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Every now and then we get questions that post a snippet of cryptographic code and ask for non-side-channel related code review.

If this happens a mod usually migrates the question where it belongs: To CodeReview.SE as StackOverflow is mainly intended for code that is not (yet) functionally correct whereas CodeReview.SE handles code that is already functionally correct.

However our current programming close reason reads as follows:

Programming questions are off-topic even if you are writing or debugging cryptographic code. Unless your question is specifically about how the cryptographic algorithm, protocol or side-channel (mitigation) works, you should look into asking on Stack Overflow instead.

This will however probably send people wanting a code review over to StackOverflow because they probably won't read the link where they'll ask again and be down-voted because SO doesn't do code reviews.

So I suggest the following changed wording:

Programming questions are off-topic even if you are writing, debugging or reviewing cryptographic code. Unless your question is specifically about how the cryptographic algorithm, protocol or side-channel (mitigation) works, you should look into asking on Stack Overflow or on CodeReview instead.

We'll do the usual procedure: One full month to vote on the answers to express which version you want and of course anyone can still suggest yet another alternative (at most 400 characters long including links).

If no answer reaches at least +6, no change will be implemented.


Data

Since the start of May we had about 41 migrations to other sites. One of those was to Code Review, 12 were to StackOverflow, 28 to other sites. 10k users can valiadate this data here.

During the past 30 days we closed 10 questions as programming related questions with the given default reason. A search revealed that probably all of the questions closed this way would actually be a better fit for StackOverflow than CodeReview as they were asking about incomplete code. This number of 10 is in addition to migrations. Additionally we closed one question with a custom reason referencing CodeReview.

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  • $\begingroup$ You're asking for opinions, but not giving the data to base this opinion. How common are code review requests on this site? Is it 1% of questions containing code? 10%? 50%? $\endgroup$ – Gilles Jun 29 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles I added data from about the last 30 days $\endgroup$ – SEJPM Jun 29 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. With one migration in 41, even if we miss (say) half the migrations to CR, that doesn't warrant changing close reasons to include it. $\endgroup$ – Gilles Jun 29 at 12:48
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This is the default answer to keep the new reason suggested in the question, upvote this if you like ths one and want to have it, downvote if you really don't like to see this change.

Programming questions are off-topic even if you are writing, debugging or reviewing cryptographic code. Unless your question is specifically about how the cryptographic algorithm, protocol or side-channel (mitigation) works, you should look into asking on Stack Overflow or on Code Review instead.

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    $\begingroup$ Is there room to squeeze in "SO is for non-working code, and Code Review is for working code" in there anywhere? $\endgroup$ – Ella Rose Jun 26 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ @EllaRose I think I had like 3 characters left at the end. $\endgroup$ – SEJPM Jun 26 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ Have you validated this with Code Review regulars? I'm not a frequent visitor there, but I don't think it's a good idea to just mention Code Review without saying that it's only for working code. CR gets a lot of off-topic posts that ask how to debug non-working code. $\endgroup$ – Gilles Jun 29 at 10:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles I added a variation as an answer that still covers the "no reviews" policy but doesn't explicitly mention Code Review itself and to leave that to the closing users. $\endgroup$ – SEJPM Jun 29 at 11:44
  • $\begingroup$ @IlmariKaronen I think that sounds good, want to post it as a suggestion so users can vote on it? Or were you thinking of amending this existing suggestion? $\endgroup$ – Ella Rose Jul 3 at 21:43
  • $\begingroup$ @EllaRose: Done, see below. $\endgroup$ – Ilmari Karonen Jul 3 at 21:53
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Here's a minor tweak of SEJPM's original suggestion, with "(for working code)" added and a few other tweaks (removal of "debugging or reviewing" from the first sentence, changing "you should look into" to "consider") to keep it under the length limit:

Programming questions are off-topic even if you are writing cryptographic code. Unless your question is specifically about how the cryptographic algorithm, protocol or side-channel (mitigation) works, consider asking it on Stack Overflow or (for working code) on Code Review instead.

I also took the opportunity of using three of the saved characters to insert an extra "it" before the first link, because I felt the sentence read better that way.

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This is the default answer to keep the old reason, upvote this if you like the old one and want to keep it, downvote if you really don't like to see it survive this vote.

Programming questions are off-topic even if you are writing or debugging cryptographic code. Unless your question is specifically about how the cryptographic algorithm, protocol or side-channel (mitigation) works, you should look into asking on Stack Overflow instead.

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I'm inclined to agree with Gilles' comment that mentioning Code Review without stating the need for the code to be functionally correct might not be a good idea.

So here's a variation of our current reason that still captures the idea that we don't do code reviews here and that they are not appropriate on StackOverflow either.

One would then hope that if Code Review is an appropriate target for the question somebody sees the reason and leave a comment pointing there.

Programming questions are off-topic even if you are writing, debugging, using or reviewing cryptographic code or tools. Unless your question is specifically about how the cryptographic algorithm, protocol or side-channel (mitigation) works, you should look into asking on Stack Overflow for not working code instead.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't think that's an improvement on our existing close reason because it misses what is in my experience a common type of question that we see here but should be asked on SO: how do I use this library/API/tool/…? $\endgroup$ – Gilles Jun 29 at 12:46

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