Proposal: bootstrap overflow

Because not everyone writes code all day, I'll try and keep this simple

There is a popular "framework" that people use to make websites look the way they do. It is called "bootstrap." Bootstrap is a collection of rules written in a type of code called CSS. CSS is a declarative language that basically "declares" what shapes, colors, fonts etc. – are used to display the content of web pages in a pleasing manner. It also has some javascript for common User Interface patterns. Because Bootstrap gives you a large set of pre-written rules and scripts, the framework helps people of all skill level to make things quickly – which is why it is so popular and well regarded, but in many situations – it leads new developers to misunderstand the very basics of CSS and therefore has lead to a large number of posts on Stack Overflow concerning this one very specific thing. The posters are not asking about CSS as much as they are asking about this one set of CSS rules. In my experience, most of these posters want a quick fix to whatever has gone wrong, but not to learn why or what Bootstrap rules are conflicting and causing the problem. For me, Stack overflow has always been a teach-a-man-to-fish community. I believe that having a specified place for questions specific to the Bootstrap framework would be better for the Stack Exchange community.

My opinion of this framework does not matter. I do however, think that it should have it's own place because of how specific it is.

Those who use Bootstrap will be happy to help one another with their niche understanding of this very specific set of rules,

and those who do not use Bootstrap will be happy to be rid of questions that will be of no use to the web community as a whole.

I personally do not use Bootstrap, so I wouldn't know a good question to add for the proposal, so I just copy and pasted 5 recent questions from Stack Overflow.

  • 1
    If this is on-topic on Stack Overflow, why should it have it's own site? For that matter, if it's just a set of specialized rules, what makes it different than any other framework, like jQuery? – fbueckert May 1 '14 at 3:31
  • there just aren't enough questions to ask about one particular framework to justify a separate site – crownjewel82 May 1 '14 at 13:47

Here's the problem I see, and this is mainly just my opinion:

Bootstrap is really just a CSS stylesheet that's been put together to give people a head start. The idea is that since it's written for Mobile devices first, it will help developers continue to make a site with mobile devices in mind, rather than applying "fixes" after it's finished.

So when people are having trouble using bootstrap, and have questions on it, really they have questions on using CSS.

What I think you risk doing in moving bootstrap into it's own site is:

  1. Dividing the people who are likely to answer CSS questions between two sites. Provided they even choose to divide their attention in the first place and don't just stick with Stack Overflow.

  2. In my experience, most of these posters want a quick fix to whatever has gone wrong, but not to learn why or what Bootstrap rules are conflicting and causing the problem.

    These questions are asking for code and nothing else. They don't want to learn, and the reason they're using bootstrap, is because it does most of the work for them. Now all they need to do is ask some sucker to modify it for them. Is this viable to a site? I've suggestions for sites that are for doing other people's homework an they typically don't get much support.

    See: Help Vampires

I guess my suggestion is that if Bootstrap were to have it's own site, then it would have to be about CSS, because that's really what bootstrap is. Ans you want to avoid splitting a group of users and expect them to answer similar questions between two sites. A better alternative I think, would be to move all of the website questions onto their own site - Such as the Web Design proposal looks like it's trying to do.

  • I guess just pointing people to the bootstrap docs would be fine. Do you know of anyway I can filter the word "bootstrap" completely out of my stack overflow experience? That would make me so happy. – sheriffderek May 1 '14 at 18:31
  • @sheriffderek On the right hand side of the page, you can set favorite and ignored tags. Ignoring a tag for bootstrap would hide those from your view,. – Matt S. May 1 '14 at 18:47
  • ahhhh.... Thanks for that tip Matt. Also, good thoughts on the subject. I couldn't agree more that it is CSS, (well, expecially because that's just a fact) but the more it diverges and the more people use it, it almost becomes it's own 'meta' CSS where users are dealing with 2 groups of rules and want to know why their drop-down is effected by their modal window, which operates with a larger set of combinations including javascript. – sheriffderek May 1 '14 at 21:27

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