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I've posted my first question:

To what extent can an algorithm predict the time complexity an arbitrary input program?

Which admittedly is not a graduate-level question, and thus not covered under the scope of this site. Given that the question was rejected from Stack Overflow for being too advanced, and now rejected from TCS for being not advanced enough, what are some guidelines for determining which site to send a question to? It has been suggested that this particular question can be sent to both SE Programmers and SE CS, so there are four candidate sites.

I ask because the scope of each site FAQ overlaps quite a bit and I feel that, for a question like this, it can fit into several categories. As somebody familiar with the SO board, but not with these sites - it is daunting to figure out where to place my question (and others like it).

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  • $\begingroup$ its up to the separate sites & moderators to be able to migrate questions without too much hassle. think its a reasonable question but more suited to CS.SE. the more you use each site, the better feel youll get for what fits in each. definitely lots of overlap as you state & its not obvious, but part of that is due to stackexchange group creation, which isnt nec consistent/disjoint with existing groups. CS.SE is relatively new & still getting its bearings wrt other sites (it seems to have low traffic and might not get out of beta). ps ?? your question is not rejected & has upvotes $\endgroup$ – vzn Sep 12 '12 at 22:22
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Given that the question was … now rejected from TCS for being not advanced enough,

I do not think that anyone said that the question is not advanced enough for cstheory.stackexchange.com. As I understand it, Kaveh’s point is that the question is not in theoretical computer science because it is more about software engineering. (I do not agree with him on this, but that is a separate matter.)

As somebody familiar with the SO board, but not with these sites - it is daunting to figure out where to place my question (and others like it).

Different Stack Exchange websites have different people and different practices. In my opinion, it is a simple fact that you have to spend some time to familiarize yourself before you can make an educated guess about whether a particular website is suitable for a particular question, whether you think that it is daunting or not.

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I actually think your question is in scope, and others appear to think so too, since the question is not closed.

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I think the question in its current form can be read both as a research-level question and as a theoretical computer science question (computability), but not both at the same time.

The research-level question would be more of an Software Engineering type I think (with emphasis on Engineering), particularly because the you are asking for heuristics (the algorithm doesn't need to output the correct complexity on all inputs). Generally finding heuristics engineering solutions for problems that are undecidable from theoretical viewpoint are mostly a topic in software engineering.

You may be able to modify the question to turn it into a research-level question in TCS, however I think the more natural way of asking the question which is close to your intentions is asking for heuristics algorithms used by people in Software Engineering/Formal Methods.

Someone from that Software Engineering/Formal Meothods can answer the question way better than people we have here IMHO. Anyway, this is just my personal and which is not a strong one (I haven't even down-voted the question).


Regarding the second part, I agree with Tsuyoshi. You should read each site's FAQ and a few question with tags similar to the one you are going to use on them to understand their scope and which one is better suited for your question. Each site has a different community and the answers you get can vary considerably because of that. Look at the answers people have given to similar questions on them and see which type of answer you are looking for.

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    $\begingroup$ I would consider formal methods to be theoretical computer science broadly considered. The question as asked can also have research theory B answers (by mentioning restricted programming languages where such bounds are possible to calculate). I agree that the question cannot be made both research-level and theory A, but the scope of cstheory is not just A. $\endgroup$ – Artem Kaznatcheev Sep 12 '12 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Artem, it might be possible to restate the question as research-level theory B question, however in its current form it doesn't look so, moreover I don't see any indication for that being the motivation/intention of the OP. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Sep 13 '12 at 0:50
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    $\begingroup$ Given that this is the OP's first question, the better strategy might be to suggest how the question can be modified to make it in scope (as you have done), rather than assuming that the OP intent is fixed and unchangeable. Overall, I think the answer provided was definitely interesting. $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Sep 13 '12 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Suresh, I find the intent I perceived quite interesting (independent of whether it is suitable for cstheory or not), and as I see it, changing the intent is kind of ruining a nice and interesting question. :) $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Sep 13 '12 at 19:37

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