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Unanswered Perl questions on Stack Overflow

by davies (Prior)
on Jul 25, 2020 at 10:35 UTC ( #11119794=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Davorg has posted a piece on LinkedIn (sorry, don't know how to link to it!) saying "Almost 7,800 unanswered 'perl' questions on StackOverflow. Can you help to answer some of them?" and giving the link https://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/perl?tab=Unanswered. I am not surprised, as I have never found SO to be a helpful community. If we wish to drive Perl traffic to this site - I assume we do - might it be worth posting answers here & putting a link to the relevant node on SO?

Regards,

John Davies

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Re: Unanswered Perl questions on Stack Overflow
by toolic (Bishop) on Jul 25, 2020 at 11:08 UTC
    Stack Overflow considers a question "Unanswered" if the OP did not "Accept" any of the given answers. This means that many of the "Unanswered" questions do in fact have answers.

    A more meaningful filter might be: Questions with 0 answers

    This filter counts the number of questions with no answers. There are currently about 3000 questions with no answers (5% of the total 65,400 questions with the "perl" tag). This means that 95% of questions have answers. That seems pretty helpful to me.

    Note that I also filtered out those which are closed as duplicates, since they have links to answers.

    Also note that some of those 3000 may have answers posted as a "Comment" instead of an "Answer".

      Hi

      Thanks for the link...

      I looked into some questions you filtered. True they had no "answers", but often helpful "comments".

      SO is distinguishing between replies which are comments and answers.

      Other "questions" were so poor, I wonder if they really would have got answers here. I doubt we'd miss those.

      Cheers Rolf
      (addicted to the Perl Programming Language :)
      Wikisyntax for the Monastery

        "Other "questions" were so poor, I wonder if they really would have got answers here. I doubt we'd miss those."

        I think the issue is more would perl miss these people, rather than what "we'd" miss. If they posted here, and the question was poor, they'd likely get a reply asking for more information, linking to How do I post a question effectively?. If the concern is that people may walk away from Perl because they have a hard time getting started, this could be considered a valid one. Since snack overflow has positioned itself well with search engines it's often peoples 'go to', the person asking the question has a good chance of finding an existing similar question, perhaps they didn't understand the answer, or in actual fact, what the problem is. The gamification of moderation and reputation on the site is fairly toxic IMHO. I'm told the tendency for moderation or closing of questions before anyone has had a chance to reply is a big problem for new comers. Nobody here really cares about XP/post reputation (with the possible exception of the sites integrated moderation tooling), in fact the people who make the most noise about XP/down/up voting are demonstrably the worst contributors to the site. On snack overflow, I've been shown threads where people threaten to downvote unless something is altered, or offer to remove downvotes should someone change an aspect of their reply. Such behaviour is bad for all concerned.

        Update: In short, many of the problems in life are caused by communication issues, many people aren't great at asking questions. If people don't engage with those asking poor questions they are unlikely to improve, since they probably are unaware that it's a problem.

        SO is distinguishing between replies which are comments and answers.
        Yes, SO has a very strict format, sometimes stiflingly so. Although the original SO site isn't that bad, I'm a regular on a number of other StackExchange sites where people are regularly admonished "don't post answers as comments" and any comments which don't strictly fit the purpose of "helping to improve" the question/answer they're attached to are rapidly deleted.

      Stack Overflow considers a question "Unanswered" if the OP did not "Accept" any of the given answers.

      Not quite.

      "7,785 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers "

      So,

      • A question with a single unaccepted answer standing at a vote total of 1 would count as answered.
      • A question with a single unaccepted answer standing at a vote total of 0 would count as unanswered.
Re: Unanswered Perl questions on Stack Overflow
by ikegami (Pope) on Jul 26, 2020 at 10:49 UTC

    I answer just about every question there.


    The first page of results has the following age distribution:

    2020: 1 2019: 1 2018: 1 2017: 6 2016: 3 2015: 2 2014: 7 2013: 5 2012: 2 2011: 1

    I don't know how representative of the whole that is, but it doesn't seem to indicate a problem.

Re: Unanswered Perl questions on Stack Overflow
by perlfan (Vicar) on Jul 25, 2020 at 22:45 UTC
    It wouldn't hurt to direct these people here. It is the offial "help" site by virtue of being under TPF. I appreciated the Perl folks who scour SO, but if they want a deeper level of help it should be on perlmonks. They might even learn a few things, including how to ask questions and heal their wounded pride. I personally have zero interst in signing up over there and wading through it. Here at least the willing can be lead to some level of enlightenment.

      Ebb and flow.

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