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Re^3: Unanswered Perl questions on Stack Overflow

by marto (Cardinal)
on Jul 25, 2020 at 16:51 UTC ( #11119797=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^2: Unanswered Perl questions on Stack Overflow
in thread Unanswered Perl questions on Stack Overflow

"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.

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Re^4: Unanswered Perl questions on Stack Overflow
by dsheroh (Monsignor) on Jul 26, 2020 at 08:37 UTC
    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.
    It is, and it's something that the moderators and (ostensibly) the community over there actively encourages, not because of the site's gamification, but because of the search engine focus. I've gotten into a couple debates with mods over this, and related StackExchange problems, and the general response from the mods is "although we do want to help the person asking the current question, it's more important to have a Good Answer(TM) which people in the future can find in search engines" and, to that end, they seek to ruthlessly close any unclear or otherwise "bad" questions before answers are posted, with the intention of first creating a "good" question so that it can receive "good" answers. They don't want the "bad" question answered out of the belief that this will produce "bad" answers (making possibly-incorrect assumptions, etc.).

    Of the stacks I regularly visit, the one for role-playing games is probably the worst. Even if a question is from someone clearly completely new to RPGs (so they probably don't even know that anything other than the latest edition of D&D exists) and is using 5e D&D-specific terminology, but they don't explicitly mention "5e D&D", the question will be closed and people will be told not to answer until the OP "clarifies" what system they're asking about, no matter how blindingly obvious the relevant system might be.

    They're a great example of how even a good idea, when pursued with too much focus and trying too hard for purity of application, can become horribly, horribly toxic.

Re^4: Unanswered Perl questions on Stack Overflow
by LanX (Sage) on Jul 25, 2020 at 17:41 UTC
    Probably ...

    I was addressing the category of lazy "Perl doesn't work" one-liners , where you put a lot of effort into asking for clearer wording and detailed information, only to get more lazy reactions, if any.

    I stopped investing in those, though wouldn't stop others in doing so.

    I for my part don't miss them.

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

      There are a few ways to look at this type of thing, either ignore them in the hope the the poster will figure out on their own that more effort/data is required from them (which has issues in itself, since we don't get visible notification of a post being updated) or the 'help us to help you' approach, where they get responses to encouraging them to make more effort, and pointing them in the right direction. That said, some people are just beyond help, for various reasons.

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