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re: Has Stack Overflow Become An Antipattern? VIEW POST

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re: Seems like you and me are using different StackOverflows. I don't see the community "dumping on" questions that "aren't puzzling to an expert". Que...
 

As I said to another commenter, I'm glad you've had a different experience. This is based on about ten years of being a part of that community, as well as the experiences of many people I've mentored and worked with.

Questions where the greatest puzzle is what the author is actually asking, however, or the "do me homework for me" kind, however... well, that's a different story.

As someone who spent a lot of time in the review queues, I regularly flagged to close those sorts of questions. I'm not even remotely referring to those. I'm talking about good, well-structured questions that some of the "cool kids" decided was just "too obvious" (to them) to be worthy of existing, and so they attacked by all means possible. You'll notice in the comments on this article, I'm not the only one who has seen that.

...can be reconciled with my own experience of SO only by introducing the auxiliary theorem: "the Python community is waaay more vicious than the JS community".

As I already mentioned in another comment, JS is indeed different, partially because you haven't "run out of questions" in that ecosystem yet, and TMTOWTDI is unavoidable. Yet, interestingly, the Python community as a whole all but disavows StackOverflow, both for the rampant inaccuracy and the unhealthy social dynamics.

Meanwhile, I've encountered the same first-hand in relation to C++, C, and ActionScript, not counting the typical patterns of behavior I observed in many other tags through my helping to clear the review queues. At one point, I was spending 1-3 hours a day in the queues. I was actually watching these behaviors become a norm.

As for downvoting - it isn't free (at least on the answers).

When you have tens of thousands of reputation points, -1 means absolutely nothing. So, in effect, it is free if you're an elite. It only costs something if you have little reputation to spend.

Downvoting questions, of course, is always free, so it provides a convenient, anonymous way to harass newcomers. And yes, it happens regularly. I lost count of the "first post" instances I encountered in the queues which were fully qualified as good questions (well structured, clear, not a duplicate), but it was downvoted heavily anyway.

I see, however, technically correct answers with negative votes when they're third or fifth copy of the same exact solution. If you're about to post an answer to a question that already has one, yours should bring something original - otherwise, what's the point?

Agreed, but again, not what I'm talking about. What's further, sometimes the non-popular user posts first, but when the elite user comes along and posts the same content, the less-popular user is downvoted. This was something I, again, saw happening more and more via my work in the review queues. That phenomenon was half of the reason I stopped ever trying to answer anything.

So, I'm glad your experience has been better. StackOverflow is a big place, and as I said in my other comment, it's perfectly possible not to notice the bullies on the jungle gym from the swings.

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