So I had asked this question, not a particularly great question but certainly about web design/development.

Now that it has been migritad to SO, I am left wondering why? What is it that I'm not getting about webmaster's?

2 Answers 2


I am of the opinion that JavaScript is certainly programming and advanced HTML + CSS is basically indistinguishable from programming except in the most trivial of "Hello World" cases.

Given that today's web is already almost useless with JavaScript disabled, and there will only be more and more over time -- well, I think you can see where this is going.

The real issue I have, and why I even put up such a basic question there, without these I don't see Webmaster's community being viable or remotely as useful to the general user

It's not supposed to be useful to "the general user", it's supposed to be useful to professionals who operate websites as a part of their job.

Programming is too low-level; this site operates at a higher level, the whole website(s).

  • Well to be straight you, being Jeff lol, would know alot more about it. I will say, when I mention general user referring to a site, I'm assuming exactly what I think you're saying. General users of that site should be professional webmasters..no? May 9, 2011 at 5:14
  • Is this perhaps along the lines of someone who manages mostly through such things as CMS? May 9, 2011 at 5:16
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    @garet I think some HTML questions can be OK here, but in general this is at a higher level of "website" not "code that renders pages". It's not that pro webmasters don't code, it's that they have bigger scaling problems to solve than coding HTML for a single page. May 9, 2011 at 5:34
  • That's something I can find fairly respectable. I probably have some rather annoying opinions :) and not the best user, but I deeply want to see these communities get better. Even though SO does pretty great with HTML/CSS questions, I do feel very odd posting HTML there and still wonder if this site can support both but I trust that what you described is a worthy cause for such quality assurance. May 9, 2011 at 5:40
  • One further note, since this seems to come up frequently on this meta yet I rather agree with your position, I just headed over to Area51 to see if there was a web developer's in the works or else start it to find this closed. Surely specialized developer sites are going to somewhat drain from SO but.. does this basically suggest there wont be a a place for everyone wanting to have a web developer community? May 9, 2011 at 5:46
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    @Garet - Jeff A has talked at length about specialized dev sites on Stack Exchange through his blog and podcasts. His reasoning for 1 site is that devs code in many languages so having a site for each forces us all to visit many sites to get answers and answer question. That increases the barrier to use the site(s). Secondly, SO serves the specialists just as well as the generalists. The tagging system in SO is what allows the site to serve everyone. Ask yourself, what would a specialist site give you that SO currently doesn't? Jeff, if I missed anything/wasn't clear, let me know. May 9, 2011 at 19:34
  • There are already specialized dev sites. I think people are going to continually push for a webdev.SE one way or another anyway. I really think that this is more about web languages as a whole vs others, not so much one for each. The main thing a web development site would give is: community focus. May 9, 2011 at 19:53
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    @Garet - Someone will always push for webdev.SE. I think when people fully get the situation they see the value in one site (it took me about a year to get it honestly). Splitting along the web/app line has tons of issues. For example, if I ask a C# question that is for a website but could be used in non-web programming where do I ask it? Asking it twice is inefficient but that would be the only way I would be able to get the question in front of 100% of the people who could answer it. All SE sites allow for super-specialists through tags(focus), so what do you mean by community focus? May 9, 2011 at 20:12
  • Shouldn't the same idea seem to apply well here at webmaster's for tags? I see value in centralization and I see value in distribution, everyone wont agree about that line but if people are going to keep pushing for it we should try it. Tags == focus is a bit overstated IMHO. I hope I don't seem offensive, I do actually respect the staff here but I see alot of user-driven movements get shot down that seem like they could work. The site betas are great for finding out how viable certain things are so let's use it if there's not a huge consensus. I think that would show people and myself better. May 9, 2011 at 20:26
  • I do see what you mean about double asking though, and on that I am unsure. Would be cool if there were some kind of site fusion feature but I don't think that'll happen if they're all supposed to be extra distinct :p May 9, 2011 at 20:29
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    @Garet - I went down that path (site fusion) mentally myself and I when I got to the end of the path, I had just built a multi-site version of StackOverflow with extra widgets and controls to allow it to do exactly what StackOverflow does currently. May 9, 2011 at 20:42
  • I'm really not trying to get into site fusion, and I'm trying to understand, really truly. Have been attempting to blame my own thinking usually but still all I end up hearing (in this and other conversations) is "change is bad, leave us alone." Not so much "there's a real reason to stay this way". May 9, 2011 at 20:49
  • Sigh, I don't know. I had (and still do) alot of respect for Jeff before I ever heard of stackoverflow actually from some chance reading and I think these sites are just amazing. I'm going to go ahead and just chalk it up to a personal problem but I really got literally depressed seeing webdevelopers.SE get shot down and can't help feeling the 'formula' of the network is slowly beginning to encumber it's quality. Still, I don't like this sort of talk but i just want to see things go as far as they can...so I'll just withdraw from this unless you were especially inclined to talk it out. May 9, 2011 at 21:00
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    @garet if you want a truck and we built a car, how do you expect us to react to "this car would be better if only it could work more like a truck?" If you want a truck, go buy a truck. Attempting to bolt truck features on a car just results in a terrible car. May 9, 2011 at 21:43
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    @Garet - Don't get depressed :) I know where you are coming from and I know you are trying to understand. I am not good at explaining and this is something that I fought with internally for literally a year before I felt like I understood. And I am always willing to discuss more. The best thing might be to spend some time thinking about it, I know I needed to. May 9, 2011 at 21:47

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

Pro Webmasters FAQ

Given that webmasters are generally also expected to know a bit of HTML/CSS, the FAQ's meaning is often contested one way or another.

The most recent discussion - If all SysAdmin questions get punted to ServerFault, and all HTML/CSS are 'programming' - what is left for ProWebmasters? - here on meta is still pending a resolution one way or the other, however, in the meantime I think that you can agree that most HTML/CSS questions will receive more attention on StackOverflow (which, if the question seems to be languishing here, might be a good thing).

  • This is somewhat hard for me to wrap my head around. I do somewhat think HTML/CSS questions on StackOverflow are fairly valid. On the other hand, keeping them out of Webmaster's seems utterly tragic. I've gotten some good responses out of SO and Programmer's, no doubt. The real issue I have, and why I even put up such a basic question there, without these I don't see Webmaster's community being viable or remotely as useful to the general user. May 9, 2011 at 4:56
  • Oh and, while I get it, calling HTML and CSS programming is still a large stretch no matter how technically true. Webmastering is also a very general term and..well shouldn't it be kind of obvious? Good link. May 9, 2011 at 4:58
  • I personally think HTML/CSS questions, belong on SO, based on the current FAQ statement, "the operation of websites...". While it's true that webmasters may need to know some HTML/CSS, that really doesn't involve operating the site. You could certainly be an operator without knowing HTML. While that might narrow the site's focus too much - it's still what the FAQ says. Maybe you should propose the FAQ be changed.
    – Cyclops
    Jun 18, 2011 at 19:54

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