- @derz00: FINALLY. Many thanks for drawing this article to my attention. Curiously, the day you posted I was thinking of mentioning on this forum my intention to work on a basic forum, just for fun, but possibly as a test forum for one to be used for work and as a potential prelude to my own Stack Exchange alternative.
- @swagfag: Indeed.
- @nnnik: I know what you mean. For my Halloween costume last year I went as Stack Overflow. The AutoHotkey forum feels a bit like a second home. The Stack Overflow forum feels a bit like a demilitarised zone.
- The article is well-written and makes some good points, however, one concern with this article is that it blurs the distinction between unwelcoming and offensive behaviour, therefore treating neither issue seriously.
Stack Overflow Isn't Very Welcoming. It's Time for That to Change. - Stack Overflow Blog
https://stackoverflow.blog/2018/04/26/s ... to-change/
Too many people experience Stack Overflow¹ as a hostile or elitist place, especially newer coders, women, people of color, and others in marginalized groups.
- (As an aside, I found the use of terms like 'marginalized groups', 'Zuckerbots' and 'Drinking the Kool-Aid' (an indirect reference, 'a glass pitcher'), most unfortunate/demoralising/problematic for an 'uplifting' article such as this that aims to be touchy-feely about social interactions and inclusivity.)
- It turns out that there have already been various (failed) initiatives aimed at improving the culture (rudeness/offensiveness), this is useful to know. Unfortunately there is no reason to believe that they are going to succeed this time.
- Worse still, they have fundamentally misidentified not only the solutions, but the problems.
- The fundamental problem that people complain about is the 'robot' element (the non-human element, the systems: reputation points system, question review system, permissions/ban system etc) and not the human element (the random acts of unkindness, the person-to-person hostility).
- Btw people expect a bit of hostility on the Internet, Stack Overflow isn't to blame for that. However, when it's a user with 10,000+ reputation points, and users don't want to challenge them because they're afraid of mass retaliatory downvoting, that's when it's a problem.
- An option to flag behaviour that is simply 'unfriendly'. If a user gets hundreds of these then there is a consequence: ranging from a link to a 'be nice' video to a public tribunal where they can be challenged by other users.
- A user's reputation is only hit after 5+ downvotes, whereas 1-4 downvotes slows down their reputation growth, e.g. 4 downvotes: you need 20 more reputation points before your reputation can increase, e.g. 5 downvotes: the same plus your reputation is reduced by 5 points. The worst 'social evil' of Stack Overflow is the edginess about losing reputation, to use hyperbole to underline the problem: this is the main source of poison on the world's most poisonous website.
- A user can only receive say 100 points from upvotes for a single thread, otherwise, people can acquire an inflated reputation. This is a very serious problem with the website, reputation points *must* constitute some sort of reliable indicator of reputation. People must not be able to game the system.
- A *useful* and full/extensive list of rules and *tips* for posting questions. Also the 'unwritten rules' should be considered, how would the typical reviewer/power user perceive the question.
- A *useful* 'question-is-answered' indicator, e.g. a question is marked one colour if 5 power users have determined it answered, otherwise another colour if the OP considers it answered. (The power user indicator is more useful than the OP indicator.) At the moment there is no useful indicator as to whether a question is answered or not, in general I ignore the indicator, the OP tagged the wrong answer, a semi-complete answer (the best answer available at the time), or no answer. Potentially users could vote an answer as either useful or as a complete answer to the question.
- Perhaps: more generosity with question lifespans, inactive threads deleted less quickly, some questions may be valid but esoteric. Some questions are deleted after a month, sometimes it takes me 3 months to answer a question because I'm busy.
- Perhaps: more generosity with question bans: the ability to ask a question every 3 months, versus 6 months only for more severe cases. A flaw with the system is that some programming languages are less well-known so questions receive virtually no upvotes. A system that eventually forgives historic 'bad' questions could be worth considering. Also, questions are often downvoted not because they break the rules, but because of the culture of the forum, therefore it makes sense to be more forgiving of earlier questions when the user doesn't yet know the 'unwritten rules'.
- The review process is infuriating and can last a week, but I can understand that this isn't something that is necessarily easy to fix. Perhaps though, some measures that decrease unnecessary pressure/unease can be found. Perhaps a greyed out stage where the question is under review, but people can still post comments (I can't remember exactly how it works, and I don't want to be reacquainted with it either), and/or more clarity about how long the review process will last/what the deadlines are.
- Does the EVP actually use Stack Overflow? I see no questions or answers. Anyone seeking to reform Stack Overflow should experience how infuriating, slow and nauseating/pressure-laden it is to use.
User Jaydles - Stack Exchange
https://stackexchange.com/users/140824/ ... b=accounts
- Anyway, they can listen to what I said, or waste another 5 years, and let the website continue to rot, and pat themselves on the backs for more failed initiatives ('at least we did *something*, ineffective yes, but we tried').
- I'll leave three slightly hyperbolic points to underline the Stack Overflow effect, and how it could be changed.
- Stack Overflow is unique in that it has put off tens of thousands of people from becoming programmers.
- Stack Overflow is severely undermining the reputation of the IT industry and all the people that work within it.
- Stack Overflow has wasted more of my time than the next ten websites combined.
'A bit of that good old Stack Overflow hospitality.'
'Stack Overflow kindled my love for programming and for the wider programming community.'