Why no Stack Overflow?

Looking at Stack Overflow it seems like the Meteor community doesn’t really use it that much? A quick search for Meteor shows a lot of unanswered questions: http://stackoverflow.com/search?tab=newest&q=meteor.

Is there a historic reason for this? It seems odd, most other communities and frameworks seem to use SO as there Q&A area and it helps expose their projects to the wider JS/programming community, so are we missing a trick by not using it more?

For example, I know that I often look at the Stack Overflow traffic for a framework or project before adopting it, in order to get an idea of how likely I am to be able to find help if I need it, so I wonder if we may be losing potential Meteor adopters because of the amount of unanswered questions (I know there have been attempts to mop up those unanswered questions in the past).

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I don’t like answering SO questions about Meteor. For example, I believe most of Iron Router questions asked by newbies should be answered with “please use Flow Router”. SO doesn’t allow discussion, just strict answers. That’s why I don’t even check meteor tag on SO anymore.

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Years ago (way before the forums existed) I used to go around asking people to answer unanswered Meteor questions on SO. Occasionally it would work and people like myself and @dandv would spend a little time cutting the “unanswered” numbers.

Maybe we can organise something like that again, driven by forum members?

What if everyone here went and answered an unanswered question? Would that help?

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Hi,

I actually posted a question on SO to do with Iron Router as firstly, I was a newbie (and still am) to Meteor doing a Coursera Web Dev course using Meteor and as part of the course content, they were using Iron Router (sorry @brajt - did not involve using Flow Router), but up until now, have still not had my question answered. Secondly, at the time of posting to SO, I wasn’t aware of the Meteor Forums.

FYI, I actually posted the same question from SO to this forum and even until now, no one has unfortunately posted an answer - heaps of views though…

Anyways, just needed some assistance as part of this Coursera course.

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I posted my thoughts on this a while back here, but to summarize:

  1. You have a better chance of getting an answer from MDG themselves who watch and post via this forum way more than they do SO.
  2. It’s much easier to link, cross reference, embed, share, etc. answers from threads here with other threads here (helps when answering questions with previous answers).
  3. I personally find searching through the centralized Meteor knowledge in this forum to be much easier, and provide much more relevant results, than searching through SO.
  4. A lot of posts here start off as technical questions, but then branch out into really interesting technical discussions that help contribute to the overall health of our community. SO really feels a bit direct and cold when it comes to this area.
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Often it happens that people ask their question not only on SO but also on this forums, IRC, Gitter or Slack. They get their answer in one of them and they’re not even waiting anymore for the answer on SO. And the person who answered their question on some chat doesn’t add this answer to SO question.

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StackOverflow is the last place I would recommend anyone to go for help. The SO police has taken the assholeness to new heights. We’ve had this conversation before. Here’s what it comes down to for me:

Just how many times have you had a problem, googled it, the first result is an SO question exactly as you would ask it, you go there and the question has many up votes, the answers help you and they also have many up votes, and yet the question is closed because it doesn’t conform to rule 57, section 3, paragraph 4 of the SO laws…

And those are the lucky ones that got answered before the SO police got to it.

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I don’t like StackOverflow anymore, so I avoid using it if possible. The power users are too annoying and seem to enjoy closing questions more than answering them.

This community is much better! :smiley:

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Agree with the above. Too many asshats just closing questions. Also, whenever I asked Meteor questions, I’d get people wandering in who had no idea what Meteor was, and kept asking things like “Are you using webpack??” NO.

It probably has to do with the success of this Meteor forum. Compare the React equivalent here https://discuss.reactjs.org/ with https://forums.meteor.com/ (check the activity column).

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I don’t think referring to people on Stack Overflow as “neckbeards”, “asshats” or “assholes” is constructive. They’re other passionate software developers just like you and I.

Let’s stay on topic and think about how we can use Stack Overflow as a tool for helping people with Meteor, since the fact remains that SO is huge and lots of people go there.

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Most are. :slight_smile: The simple fact remains, many people are discouraged from asking questions on SO because they’ve had perfectly valid questions closed because someone thinks it’s off topic. Or whatever reason.

That being said, from time to time I’ll browse the meteor and reactjs tags to see if I can help anyone out.

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I’ve found that SO has the advantage to often come as the first Google result (even though I agree with the above) and to avoid the same questions been asked again and again, it’d be better to have the answer come up as the top search result (so either by using SO or finding a way for Meteor forum to come first)
Also, it’s not clear if that’s the purpose of this forum, so I’ve often found myself being like “I’d rather post in Meteor forum, but I’m not sure people are gonna get annoyed because it’s not the place for such question” It’d be good to clarify it, and maybe have a SO like thread here for Meteor help questions, and another thread for other discussions.

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And also, being able to mark coding questions as solved is something lacking here. So you can’t quickly find unanswered questions for example.

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Speaking as a so-called “neckbeard” I find this extremely offensive. The suggestion that because I am of diminutive size with a beard covering what would normally be visible of my neck I automatically lack social graces is quite appalling. More appalling is that you got 2 likes.

Please take time to think about the derogatory slurs you use next time, and the implications and generalizations you are making.

I used to answer things on stack overflow all the freaking time, but I also got sick of the situation. I have enough rep to moderate, but unfortunately the powers that be gave too much power to the community, and in standard fashion whenever there are anonymous people with power, there are trolls, and stack overflow failed to filter the trolls.

Most of the time however the people closing questions are people like me. We are sick of answering the same question, over and over, or answering questions that show little to no attempt to work things out for yourself. Quora is also quickly becoming like that. I get asked to answer many questions per day that show complete lack of basic knowledge of the domain, and are just trying to get quora people to do it for them. When the questions on stack overflow are obvious duplicates, or obvious failure to even try, that degrades the quality of the answers given. People like myself have decided, with the blessing of large chunks of the community, that we aren’t going to answer questions that show no initiative themselves. Instead we will downvote them, vote to close, etc and if we are not rushed (which I usually am not) we’ll tell you how the question could be better.

I will also downvote bad answers and leave commentary about why I did that, but that is far less frequent.

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I don’t think “neckbeard” means what you think it means. It’s when someone doesn’t shave for several days and grows facial hair on their neck. I regularly have a neckbeard when I work several days in a row, totally immersed in code (and oddly enough, my Linux skills always seem to spike during those times - kidding!). I actually have a neckbeard right now, and I’m not offended.

How about just leave them alone? Someone might be in a serious jam, trying to get help, and then someone comes along and decides (whether their judgment is sound or not) that the question should be closed, thus foiling their attempts at getting their problem solved.

And often times, documentation for certain tools is… less than good. So if someone goes to SO to ask questions and someone flags it because “you should RTFM,” that’s not really fair considering the weakness of the documentation.

On the flip side though, has getting close votes forced me to write better questions? Sure it has. But there were still times when it was extremely frustrating to have my question closed when I needed help and was on a deadline.

No, I get what it is supposed to mean. I have been called a neckbeard by many people. It is an implication that the person being called it is

  • A shutin with no social skills
  • Incapable of proper grooming
  • Therefore not a functioning member of society from which any input is welcome.

In short: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=neckbeard

I have been called such by several people just because I disagree with them. Thing is, I also fit the common stereotypical physical description of the eccentric sysadmin/devops guy that noone wants to mess with.

The problem with this is that it takes time and energy away from real answers which further knowledge in the space. Stack Overflow is still flooded with questions that I can’t even comprehend because they’re so badly worded. I generally just move on, but when it’s bad enough, I’ll pipe in with a bit about “please work on the structure of your question” or “please simplify your question to exclude unnecessary filler which makes it harder to understand the real question” Sometimes I’ll see just plain duplicates, or questions that literally are “do this for me” questions. I will vote to close those, as they are by definition, not what stack overflow is about, and I don’t want to waste mine, or anyone else’s time filtering through those questions.

While there are condescending jerks in every circle, I will never reply with RTFM and flag it. If the question is clear, and there is a definitive answer, even if it’s in the docs, I’ll link the relevant portion of the docs, describe why it’s the answer, and move on. I think most people on stack overflow are like me in that regard.

There are only two deadlines I can think of you would be referring to here. The first is academic, and I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to pander to poorly worded questions, regardless of your academic timeline. The second is product delivery/vc funding demo/any business need. In that case, while I sympathize as I too have been in that boat, a well worded question is actually far more likely to get you a useful answer in a short timeline, so even in that case, I think votes to close are the correct answer, even if painful in the short term.

It’s important to remember that noone on Stack Overflow is being paid to answer those questions. In fact, in a lot of cases, the time we put in there could be just as well (or better) spent on our own deliverables or on our own continued education (which never freaking ends). We answer questions on Stack Overflow because we have benefited from the community and want to give back. The biggest mistake in there is that the trolls are allowed to go largely unchecked. Stack Meta is a really painful place where people get trashed just for asking simple questions about why a particular piece of moderation did or didn’t go through! Unfortunately, that means that a lot of people like myself just answer questions and leave, when we probably could be improving the site.

Just a few examples of bad questions, right from the “meteor” category for right now:

These are all poorly written and difficult to comprehend. At least two of them don’t describe what the code is supposed to do or what it actually is doing, they just say “Why doesn’t it work?” These are the kind of questions that bog down the entire process on Stack Overflow and are why I generally don’t even bother to go there anymore.

It takes patience and dedication to help people who don’t ask great questions improve, and to curate the community so that people looking for answers can find them without having to sift through a bunch of noise. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it if that’s your kettle of fish.

I’ve been a moderator on a Stack Exchange subsite for about 6 years now so I’ve seen both sides of this story. Rather than arguing about how people on Stack Overflow are terrible people, or speculating as to the motivations of people who have been elected moderator, I again recommend that we stay on topic and consider how we (the forum members) can help those that end up on Stack Overflow and want to know something about Meteor.

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The first ever answer I gave on SO got first downvoted and then removed because somebody didn’t like the fact that I answered a question that was supposedly already answered somewhere else (which was more or less a different question anyways). SO moderators often act like gardener’s dogs - they won’t answer questions themselves but they won’t let the others to answer them either. That’s something I will never respect.

I still like how the smaller SO boards look like, where the community sticks together closely enough to not overuse privileges. Especially the ones not related to computer science but to topics such as history or language.

We can redirect them to forums, Slack, Gitter or IRC.

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It’s also worth nothing the welcome message for this forum says:

That put me off posting tech questions here for a while.

Edit: I’m not saying the above means we should use SO, I’m just pointing out that it doesn’t tally up with what actually happens.

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