re: How NOT to ask for help VIEW POST


I heap plenty of the blame on S.O. They have so much data on users and their interface looks like it did 10 years ago. They could be channeling the OP into great answers with some machine learning and the community could be much more effectively directed into areas that match their skills.

Instead, everybody is dumped into this giant free-for-all board where the signal to noise ratio has reached such a high level the service's very utility is being questioned.

They are a victim of their success which is great, but they need to innovate their way out and stop blaming their community and new contributors for the problems.


It's my fault for focusing on SO. I got similar questions on Facebook, Twitter, email. People asking for help in the wrong style. They assume if it takes so little time, them I should just help them by doing it for them.

Helping one or two doesn't matter much, but it definitely adds up.

The reason I reply on GitHub issues and various questions I'd because someone else will be greatly helped in future.

I went back and used those answers for myself many times.

Did you ever got a request like, "Can you Google about fetch api and explain the whole thing to me?", I got few of them.

How can machine learning help here on my personal inbox 😅?


Depends how you look at those type of things - I've gotten them too (especially from my students). If you see one request here and there, it's hard to make sense of it. But look for patterns. It's telling you there is a hole in the knowledge graph of code out there. You can help fill it.

Biggest category of need I see right now is with serverless, GraphQL, AWS Lambda, DB-as-a-service (like Firebase). Also animation is hard, anything with CSS transforms/transitions, @keyframes, D3 will get attention. Lots of people are embracing these technologies, resources aren't good enough yet.

I agree on knowledge gaps in new things. I try my hardest to understand and answer them.

I don't agree on knowledge gaps on things like promise.all, fetch api etc. There are hundreds of tutorials available.

I have gotten responses like, "if you can explain in 10 minutes, why should I watch a 15 minute video? Why can't you explain instead of giving me a link?"

Internet made some people assume everything is easy and everyone has freaking free time in their hand.

Right now there are little resources about Nim language, not even a crash course on YouTube. I can request others to make a video/tutorial for me but I definitely cannot curse them for not helping me rewrite my python code into a Nim code.


Thank you for sharing your experience and kind reply. :)


when I start typing stackover... into my URL bar, it already suggests stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/lua, because that's what I usually browse. Stack Overflow offers you the possibility to filter content however you want already; there's really no need for them to assist you even more in curating the content. It's Stack Overflow ffs, not facebook ;)


Hmm I'm not sure ... I go by the adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Nobody's perfect, but SO is doing a pretty good job if you ask me ... I can't come up with a service more useful for devs looking for answers than SO (apart from Google in general).

Actually I would get a little bit afraid if they would throw in AI and algorithms to tell me what is "good" or not. It risks making the service way less transparent, these algorithms are opaque.

I'm happy with what SO is giving me, and by the way I don't see that many examples of toxicity.


Yeah likewise, I use it find out if the question or solution has been posted before, but it's the last place I think to post at for help.

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