2008SEP011118

2008SEP011118
usenet news
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Stack Overflow: the Blind Leading the Blind

"… a working template that they could use to base Stack Overflow on: Usenet. Usenet has been around for almost 30 years now, and newsgroups like comp.lang.c++ are still active and full of experts discussing a wide variety of topics. But no, Jeff and Joel would rather make an Ajaxy shithole with no reason to draw true experts in. …"

It’s not great to see an example of the Nerd bully at work. Anonymous, negative and probably wrong.

This is a bogus article. Why? Well firstly you can’t gauge the writer? Who has written this? They have an opinion but everyone has opinions. So what is the meat of the writers idea:

"Usenet is an active hive of technical
users who know all the right answers"

Usenet is an example of a broken model. Sure you can ask a question and get an answer. You might get 50. So how do you work out who’s is right and the best? Force of personality? Discussion? By the time you have followed this discussion the noise/sig has diluted the answer possibly for the person who asked the question. What about others who ask the same question 5 years down the line? Where is the knowledge trapped? How are the experts identified? What you get is a unfocused threaded discussion arguing the merits of proposed solutions punctuated by the random Star Trek pun or maybe a lame Simpsons joke.

The ideas behind Stack Overflow are worth looking at. Forget who is doing it. Don’t like Joel or Atwood, Fine. But finding answers to specific questions, finding good answers, evaluating responders and filtering the best results and preserving them is a worthy idea. The filtering of information and building the reputations of users who contribute is proving to be a real problem. Something to look at a bit closer.

The questions and answers might be crap at the moment. But maintaining that an archaic system is the best way to do things is making a statement about the writer.

*"… How about figuring it out by reading the answers and analyzing them? Using my brain to critically assess what people tell me has always worked for me …"*

Sure you can. But is there a better way? Can your way scale? Will your brainpower & intelligence be recorded and replayed for others?

some time later …

"… How about figuring it out by reading the answers and analyzing them? Using my brain to critically assess what people tell me has always worked for me …"

Sure you can. But is there a better way? Can your way scale? Will your brainpower & intelligence be recorded and replayed for others?

Look at it another way. Would you take this approach to evaluating other types of information, links for example? Would you make a list of all the good websites and organising them for others to read? Or would you organise links utilising computers, software & inferred information form humans to do the same thing.

Yahoo vs Google?

a bit later…

"… Anyway, enough with that kind of meanness. I know from doing thousands of code reviews in my career that there is no developer who codes things perfectly even 80% of the time. Lighten up and stop judging people. …"

Good point. The telling point wrt StackOverflow I’ve been learning listening to the development converstations ~ blog.stackoverflow.com/2008/08/podcast-17/ , then watching how the problems are solve and watching the results. Talk alone is rather hollow.

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