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Asked a programming question on stackoverflow....

clawhammer

Member

Thanks: 5
Messages: 91

#1
I was trying to solve a programming question from a book and asked a simple question about why I was getting an error. First question i've ever asked. Got down voted and wanted to ask a different question today and it says I cant because of 4 downvotes and that I might be permanently banned from asking questions now. Is this site for real?
 

Phishfry

Daemon

Thanks: 581
Messages: 2,055

#4
Well some sites are less forgiving than others.
Hopefully someone here can help you. I am not experienced enough in C to help.
 

Snurg

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 252
Messages: 705

#5
If it's a programming question for Windows or Linux, you won't get answers here ofc :D
Otherwise, just ask. This is a friendly demon site :)
 

herrbischoff

Active Member

Thanks: 56
Messages: 129

#6
Is this site for real?
It depends on whether you did read the help pages about how to ask and how your question looked like. You should ask in Meta for an explanation if you're still confused after reading: What topics can I ask about here?, What types of questions should I avoid asking?, Stack Overflow question checklist and Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable Examples.

That being said, SO is truly quite unforgiving. I say that from own experience as a reviewer. You just get so many crappy questions and answers that your tolerance level drops significantly over time. Which is one of the reasons I stepped back for the time being. There's an argument to be made about serious systemic issues there but SO is slow to change because it appears to work for the majority of users.
 

drhowarddrfine

Daemon

Thanks: 643
Messages: 2,401

#7
Just want to ditto what herrbischoff said. I'm a high rep user, in the top 2%, and have noticed an influx of very poor questions asked, and answers, over the last couple of years. An influx I attribute to reddit users being linked to SO for answers more often and then using the site themselves and treating it like a forum in the same amateur way most of reddit is. If one treats Stack Overflow like a forum, you're doing it wrong. SO is not a forum.

None of the people I've downvoted and closed and deleted ever read the links pointed to. Many of them will argue with me about it and I have little tolerance for those arguing with me about rules written in black and white.

Here's one example that might get you into trouble. You ask "How do I do X?" That might get your question closed because policy clearly states that you must show what you've tried and explain what doesn't work. You have to give an example of your effort along with the question. A good question might be, "I'm trying to do X and here's my code. The result is supposed to be Y but it's Z. What am I doing wrong?"
 

CraigHB

Member

Thanks: 24
Messages: 94

#8
That site does seem awfully strict. I hit that one a lot when browsing for technical answers and it seems like most of the threads have some kind of moderator comment alluding to a problem with the post. That's one forum where I would not participate, like you're walking on eggshells. This one's pretty strict as far as forums generally go, but reasonable since the focus here is specific.
 

herrbischoff

Active Member

Thanks: 56
Messages: 129

#10
I agree with drhowarddrfine. There really is no middle ground for discussion about ignoring the rules of any community. Either you respect them or you don't. SO has clear rules regarding how to ask questions and posting answers. If you decide to ignore them, the reaction will be swift. As SO is not a forum (and this cannot be stressed enough) but a question and answer (Q&A) site, its rules are quite different from bulletin boards/forums and also a lot less lenient. Freedom means, you have every right to disagree with any communities' rules and decide not to participate. However, you cannot expect to get any sympathy or understanding for ignoring the rules, doing it your way and get scolded. Quite the contrary, it projects some level of entitlement, intended or not, which is something most tech types are positively allergic to, with good reason. An entitled person is one unwilling to put effort into solving a problem, it wants to be spoon-fed the solution. I'm not saying this is always the case but appearances matter. Choosing to trample on established forms of interaction is a sure-fire way to propel you towards being viewed as entitled or lazy aka to being of no value interacting with. To further understand this rationale, I recommend reading the classic How To Ask Questions The Smart Way if you haven't already.

Every community has certain rules in place, online or offline. If you ignore them, you'll be shown the door. It's been like this ever since humans roamed the earth. Why should it be different in the digital realm? And whatever happened to considering oneself to be a grateful noob, ready to learn, showing respect for the people offering their free time to help you by at least adhering to the rules set by those helping you?
 

clawhammer

Member

Thanks: 5
Messages: 91

#11
I did post my question in the correct format with code format. The way I was trying to solve a problem was different than the ones I googled so I posted my code instead of just copying someone else to find out what I did wrong. Guess I was wrong about what to ask on that website.
 

drhowarddrfine

Daemon

Thanks: 643
Messages: 2,401

#12
clawhammer Formatting of the code is only a minor, though important, case. I re-format code for people all the time. It's the quality of the question that's important.

If you want, you can PM a link to the question and I can tell you exactly what issues there are and how to fix them. If the question is closed, I can help re-open it.