Why I left Stack Overflow

I decided to leave stack overflow after about 6 years. Two realizations lead to this decision.

A – moderators and editors are much more valued than people who actually create content. For every question I tried to ask, or tried to answer, I have been talking more with moderators than I actually spend time writing it. Just a grab from my experience,

  • you write a sensible answer, some mega moderator just deletes it because he believes it is link spam. After sending an email that it is not link spam the post gets reinstated.
  • a shitload of stupid questions coming in. Bad grammar, unclear what they are asking and so on. With a signal/noise level of about -24 dB it is very very bad.
  • there are so many disrespectful people who actually demand that you look at their question. “It has to be a completely self standing solution before I will accept the answer” is not uncommon at the site.
  • but if you yourself ask a question, it is downvoted right away, without any explanation.
  • people who game the system: You answer someones question, someone comments on your answer and adds a detail. Then that same person takes your answer, reposts it 2 minutes later, and claims the reward.
  • people who think that downvoting an answer to a question they don’t like is the correct thing to do
  • people who cannot read a question and keep insisting that they cannot give legal advice. This resulted in a of close/reopen/close/reopen round for that particular question.
  • idiots who place a bounty on their question, yet after you answer them they do not award the bounty.
  • yet stack overflow that will not return the bounty to the original poster if not awarded.
  • and of course people who are not really interested in the question. You put a bounty on a question you have. About a day before the deadline expires someone ‘answers’ the question by well formulating some general things I already knew. Clearly hoping to get more than 2 points so he can claim his non-answer.

Thus we end up in a situation where the teachers (those with high reputation) suck the livelihood out of content creators, who maybe don’t need endless discussions. By doing so, they create a new class that will tend to behave the same.

Because the above problems are systemic I decided to leave.

B- There is however a second reason. Namely, reputation is just a number, it doesn’t mean anything.  I really do not need to “play the game”.

What do I loose by leaving ?

The possibility to ask questions ? Only 1 question has been answered sensibly.

The possibility to answer questions ? I will not do that anymore because it really has become too difficult.

The reputation that I am this person at stackoverflow ? Doesn’t mean a thing either except if you believe that a large number makes you a better programmer.

I realize that some people might like to play the S.O. game and that is fine. It is just not for me anymore.

3 thoughts on “Why I left Stack Overflow”

  1. yeah gamifying forums is a bad idea out of the gate. sun used to recognize the contributer who answered the most questions on their forum. the winner got a spot at javaone and some kind of gift. cue the emergence of losers who answer every question with unhelpful criticism of the question itself and have nothing to do in life but answer forum questions.

    sun retired that award after a few years of incentivising that shit.

    SO is a magnet for ego dysfunctional reputation hounds who game the system, form voting alliances and love power.

    so, yeah, i don’t waste my time either.

  2. I agree with you 100%.

    I just got my account banned because on the Google website API page it says “Ask all related API questions to the stack overflow community”, which I did and asked how the API requests were counted so I could understand the billing.
    While my question was still technical(as another user right away pointed out that it was an important question), the moderators blocked the question and said “All your billing questions should be handled by Google”, But this was technical question and Google stated on their website that we should forward our questions to Stack overflow. I then flagged the moderator and asked for them to review this and also perhaps tell Google not to ask us to post technical questions to Stackoverflow anymore. Well the moderators(A real bunch of idiots), banned my account. I was really surprised as I spoke correctly to them….this is just weird…… I have to say, I have lost total trust in the moderators of Stack Overflow. I do not recommend this website at all. Codingforums is way better. I will do like you, publish a post on my blog about them.

Leave a Reply to awk Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *