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Pavel Polívka
Pavel Polívka

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Answering a Stack Overflow question per day

I recently decided to try and experiemnt with Stack Overflow. always had mixed feelings about Stack Overflow. It’s incerible resource of knowlage, if you google almost any technical question it’s in the top results. Usually with pretty good answer. On the other hand it’s community seems incredibly toxic. When you ask question that may have been answered, or not properly formatted or in general do not study really long guidelines they will let you know.

I decided to answer a question per day. This way I will improve my mentopring skills, writting skills and figure out why the community seems so toxic.

I am a mainly java developer so I decided to answer Java related questions. I filtered by Java tag and tried to answer muy first question. And there was my first problem. Lots of stupid questions. Third of the questions were about Android, third were mislabeled (a lot of people tag Java on Java Script questions) and third were easily googleable. By easily I mean copy the question title to google and first link is probably stack overflow answer of the question.

It’s hard to find question that is worth answer. Stack overflow allows you to tag already answered questions, bad questions, etc. Their moderation works pretty well. When I was tagging those questions I always tried politly explain to the poster what he did wrong. Most of the posters never learn tho. If your are member of the community it’s easy to see why you start to be more offensive to people. The flow of bad questions is really bad.

When you finally find the question you want to answer too, you need to be really fast. There is usually like ten people answering the same time. Tactic here is to post the very bare bone answer without editing or explaning. Just to be first. You will edit it later. This seems toxic to me. A lot of the answers are generic and not good. But hey it brings karma. Yey.

During the month I went from 75 karma to 647 karma. That is not that much. When uyou answer you almost never get any feedback to get karma. Most of the time the answer is not even accepted. People if you find helpful answer just upvote it. Even if it was posted years ago.

At the end my feelings are still mixed. I understand why the community seems toxic and I will not continue with answering. It seems like waste of time.

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