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Discussion on: Has Stack Overflow Become An Antipattern?

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David J. Davis • Edited

I've felt similarly for a few years now, but I also feel that there are a number of questions that are answered on StackOverflow. All in all I think they try to do good, but I think you are right a better thing needs to come around. I've often thought about how nice it would be to scrape the questions and answers from StackOverflow into a database that takes away all negativity and references just questions and answers.

The worst part has to be when you're genuinely trying to help someone and a person with a little more "reputation" comes along and is incredibly negative even though the solution you provided is correct and in the right context. Often saying in some extent that while this answer is correct it is "not a one-liner" or uses an if-else instead of the ternary operator and the answer then gets pounded by reflection and the solution rewritten almost verbatim as a "refactored" statement that has a logical complexity that I'm not sure the beginner will always find helpful.

I also think that many (not all) in the community are not friendly, the shroud of slight anonymity giving them the power and courage to be a keyboard gangster and extra insults instead of quick educated responses. In one section of you are not a gadget Jaron revisits the early social media sites as places dominated by rage, aggression, and bullying because of the ability to not have ramifications or stigmas for anything said or done on the internet and I still think StackOverflow has some of that old internet culture.

Side note you can tell a lot by a developer based on how they use stack overflow. If you see a developer using stack overflow ask them to explain the code and what it is doing line by line. I've found many cases where I hear "I'm not sure" or "I would have to look it up", while that is fine if it is the first time seeing the code, it is not fine that many of these end up in production environments.

Lanier, Jaron. You Are Not a Gadget : A Manifesto. 1st ed., Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.

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