Experiences with StackOverflow?

Discussion in 'Programming' started by MrDienns, Feb 14, 2020.

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  1. I wanted to quickly write this, because I think more people will probably experience the same, and I wanted to see what others were experiencing.

    Practically every question I post because it's not 100% perfect. Sure, the site has also helped me solve a problem or two, but quite some questions I've posted get downvoted.

    For example, today I asked about something in Go. In Go, interfaces are implicit. It means you don't explicitly state that you implement an interface; if an objects method signatures match what the interface expects, it's considered an implementation.

    I was playing around with this and had a question. In relation, I was doing this through a plugin mechanism. Within an hour, my question was downvoted twice. I get some snarry response saying that plugins have nothing to do with things, and I'd face this problem anyway. I also get comments (which did partially answer my question) which said interfaces in Go are implicit, but it doesn't work the way I was trying to because functioins are concrete types. Which mostly answers my questions, but the downvoting seems unnecessary and demotivating.

    Does anyone else have the same feeling? Or perhaps a better question, is there anyone that has more experience on SO and can give some tips on how to get them to just be constructive?
    #1 MrDienns, Feb 14, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
    • Like Like x 1
  2. joehot200


    Stack overflow is not friendly, welcoming or accommodating.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  3. May help to link your question. I personally haven't had any issues with stackoverflow, except for things that were extremely obvious. I'm also not overly active on the site anyway, only having 12 questions (1 with negative votes), and my most recent question asked was in 2018.
  4. Here's the question I posted today; https://stackoverflow.com/questions...lugins?noredirect=1#comment106526922_60225304
    • Like Like x 1
  5. mathhulk

    mathhulk Retired Moderator

    I have not had any issues with StackOverflow, whether from asking or answering questions. Then again, I am not extremely active on the website, but I also understand where you are coming from, as I have seen some impulsive and quite rude responses a lot.

    StackOverflow has always been my VERY LAST resort whenever I need help with a problem and I am going to keep it that way.
  6. Strahan


    I'm curious; what about that do you find toxic? (btw entoxicating isn't a word) It seems reasonable to me; sure, they didn't use any niceties in their replies but they weren't rude... at least, not that I saw.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. The short replies which can be interpreted a bit rude, but in combination with the downvoting (which happened at the exact same timw as the replies were posted). Like, just help me understand why it doesn't work; why downvote it? Just seems unnecessary, considering reputation is linked to unlocking functionalities on the site. Downvoting is negative repuation. Just seems unnecessary.
    #8 MrDienns, Feb 14, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  8. I got two similar experiences recently. I was wondering about a certain error that I got when trying to compile a SystemC-Code. Withing a very short period, it got downvoted, no one was able to help me and I don't see what their issue with my question is; it seems simple enough.

    The second experience was yesterday when someone asked a question that seemed to allow duplicate elements in a HashMap. In my opinion, the question was pretty solid asked, provided enough details to reproduce the error and was written in good English and so on. The only thing missing was a class named Block that OP was referring to. The class was simple enough, it simply needed two fields and a getter but one user complained that OP didn't give a "reproducible example" and voted to close the thread. The question was eventually solved, but as you said I too find the community somewhat toxic and arrogant
  9. #10 Bobcat00, Feb 15, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. I try and stay away from StackOverflow as much as I can. I've never had a positive experience with them.
  11. I asked question once and it was tagged as "homework". I felt weird.
    • Funny Funny x 2
  12. MiniDigger


    As long as you don't post yourself, SO is amazing.
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  13. None of these responses were rude, neither were they polite, they were just going straight to the point. They skipped past the "Hello, let's be friends" part and told you about the problem you're facing immediately. If you're quick to be offended by these things, then maybe StackOverflow is not the right place for you, however, as a third-party reader, this kind of discourse is amazing because all I see is the information I need. Remember you're there to get answers, not to be praised.

    Also, downvotes are not insults. They just mean whoever read and downvoted the question didn't consider it interesting or worthy. You got your answer, and you got it fast, but that doesn't mean the same question is relevant to other people.
    #14 StillNoNumber, Feb 16, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
    • Winner Winner x 2
  14. Exactly; well said. None of them seemed unfriendly or rude to me. :coffee:
  15. StackOverflow is more like a gigantic, crowd-sourced reference manual than dedicated learning material. Think about how you use the platform to find answers. You don't go there (via Google) expecting to read a bunch of background stuff, you go there for a solution to a (typically) small, specific problem, and if the answer isn't everything you need, chances are it will be pointed out in comments or another answer.

    StillNoNumber and Bobcat00 hit the nail on the head. Your question is (to the StackOverflow crowd) similar to a food blog recipe, where the actual recipe is buried in irrelevant "my mom used to make this on camping trips...", and they're trying to trim everything that isn't the actual recipe off. It's tough, but it's also effective and part of the reason the platform is as good as it is.

    Sometimes you want the reference manual. Sometimes you want the learning material.
    Sometimes you want a study group. Sometimes you want a tutor. They're all useful, but they serve different purposes. Maybe you should be looking for something other than the reference manual :)
    • Agree Agree x 3
  16. I agree that a lot of the time it is but it’s also helped me quite a bit
  17. Maybe op's example wasn't as bad as he said, but still alot of the time if you post on StackOverflow you will get "Why are you even trying to do this?", "If you don't know how, don't do it" and discouraging comments.
  18. I know they're nothing personal or purpusefully rude but the downvoting just adds to it. Like I said, downvoting changes your reputation which unlocks or locks what you can do on the site. Me, I'd downvote posts (no matter the platform) if they're inappropriate or not following the guidelines. This one question got 2 downvotes, but I don't see why. It wasn't chatty, and I gave the tiniest background info because I thought it had something to do with it. Still not worth downvoting it over if you ask me :unsure:
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. This is just how StackOverflow works. If the question is "tainted" with irrelevant information, the underlying problem is obfuscated. It doesn't matter that the obfuscation is unintentional, because intent doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the question. If the question is not laser focused, it may pop up when someone searches for the irrelevant parts. Someone might find your question when searching for plugin-related issues or interface-related issues, and in both cases, the question is noisy.

    The voting system can be a bitch, but it serves an important purpose. It ensures that people take the guidelines and feedback seriously, and it also rewards people who contribute. As a result, you get fewer duplicate questions, fewer repeat offenders, and a more elitist community. That last bit sounds like a bad thing, but it isn't. StackOverflow is not a place to go have a chat about a problem, it's a place to ask a clear cut question and get a clear cut answer. You consider your question clear cut, but the community doesn't, and you don't have a say in it. That's just how it works, for better or worse. It's important to note that it costs reputation to downvote a question/answer/comment, and for that reason, very few people do it "just because". This means that someone genuinely thinks your question is so low-quality that it should "disappear" (edit: like others have mentioned, it's nothing personal in any way - if anything, it's awkward encouragement to try again).

    I can totally understand your frustration, but StackOverflow is as good as it is because of how strict and "reactive" it is. This is obviously unpleasant when you're on the receiving end of it. Perhaps the lesson here could be that if you are dealing with multiple different concepts, a more welcoming community (Gophers Slack server seemed friendly enough to me) might be a better place to start? Maybe you just need a more chatty community. No shame in that :)
    • Like Like x 3
    • Winner Winner x 2
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