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Friday
Sep242010

Why StackExchange will eventually fail – Control-Freak-ism

I think the stack overflow folks have finally started hurting SO more than they help.

I used to really like the idea of StackOverFlow – a great platform to ask some great questions and get good answers. And the badges certainly add the needed pepper into the mix.

At some point, stackoverflow started getting a bit ahead of itself – suddenly, if you had enough rank – you could start editing other people’s posts. Seriously – you could go in and change the wording, the casing – whatever you wanted.

Execuse my french – but what the fuck are all these “enlightened” people doing editing my answers? If I wanted people editing my words, looking down at me, and deciding to change stuff, I’d start a wiki. as is, my answers are my own, and they reflect my mood, and my typos. and if they want me ot fix them they should ask me.

But that’s not why it will fail

Stackoverflow gave the people that gave it their soul something very precious to them – control. control freaks are all around us – I’m one probably – but therein lies a bigger problem – the bigger problem of stackoverflow is that being a controlfreak is part of who the owners are as well. it makes sense – one will attract the same kind.

so control freaks as they are – they made a great platform and started selling it to create mini sites for questions. But they didn’t like it – they decided that “for the good of the community” it will be better if people couldn’t “buy” their own stack overflow sites, but instead the community would have to vote on them – controlfreak move #1 – WE decide for YOU that OTHERS will decide for YOU if your idea is good or not.

OK – fair enough – what’s done is done.

so up goes a suggestion for a unit testing site (dev testing). It’s supposed to go through all the confirmation channels, get a specific number of supporters to get to being “live” and then joel and jeff will make it into a real site.

right. only the controlfreak nature won’t let go. the unit testing site is ALMOST up to being a legit site, with people from all over the community wanting to be part of it. after following all the rules that joel and jeff put up themselves, they suddenly drop this bomb - “hey – why don’t we merge this unit testing thing with another site – it will make more sense that way!”

Let it go!

you wanted the community to decide? it has decided! stop stirring the pot and start following the rules that you yourself have set and broken twice before. What’s the point of creating a site where the community can choose if the community can only choose when it fits the hearts and minds of the site’s creators?

Joel and Jeff – you’re smart – but you can’t let go – so stop taking control and start losing it already!  You’re fucking your own shit up right now.

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Reader Comments (1)

Roy, StackOverflow was a wiki from day one.

You may not like it, but I believe that editing helps greatly improve the content. The site is about more than just gaining reputation and badges, it's about providing a good, searchable documentation of quality questions and answers. Editing (a power only granted after 2000 reputation) helps achieve that goal, despite the downsides.

Overall, I think the move to Stack Exchange 2.0 was a good thing "for the internet", even though I own one of the Stack Exchange 1.0 sites that was affected. Regarding the unit testing proposal, I don't have a strong sentiment here, but are you really sure that the topic isn't too narrow to deserve its own site? What's wrong with either SO or Programmers ?

January 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterripper234

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