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I think you've pointed out some valid pain points with using StackOverflow, but there may also be other factors at play. Without seeing the S/O posts in question it's hard to verify anything, but I'd extrapolate from your writing here that you are not a native English speaker.

This isn't an insult or anything, but it is of note; many native English speakers find it hard to understand content presented with improper grammar and awkward word usage. This is doubly important for things like programming, which requires extreme precision. I've edited several S/O posts to resolve those sort of issues so that future visitors would have an easier time understanding the question.


However, on Stack Overflow, you can't claim the language. Why?. The Code of Conduct (so, StackOverflow is also politically biased!). So, it is not the language (but mods says anyway).

ANYWAYS, my last question wasn't tagged because of the language (and you couldn't claim the language) but because it was a question of the kind "why is it failing?" without giving an example. However, the question wasn't about it, and I give an example, not one but three. Are they dumb?. Not, simply rushed!.

About Code of Conduct (that I want to talk about it) is just a "manual of good practices", it is not a rule (according to them). However, it is a rule with real consequences. But, the consequences are one way, mods can punish or commit mistakes without consequences.

Also, and it is a bit curious, Google usually leads me to close questions. StackOverflow doesn't feel collaborative but a game.

And, I'm not alone





Looking elsewhere around the site, I found a few questions I felt I could answer. As soon as I went to answer said questions, someone else (in some cases, a number of other people) had jumped in and beaten me to the punch. I never had a chance to provide a helpful answer. Not only do you have to be very knowledgeable about a subject, you’ve also got to be very fast in providing said answer. I eventually did provide an answer for a question, then realized that my approach wouldn’t work. Before I could take action and modify the answer, my submission had already been modded down by several people, several of whom left snarky remarks. What a warm welcome for a new user! I subsequently deleted my answer.

and so on but I am talking about my experience.

My statement.

People cheat the system, maybe they put their StackOverflow portfolio in their CV (it sounds stupid but I have seen people doing many stupid things on their curriculum), or maybe the want social fame. I don't know and I don't care anymore (I'm gen-x after all).


Asking "why is it failing?" without telling people what "it" is, sounds objectively non-smart ;-)

Seriously though, this comment is ranting so hard that I can't understand what you're trying to communicate.

If you want help with asking your questions in a better way, then please link to it and I'll be happy to help. If you just want to rant, then by all means go ahead (it can be cathartic at times, but it doesn't lend any weight to your criticisms...)

Ok, what is your point?.

btw, I don't put a link for obvious reasons, do you think I am stupid or a noob?.

Being a noob isn't a bad thing, and asking questions "stupidly" has nothing to do with you being stupid or not. I don't know you, so I can't say if you're stupid -- but my assumption is always (as with anyone I talk to) that you're not.

My point is that you seem more interested in complaining than getting your questions answered. I can't help with that, but I can probably help you with asking better questions. I would hope you could do it here so other people would benefit/help, but you can contact me through email if you want (it's on my github profile).
(ps: I'm also gen-x ;-)


I prefer to pay. I also prefer to use a forum because people end knowing each other.

I don't think that dev is a place to ask a question, it's more social rather than a QA.


I feel you, I don't post questions but I depend on people like you who do and it sucks because yesterday I found a question I had, which was:

"how do I test stamps tracking API if I need valid tracking numbers and they don't provide you any test tracking numbers"

I was like YES!

But it was closed because it was off topic. So, there was only one answer when there could've been several :<

Anyway, it took me a while but I was able to do it, but it might've been solved faster if the question hadn't been destroyed in seconds. Lately I've been noticing this situation more often.


The question (stackoverflow.com/q/33163757/75103) was closed 17 months after it was asked (so absolutely not "destroyed within seconds"). Of the three answers, the first was entered 9 hours after the question was asked (and is the accepted answer). The other two answers came in ~1 and ~2 years later and have been deleted - one was a nonsensical comment (from a user with 1 point) and the other was spammy (users with > 10000 points can see deleted Q and As).

Also the question is not very good, since it doesn't have any evidence of what the OP has actually done. "I've looked everywhere I can think of", just means that we'll have to ask a dozen "..but did you look here..", "what did you google", etc. questions instead of the OP making life easy for the people that wants to help. The real problem the OP is trying to solve (seeing api responses for different status changes) seems secondary to where they got hung up.

The reason it has been closed might not be obvious at first sight. The reason listed is simply the text of one of a limited set of options available when you vote to close a question. The reason Stack Overflow doesn't allow questions where the answer is only a (documentation) link is because any such link from 2015 would most likely be invalid now. E.g. some other carriers have tracking IDs that are valid for < 120 days.


Thank you for doing all that research, I appreciate the time you took to look into it and to write the explanation for me and other users who may read this. :3

The "destroyed within seconds" was a joke tho', but I can understand why it wouldn't translate correctly in text, sorry about that.

No problem. Most people who answer questions on stack overflow do it because we get a kick out of helping people. Yes, the point system is cute, but I've been answering Python questions online since 1997 (groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/comp...).

Python forums have generally been quite friendly, but many others would/will bash you to oblivion if you haven't read/understood/followed catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.... (I would suggest reading the sections starting from the end..)

Finally, down-voting and closing of your question is in all likelihood not personal -- so you shouldn't take it as such. One of my questions I love most (because I had a real a-ha moment after interacting with the commenters/answerers) is this -4 closed as opinion-based question: stackoverflow.com/questions/437090...

I too have found that the Python community is friendly as a whole (I frequent #python on Freenode IRC.)

Unfortunately, I can't say that downvotes on StackOverflow are likely "not personal," as I've witnessed the community unanimously mock and shoot down four different proposals to introduce some simple accountability on downvotes. They cite that they "have the right to downvote for any reason anonymously", and absolutely refuse to comment constructively to help the OP learn from the downvote. I know enough about psychology and communication to know: that type of strong community-wide reaction indicates that a primary use of downvotes is harassment and hazing.

With that said, closing a question is seldom personal, and provides enough information to the OP to learn from.

You might be partially correct in tags that get a huge amount of low-quality traffic (javascript/php/c++), but there are systems in place to prevent abuse. Whenever you downvote a point is subtracted from both yourself and the person you're downvoting, so there is some accountability. We only get 50 close votes per day, which is not much (after that we're left with downvoting to signal to other high-rep users that something should be closed).
An upvote gives 5 points to the other person but no points to yourself -- so a question with 4 downvotes and 1 upvote is a net win for the OP (downvotes aren't that bad, but if you're not upvoting you're part of the problem :-)

To illustrate how/why I up/dowvnvote, here are some examples from right now..

The question has code + traceback + user with low score => +1

input + code + actual output + expected output + new contributor => +1 (I think this is a great effort for a new asker, however someone else didn't agree and voted it down -- which is fine we don't all have to agree, the user still has 5-1= +4 points)

This question has a clear problem description + code + expected output + actual output. Based simply on that it would have been a +1, however the problem is a very simple logic error so not a particularly interesting question. I would have voted -1, but someone else already downvoted it so I don't need to.

This is a horribly asked question from a new contributor. The error experienced is not in the question, but rather a link to picture of error + unformatted code (I fixed that part) + code without input or expected/actual output => -1 from me even though it's a new contributor. I don't have the time right now to be new-contributor-friendly and guide them through all that is needed to fix their problem and the -1 is a signal to other users that someone needs help. Hint: Anyone here could probably help this person get a better question going... ;-)

I've heard that argument a lot, but the fact is, the systems to prevent abuse don't work when the majority of the bullies have tens of thousands of points. They can downvote with impunity, and often do.

StackOverflow is overrun by an elitist minority which use their privileges and votes to support one another's abuse of the system. If you doubt me, look at how often the technically correct answer is the second, third, or fourth down, simply because the top answer was by a high-rep user. The gentry answer is upvoted heavily, and the correct one downvoted because of "reasons" having nothing to do with its accuracy or usefulness.

Long story short, StackOverflow has been a reputation-based oligarchical society.

The other issue I have with downvotes is that they tell us nothing about what's wrong. Yes, there are plenty of questions and answers that are worthy of being downvoted, but the fact is, it doesn't ever help the OP improve without a companion comment.

For the record, I've written and spoken extensively on how to ask and answer questions and interact on StackOverflow and similar communities. What I have noticed is that StackOverflow has a uniquely toxic environment seldom replicated elsewhere: downvotes are anonymous statements of generic disapproval, and on any tag, popular or otherwise, there are plenty of people who use them to disapprove of the poster, not just the content.

I have personally been downvoted for answering my own question, for asking well-structured questions about valid patterns or tools that the "gentry" didn't personally approve of, for answering after a member of the "gentry" did so incompletely or incorrectly, or for answering a well-structured question from a beginner that said "gentry" did not personally like.

Fact is, StackOverflow would be considerably improved with either of the following:

  • A requirement to select a reason for the downvote from a generic list, like with close votes. This provides information to OPs and other readers. (Sometimes, the best answers are heavily downvoted because politics.)

  • OR...no downvotes at all! There actually is no need to have them: a lack of upvotes perfectly compensates. StackOverflow is relatively unique in having downvotes; the oldest, most stable, most helpful communities prior to SO existed perfectly well without them. (You can re-balance the StackOverflow reputation system by "weighting" upvotes from higher-reputation users. (e.g. 500r=+2, 1K=+3, 5K=+4, etc)

Myself, I rarely downvote anything. Most of the time, a comment or a flag is far more appropriate, because they're objective things that can be learned from, and which I can be held accountable for.

Anonymous disapproval is not a benevolent tool. It's a weapon that SO regulars have justified their regular (mis)use of. It lacks any and all accountability, making it ripe for abuse. You will not find anonymous downvotes in any other socially stable online community; Reddit is the only other example I can think of, and it creates a the same troll-friendly culture of bullying there that we observe on StackOverflow.


You're making the same mistake I first made and many other people on dev.to seem to be making as well.

Stackoverflow is not a place where other people solve your problems. It exists as a repository of knowledge.

This makes many questions categorically unfit for it. It's easy to get disheartened or annoyed when a question you really cannot figure out gets bombed, but it is good for the platform overall.

If you want opinionated answers, lists, quick fixes etc., perhaps a chat for a specific domain is a better option.


If you keep doing the same things, and keep getting undesirable results, then perhaps it's time to try something new? Link to the question and I'll be happy to help you understand the process...


To be honest Stackoverflow's mission was never to please individual programmers and troubleshoot their fringe case problems. It was pretty much always about creating a public library of good questions that can produce a limited amount of good answers that apply to many situations. Kinda like a Wikipedia of programming Q&A.

The question should reflect that. The question should not be so ambiguous that it would spark a debate instead of producing a couple of good answers.
The question should also show that there is some minimum amount of base knowledge about the subject matter. The question should be useful for other people. If your question only arises due to an obscure bug in your code that is unlikely to happen again in different contexts, then yeah, that's another reason for a close vote. These are just examples. I don't know if that applies to your situation since you did not bring up concrete examples.

If you think the close vote was really not justified then click "reopen". If you cannot reopen due to a lack of reputation, then bring it up on meta.stackoverflow.com and ask for help. People will usually explain in great detail what went wrong, and if you are indeed right that your question really met all the SO standards and shouldn't have been closed in the first place, then it will be rectified by a moderator who will reopen your question, and typically a whole bunch of users will upvote your question for good measure.

Questions get flagged and closed for various reasons. It's the decision of several experienced members when a question is getting closed. There is also a question and answer review queue in the background where many more users across the board check if a close vote flag is justified or not.

When your question gets closed then it went past the eyes and judgement of several people. Since you seem to be running into the same situation over and over again it's probably time to stop for a second and reconsider. Maybe it's not all the others' fault, and they are unnecessarily being mean to you just for the sake of it, but you might be doing something that is not quite up to SO standards, and you could improve that.

If you don't want to improve your questions, then just stop caring about close votes and downvotes. You will most of the time get an answer from someone anyway before the question is getting closed.

If the downvotes bother you then SO is probably not the right place. Ask your questions here for example


A note in #1, if you find similar questions that don't answer your question, try adding them to your post and explain why they don't answer your question.

This also helps people know what you've tried before


Plus its two sided. I tried answering a question and hoped it is correct. I received weird feedback from the guy asking. Check out the comments on my answer


I think stackoverflow is a decent resource but I will still prefer to read a blog post than the SO answers (because you have to decide which answer solves your particular variant of the problem).

That's one of my goals with codewithhugo.com, to write up solutions to everyday problems and questions devs have.


Also toxicity, lots and lots of subtle toxicity.