re: Advanced devs and beginner devs can co-exist harmoniously. It's not rocket science. VIEW POST


I have more or less carefully read through the comments here and I think this thread lacks an opinion from those who are really helping on SO.

I am there in top 20 answerers on #ruby questions, top 10 on #elixir questions, top 10 on #web-components etc. Let me share my vision on what people mostly call “toxic” here. I am spending a noticeable amount of time on daily basis answering questions (read: helping people). That simple, while many others are looking for the less-toxic, more friendly and whatever chatting room, I do damn help. That’s not a boasting, that’s a reality.

I do not care whether the OP is newbie, oldie, male, female, a pet or a robot. I am there to help. And you know what?—I refuse to answer the questions that clearly show no effort was put into. Is it toxic?—If yes, then I proudly support the toxic atmosphere on SO.

I started to code in 1986 when I was 13. There were no SO, no good books (well, no books at all,) and the chance I had to improve my skills (besides examining the available 3rd party code) was to chase anybody knowing anything (both in Usenet and in real life) and ask. I grew up as a developer in a vacuum. And I am very grateful for all those answering my questions back then, even if they were not smiling at me nor feeding me with a “keep trying, you are great, wow, smart kid” bullshit. Because I understood the main thing: they were helping me to grow. No matter how affable were their answers.

I am pretty sure that before asking any question one might do kinda investigation, try it themselves, state the question properly, and—yes—read the “How to ask” page in the first place. Well stated questions receive a very rich feedback.

Those who are whining are mostly the people who had tried to ask for the solution on their homework, got a relatively harsh answer and left the site disappointed in nobody would do their job for them for free.

SO is not a dating site. It’s a professional community. If anyone expects other people would be glad to welcome them just to make an atmosphere less toxic, it’s not gonna happen. Those people you call toxic have helped thousands already. While others are whining about them being not too friendly.


The annoying part is that you're half-right. SO is not, and should not, be the same kind of place as

But writing in a kind style doesn't mean making things longer and more padded out. It means not calling things obvious when they actually aren't, and not jumping on the worst possible interpretation of the other poster. Half the time, the polite way uses less words.

Stack Overflow is necessarily less inviting than "a dating site", and I think a lot of its critics either don't get that or don't care about it, but don't act like it's reached its peak already. That place has a lot of outright unnecessary rudeness, and, women are raised in a way that makes them strongly abhore rudeness.


But writing in a kind style doesn't mean making things longer and more padded out.

I never said that. Writing anything in a kind style is just a matter of courtesy and good manners. It is beyond the frames of any website all around the world.

Also, some communities are more friendly, some are less. Even the cited answer was not actually harsh. I mean, in my understanding everybody coding for food should have an ability to at least read error message before posting a question to SO. This is also a matter of good manners. And as a regular SO answerer, I don’t answer like this, but I pretty well understand people who are actually offended by the message like “I don’t care about reading error messages, hey, fools there, who knows answers, do google for me.” And trust me, it reads exactly like that.

Offtopic: Wikipedia editors are hundred times harsher if not ruder. Which, let’s face the truth, made Wiki such a great resource.

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