There’s something about stack exchange sites. And it seems to be worst on the larger more established ones like Stack Overflow.
As if the rules weren’t already strict enough, many people try to push it far further. Down votes and close votes on perfectly good questions as defined by rules set out in the help centre. Snide comments. Nit picking. Some will flatly deny this ever happens, which almost proves the point.
Why does this happen? What about the system encourages this behaviour? Why were those design decisions taken? What could be done about it? Well, I have some theories. It has been my bugbear for a LONG time. It’s about time I talk about it, so I will outline them in posts to come.
But I believe at it’s core, the issue is this: for a company to be successful, it has to focus on the bottom line; money. And SE’s monly comes from advertising. Which comes from page views. Which comes from high page rank in search engines, which comes from “good content”.
On the one hand, an example of “good content” is well written reference material for common problems. Which SE excels at. But it seems the SE system is designed to completely block any other kind of content, no matter how valuable it may be, either to individuals, people in a field, or Stack Exchange itself.
But because stack exchange has done such a good job of cornering the market as a help site, it has hammered alternatives that would be more flexible than a pure, strict Q&A site.
No discussions. No allowance for questions that need a helping hand when the question itself is hard to formulate into something that can be answered without clarification. (Yes yes… in response to the predictable SE hardcore criticisms, that’s what comments are for. But that won’t stop you getting down votes and close votes).
What a monstrous creation.