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I have a feeling that our guidances should be worded better. Take this excerpt from the Help Center:

To the best of my knowledge, does the code work?

I believe this question is incorrect, as seen by https://codereview.stackexchange.com/questions/75043/c-youtube-downloader-error and there are most likely more questions around.

We should be asking people if, to the best of their knowledge, they think that their program works, not their code. We can see cases where people post code here that does compile and does not throw exceptions during runtime, yet does not do what is intended. So they conclude that their code works, but their program does not. We, as a general consensus, however require that their program works.


Hence my suggestion is to replace all occurrences of "does the code work" to "does the program work", wherever it makes sense. The obvious replacement would be in the Help Center in the excerpt listed above, perhaps there are more places where it should be changed.

This will not get rid of off-topic questions from users that do not read anything, but it will discourage users who know what they are doing and truly believe posting here is correct, because their code works in spite of their program not working.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I've added "… as intended" to the help center. \$\endgroup\$ – 200_success Dec 30 '14 at 23:15
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This site being Code Review, we require working code. We review excerpts of code that aren't complete programs. They could be library functions or even just a line or two of code.

Let's not change our wording from "code" to "program" just because some users have an excessively liberal concept of what "working" means.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "the code is working, it just doesn't do what I want that it does!", is that a very liberal concept? \$\endgroup\$ – skiwi Dec 28 '14 at 18:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd be OK with adding "To the best of my knowledge, does the code work as intended?" \$\endgroup\$ – 200_success Dec 28 '14 at 18:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "works as intended". \$\endgroup\$ – rolfl Dec 28 '14 at 22:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes yes. Works as intended. \$\endgroup\$ – RubberDuck Dec 28 '14 at 22:23

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