does not imply it being off-topic here. My point is that there isn't much of a point in having questions such as these on-topic here in the first place. Like, why should a question about installing a python package related to qiskit be any different than a question about installing any other python package (there's plenty of questions going around that are variations of this)? Why shouldn't we divert such traffic to SO?

SO does not have a cirq tag like we do.

This is an easily solvable issue. Tags can be created by anyone with at least 1500 rep on SO. I don't have it so I can't, but I'm sure someone here can just go ahead and do it. But even in lack of a cirq tag, there's a grand total of 250 quantum-computing questions on SO, so that's an easily subscribable related tag.

SO gets 7000 questions/day, and is a bit of a mess now.

So what's your point here? Should people just stop using SO because it became too big? That's not the reason additional sites are added to the stackexchange network. When a site becomes very big, you can just start following the tags you are interested in. Also, there are that many questions because the traffic is huge, which also means that many people will see the questions.

I might be missing something, but what is it that you mean exactly with "is a bit of a mess now"? Have there been issues recently related to getting answers there that I'm not aware of?

The mods at SO are not familiar with quantum computing, and the vast majority of the 14 million users there do not either, meaning that it's hard for them to moderate such questions and questions can also easily get "lost" there without the asker ever getting an answer.

Can you point to some evidence in this direction (I mean about problems with moderation and questions getting lost)?

I'd guess that any question that is asked in a clear way would be left alone. Case in point, the question you gave as an example is a good question that is clearly understood; I'm sure it would fair well on SO.

but it was answered quite quickly by no other than Craig Gidney (the author of Cirq, which is what the question was about), so the asker seems to have come to the right place if their goal was to get an answer

Sure, but the author being here to address questions doesn't make the question itself fit for the site. The goal isn't just to get people the answer they seek; we also want to focus the different sites to reduce noise and increase the possibility of the right people seeing the right answers. Isn't that the whole point of having different sites in the network after all?