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    All of the retrospectives of StackOverflow’s culture clearly state that asking questions effectively is a skill. They then repeat the same few bullet points about ensuring that questions are within the scope of the site, provide enough information, aren’t duplicates, etc. etc. What they don’t mention is that this will have approximately zero impact on your question getting answered. As far as I’ve been able to tell over the past decade on StackOverflow, what leads to your question getting answered is the size and popularity of the technology or programming language your question relates to. Ask a Javascript question? You’ll have a dozen replies almost before you hit submit, even if your question is poorly formed and has been asked a million times before. Ask a question about a relatively obscure technology, and it’s very possible that your question will never be answered.

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      You can blame this on the network effect or simply probability. What’s the chance that an expert in an obscure domain would answer the question on StackOverflow, It would be better to send that person an email directly. There’s too much expectations of StackOverflow in my opinion.

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        I think you can also blame it on the platform. There is no reward in answering a question that will be seen by 1 person a year.

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          Sure, there is a bit of that. But the questions I’m referring aren’t that obscure. It’s mostly for things like Erlang, or F#. It’s the sort of thing where StackOverflow ought to shine, because there aren’t a whole lot of resources for these languages, whereas Javascript or Python tutorials are a dime a dozen.

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          Ask a Javascript question? You’ll have a dozen replies almost before you hit submit, even if your question is poorly formed and has been asked a million times before.

          I played with this briefly - if you’re quick enough you can get a couple of upvotes, the answer tick and the consequent dopamine hit before mods get around to marking it as a dupe. It does get boring very quickly though.

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          The subject of how to ask questions and how can someone learn to ask better questions is something that has been bugging me lately, mostly because of personal reasons (mentoring and teaching). Does anyone have more articles on this topic, other than the classic ESR “how to ask questions”?

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            Lately I’ve noticed that “how to ask questions” in a domain seems to be one of the best metrics for expertise. When you’ve learned the language of your topic well enough to form the kinds of questions StackOverflow prefers, you often won’t need StackOverflow - and when you do, you’ll also have the bedrock of clear language and details that help you get a response when there are other experts around.

            Unfortunately, I’m not sure I have a good answer that generalizes well - and also no articles. I’m honestly not sure question-asking is a skill that generalizes between domains other than at very high levels of abstraction like “respect the readers’ time”, “show evidence of the problem and what you’ve done”, and “be humble about the whole situation”.

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              I’ve liked Tatham’s guide to reporting bugs, because of the overlap.

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                In my experience, if you want someone to learn how to ask good questions, put them to answer questions. They will quickly figure it out.