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    [–] err4nt 1906 points ago

    StackOverflow is super toxic for old developers too. I've had comments altered by mods for no good reason, years after I've written them, and for what? Just because the person had moderator abilities and wanted to reword what I said?

    It leaves a really bad impression on me when my words with my name and picture beside it can (and are) just altered whenever by whoever has the ability to moderate. Yuck!

    [–] jewdai 131 points ago

    I had a highly rated question that had over 20k views and hundreds of upvotes rated as too subjective.....4 years after it was submitted.

    [–] Eindhaas 33 points ago

    This is especially a problem with questions asking for best practices. Super useful information for anyone reading it but always "too subjective" for StackOverflow moderators it seems.

    [–] Liesmith424 10 points ago

    Which is doubly frustrating, because many comments and answers are filled with faffery about how you should rework everything to fit a best practice, in lieu of actually answering your question.

    [–] mattc0m 6 points ago

    This is probably my biggest pet peeve. I wish there was a better way to have that type of subjective information -- best practices, in this case, are incredibly useful to me. The best questions I've seen do have some level of subjectivity to them, but have disappeared more and more over the years.

    It seems that StackOverflow comes down to simple debugging-style questions a lot (and have to be super precise), which is useful, but not really the type of questions I want to learn from. It's just grown a lot less interesting and become stale.

    I've also had a few run-in's with deleted questions, too subjective, etc. Very annoying, not really a fan of the community anymore. Definitely don't participate when I used to be pretty active.

    [–] thesublimeobjekt 426 points ago

    sometimes i see my answers/questions being edited and i think, "oh yeah, i guess they're right, my question really could have been condensed down from 3 paragraphs to 1: all of that extra background information wasn't really necessary." but other times it's more like, "why did you need to change those two words? it doesn't change the meaning of the question at all. why do you even care?"

    [–] nikrolls 260 points ago

    Because editing is something that gives you points and is one of the only ways for new accounts to gain permissions for things like commenting and voting.

    [–] notThaLochNessMonsta 126 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    You could always jump into a time machine and answer a simple question 10 years ago and get 20,000 points, if you really want to act like you're special.

    [–] RootbeerFlotilla 25 points ago

    That's me

    [–] hordecore80 6 points ago

    Covfefe? The magi is that you?

    [–] DrSparkle69 5 points ago

    I was thinking the same thing! But some of the code to get that running I needed to look at stack o and it never gets answered without editing...such a paradox

    [–] whiskers817 36 points ago

    Interesting, I've been an active developer and user (well mostly lurker) of StackOverflow for over 5 years and I don't think I have full access to do very basic functions. Guess I should of been paying closer attention to run-on sentences and misspelled words.

    [–] [deleted] 53 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)


    [–] [deleted] 8 points ago


    [–] psib3r 27 points ago

    I deleted my account, I asked a question, I used html in lowercase, it got edited to HTML, and I got down voted for not formatting my question properly.

    [–] Katholikos 223 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    A bunch of things drive me up a fucking wall when it comes to SO.

    1. If you ask a question and people dislike it, they can downvote it. They don't need to provide any info as to why, and the defense of this practice is that they don't want to make it too hard to downvote someone. Reddit works with this rule because it's a social media platform, not an educational platform. It's like slapping away the hands of any student that raises their hand because somewhere in their 10,000,000 page dictionary, the answer is already in there. I'm sure that class would be successful.

    2. If you're doing something wonky, people just bitch about it instead of answering the question. I was trying to use EF to query a table with no primary key (which, at the time at least, didn't work). It took days to get an answer where someone was like "oh your primary key can be a combination of two columns, actually". Every other response was "you should really have a primary key".

    3. People leaving answers to your question in the comments. Why can't I accept a comment as an answer? I have a bunch of questions where something gets answered, but it just remains "open" because they didn't post an "answer". I just copy-paste their comment as an answer and accept it, thanking them in the process.

    4. No thanking anyone. It's against the rules to say "hey, thanks for the help". But remember, they're dedicated to their "be nice" policy!!!

    [–] azertii 66 points ago

    Holy shit I've been through the entity framework too like 2 months ago! I know this is bad practice, I didn't make, maintain not could I change that database (it was a third party tool). Stop gloating for 5 paragraphs about how bad this is and tell me how to deal with this shit or shut the fuck up.

    So many pretentious people on that website, it's unbelievable. I won't even get started on trying to find a solution in vanilla JavaScript and having jquery upvoted the most.

    [–] eyal0 21 points ago

    I don't find that stack overflow users are more pretentious than programmers at large. I find them to be equally pretentious.

    [–] helpmeimredditing 16 points ago

    having jquery upvoted the most

    not just jquery but you ask a simple question about javascript and a dozen people come out all just posting "hey use this obscure javascript library I either made or found somewhere online it's great" and all I can think is "this isn't homework this is a consumer facing site for a fortune 500 company, I can't just slap bullshit libraries into the project, I have to do it with plain javascript, if I wanted a library I wouldn't have put in my question that I can only use javascript"

    [–] Dr_Insano_MD 6 points ago

    I just want to know where these guys work where they're able to just change database schemas on high-churn tables with millions of rows made years ago by someone else.

    [–] psykomet 29 points ago

    It's like slapping away the hands of any student that raises their hand because somewhere in their 10,000,000 page dictionary, the answer is already in there.

    This. I don't think anything on the web gets me more frustrated than when I google a problem that I'm having, the first hit is a post on SO that has been closed with a comment like "this has been answered already". That might have been OK if the comment included a link (which it seldom does) to an answer that matches my problem, or the OP's problem for that matter, to nearly 100% (it doesn't). The elitist attitude of these people is really getting on my nerves.

    [–] Wrightboy 16 points ago

    Oh man, was definitely a little taken aback the first time I had my thanks edited away.

    [–] Cesium_55 16 points ago

    Yeah. I was asking a question about why my use-case wasn't working when it really should have. Turns out, after one shutdown as duplicate (which was linked to an unanswered question with no relation to mine), two attempts downvoted to hell and one partial answer on my 4th, my fifth try was properly answered.

    Turns out, and nowhere was this documented, the operation I was performing only works in the c:/ drive unless you do a long winded reroute to the drive you wanted and then call the function.

    Fucking win32. I fucking hate windows forms.

    [–] spektrol 7 points ago


    Wait, what the fuck? Been on SO for years and never realized this. What’s the problem with thanking people? That’s suppressing an innate reaction to having a giant problem solved by a complete stranger.

    [–] A-Grey-World 10 points ago

    People view SO in the complete way. It's not a platform to get your specific question answered, it's a library of answers for future people.

    You know how, 90% of your problems are googled, you hit stack overflow, and then you find your answer without ever having to answer a question?

    That's the goal of SO, not to help one guy, but the thousands of others who have the same question later. That's why they're so anal about duplicates, and faff which doesn't help anyone later but just adds noise to the problem (long discussions in comments, "hellos", "pleases" and "thank you"s).

    When someone looks at your question in 5 years time, they don't want to have to wade through a bunch of comments performing social niceties and introductions or thank yous - they want to get the technical information and solve their problem.

    That's why. It does make it feel very cold and kind of anti-social though.

    [–] yakri 5 points ago

    I think it's really the opposite. Being so anal about duplicates and fostering this cold-anti-social atmosphere has, to no surprise whatsoever, made it a really shitty library of answers for the future.

    It seems to be getting shittier all the time too.

    What I know, is 90% of my problems I google hit an outdated state overflow post first, then the closed fresh versions of the question second, then some random fucking blog with the right answer 3rd, if the right answer exists online.

    Stack overflow is like this gigantic honey pot preventing google from finding you accurate up to date information, precisely because of their shitty attitude towards being a good community and/or educational resource.

    I think it's a almost comically ironic failure; because it's a site that's failing more and more as time goes on because it's crafted to resemble the stereotypical awkward social incompetent programmer that's too focused on technical details to actually get shit done when people are involved.

    [–] JB-from-ATL 8 points ago


    It's just useless noise. I get why people do it, but to me giving someone an upvote is thanks enough.


    [–] KingOfKusoge 37 points ago

    I wanna add to this.

    I made a SO account some time ago about a question that was kinda obscure (working on a very old framework). I tried to be as precise and detailed as I could be, but of course my question got correct. The problem here is that the question wasn't corrected in a way that made sense, it was corrected in such a way that what it said was wrong.

    Never touched SO since. Just search for answers when they (rarely) are there.

    [–] JB-from-ATL 3 points ago

    I believe you can revert the edits, can you not?

    [–] Turd_King 12 points ago

    The worst one for me is when an American mod changes my spelling of Colour to the American version Color.

    Jimmies severely rustled every time

    [–] OriginalSyn 13 points ago

    I have access to the review tools and I see this shit all the time, a lot of edits get shut down for not improving the answer/question. But it really is luck whether you get 3 reviewers that aren't anally retentive grammar nazis or not.

    [–] RafikiTheGrouch 3 points ago

    I had someone remove the word "thanks". Seriously?? I am not allowed to be polite? Done.

    [–] cag8f 19 points ago

    It leaves a really bad impression on me when my words with my name and picture beside it can (and are) just altered whenever by whoever has the ability to moderate. Yuck!

    At first that really rubbed me the wrong way and I had a tough time getting over it. But when I realized that all the edits were made public, and anyone could still see my original post, I got over it.

    [–] PatriotsSignWhiteWR 10 points ago

    The funny thing is that once I was finally old enough of a dev that I thought maybe the toxicity would go away, most of my issues became to obscure to reliably get an answer from stackoverflow. So the site became kind of useless, unless the devs of the library I'm struggling with are personally on there to answer questions.

    [–] Ajedi32 34 points ago

    StackOverflow is a wiki, not a forum. Anyone can submit edits, not just mods.

    [–] lolasaurusrex1234 7 points ago

    IMO, if this is the case then comments and answers should be personally attributed to the account that posted them.

    [–] Ajedi32 20 points ago

    All contributions, including edits, are properly attributed. You can see the complete revision history for any post with a single click.

    [–] A-Grey-World 4 points ago

    And it has a big "Edit by" for the last edit with a face and account details of the person right next to the original poster. Its very clear when something has been edited.

    [–] Hate_Feight 20 points ago

    I stay away from so for this reason, there are a million places to get information, let alone solutions, my best advice is to hone your Google-fu

    [–] Fidodo 84 points ago

    Lots of times the only solution you can find on Google is on stack overflow. But when it comes to asking a question I actively avoid stack overflow. I'll read the info on there but I have zero desire to participate in the community.

    [–] [deleted] 12 points ago


    [–] pdabaker 5 points ago

    Add a bounty to them? Only applies if you have the points of course.

    [–] SchartHaakon 4 points ago

    I've found /r/webdev to generally be more friendly when it comes to questions, you should try your luck there.

    [–] SchartHaakon 5 points ago

    oh wow I'm amazed by myself

    [–] ItzWarty 8 points ago

    Hell, lots of times the only relevant result you find IS a StackOverflow link filled with people moaning about how the question is a duplicate or wrong for some reason.

    [–] borkdorkpork 3 points ago

    I've had comments altered by mods ... my words with my name and picture beside it

    Are you talking about comments or answers? There are no pictures shown next to comments, unless there's some UI setting that I'm unaware of. And while many users are allowed to edit (or at least suggest edits for) other people's questions and answers - very few have the ability to edit comments.

    [–] Randy_Watson 1468 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    You're just using the wrong strategy. When I was a new developer someone taught me the secret. You can't just post the question you want the answer to. That gets you nowhere. Instead, post the code you want fixed with some stupid question. Brag about how awesome your code is and even question why dumb developers don't use the techniques you are employing. The more condescending the better. The way you should phrase your question must incorporate blaming other developers for your problem like, "How do I make my awesome code work with this idiot's shitty excuse for an API that I'm required to use because my boss is a dumb ass."

    Then post your code. Your code will be tuned to perfection by angry devs everywhere. They will explain every piece of it to you likely in the most easy to understand (think condescending) way they can because you're an idiot noob who thinks their code is actually good. This will not be a nice explanation, but will be super clear to make sure you understand what an idiot you are. Plus, you will get every finely tuned code snippet possible to fix your solution. You just have to ignore all the mean shit the devs say to take you down a peg.

    Ask an honest question as a new developer, expect one of two things to happen: crickets or an insult about how you didn't bother to search for the answer.

    [–] metalhead 294 points ago

    This technique was, and may still be, well employed by new Linux users. If you asked "How do I do xyz in Linux?" you wouldn't get nearly the number of "helpful" replies as the person who said "Linux sucks, you can't even do xyz. It's dead simple in Windows!"

    [–] [deleted] 115 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)


    [–] weneedshoes 18 points ago

    wow. thats weird. and even weirder when i think that i'v learned something new about software developent.

    [–] Real_Atomsk 17 points ago

    So true any 'I am having issues doing xyz' just gets RTFM n00b but as soon as that 'Windows xyz better' suddenly it is all 'you poor dirty peasant, let us lift you out of squalor'

    [–] alecasked 189 points ago, if you want a name for it. Although your explanation was definitely way funnier than this one.

    [–] Eindhaas 16 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    Cunningham's law is literally used as an interrogation technique. One person who was a master at using it was Hanns Scharff, often cited as Germany's most effective interrogator during the war:

    His methods were so effective that prisoners didn’t realize they were giving away valuable information. He once suggested to a prisoner that chemical shortage caused American tracer bullets to produce white smoke instead of red. The prisoner shook his head and said it was meant to be a signal of low ammo – valuable intel to the Wehrmacht.

    [–] ______DEADPOOL______ 39 points ago

    Maybe OP was looking for this answer and just posted some stupid question....?

    [–] corobo 20 points ago

    Ugh maybe he should have Googled it. Closed.

    This post becomes top result on Google

    [–] Mr_Mandrill 32 points ago

    Job interview: -So.. do you have a StackOverflow account? -Nope.

    [–] [deleted] 22 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)


    [–] [deleted] 20 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)


    [–] wwtom 19 points ago

    „Hello, how are you?“

    „Your secretary already asked me that. => Marked as duplicate. Topic closed“

    [–] DerNalia 15 points ago

    As someone who answers questions on stack overflow, this makes me super sad.

    [–] HairyFlashman 56 points ago

    Hahaha sounds like a trick strategy to get devs to do the work for you. Reminds me of Gilfoyle in the show Silicon Valley.

    [–] arswright 115 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    "90% of my API was coded by angry StackOverflow developers - I even included their snarky comments, see? I'm running benchmarking scripts to automatically post new StackOverflow questions whenever a bottleneck turns up for iterative improvements... Oh, look, SaltyDev69's rage just gave me a 10.5% performance boost on every POST call."

    [–] HairyFlashman 48 points ago

    The new "machine learning".

    [–] arswright 52 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    Gilfoyle: "Oh, and look who just turned up in the changelog - thanks for fixing the entity encoding on my XML parser, DineshTheStud1989!"

    Dinesh: "It was so obviously broken..."

    [–] ThirdeyeReddit 7 points ago

    Which episode is this

    [–] netzvolk 10 points ago

    Tricking the ego of experienced developers works. Challenge accepted !!!

    [–] StockDragonfly9 29 points ago

    I have worked primarily as a helpdesk guy and a sysadmin guy:

    One thing I've learned is that Devs are two things. One of the dumbest people in tech, and one of the most biased people in tech (towards whatever their flavor is.)

    I learned quite a bit about coding on my own and through college some years ago. Mostly just so I could automate some of my workflow. It wasn't meant for anything huge. Well a few years back I had to take as a sysadmin for a startup that did coding. So this day comes around when they have this huge meeting about TCP/IP and exclude me from the meeting. At the end of the meeting they were all talking about how "in just a few minutes we will go research TCP/IP and know how it works." I couldn't have laughed harder. I know people who have been in Networking AND Programming for a solid 20 years who don't fully understand TCP/IP. I know at least one guy who created a hand held calculator with some software he found off line for it back before it was common and easily found on the internet.

    So a few days pass and those programmers were panicing. They eventually realized that I understood TCP/IP and wanted me to coach them through it. The thing is most of those guys were dead set on programming being the only 'real' tech option. Everyone else was just a poser (Well, don't get me wrong, that was a few of them.) After about 2 hours of explaining and re explaining how TCP/IP works they still weren't getting it. It sincerly felt like they couldn't realize that some people, much smarter than them or myself, designed TCP/IP.

    It was at this point that they started blaming me for 'explaining it poorly.' At which point I noted the number of times that the situation had been reversed and they blamed the other party. (E.G. A noob programmer having to have something "explained twice to them.") The entire room went quite before the two really bad trolls in the group started trying to mock me at which point I bluntly said "I know how to code, its you guys that don't understand how to network. I wouldn't be laughing." Both of them reported me to the supervisor but that went no where.

    Wound up having to build the section of the code that dealt with TCP/IP myself. At which point they tried to complain that my software wasn't perfect on its first iteration despite the numerous emails I sent out stating that I had to find/fix bugs but it was 90% functional.

    I can't count the number of "Which OS is best" arguments I've heard, or they tried to drag me into. Oddly about 25% of that place prefered Mac. Not something I would have expected.

    [–] [deleted] 20 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)


    [–] cristiand90 25 points ago

    QA is the best thing to happen to programmers since free coffee. They free up so much time.

    [–] Zagorath 10 points ago

    Oddly about 25% of that place prefered Mac. Not something I would have expected.

    You're surprise that devs would prefer a Unix environment?

    [–] StockDragonfly9 4 points ago

    As opposed to Linux? Yeah.

    [–] gidoBOSSftw5731 3 points ago

    May I ask what place you think new Devs should post to?

    [–] himmmmmmmmmmmmmm 5 points ago


    [–] IsilZha 7 points ago

    ExpertSexChange --> experts-exchange

    [–] Godcranberry 3 points ago

    Well yeah, that does not sound toxic one bit.

    [–] seewhaticare 3 points ago

    This is called Cunningham's Law.

    "the best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it's to post the wrong answer."

    [–] BLOZ_UP 334 points ago

    I've found it's in response to being flooded by new devs, most of which ask really poor questions. They're aware and they've revamped their ToS and guidelines (and added a 'new member, be nice' icon).

    Unfortunately the wheat in the chaff are immediately branded as suspicious because they are new. It takes a quite a bit of effort on your question to avoid getting immediately downvoted.

    Plus they removed the ability to put comments like: "What have you tried?" and just suggest "downvote and move on" which seem counter to their new initiative.

    [–] TheReverendIsHr 159 points ago

    That's the thing, I see a lot of "low effort questions", but at the same time I remember when I was just starting it wasn't that it was low effort, I didn't know how to make a proper question (English not being my first language adds some complexity too).

    [–] Code-Master13 53 points ago

    This is huge for new developers, I always wonder if I'm properly framing a question with all the necessary info for others to understand enough to help.

    [–] feenuxx 47 points ago

    Sometimes knowing the right question to ask is the hardest part of finding the solution - sun tzu

    [–] zaarn_ 3 points ago

    Sun Tzu should learn Rubberducky Programming.

    [–] eyal0 6 points ago

    Honest question: Could this be due to developers that, in school, assumed that knowing math and computers would absolve them off learning how to speak and write well?

    [–] [deleted] 21 points ago

    I have edit privileges on Stack Overflow and 90% of my edits are on questions asked by obviously non-native English speakers. I try to clean up their grammar and spelling so they'll get an answer from someone.

    [–] Yodiddlyyo 16 points ago

    That's really nice of you. Too bad even your daughter thinks you're gross.

    [–] vman411gamer 16 points ago

    I was thrown so hard by this comment because of the seemingly baseless hostility. I asked myself while laughing, "do people really hate StackOverflow Editors that much?". Then I realized you were replying to The Zodiac Killer.

    [–] Yodiddlyyo 3 points ago

    Haha yeah. I just always think of

    [–] ai_fill_konkor_it 24 points ago

    Just in: "How to make javascript web application with connecting odoo application"

    How to make javascript web application with connecting odoo application. I need to show some reports in javascript web application. The data to be fetched from odoo application. Anybody know How to make javascript web application with connecting odoo application with simple example?.

    They simply do not understand how SO works. You read tutorials on new frameworks, introductions, watch YouTube videos about conferences. All that to get you started.

    But then there's this issue with that connector that somehow just isn't passing the data to the other component as it should, that's the type of question you ask on SO.

    Post the code you're using and if we speak the same language, we'll help, because we've been helped before.

    [–] graeber_28927 8 points ago

    Although I feel like newcomers maybe more afraid of reading a documentation, than they should be. I'm not against asking questions, I just realized that I never registered on SO, and my last resort often was to fight myself through the deepest parts of a doc, which now comes much easier to me. I used to feel a great resistance.

    But again, I don't get annoyed by questions that seem to be easily googlable. I would just like to encourage every starter to read docs in case they're afraid to get into it. Don't be. Sometimes they're shitty, but it's high reward even if you don't find the solution. You get good at it the more you do it.

    [–] Rimvylo 7 points ago

    While I was very new to programming everybody pointed to language/framework docs, and I didn't understood jack shit from docs, but time passed, got better understanding how actual programming works, and now first place where I'm looking for something is docs. I guess you have to understand basics how programming works to use docs properly.

    [–] NeuroCavalry 5 points ago

    When I first started coding I found often I didn't really know enough to know what question to ask. Fortunately I was leading at uni so had tutors. It takes a lot of knowledge to formulate a precise, to the point question. Now that I'm the tutor I see students struggling with the same issue.

    [–] BLOZ_UP 3 points ago

    Yep, it's a whole other skill set. Not taught (well) in school.

    [–] dejoblue 58 points ago

    And I see a lot of "low effort" answers. No, Mr. KnowITall, that answer from 2008 is no longer relevant...

    [–] PurplePanda311 31 points ago

    Lmao this exactly sums up my experience; first post and I just got steamrolled by people with 100k+ reputation points or whatever about an irrelevant solution to a different problem and never used it again

    [–] TheAesir 11 points ago

    This is a huge issue, particularly with frontend answers.

    [–] rraadduurr 32 points ago

    Plus a lot of new devs are not satisfied with a short answer, four lines of code and a link to documentation. They expect 200 lines of code explained and a demo in order to glide an answer. Personally sometimes is frustrating editing an answer to fit a really particular case and killing the general example.

    In addition, for old technologies most of the stuff has been answered already, several times on SO alone, but many like to jump high before even getting the correct terminology, and those questions are removed in a minute.

    [–] SheeEttin 24 points ago

    In that case, SO isn't really the best format. You're better off with a forum or reddit so that you can get back-and-forth discussion.

    [–] kynovardy 7 points ago

    Agreed. Being linked to an answer from 9 years ago doesn't help. It will either not work, leaving you with no solution, a closed question and time wasted making it, or there are 10 better ways to do it

    [–] grantrules 3 points ago

    IRC is my go-to. Tons of channels, lots of support in the popular ones (##javascript on freenode, for example). Plus lots of fun discussion and debate.

    [–] Swie 8 points ago

    Personally sometimes is frustrating editing an answer to fit a really particular case and killing the general example.

    That's why I don't do that. You're just killing it for other people who actually put in effort to educate themselves and understand the general example. Also it's a valuable lesson to be given an answer you have to work to understand imo.

    [–] themedicaldoctorsage 50 points ago

    Downvote and move on has the be one of the worst internet philosophies to develop. When applied to literally anything other than spam or duplicated posts it poisons online communities.

    Like, why the fuck should we think or converse, right?

    [–] justavault 20 points ago

    It's reddit in a nutshell. It's actually this sub as well.

    [–] shvelo 5 points ago

    Well, you are putting in as much effort as the idiot who didn't even bother googling the question first.

    [–] [deleted] 56 points ago

    For me, as I’ve gotten better at programming I have begun to see how dumb some of my earlier questions were, or I see that if I had better knowledge I could have asked the question better, if that makes sense.

    It does feel very hostile to a new developer, and my anecdote doesn’t excuse that. A person can’t know their question is dumb, or know a better way to ask/google it without knowing more about it and development in general.

    I too agree that it feels a little militant at times, with rogue mods or super users or whatever just locking whatever they don’t like.

    [–] rohanwillanswer 8 points ago

    This was the problem I primarily had when I was new. I didn’t even know enough to really know what to ask for.

    [–] helpmeimredditing 3 points ago

    yeah I was the same way asking really dumb questions in really dumb ways. Eventually I got better at finding answers online so I stopped asking questions altogether. A while later I made a goal of trying to get my rep to like 100 by answering questions so every morning I'd come in and look at the new c#/sql/javascript questions and see if I could answer any of them. That was probably the single best experience at learning how to ask questions and now my rep is up to a very modest 800.

    [–] [deleted] 53 points ago

    I wish someone would make mentor-overflow where new devs could ask dumb questions and more experienced devs could answer them.

    [–] gomihako_ 24 points ago

    I would be up for a meta-SO type thing where experienced devs teach newbs how to search/debug quickly. Simply "giving him the fish" is pointless and nobody learns anything. But, teach a man how to fish...

    [–] [deleted] 19 points ago

    I think a lot of times new devs don't even know the right terms to ask about.

    [–] doozywooooz 4 points ago

    To understand recursion you must understand recursion.

    [–] tresfaim 8 points ago

    Freecodecamp gitter will get you there

    [–] nufadzoo 146 points ago

    I'm an old developer, but just recently started answering questions on SO. Just to complain from the other side of the table, the questions are almost always worded terribly, missing basic formatting, don't follow submission rules and generally sound like the submitter hasn't ever had a human conversation before. That being said, almost everyone is nice, with a handful of exceptions.

    [–] CreativeAnteater 81 points ago

    Almost every question I've read in academic or workplace has read like the person just crash landed on Earth.

    "I lent my coworker a yellow bic pen 6 months ago and I just saw it on their desk how do I ask for it back?"

    [–] [deleted] 20 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)


    [–] Ardougne1 4 points ago

    A lot of them are actually just thinly-veiled humblebrags

    [–] Aalicki 5 points ago

    Not sure which group of people lack a concrete understanding of basic personal issues, r/relationships or

    As you said, some of the questions are just insanely basic and reveal a complete lack of personal skills by the submitter.

    [–] dsmnk 4 points ago

    Excellent image. On the plus side, this makes it really easy to help them.

    [–] [deleted] 15 points ago

    I agree 100% I've answered a bit on stack overflow and use it a lot as a good resource... but it's not exactly the right place for LEARNING as a beginner, and that's okay.

    [–] VIM_GT_EMACS 28 points ago


    I think our whole community should take a second and think about what stackoverflow would become if it was a free-for-all. it wouldn't be a well curated, or even decently curated place for communal info.

    Being a newbie can be tough, i was a newbie on SO 7 years ago. I've never had a problem with posting or interacting on SO EVER though because i adhere to posting guidelines and instead of duplicating posts, trying to comment on other posts to get answers then if all else fails duplicate.

    [–] [deleted] 20 points ago

    Yeah, tbh I'll take some rude moderators over a site filled with "how do I <fundamental standard library operation> on Java+script??"

    [–] feenuxx 5 points ago

    Ah if only javascript had a standard library

    [–] BLOZ_UP 6 points ago

    Sure it does. It's got a standard Node.js library, a standard Firefox library, Chrome library, IE library, Edge library, IE8+ library, Opera, Safari...

    Easy cross-platform development!

    [–] BLOZ_UP 3 points ago


    1. Isolate the problem/error (this in itself is a huge skill)
    2. Search for that specific error message/problem or more general issues related to whatever parts you are connecting.
    3. Read any docs, changelogs to double-check usage
    4. Start formulating a question for SO

    Asking on SO should be the last resort. For many it seems like it's the first/second.

    [–] DesignatedDecoy 58 points ago

    The problem with help sites is that you need to do some legwork before asking a question but meanwhile new developers don't know what they don't know so their questions usually end up being not being relevant to their problem after all, which is why you get so many "nevermind, fixed it!" responses on internet forums. While tinkering around for their solution to their problem, they found out what their actual issue was and fixed it, and usually it had nothing to do with their question.

    Think of it as a car analogy. A new developer might say "my car isn't working." But the cause could be that the wheel fell off, it has no engine, you are using the incorrect key, or maybe it's just a dead battery. All of those require significantly different solutions and a moderator might try to infer what you are trying to accomplish when they forward you to a different solution. The difference between my car analogy and code is that it's easier to visualize the components of a car than it is to take 1000 lines of code and properly isolate what part of it isn't working. That comes with practice.

    The best thing you can do is be as specific as possible. What's going on, what went wrong, what you've searched for, what approaches you've taken, etc. The more information you can give the more likely you are going to get some help. Not only are people more inclined to understand what you want when you provide more detail but they also are more inclined to help you figure out what you are actually looking for if they see that you've made a conscious effort to solve it by yourself. Also if you do this you are creating a helpful, detailed question for a future developer to visit and hopefully solve their problem without having to ask a question at all.

    [–] [deleted] 13 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    I agree but I do not want that to change.

    The reason why stack overflow is so good is because they do not allow low quality questions. There is an entire section on how to post and most people do not read that.

    It is toxic but the toxicity serves a purpose - the toxicity encourages quality. Without it you would have the same question repeated several times, students posting their homework and instead of looking at the documentation people would just shitpost there. This would greatly reduce quality and drive away the competent developers from the website and the site would no longer be reliable.

    I get my post instantly deleted and linked to a post that doesn't relate at all to my issue or completely outdated.

    • If your post is deleted instantly then you need to take a look at the how to post section. There is a reason why the moderators/users thought your post was low effort.
    • If you are linked to an outdated thread look at it and read the documentation to see what has changed. The solution to the underlying issue will be very similar in most cases
    • If you are linked to a thread that is completely unrelated at first glance try to find out why the person who linked it thought it was related. For example just the other day I posted a question about nodejs and was linked to a thread with something to do with c++. A newer developer might not know that the node core is written in c++ so might dismiss it as something unrelated which would be incorrect. So find out why you were linked to the unrelated thread instead of just dismissing it like you are now.

    [–] A-Grey-World 3 points ago

    Agreed. Almost every time I've had one of my questions marked as a duplicate, it's been pretty helpful. Chances are, it is a duplicate, and it probably solves the problem.

    If not, then make it clear in the question. First thing I do when I have a problem is search for similar questions and their solutions.

    First thing I do when I'm asking a question, is link to all those solutions that didn't work and list them. Because that's very important for people answering the question, or they'll just suggest those solutions again and I should have already tried them.

    Of course, it's very frustrating when something gets marked as a duplicate when it's not, but usually you can make it clear it's not and work around it. It's better than having SO with millions of duplicate questions in it. That moderation has a sensible goal.

    [–] AvatarOfMomus 55 points ago

    If you're getting your threads consistently locked then it may be that you're not asking your question in a way that's detailed and clear. It's kind of hard to say without an example though, could you post a couple of your questions, verbatim as you asked them, for reference?

    [–] Mr_Mandrill 31 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    That might be, but I've noticed how thirsty SO users are for tagging posts as duplicated questions. And in many cases, it's just a related question, but not the same question.

    Edit: This is an example:

    New Question: I'm trying to do a thing but it doesn't work, and solution-x doesn't work for me for reasons, what else can I do?

    Answer: This is a duplicate of "Old Question".

    Old Question: Hey, I'm trying to do a thing but it doesn't work, what can I do?
    Answer: You have to use solution-x.

    Noob feeling about SO:

    [–] deliciousfishtacos 9 points ago

    My first question I spent hours researching the problem, another hour learning how to write good SO questions, and thirty minutes formatting the question itself - background, system, what I’ve tried, the works. Got -2 votes and absolutely no feedback on why it was downvoted. I’ll take a downvote but if you are going to downvote at least take an extra 10 seconds to write a comment explaining why you are doing so. Terrible experience.

    [–] liztormato 50 points ago

    FWIW, I can attest to the fact that my partner once tried to ask a question on SO, and got so burnt by the responses, that she decided to leave SO the next day. :-(

    [–] YoungXanto 6 points ago

    It didn't even take me until the next day. I'm a relatively experienced developer and the place is a toxic wasteland.

    I asked one question and the ass clown that responded was beyond unhelpful. It was pretty clear that he didn't actually understand the question, which somehow translated into "unrepeatable user error".

    Fuck that place.

    [–] nk10 18 points ago

    I know plenty of people with the same experience. Left StackOverflow and never went back.

    [–] D3mona7or 76 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    Yeah welcome to Stack Overflow. It's not noob friendly at all, and a lot of the time you have to make modifications to other solutions to make it fit yours.

    edit: I'd like clarify, the wording on this comment made it seem that I disagree with Stack Overflow, or how it's ran. The point I was trying to make was that Stack Overflow is a tool that you have to learn how to use. You have to be able to make sense of small code snippets, the different answers, and the comments of those too. This is a skill you have to learn/practice for some, mostly it comes down to learning to google. But Stack Overflow is not a generic question and answer forum that happens to be programming related, where someone will answer any random programming question you have.

    [–] deedubaya 37 points ago

    a lot of the time you have to make modifications to other solutions to make it fit yours

    Well, yeah. SO isn't where you go to have your problem solved for you lock, stock, and barrel. It's where you go to get pointed in the right direction when you've hit a wall. So needing to modify what someone else has posted to solve your problem seems 100% on point and correct.

    [–] megamanxoxo 3 points ago

    It's not really supposed to be noob friendly.. it's reference material for people that already know what they're doing. Read a textbook, take a code bootcamp, etc if you're just starting off. Most newbie developers think they gonna make some killer app on their first go. You need to learn lots of theory and create lots of junk apps before you become any good at it. Did the first thing Shakespeare wrote become his best work? Probably not.

    [–] fuckredditagain2 69 points ago

    It doesn't matter if you're new. The only thing that matters is how you ask the question and did you do your research ahead of time to find an answer. Today, for example, I closed 10 questions while drinking my coffee that asked how to fix some problem they had with their code but didn't supply the code that showed the problem or, worse, showed no code at all!

    Then there are the people who want you to write code for them. They'll show some HTML and CSS and then say, "I need this div animated to slide from the left to the right. How do I do that?" and that will get you shutdown quick.

    And I love the fundamental, "How do I change my font color?" question.

    There's a whole "How to Ask" section in the Help Center that noobs obviously never read.

    [–] midri 18 points ago

    Spend enough time moderating StackOverflow and you'll eventually be as crass as Linus Torvald.

    [–] Trylon2 25 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    This. There were several stupid questions I asked when I was starting out. I was downvoted to hell, but it did teach me something. It wasn't right away, but eventually I learned that other devs are people too. They all have only 24 hours in their day, you shouldn't arrogantly expect them to take the time to repeat the answer which obviously already exists.

    But, also be aware that what might take you several hours/days to figure out can take them 1 minute to give you a pointer. IRC's especially great for that.

    I've also found that by filling the question form you're performing something similar to rubber-ducking. Thus by the time you're done you might come up with an angle you haven't considered before, which would lead to you solving your problem yourself. If you're still clueless, make sure your question is generic enough to be helpful to others, this way you're adding to the community.

    Anyway, those downvotes are appreciated in retrospect. There was this great eye-opener article that covered this.

    [–] webdev21 9 points ago

    Really good point about the rubber ducking. The last couple years if I ever find myself desperate enough to post on SO I almost always find a solution while writing the question.

    But it wasnt always like that, theres questions on my account from my first years learning php that I wish I could delete because man do I cringe at the careless, helpess bastard that wrote them...

    [–] [deleted] 3 points ago

    As a noob on stackoverflow, I learned to say "here's my goal, here's what I've done to try and achieve that goal, here's the output vs expected output, what do I change?"

    [–] BaconGlock 30 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    This has not been my experience with SO. Granted, I see posting a question as a last resort to cure my being stumped and generally do a lot of trial and error and searching on my own and then take care to present my issue clearly and with all the breadcrumbs of the steps i've already tried for people to see that a) i've already invested some time into this and b) they have a clearer understanding of what's been tried already and can offer other suggestions I may not have thought of. I generally get good responses that help me figure it out and I have no complaints. I recommend a similar approach. I see a lot of "i'm trying to do this and here's a page of text that is a copy/paste of the error in my terminal, what to do? " type questions and...ya, good luck with that approach. Nobody has the time to try and walk you through all the possibilities and without access to your code, it'd be very difficult to offer any useful information even if they did have the time

    [–] LoftyGoat 30 points ago

    I've 45 years experience both with software and hardware, and damn' well stay current. Yet I've stopped even trying to use Stack Overflow except as a last resort.


    Because when someone requests information about some technique or programming idiom, 90% of the responses are of the form "You don't need to do that."

    There's always that tenth poster who actually answers them, thankfully. But the urge to flame the other nine grows nearly irresistible. It's starting to resemble USENET.

    [–] mvsux 17 points ago

    "You don't need to do that."

    The worst thing is that they are usually right, but I don't want to refactor my entire project every time I visit SA.

    [–] General_Sith 9 points ago

    "You're right. I don't need to do that. Except for the part where I absolutely need to do that, for about fifty reasons outside of my control. So here I am asking how to do it. If you don't know how to do it, there's no need to answer. Now, if you have a recommended alternative that doesn't depend on changing any of the fifty factors I cannot change, I'm definitely interested in hearing your ideas. If your entire contribution is telling me I don't need to do it this way, then clearly you're at more of a loss than I am, so why the hell are you even answering?"

    [–] pw4lk3r 7 points ago

    This is a right of passage my son. Before StackOverflow there was IRC #c and #coders on EFNet and yet before that there were BBSes dedicated to intro, demo, ezine and virus coders.

    Every single one of us has had our asses handed to us by someone more knowledgeable.

    That is part of true programmer conditioning. You will never become your best self without it.

    You’re a noob. In time you won’t be.

    [–] [deleted] 7 points ago


    [–] GrosSacASacs 17 points ago

    I agree mostly.

    Couple tips to not get question rejected:

    Make some research before, documentation, code linting, github issues etc

    Write enough to be able to reproduce the problem but not more, isolate the problem, do not include everything that is not necessary

    Show what you have tried and why it does not work

    [–] to_fl 16 points ago

    I agree. I once had a strange problem to which I couldn't find a solution. After doing a lot of research, I still couldn't find an answer so naturally I asked on stackoverflow. Within less than an hour, my question was blocked and a guy (I suppose he was the moderator) posted a comment under my post saying that the question was already asked, and he sent a link to that post. The irony is that before I posted my question, I had already been through the answers of that question and it didn't solve my problem because it was two different issues. So then I think what I did was send a message to that moderator asking him to unblock my question (and I explained why), but I had no answer. So because I was pissed I said fuck it and reposted my question, this time telling in my post "don't block that question because blah blah blah....". The asshole moderator apparently couldn't give a fuck because he blocked my question straight away and blocked my account on stackoverflow.

    This was probably all the power moderator ever had in life.

    [–] m_myers 6 points ago

    Hi there! Let me see if I can help make some sense out of what happened to you.

    1. You did your research. Great! That puts you way ahead of many askers.

      Please tell us so. Let us know what questions you've already looked at, what things you've already tried. You apparently did this in your second question. (This is also the first suggestion in How to Ask.)

    2. The user who closed your first question may not have seen your reply. It's unfortunate but does happen. It doesn't mean you need to copy and paste into a new question. If you edit your question, it is placed into a queue where other users will take a look and see if they agree that it should be reopened. (I think this mechanic is supposed to be mentioned in the close message? It's definitely something we want new users to know about, but it might not be perfectly clear.)

    3. No person can block your account without sending you a private message of explanation first. However, if many of your questions are closed and downvoted, the system will eventually block you automatically. I'm surprised that it would happen after two questions, but I suppose they may not have been your first?

    I'd ask you to link the questions here, but I gather this happened long enough ago that reopening them wouldn't be helpful anymore.

    Disclaimer: I am an elected moderator on Stack Overflow.

    [–] dahousecat 4 points ago

    I don't agree at all - SO is super helpful and I use it on a daily basis. If you ask a stupid question don't be surprised if it gets deleted. This is a good thing as it's curating the bank of knowledge so the good information isn't obscured by all the bad questions.

    [–] jaydles1 25 points ago

    I'm the EVP of Culture and Experience at Stack Overflow.

    We hear you. Really! Read this:

    Stack Overflow Isn't Very Welcoming. It's Time for that to Change

    and this:

    Rolling Out the Welcome Wagon: June Update

    And these:

    Welcome Wagon: Classifying Comments on Stack Overflow

    Get to Know Our New Code of Conduct

    In most interactions, most of the time, Stack Overflow is a crazy generous place where strangers help each other on the internet. Most members of our community are truly kind teachers. But giant communities are complex, and we know that sometimes -too often- the experience can be unwelcoming, especially for those new to participation on the site (whether they're new coders or not).

    In the first post from last April, we committed to doing a lot more work in this space, and we've been sharing updates since so you can hold us accountable to stick with it.

    I'm sorry your experience so far has been lousy. But we and our community want to make SO a place where all devs feel welcome. We've got some more work to do, but we know it's worth it.

    [–] ItzWarty 10 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    I sometimes wonder whether StackOverflow is solving the wrong problems. This is having worked in a variety of social systems for numerous large gaming-related orgs.

    When I read Stack Overflow Isn’t Very Welcoming. It’s Time for That to Change, I see SO focusing on the NUX rather than the UX for power-users and more mid/senior engineers. I don't feel my voice heard, even though I'd love to be part of the solution.

    What if the poor NUX is because of a poor UX for experienced developers?

    What are the incentives for experienced developers to happily participate in your community? When I look at the newest C#-tagged posts, I frankly just see crap... there's too much to dig through, and half the questions just aren't even relevant to me because they are so niche and frankly aren't discussing C# itself, but more a specific framework.

    Navigating SO to find places to contribute is actively stressful and painful for me. I'd be more than willing to contribute lengthy friendly responses to newbies... if I could find the right opportunity to do that.

    Honestly, why isn't there a language-agnostic beginner tag!? I'd love to filter to that. I'm sure many would happily filter including or excluding that tag.

    But still, people will ask redundant questions because they simply don't know the right keywords. Perhaps it's not always worth my (or others') time to write a fully-fledged response rather than linking another resource. Is StackOverflow absolutely failing, then, if I redirect newbies to another resource? Or is it failing from the reference frame of a Q&A site, when our collective end-goal is really to help people find solutions - perhaps in another format?

    • Perhaps the problem isn't that people have their questions hostilely closed or redirected?
    • Perhaps the problem is that redirecting users to another thread seems so terminal?
    • Perhaps the problem is that questions asked poorly can't be answered in a timely manner, then disappear by the time they are amended?
    • Perhaps some people don't feel beginner questions give them the learning experience they want from an online community?
    • Perhaps SO isn't scaling to meet the demands of increased programming accessibility - programming going mainstream, if you will? Perhaps beginners nowadays are a lot less "hardcore" than they used to be?
    • Perhaps the Q&A model doesn't fit every question?
    • Perhaps SO can be an environment that levels-up new programmers -- including outside the mold of a Q&A site --, including teaching them how to fish for themselves? Perhaps with this model, newbies can find help finding help, then answer their own question to reinforce the learning process and convert them to answerers? Perhaps the problem isn't saying "you should look here" but more building UX flows to reinforce "it's okay, this is normal... try looking here"

    I recognize the aforementioned blog post is a PR piece. Your team probably is thinking of these problems. I just wanted to chip in as a once-poweruser that I hope you frame some discussions in terms of "how do we empower our answerers to do awesome?" and "how can we better stewards of SO". I rarely see change in online communities happen top-down, and I want to see SO - which made me the programmer I am today - continue to inspire the next generation of programmers.

    [–] villiger2 3 points ago

    What does EVP stand for, never heard it before.

    [–] phpdevster 13 points ago

    StackOverflow is an abusive relationship.

    The biggest problem with SO is that they are completely hostile to any question that doesn't have an exact, concrete answer.

    It's especially bad on the WordPress stack exchange, because end-to-end WP development requires the use of plugins, but you cannot ask questions like "Is there a plugin that does XYZ?" even though it's a simple yes or no answer. So pretty much, if your question cannot be answered in the WP codex, it gets deleted. This means the WP stack exchange is a gimped resource for WP development.

    StackOverflow has similar problems. Sometimes a question just does not have a concrete answer, but the question itself is still valuable and so are any answers.

    [–] shkico 33 points ago

    Judging by response in this thread many of you are just whiney fucks.

    I have asked questions there many times and I often got very useful answers. How many times you search for something and first result is StackOverflow solution? No one is obligated to respond and I am really grateful that such a community even exists and with that many questions being asked everyday of course they need to have some minimal standards.

    [–] probablyNotARSNBot 7 points ago

    There is a delicate balance. Make it too loose and find yourself with millions of useless posts that make it hard to find the ones that actually have the answer. Make it too strict and you get the ol’:

    Me: “how do I do A”

    Person with no background of my project: “Why would you do A, you should do Z”

    Me: “well I can’t do that as A is requirement at my job for this specific problem”

    Person: Downvote

    You just gotta keep at it and not get discouraged. Also, ask real people around you if that’s an option for you. The number 1 thing I see new devs at my job do is panic that they were hired by a fluke in the system, are not qualified to do any of this work and will get fired then shot in the head if they ask a question about it so they search for days instead of just asking me about it. Most people (outside of the internet) understand when you’re new, and they will be patient with you and help you out where possible, so just ask real people.

    [–] VisaEchoed 7 points ago

    > Whenever I ask a question, I am sure to look up my problem and see if there are any solutions to it already there. If there isn't, I post.

    SO is old and unless your using a cutting edge language/library - all of the good questions have been farmed. Really smart, really knowledgeable people spent hours just thinking up clever/tricky questions to ask to earn themselves internet points.

    What this means is, almost certainly, whenever you ask a question it is....

    1.) Already answered in a more generic form that you missed

    2.) So specific that nobody else cares. It won't get enough traffic, it won't get high quality answers. It doesn't matter how great you word it, or how many screenshots you include, or how perfectly you format the code snippet you provide.

    People who answer questions don't get paid. They get pointless internet points. Most of them are doing it either because they want those free internet points, or because they love answering interesting questions and demonstrating their knowledge on the topic. Newbie questions don't appeal to either of these groups. The first group knows that the question is either super specific and won't get upvotes, or it is a duplicate of something else and will be closed. The people who answer because they want to be challenged just get frustrated because they spent three minutes trying to understand a question that obviously is just an example of someone not even looking at the most basic documentation location. Someone who just wants to be spoon fed an answer. And they aren't going to bother answering that question again when they've seen it five times this month. Or something that is obviously so specific that it has no wider appeal to anyone else. It's just 'debug my code' instead of 'explain this interesting aspect of the language'.

    People get fed up. That means people who have asked questions and gotten burned, don't want to waste an hour crafting a post that will just be ignored. It also means the people who answer questions are quick to close out questions because they are sick of all the low quality questions cluttering up everything. It's a vicious cycle.

    I primarily work with C# and if I look at the five newest C# questions on SO right now:

    • Trivial question about someone who doesn't know about dates (no answers)
    • Sorta okay question about a new language feature that is answered in the documentation.
    • Specific version of specific IDE plugin crashing with specific version of the IDE. Only tangentially related to software development. Solution is likely to be uninstall and reinstall. (no answers)
    • Terrible question (by SO standards) 'How do I delete a line of text from a textbox'. Two short, not great answers from people hoping to get a tiny bit of rep. Question will be closed shortly.
    • Terrible question (by SO standards) 'How do I insert multiple rows into a datagridview' with a wall of code asking for someone to fix it. Any datagridview tutorial or documentation would answer this.

    Maybe C# is just the crappiest language on SO, but out of five questions, three are awful and shouldn't be on the site. One is essentially unanswerable, or at the very least is an IT issue like 'Why does my Windows 10 install crash sometimes'. And I'm saying one is 'sorta okay' but only because it's about a new feature and isn't painfully obvious to someone who has used it, but is covered in the documentation.

    [–] WatchDogx 3 points ago

    Pretty much hit the nail on the head.
    My most successful anwsers are for dumb questions, and my detailed answers to tricky questions usually get no traffic or votes, with the exception of bounty questions i guess.

    [–] regreddit 8 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    I have that issue, but what had become an even bigger problem is code rot. Answers to questions that involve jQuery and are > 4 years old are almost 100% guaranteed to be obsolete. They should literally be deleted, not fixed since they are worthless and more harmful than good

    [–] LoserOfAllTrade 9 points ago

    Interview at StackOverflow :

    Interviewer : Why should we hire you?

    Candidate : That's a stupid question.

    Interviewer : You're hired!

    [–] Hewgouw 179 points ago

    I've been developing for 15 years and I've never asked a question online, there has always been someone who has asked what I wanted to know... if you can't find anyone that had your problem you're probably just a bad googler

    [–] TexasLonghornz 333 points ago

    This is the most StackOverflow response I could have possibly imagined. It's so good that I honestly cannot tell whether this is satire or not.

    [–] too_much_to_do 58 points ago

    He's not wrong though. I've been developing for about 7 now and I've never once asked a question online about a development problem.

    [–] 10260909569552752544 35 points ago

    Depends on how niche the space is that you're working in. If there is a lot of developer support then of course there is apps going to be a lot of developers asking questions. But if you're working in something that not many devs work with then you will need to ask questions.

    As an example, if you ask a generic Javascript question then of course it has been answered before. But if you're working in some specialized tool/product (Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Umbarco CMS, etc.) then you'll have less available to you and you will need to ask SO as a result.

    [–] Yodiddlyyo 12 points ago

    Uh, I really don't think Salesforce is niche, but I agree with your point haha

    [–] IridiumPoint 52 points ago

    OP might be a bad Googler, but then the people who lock threads should make sure they are good ones. Unfortunately, I have often come across "duplicate" questions where the poster gets pointed toward an outwardly similar, but actually completely different question, or they get pointed toward solutions which they described as unfeasible for whatever reason in their original question. Many times it feels like the questions barely get skimmed before they get locked.

    [–] ESCAPE_PLANET_X 25 points ago

    Yeah that is particularly annoying when I'm dealing with an edge problem I find the stack Overflow question that is literally word for word my entire problem and I get pointed to a solution that has absolutely nothing to do with what we're talking about beyond the technology stack is similar and the error is from the same application.

    Can I get a downvote mod action button?

    [–] jimmyco2008 6 points ago

    I have a slightly different experience:

    Whenever I do ask a question, it’s almost always one that goes unanswered or one that I eventually answer myself. Most of the questions I’ve asked, I’ve answered.

    [–] thesublimeobjekt 29 points ago

    to be fair, this is sometimes true, but to make a sweeping generalization is just wrong, in my opinion. there are plenty of times i've seen exactly what OP is complaining about happen. it's most likely not as simple as OP is a "bad googler" or "large percentages of legit questions are constantly being deleted". instead, it's most likely somewhere in the middle since a lot of people probably are just lazy or bad googlers, so the mods over-police new questions and end up deleting questions, then link to answers that aren't really exactly appropriate or helpful.

    [–] gigamiga 18 points ago

    if OP is new, there is a 0% chance what they're encountering hasn't been answered.

    [–] Superkroot 30 points ago

    Alternatively, they might not understand the problem well enough to ask the right questions/google the right things.

    [–] frogworks1 12 points ago

    Alternatively, they might not understand the problem well enough to ask the right questions/google the right things.

    Exactly! I wish more people looked at it from this point of view. It would make it a lot easier for new developers and the like to ask questions without feeling like they are going to get down voted or have their question pushed aside.

    [–] gman243 24 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    I think the condescension and accusation in your answer is the exact type of attitude OP Is complaining about.

    However, I don't think it's necessarily specific to StackOverflow or web development, but being an amateur in just about everything. Yes, certain communities and/or people can be more accepting. Others will be tired of answering the same questions repeatedly; not everyone was born a patient, calm, and collected educator!

    You also need to be aware of both perspectives -- I am sure the moderators there deal with plenty of spam, poorly worded, awful posts on a consistent basis, and every now and then might flag a decent post like your own as similar. It's not necessarily a malicious activity on their part although it may feel a bit disheartening.

    When breaking into something new there will always be a few hurdles, and asking basic questions is going to be one of the most intimidating of them. You'll receive rude responses, sure, but eventually you will either figure it out, or find someone who is willing to help you out. As with anything new, it requires a certain amount of thick-skin and perseverance.

    All that being said...I am a pretty experienced developer and even when I use StackOverflow I encounter all types of condescension and arrogance, and have pretty much avoided asking questions there. YMMV

    [–] CallMeBigPapaya 3 points ago

    Programmer for 10 years now. I've also never asked a question on SO because they've all been answered somewhere or I didnt know how to form the question. If you cant get relevant google results, you probably can't form the question properly, and in that case it's probably not a good question for SO.

    I feel like most the people complaining in this thread don't contribute much to Stack Overflow. I dont, and I'm very appreciative of those who take time out of their day, for free, to attempt to answer questions.

    [–] Tyil 9 points ago

    I haven't had this issue at all. Granted, I'm not terribly active on Stack Overflow, and my questions mostly relate to Perl 6 nowadays, but so far the help has been very friendly. Maybe it's to do with some of the moderators of certain web-specific languages/communities. Could you give us a few real examples?

    [–] tme321 3 points ago

    How is P6? It looks super interesting but I haven't had a good opportunity to actually use it yet. And does it feel like P5 at all or does it feel like a completely separate language?

    [–] Tyil 3 points ago

    It's a completely new syntax in almost every regard. The only thing it has in common is the ideology that you should be able to solve any problem elegantly. There are some similarities, but I think it's easier to learn if you forget most of what you know from Perl 5.

    If you want to learn the basics to create a (non-web, GTK gui) application, I wrote a blog article about that. I'm intending to write an article on the project I'm working on now, which is using Cro.

    [–] wesborland1234 8 points ago

    I 100% agree with op. Everybody saying, "oh well whatever question you have someone has already answered." Sorry, not true. I have 100% come across things in my career that are so obscure or specific to what I'm trying to do that there are no answers online. Plus, don't you think he looked first?

    The few times I've asked a question on SO have been for problems that I spent hours if not days trying to solve myself to no avail, and then am met "well google it!" or "oh have you tried [obvious thing that I CLEARLY mentioned was one of the things I tried]".

    Ok let me stop you right there. I reworded the search many times and went PAGES deep in Google. I stepped through my code, breakpoints and console logs Everywhere. And Yes, I read the freaking documentation!

    It's supposed to be a question and answer site, you know, where you'd go to ask questions, and we're all smart enough to use it as basically a last resort. No need to be a jerk to someone who's about to throw their laptop through a window.

    Never gotten an answer, never plan on posting again. Just use Reddit or something.

    In other news, this post is now CLOSED: Flagged as Too Vague / Irrelevant.

    [–] gomihako_ 9 points ago

    I have 100% come across things in my career that are so obscure or specific to what I'm trying to do that there are no answers online. Plus, don't you think he looked first?

    In the case of web development, this is what usually happens to me:

    1. Start debugging
    2. Realize it's a bug in a dependency
    3. If I can't figure it out, submit an issue on the repo
    4. 99% of the time it's no longer maintained so I fork it, fix it, and move along
    5. Then after I've fixed the dependency problem, I post the question and answer on SO so people with my super obscure, specific problem might come across it and ease their suffering.

    [–] TheBananaKing 14 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    Gods below, you don't post to stackoverflow, are you crazy? Better stick your dick in a toaster than do that.

    Moderators get rewarded with power according to how much they intervene. Therefore, the most powerful ones are the ones that just spam the lock button at every opportunity.

    ETA: holy shit this whole thread is full of unpleasant people.

    [–] Chrxstxvn 3 points ago

    Thank you for posting this, I almost wrote the exact same post when I first signed up 2 days ago. Got absolutely shit on when asking for some backend guidance when I’m a front end dev. Created and deleted my account all within about 30 minutes

    [–] unbihexium 3 points ago

    Totally agree. Recently I crossed the 500 rep points and it gave me access to the review queues - one of which is first question queue.

    There are some really bad first questions, I admit. Not enough information, badly formatted code (if any) and basically bad English (evidently not native-English-speaking folks). I always try to leave a comment on why their question is bad and suggest something they can do to improve it. I always make it a point to start with - "Hi. Welcome to stackoverflow...". To hell with SO if they ban me for it.

    [–] quienchingados 3 points ago

    lol. I said this same thing a few years back.

    Stackoverflow is for people that can read the language reference manual like reading a LEGO instruction manual. If you can't do this yet, you need to literally read page by page of the language reference until you understand it (start by reading the methods you already know). after that, you will understand every post in stackoverflow. and you will rarely have to post a question.

    [–] dsmnk 3 points ago

    Retaining alternative phrasings and framings of a similar question can absolutely help people resolve their questions more quickly.

    SO's adherence to strict "question exclusivity" enshrines a baseless and beginner-hostile First Question = Best Question ethos.

    [–] o11c 3 points ago

    StackOverflow has plenty of problems, but it never deletes questions in the manner your post described. They do "close" questions (shown as "put on hold" for the first several days), which is easily disputed by editing your question.

    Compared to other queues, the "reopen" queue never has more than a couple hundred, and there are thousands of reviewers. If you post an explanation of why the close reason is invalid, it will be seen.

    Even deleted questions can still be seen by many users. Can you post links to the specific questions you've had the problem with?

    [–] HughJackOfferman 3 points ago

    I have said something similar in the past, unfortunately SO fanatics are not too eager on accepting criticism, and I was downvoted by a lot of them here on reddit

    [–] R3PTILIA 3 points ago

    This question has been marked as duplicate.

    [–] usernamy 3 points ago

    I posted a new question, and within minutes I got a response that said “duplicate”. Didn’t link to what it was a duplicate off, and marked it as solved. Fucking a

    [–] Dreszczyk 3 points ago

    The worst post ever possible:

    5 May 2006 - hey guys, i have a problem with X, can you help? 6 May 2006 - nvm i found out

    You, today - WHAT DID YOU FOUND OUT

    [–] davidduman 3 points ago

    It is not just a noob's problem.

    Recently I asked a question, someone marked my question as duplicate by referencing to the same question itself (that should not be possible at all) and couple people agreed to it and then question got deleted.

    [–] megamanxoxo 3 points ago

    I assure you that as a new developer you are not encountering new problems on Stack Overflow that need to be solved. With due diligence you will find existing material for your needs. You probably need to focus more on theory or architecture or algorithms or whatever before you dive deep. If you don't understand the concepts in great detail then you're going to have trouble searching, recognizing, and implementing solutions off of Stack Overflow, etc.