I came upon what is probably the laziest homework question ever asked on Stack Overflow recently. Instead of typing a question, the user just uploaded a scan of their textbook to a file hosting site and asked a question that pointed to the link. You can see it here if you have 10k+ reputation on Stack Overflow.
It’s also conceivable that the student was trying to evade their teacher running searches on Stack Overflow to find students getting other people to do their homework for them. I suspect both.
Homework has always been a problematic tag, way beyond it being a meta tag. It’s a problem because: Read more »
The second 2011 moderator election is closing in a couple of days, if you have not yet voted and are eligible to do so, please do so. Interestingly, I’m in the same dilemma that I found myself in earlier this year. My first vote was easy, the other two are costing quite a bit of thought.
I strongly feel that one of the candidates should have been elected as a result of the last election. I’ve watched as they voted and flagged in favor of the same action that I would take literally hundreds of times over the last nine months and I’d be very happy if they could just go about maintaining the site without needing to ask for our help. I’m not naming the candidate directly, but I will after the election.
What’s different is that I don’t need to discount half serious or outright joke nominations this year. Additionally, there are quite a few solid candidates from many backgrounds and reputation levels who decided they had enough fun answering lots of questions and would rather work on keeping the site healthy. Every single one of these candidates in my opinion would do a fine job as a moderator. At this point, the whole question of who would make a good moderator? has been answered, everyone running would. I almost feel like I’m now selecting based solely on who I want to work with the most, and I find that extremely difficult. Read more »
I love getting paid, but I hate contracts. I hate reading them, I hate the trepidation that I feel when I sign them because I always feel like I might have missed something and most of all I hate it when a document comes back to haunt me. Sometimes I wonder if lawyers boast the growth they achieved during puberty by the number of indecipherable paragraphs they can write.
I love challenges, so long as I’m not forced to meet them in solitary confinement. I was recently approached with a very interesting opportunity that will put every ounce of knowledge and experience that I have to the test. Accepting this offer would ultimately show me if I’m worth my salt as a systems programmer. I can’t say too much about it other than the fact that I’d be starting with the Linux kernel and not much else, while building a very task specific operating system.
The problem is the non-disclosure agreement, which is on the order of centimeters thicker than anything I’ve ever signed before. The agreement would effectively alienate resources like Stack Overflow while I try to meet a very awesome challenge in a very short amount of time. I’m just not comfortable with that. Read more »
A site such as Stack Overflow is only as good as its contributions. There have been a number of discussions regarding the quality of contributions, which caused me to spend some time reflecting on my own personal experiences with the site and community. This brought back memories of my own experiences at being on the low side of the quality fence while conversing face to face in places where I did not speak the local language.
I’m sharing this not just to provide advice and insight, but also to show why having users that are willing to help people become better communicators is essential to maintain the quality of a growing community.
About two and a half years ago, I finally got up the nerve to become a registered user on Stack Overflow and start participating by asking and answering questions. I had been lurking for a while – I found Stack Overflow through some obscure searches and learned about the buzz Jeff and Joel were building around it later. The first thing that struck me was how intimidating the site really was.
It wasn’t all of the numbers, arrows, tags and buttons. Most of that stuff instantly made sense to me. What intimidated me the most out of everything was the sheer quality of the questions and answers there. If I was going to make any use out of this resource, I would need to dust off my writing skills and work on my problem a little harder so I could really show people where I was stuck.
My first few attempts went over like a lead balloon, but I quickly caught on. I could now pick the brains of people who had been working with C much longer than me, and build up my own reputation by answering questions that I could. It was helpful, it was fun and I was hooked. I remember thinking to myself “How do they keep the quality bar so high here?”, coming from a mess of forums the difference was absolutely amazing.
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