Stack Overflow Culture

I was in the beta of SO. I almost never interact with it anymore.

Asking a question on SO is a last resort to me, and I get a horrid sinking feeling in my gut when I feel forced to do so. The people[1] who are still active on it seem to be people who thrive on pedantry and whose goal is to find any potential flaw in your question and feel smart for pointing it out.

You begin to realise no one is actually reading your question in good faith, so you start getting defensive: filling your questions with disclaimers about how your example code is just an example[2], how you know there are other ways you could do it but you’re constrained toward this direction for various reasons[3], and so on and so forth, until you feel like you spend more time defensively shoring up your question from attacks than actually constructing the question in the first place[4]

I still read SO, but as someone who was around before it existed I don’t really feel like the quality of answers is any higher than the random forum posts of yore, it’s just that they’re all under the same URL now, and the same user interface.

Which I suppose is something.

[1] Not all people™, but definitely the general feeling tends this direction

[2] classic situation: you simplify your code to Foo and Bar levels to show the problem cleanly, so people chastise you for having a complex data structure / worrying about performance / whatever for such simple code

[3] e.g., “How do I achieve X” gets turned into people saying “Why would you want to achieve X, that’s stupid”

[4] This is not the same as researching the issue and trying as many things as you can think of, which is definitely helpful in any context of question asking