I have previously asked this question but it seems things as changed. The FAQ no longer mentions that HTML/CSS questions belong on Doctype. When did this change? And, what does the removal of that portion of the FAQ mean for those questions asked on this site?

5 Answers 5


You can ask on DocType; we're still friends.

We just have so many new family members that we have to prioritize our own children first in our own content.

I don't think there's any site in our network that matches what DocType does, so sending people there is still valid, just as valid as any other question that truly doesn't fit.

  • 1
    So if we want to give priority to SE sites we should leave them here? Just want to be sure as technically they fit better at Doctype then here. But it would be nice to get more questions to stay open here as we could really use the participation.
    – John Conde Mod
    Commented Jan 9, 2011 at 15:46
  • @john well, see my guidance here meta.wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/330/… the TL;DR version is, the questions still have to be interesting to experts and I am not sure basic old HTML and CSS would be.. Commented Jan 9, 2011 at 21:19

Personally, it annoys the hell out of me that HTML/CSS questions are closed and referred to doctype immediately. I can understand why the questions don't belong on webmasters, but can't we at least send them to stackoverflow? There's plenty of those questions there too, and that way at least the question can just be moved.

The fact that doctype is not part of SE makes people to have to login there separately, ask their question again and build up new reputation whereas on SO all this could go a lot easier by just moving the thread.

Also, in my personal opinion, Doctype is just not as usable as the SE sites.

Bottom line: I think by keeping the questions inside SE we would keep many users a lot happier than when we refer them to Doctype.

  • Completely agree. Jeff says below we should "prioritize our own children first" - if the questions fit on a Stack Exchange site, that's where they should be moved to. Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 10:44

This whole topic makes no sense to me. How is running and operating a web site any different from what is provided by Server Fault? It sounds like Webmasters is intented to be about network administration relating specifically to websites. That seems awfully specific and would probably rule out 50% of what webmasters do.

Webmasters run and operate sites, but they are almost always web site designers as well. If they don't design sites, then they're just a network administrator (not that NA's are "just" anything, but Webmasters are a specialized superset).

To say that HTML and CSS are not part of a webmasters duty is unreasonable in my mind. In many ways, I think it's more important for webmasters to have a site like this because they're more likely to need help with HTML and CSS issues because their job descriptions are often more jack of all trades and will need more help with specific skills.

Webmastes makes sense to me as a specialization because being a webmaster does require a lot of different skills. But to say that some of thsoe skills aren't appropriate for this site makes it questionable as to why the site then exists.


I'm looking at the front page of PW, and basically it boils down to this:

  • A bunch of closed questions, either moved to other sites, or closed as off topic
  • A bunch of questions that, according to this line of reasoning SHOULD be closed
  • A bunch of quesitons that belong on Server Fault, or SO
  • About the only topic i can find that would be actually on-topic is maybe SEO topics. Even then, that's largely about HTML.

Honestly, I can't seem to figure out what is on topic here.


As for the suggestion to use Doctype... The site has almost no activity. As of right now, the last asked question was over a day ago. The last answer to a question was 22 HOURS ago. The question before that was asked 2 DAYS ago.

Seriously? We're supposed to get answers from the 5 people a day that seem to use the site?

  • See the comments to Seamus's answer below.
    – John Conde Mod
    Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 21:02
  • @John Conde - those comments have nothing to do with my statement, why do you reference me to them? My point, which maybe i'm not making clear, is that if PW is not about HTML and CSS or PHP or other Web related technologies, then this site has no real purpose, since all other functions are more appropriate for ServerFault. Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 21:07
  • @Mystere Man - Does analytics, seo, marketing, domain names, hosting, etc, belong at serverfault? Definitely not. I think your understanding of what webmastering encompasses is far to narrow. Look at the tags associated with this site and you'll find a lot of topics that don't belong anywhere near serverfault and show just how wide a topic webmastering really covers.
    – John Conde Mod
    Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 21:29
  • @John Conde - Seriously? You think DNS and hosting have nothing to do with network and server administration? I think it's you that has the narrow focus. Analytics, SEO and marketing are all the same thing or at least very related, and I mentioned SEO already. If that's all that's appropriate for this site, then you have the wrong name. Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 22:29
  • @Mystere Man-It's not as cut and dry as you make it out to be. Not every DNS topic belongs at serverfault. How to install Bind does, whether someone should use a third party DNS provider does not. Which webhost offers RoR does not. How to clear floats belongs on SO or Doctype. Is it okay to use HTML5 yet does not. This site covers a lot of ground, some of it specific, some of it broad. Some of broad topics once they become specific (how to do html/css, programming) have specialized sites in the SE network where they belong.
    – John Conde Mod
    Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 22:54
  • If you need help understanding which questions belong here and which ones don't, see the area51 proposal where examples are given. Also check out a lot of the higher voted questions. And of course feel free to ask here as many of us do.
    – John Conde Mod
    Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 22:54
  • @John Conde - What a confusing description of what's on topic. That's ridiculous. Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 23:09
  • @John Conde - based on the Area 51 proposal, only SEO, Analytics, and marketing topics are appropriate. Everything else seems off-topic. By that metric, the sites name should be WebsiteMarketing.SE. The term "Webmaster" carries all the other aspects under a webmasters control. The highly voted questions seem to be SEO, Analytics, and Marketing related as well. I'm done arguing, this site seems to have no real purpose. Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 23:20
  • @Mystere Man - The area 51 proposal naturally doesn't cover every possible aspect of webmastering. But it does give a good overview of what the site is basically about. And my examples were just some examples, not a definition of what this site's purpose. It's a shame you don't want to participate here and a bigger shame you saw this as an argument. I guess we can't help everybody. But if you do come back we'll still be here happy to answer any questions you may have.
    – John Conde Mod
    Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 23:25

Hi! Just wandering in from Serverfault, because I had a question about HTML and CSS for which I was really hoping for the opinion of someone with more experience. It got shunted over to StackOverflow, which really isn't the right place for it -- the focus there is on software development, and I suspect the question will die a slow and lingering death.

While I've been happy participating on ServerFault -- answering both the "interesting" questions and the occasional "simple" question -- my experience here has been disappointing. This seems like the obvious place for questions related to all aspects of creating and managing web sites; there are no other members of the StackExchange family that really seem more appropriate, and DocType -- while I'm sure they're very nice people -- is slow, barely active, and seems to have problems with various sorts of OpenID credentials. It's hardly in the same class as the SE sites.

it seems a shame to be chasing people away, rather than building up a community that can address all the things the phrase "webmaster" brings to mind.


While I agree with some of what Jeff Atwood says, I think it's a pretty shaky basis on which to build.

It's clearly vague what counts as "hard enough to be interesting to experts" and it will vary as a function of one's own expertise. It's clearly insane to just rule that HTML and CSS related questions are completely verboten but where to draw the line seems impossible, and possibly unworkable.

While I appreciate that this site wants to be about what webmasters do (whatever that is) rather than what web designers do, I think summarily closing HTML related questions is unwise. And particularly given the participation stats at end of beta, I don't think kicking out such a potential audience is in PW's best interests.

If we do want to ban basic HTML/CSS questions, can I suggest replacings this sentence from the FAQ with something that doesn't seem to leave open the possibility that those sorts of questions should be allowed:

If your question generally covers the operation of websites which you control, then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

My website is written in HTML and CSS so that seems maximally relevant to its operation...

In response to the comments, perhaps a better version of the above FAQ sentences would go:

If your question generally covers the operation of websites which you control (as opposed to the construction of them), then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

  • But your definition then all programming questions belong here as well because websites are built with PHP, Mysql, etc. But they clearly belong on StackOverflow. Basically if there is a SE site that is dedicated to the topic then that's where the question belongs. However, when it is framed in a way that affects not the technology itself but how that technology fits into the role of a webmaster managing their ecosystem then it would belong here.
    – John Conde Mod
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 20:30
  • @John What definition? I didn't offer a definition.
    – Seamus
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 20:36
  • My website is written in HTML and CSS so that seems maximally relevant to its operation...
    – John Conde Mod
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 20:59
  • I'm not suggesting that as a definition of relevance for PW, but I am saying that that sentence of the FAQ should be rewritten.
    – Seamus
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 21:45
  • May I chime in and say that it is my understanding, which could be interpreted as opinion, that HTML and CSS are not scripting languages but rather markup. I would agree that HTML and CSS related questions may have a place on ProWebmasters. Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 17:51
  • How to do HTML/CSS does not have to do with running of a website. It has to do with building a website which is what Doctype is for. If someone has questions about how or why to choose a version of HTML or CSS to use, etc, that would fall under the "how" part and would belong here.
    – John Conde Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 20:08

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