It's clear that StackOverflow is the literal and meaningful precedent for many users on this site. But SO is an immense project with thousands of users, as many opinions, and both good and bad traits. Which ones are good? Which ones carry over?

I raise this question because:

  • People use SO as both the canonical example of what we should do and what we should avoid. SO isn't always right, nor should we expect it to be. But which traits are worth copying?

  • Some aspects of SO are specific to the coding community, to coders, to the unique demands of the profession. Cooking is in some ways a very different kind of act. But which traits are universal and which unique?

Below I listed traits or moderation choices from SO as individual answers. If you think that perspective of SO is accurate, vote it up. If you think that perspective is inaccurate, vote it down.

I'm not trying to encourage false-dichotomies, that anything was 'all' good or bad. The idea is to simply answer: what happened on SO, what worked, what do we want to copy.

  • Thanks for the note, I was just about to comment on that. – hobodave Aug 11 '10 at 3:26
  • I think you should add a comment explaining how you think this should work. its not that clear. – Sam Holder Aug 11 '10 at 14:01
  • @Sam Holder. I tried to clarify. Does that make more sense? – Ocaasi Aug 12 '10 at 3:01

SO sought to attract experts first and foremost. Even though cooking is an act done by more people than coding, we still need to appeal above all else to cooking professionals.

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    That cooking is more common than programming makes it even more important to attract experts. Unlike programming where competition exists but is relatively scant, you can already fund hundreds (thousands?) of cooking forums. What's going to differentiate us from them? – Aaronut Aug 11 '10 at 13:55
  • Why is it assumed that the SE interface itself--the reputation system, voting incentives, and answer selection--isn't sufficient to distinguish this site from others and make it successful? What's the connection between the system and the need for experts: in other words, why isn't the voting system itself enough to promote and attract knowledgeable users, while letting bad questions, bad users, and bad answers sink to the bottom. – Ocaasi Aug 12 '10 at 3:43
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    Yahoo Answers. There you can vote, asker can choose an answer etc etc. But you can ask anything. So it is trolled and filled with useless questions and you are mainly going to get 'funny' answers, with no real experts. – Sam Holder Aug 12 '10 at 7:38

SO allowed "fun" and "discussion" questions to proliferate. This muddied the site and made it less reputable.

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SO has 800k questions. We should employ more careful moderation, stricter culling of duplicates, and other approaches to stay focused on a select group of questions rather than a continual inflow of marginally beneficial additions.

  • This question is so loaded, I'm not even sure on what people would be voting. Disparate issues loaded into one thought. Hard to vote on. – Robert Cartaino Aug 11 '10 at 3:48
  • Edited to be somewhat more specific; do so yourself if you think it will help. – Ocaasi Aug 11 '10 at 4:03
  • Neutral. I don't think we need to be stricter than Stack Overflow is today. But SO was very laissez-faire in the beginning, and new users repeatedly need to have it explained to them that several of the most popular questions would never survive today and thus should not be imitated. It's a never-ending source of confusion and arguments. As for duplicates, I think the Stack Overflow community has always been pretty good about it, and so should we. Merging capabilities have improved a lot over time and we should be taking advantage of them. – Aaronut Aug 11 '10 at 13:53

SO allowed the proliferation of web-forum culture: sarcasm, humor, internal and external memes, specific discussion of users (both good and bad). This is a feature of all online communities and we should encourage it the same.

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    What? SO doesn't allow any of this. "Joke questions" aren't allowed. "Fun questions" are usually closed and reopened several times, and only survive if they appeal to a sufficient number of high-rep users. Memes and discussion of users - where did you see this? Now, Meta Stack Overflow is a different story entirely, and it's fine for people to do that on meta sites (which are discussion-oriented anyway). – Aaronut Aug 11 '10 at 13:46
  • @Aaronut, I believe the intent that is if you agree with this, vote it up, otherwise vote it down. the answers are in pairs with one of each pair stating one position and the other the opposite position. – Sam Holder Aug 11 '10 at 13:59
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    @Sam: I downvoted both of them because both positions are based on a false premise. I think there seems to be some confusion between the actual Q&A site and the corresponding meta site. – Aaronut Aug 11 '10 at 14:00

SO allowed the proliferation of web-forum culture to its detriment. Sarcasm, comments about users, and referencing of internal and external memes distracted from the core purpose of the site. In addition, they may be a turn-off to the community of cooks who are less familiar with the merciless banter of the web.

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    Such things belong primarily in comments, where anything short of spam or outright offensiveness goes. – hobodave Aug 11 '10 at 3:17
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    disagree here, every kitchen I've worked in had a ball busting "f your mom" kind of attitude. I know that there has to be kitchens in which this isn't the norm, but I've never seen one. Basically, I'm saying that the pro's will be able to hang although the humor might not run to memes as much. – sarge_smith Aug 11 '10 at 7:12
  • @sarge I don't think its saying it will turn off pros but it might turn off non pro cooks, like stay at home mums/dads. I agree with @hobodave's comment that the funnies should try and stay in the comments – Sam Holder Aug 11 '10 at 10:58
  • I downvoted simply because the first statement isn't true. SO never allowed this. See my comment to this answer. – Aaronut Aug 11 '10 at 13:48
  • @Aaronut see me comment to the other answer in this pair – Sam Holder Aug 11 '10 at 14:00
  • @sam holder I also agree about it staying the comments, although there have been a few questions that the urge to answer sarcastically has been almost irresistible – sarge_smith Aug 11 '10 at 19:38

SO sought to attract experts, but cooking is a much more populist act. Almost everyone cooks, and the average cook deserves more attention and toleration here than the average coder would receive there.

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SO harnessed fun questions and discussion to engage its community. It's a strength we should try to emulate.

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SO has 800K questions. It's better not to overmoderate. We shouldn't worry too much about the proliferation of duplicate questions, as long as individually they are on topic.

  • This question is so loaded, I'm not even sure on what people would be voting. Disparate issues loaded into one thought. Hard to vote on. – Robert Cartaino Aug 11 '10 at 3:48
  • @Robert Cartaino. This question as a whole or this answer specifically.? – Ocaasi Aug 11 '10 at 3:49
  • This answer/statement specifically. – Robert Cartaino Aug 11 '10 at 3:53
  • @Robert Cartaino It's in reference to a discussion between hobodave and daniel bingham about aggressively moderating possible duplicates to keep the number of questions low. I adjusted the answer so it's more specific. If you can rephrase it better, please edit it. – Ocaasi Aug 11 '10 at 3:59

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