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Question says it all really? I can't really see what useful scope this site has if all of the system administration and web-design elements are stripped out.

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  • There's a heck of a lot more to webmastering then just html/css and sysadmin stuff. Now if I could only get paid like that..... – John Conde Feb 3 '11 at 20:29
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    for example? (need three more characters) – HorusKol Feb 3 '11 at 21:56
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    Seo, analytics, security. – John Conde Feb 27 '11 at 22:19
  • @John Conde (First comment): Where would you ask HTML/CSS questions then? I thought ServerFault was for System Administration things... – JFW Mar 6 '11 at 8:48
  • Either stackoverflow or doctype. – John Conde Mar 6 '11 at 16:52
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This is covered in the respective FAQs for each site; see Rebecca's response here:

How tolerant should we be of programming and sysadmin questions?

In short:

  • If your job title is "system administrator", your job related questions generally belong on Server Fault.

  • If your job title is "programmer", your job related questions generally belong on Stack Overflow.

  • If your job title is "webmaster", your job related questions generally belong here.

It's all about professional areas of expertise. Is there overlap? Sure, just like in real life, some programmers do sysadmin type things, and some programmers do webmaster type things. But that doesn't mean the distinction isn't clear.

In other words, just because snowboarders and skiiers both go downhill really fast on snow, does not mean they are the same communities.

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  • +1 for the snowboarders vs. skiiers visual. – Kzqai May 13 '11 at 18:39
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From the short time here in PW, I've noticed that most of the questions being asked is more of technique than specific coding.

Pro Webmasters has a obscure scope, however it doesn't make it any less important. There are many web hosts, there are many third-party programs (MySQL, etc.), tons of CMS's, and many SEO techniques that are required for a dynamic website to compete in today's internet. I see PW is more of an advice site - for people who need questions to the subtle or behind-the-scenes features of websites.

Just as Jeff said, there are overlaps where questions could be placed in either StackOverflow or ProWebmasters - such as which to code first, HTML/CSS or apps? Being a Webmaster or even Web Developer, there is a vast amount of knowledge that could be considered the 'tricks of the trade.' ProWebmasters covers all of that.

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    I really think for the casual user of stackexchange the differences are too thin, it is confusing and we are seeing more and more questions being moved from one site to another, which only adds to the confusion of the novice user. – AJweb Feb 27 '11 at 12:00
  • @AJweb: True, the novice user is a bit lost when first coming into the Stack Exchange world - I know I was. But I don't think that the purpose of Pro Webmasters may be small, but it is an extremely important part of Stack Exchange. I for one have learned a ton of information that I wouldn't have known before, furthering my webmaster skills. It might be a vague definition and certainly not a clear line between us and some other sites, but that doesn't mean that we're expendable. – Christopher Feb 28 '11 at 3:24
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My personal understanding of the different roles involved gives me a clue where each topic should go. Comparing the roles:

Webmasters vs. System Admins

  • Webmasters generally deal with web hosts and usually configure their own (or employers') websites via the web host's control panels, not server hardware or server software (e.g. Apache, IIS).

  • Sys admins work for web hosts and will deal directly with the server hardware and server software (e.g. Apache, IIS) configuring them and the control panel software for other multiple users / websites.

Webmasters vs. Programmers

  • Webmasters will usually install a CMS or forum software for complex websites or they might use HTML/CSS and a little Javascript for simpler sites. They might ask about which is the best CMS to use, what plugins to add, or how to configure it properly.

  • Programmers / developers will be the guys who create the CMS and forum software that webmasters use. As web developers they will build big, complex sites using web frameworks like Zend or CakePHP (rather than just HTML/CSS).

Depending on which of the roles above you see yourself most closely fitting into above, you should post to the relevant site.

As has been said, there will be some cross-over of some system admin and programming questions with ProWebmaster, but in those cases, "simplicity" is the defining characteristic, i.e. if it's only a simple programming or simple server configuration question that a webmaster might encounter (e.g. configuring .htaccess for your CMS or adding/amending a bit of JavaScript for form validation) it can go in ProWebmaster.

Just my take...

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  • But now one has to search two (or more) sites for a solution to that Drupal .htaccess question - once in Stack Overflow where most of the Drupal questions are asked (and answered), and once again in Pro WebMasters. – HorusKol Feb 27 '11 at 22:35
  • That only happens if people don't follow the FAQs correctly (which it appears they aren't if .htaccess questions are posted in StackOverflow). By the FAQs (and my guidelines above) if you are a Drupal coder (you write the core or a plug-in author), then posting in StackOverflow is totally appropriate. However, writing .htaccess directives is not a programming issue—that question should go in WebmasterPro. If you see them in StackOverflow, flag and request it be moved. – authentictech Feb 28 '11 at 0:23
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    I think maybe some kind of cross-site search feature would be helpful so you can search multiple stackexchange sites with one query. – authentictech Feb 28 '11 at 0:28
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ProWebmasters is great for questions regarding domain names, SEO, html/css (as mentioned), CMS questions, choosing different apps/technologies to use on a site, and really many topics that webmasters face.

I personally wouldn't consider HTML/CSS to be programming.

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  • -1 for the last line, +1 for domain names & SEO. (net 0 :( ) – Kzqai May 13 '11 at 18:42

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