Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

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Published Friday, September 24, 2010 10:21 AM by RoyOsherove

Comments

Friday, September 24, 2010 10:39 AM by Neil Barnwell

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

I agree in principle, but one has to be careful, because unit testing is definitely a programming topic, and that's what StackOverflow is for.  I agree there is a problem, but I think it's the opposite problem - unless there's a way to make the same question (with all it's answers/comments etc) appear on the sites to which it's relevant, the whole StackExchange thing will fail.  Which is a shame, because Stack Overflow is a breath a of fresh air.

The challenge is that they can see the "opposite problem" I'm pointing out, and because it's not possible to surface questions in multiple sites, they're just killing off those additional sites.

I have my fingers crossed they do the right thing.

Friday, September 24, 2010 10:46 AM by Fosco

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

Sensitive blogger is sensitive!

I think you just fail to understand StackExchange...  It's not a democracy.  They leave a lot up to public opinion, but it would be insanity to give over complete control!  

Friday, September 24, 2010 10:54 AM by Restuta

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

Seems that you are really offended by Joel and Jeff, but I think you are right in general.

Friday, September 24, 2010 10:56 AM by David

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

Your answers on Stack Overflow aren't your own. They're ours (the community's) under the Creative Commons licence. If you don't like people editing your answers, don't post your answers on a site where they're allowed to - simple. eh?

Friday, September 24, 2010 11:11 AM by Roy Osherove

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

David - one of the reasons it will fail - people dislike getting their stuff edited. control freaks.

Friday, September 24, 2010 11:53 AM by foo

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

"they decided that “for the good of the community” it will be better if people couldn’t “buy” their own stack overflow sites, but instead the community would have to vote on them – controlfreak move #1 – WE decide for YOU that OTHERS will decide for YOU if your idea is good or not."

and what if no others decided for you? it may not be such a bad idea to make sure that the site will have users if they put it up. would you really want to have your own little StackExchange without any other users to answer your questions?

Friday, September 24, 2010 11:58 AM by gm

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

Yeah, SO/SE is f-ed up.  I called their BS some time ago and stopped trying to prove I'm a good programmer by getting points on there.

I only go there nowadays when google results point me to a SE/SO site.

Agree with your analysis 100%: Time to move on to platforms with less a-holes, or at least less-empowered a-holes.

Friday, September 24, 2010 12:11 PM by Julian

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

"Like Wikipedia, this site is collaboratively edited, and all edits are tracked. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your questions and answers being edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you." --Stack Overflow FAQ

Friday, September 24, 2010 12:24 PM by Neil Barnwell

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

@david Steady on - I personally wouldn't want to discourage knowledgeable people from posting answers (or questions, for that matter) on SO.  You are of course correct, technically the content is owned by the community.  Roy may not have seen the blog posts/faq sections that literally describe SO as being like a wiki.  Jeff actually uses the word wiki.

All I could ask Roy, is please be tolerant of those who focus on the spelling mistakes or code formatting; they're only trying to make SO as close to perfect as possible.  If they change the meaning of your posts then you're right to say something, but as long as the info people get from SO is as good as it could be, it all comes out in the wash.

Friday, September 24, 2010 12:42 PM by MrBlah

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

Look, the idea is simple, make serious cash on others peoples hard work, and make them feel important at the same time.

Friday, September 24, 2010 12:45 PM by Bryant

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

I rolled back the edit to your post. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010 1:09 PM by Bill the Lizard

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

"...suddenly, if you had enough rank – you could start editing other people’s posts."

Suddenly?  It's always been that way.  Stack Overflow is part wiki.  You've been a member for two years, certainly you've had a look at the FAQ, which I quote,

"Other people can edit my stuff?!

Like Wikipedia, this site is collaboratively edited, and all edits are tracked. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your questions and answers being edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you."

As to your other points, I understand that it can be frustrating when you play by the rules and the rules get changed.  However, I do think that it's in the best interest of Stack Overflow to not split up the community too much.  A separate site for unit testing questions might attract enough interest to get started, but I think it would ultimately either pull developers away from SO, or just fail outright.  I think it was a good decision to keep all objective programming questions (and the interested experts that go along with them) on one site.

Friday, September 24, 2010 1:25 PM by Bill Sorensen

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

I think SO is a wiki at heart. Like Wikipedia, its intent is to provide the highest-quality information to the community.

Much of the editing is on the questions. Considering the quality of many of the new questions, this is nearly a necessity. There are some checks and balances.

Friday, September 24, 2010 1:38 PM by ncage

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

Wow, those are some strong words Roy :). But i agree with you 100%. I still do use stackoverflow but I don't use it as much as i used to. You think stackoverflow are control freaks you should see their sister site...superuser. You will see countless legitimate post closed by the control freak god users because the question isn't for the good of the community or the question has been asked like 1.5 years ago while the landscape has changed so much that the original question / responses aren't pertinent. If your question has ANYTHING to do with a question that was asked before they will close it. For example, ask a question about a SSD drive that is very specific but someone has asked a generic SSD question in the past and they will close your post. Its a bunch of BS. You have some of these god users that will stick around those sites because they like their control, as you have most eloquently put it this post.

Friday, September 24, 2010 2:29 PM by Zdeslav Vojkovic

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

SO might eventually fail, but most like not because of this. As someone already stated, unit testing falls under programming, so it falls under SO, same way as there are no separate sites for e.g. Python and C++. I, personally, prefer to go to one place to find an answer, instead of checking multiple different places.

Developers will benefit from having all info under one place. Splitting categories into dedicated sites would, IMO, only be useful to people who want to become recognized 'celebrities'/'authorities' for the specific topic, which is fine but doesn't benefit the community.

Friday, September 24, 2010 4:51 PM by Robert Sullivan

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

That was my take, SO is definitely following the rather ridid path of Slashdot.  I realized that when I couldn't even reply to a comment without points.  I could add an answer, and then refer to the comment.  Ok, fair enough.

I understand the argument (I think) for merging.  In these days, we have a little more flexibility with tags and the like to filter stuff, unlike the comp.lang.programmer or other narrow sites, which suffered from problems of too much detail, i.e. "your question is about the gcc compiler, it is on comp.lang.compiler.gcc.x86_64.etc etc, where does one draw the line.  

My question is - why does SO have the area 51, and the whole approval process, only to yank the rug out at the end?  As pointed out here, if I follow the rules, go through the necessary bureaucracy, fill out the paperwork, get the signatures, I can certainly understand Roy's frustration.

SO seems to be lacking a clearly defined policy here, perhaps, or have the policy but haven't figured out the nuances - still figuring itself out.

I admire is the "dialectic" process prevalent on the Linux mailing list, where the various experts (Ingo, Linus, etc) will put forth their thoughts, have huge flamewars, take an immense amount of time, but somehow it all works and carefully thought-out decisions are made.  There's a rather fascinating one recently on the Android sleep capability, but that's just an example.  Of course, in the end, Linus exercises ultimate authority I think, and this is Joel's site.

There are definitely some good aspects, they seem to have borrowed a few good ideas out there, such as Slashdot's Karma (actually, pretty typical on any answer site), and Wikipedia.  But on Wikipedia, it's understood you are editing a collaborative document, I'm not sure if I'm comfortable in someone editing my comments, kinda weird.  Maybe there should be a auto-generated answer, that could be edited?

Well, Roy, maybe an opportunity for innovation?  Every time I think the *last* twist on an old communication format has been created, whether it be a programmer forum (Slashdot, JavaLobby, SO), or a social network (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, LinkedIn), another one comes along.  So far I have not exlusively signed on to any one site, and more often than not, resort to going directly to the source (Snort/sourcefire for example), but admittedly, mostly Google.  Somehow there will *never* be one single global site everybody goes to.

Sunday, September 26, 2010 9:13 PM by Mark

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

I think it's generally a good site, but it does rankle a bit when someone edits my grammar or choice of words and substitutes something that is basically the same, but worded the way the other person likes it.  It's a waste of time when people do that.

SO works so well because it actually does provide good quality answers to the vast majority of questions.  For that, I am thankful!

I haven't used any of the other stack exchange sites or followed them closely, so I don't have an opinion on their expansion plans/choices, though.

Monday, September 27, 2010 4:10 AM by Marko

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

@MrBlah bravo! :)

@Zdeslav Vojkovic agree with you

Roy, you look too much from a programming perspective. In order to understand Joel and Jeff's moves, you should put business thinking in equation.

Simply putted, SO like any other social network for free, now when they have user base, is trying to get money from it, so it is natural that in that path they do things that their funs don't like it...

j&j have worked hard and have putted money in SO and now they want to get some money out of it...

..and it is little too much to publicly call someone: "control freak" etc, don't you think?

cheers

Monday, September 27, 2010 6:54 PM by mike_ch_1

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

Someone had there post edited.....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 9:36 AM by Pretzel

# re: Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

While it's true that people can edit your questions and answers, don't forget that you can always "roll-back" any changes anyone makes to your posts.

Overall, I like the SO/SE sites. I also "committed" to the TDD/UnitTest site that you linked to. I hope this helps.