Poll: Do you read the question or answers first on Stackoverflow?

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Just curious, when you're searching for an answer on Stackoverflow, do you take the time to read the original question at the top of the page thoroughly or go straight to the answers at the bottom?

I will usually quickly scan over the question just to see if it's vaguely related to what I'm looking for, then look at the answers, and then usually have to go back to the question at the top. 😂

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It's kinda weird but a lot of times I'll go straight to the answers and infer from them whether the question is relevant to what I'm searching for.

 

Not weird at all, I think! I do the same thing!

Do you find that doing it that way is efficient for you?

 

Yeah I think so. Usually I can tell faster that way if it's going to be helpful.. sometimes it's the right question but there aren't any good answers anyway.

 

I do this, which works very well 95% of the times:

Web searching:

  • Search on the web for my issue
  • Use results snippets to judge relevancy of top 5-10 results
  • Open the best 2 or 3 results - not necessarily the search ranking (StackOverflow pages are almost always among them)

Solution finding in SO:

  • Read the question title to judge similarity to my problem
  • Read the top-voted answer
  • If solution is not found, quickly scan other answers
  • If solution still not found, go to other tabs (from search results opened before)
  • If solution still not found, back to the search engine
  • If solution not found after a second or third search, I go figure myself and then post as an answer to the closest question I found specifying my case

So, no, I almost never read the entire question. It's almost always irrelevant to me. Unless I figured a solution myself and need to find a question where to post it...

 

I look at the title, if they are lucky I will scan the question but usally go for the answer.

Somewhere along the lines I groan at the 70+ line function wondering if it is worth my time figuring out what it's is exactly they are trying to say!!
😉

 

AHH!! I totally relate to that. When I see huge snippets I always pause and reconsider before reading further 😂

 

As an active member on Stackoverflow, I find most questions are poorly written, which is very unfortunate, IMO.

Therefor, I do pretty much what you do: Read the title, scan over the question, and read the answers. Most of the time, if the answers are any good, I don't even have to read the entire question.

 

If you don't read the question, you won't be able to evaluate how close the original problem is to yours, and, thus, how specific to your problem the offered answers may be. Many times, if you actually read the question, you find that the answer marked as the best answer for the thread-opening question isn't nearly as good as the ones not so marked ...but those other answers may be more directly-relevant to your specific flavor of the problem. Without reading the question, you might only look at the best answer, find that it doesn't actually solve your problem and assume the whole thread is pointless (and waste time on further Googling).

 

It depends. If I just want a refresh on how to do something, I go directly to the answer. But, if I'm facing an issue, I read the question first to check if it is about what I want

 

Straight to the answer. It's because I'm usually in a hurry trying to solve some problem that is driving me insane xD

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