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This question on the main site is stated as being well within the realm of programming language theory. However, it has a -2 score and votes to close. Is it within scope, and in general are we to admit as reasonable questions from the area of compiler design and PL theory ?

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    $\begingroup$ I think it is. Theoretical aspects have two sides. The first is formulating some practical phenomena in the right language, as rigorously as possible. The second is using the rigour to explain and shed new light on the phenomena. Questions of the second kind seem to be more widely appreciated because it's straightforward to measure the time since the claim was rigourously formulated until it was proved. However, questions of the first kind are no less important... $\endgroup$ – Ohad Kammar Aug 17 '10 at 10:01
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    $\begingroup$ My vote to close that specific question had less to do with the content of the post and more about how the question was phrased... "What things should be parallelized in an explicitly parallel PL?" seemed awfully broad. One possible danger of that particular question is that it seemed to invite a discussion that could eventually veer off-topic. But perhaps I am wrong in my assessment (and being too critical since the site is new). (P.S. I agree with Jukka below.) $\endgroup$ – Daniel Apon Aug 17 '10 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ Agree with both points. The question as it stands should be closed, but it could be rephrased to be more relevant. Maybe people with more expertise could suggest a reformulation in the comments on that post ? $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Aug 17 '10 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ I'm glad that it was just my phrasing of the question. PLT is my area of interest, and as all the questions seemed to be complexity theory and proofs, I wanted to try and push the scope to see if it was appropriate. What I asked was just the only question I could think of at the time. $\endgroup$ – Greg Aug 17 '10 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, we do want more questions of this kind, so definitely repost after rephrasing. I think for me, lack of focus was in issue. $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Aug 17 '10 at 17:22
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I think questions on PL theory should be perfectly fine here. (Practical compiler design is another story.)

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    $\begingroup$ Agreed, and I think the question that led to this discussion could be rephrased to be of great interest to the TCS community. $\endgroup$ – András Salamon Aug 17 '10 at 15:09
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I would like to point out that I do not think that the issue has been solved at all, provided that we want to make the theory of programming languages in scope of the website.

I do not know how closing votes work (because my rep is below 500 and I have never voted to close a question), but the question page clearly says that the question was closed because it was off topic and because questions on this website were expected to generally relate to Theoretical Computer Science (suggesting that that question did not), which is a bogus reason to close that question in my opinion. Unfortunately, this may well be enough for people working on programming languages to turn their back on the website, although I am not one of them and I can only imagine.

I do not know what to do to remedy the situation. I added a comment to the question, but I doubt that it matters.

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  • $\begingroup$ I guess one of the mods can reopen and reclose it with the closing reason "not a real question." $\endgroup$ – Robin Kothari Sep 16 '10 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ done. it is now closed as not a real question $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Sep 16 '10 at 15:08
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Jeff Atwood of Stack Overflow closed the Area 51 proposal Compiler Design on Oct. 1 on the ground that it was part of Stack Overflow. (He explained that it was a mistake that they did not close it earlier.)

Before it was closed, it had been “on hold,” and it had started a discussion whether the proposal was a duplicate of Stack Overflow and/or CSTheory. The consensus in the discussion seems to be that questions about compiler design will be closed on our website. I cannot tell that that assessment is correct or not, but at least it tells us how some people view us. I do not know if it is a good thing.

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    $\begingroup$ good to know. thanks for the update. I think we should consider questions on compiler design on a case by case basis. $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Oct 10 '10 at 19:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Suresh: I agree. $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 10 '10 at 19:50

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