- Don't hate the player, hate the game

by Ivan Hamilton 9/11/2008 7:09:00 PM

This is a follow up to my original StackOverflow experience. Bear in mind, this was based solely on my initial interaction with the site (I've gained a little more experience since). I'm not knocking the whole concept, and I know it's "still in beta". Anyway, that post gained commentary on J&J's podcast #21.

Firstly, for Joel, I'm the 1 in 10 who has no stake in anything. I have no interest in the failure of StackOverflow. I don't think it's a bad idea, in fact I loved the idea. I still do. I'm just rethinking the implementation, as I don't think the problem is an easy one. I think I cared, because I believed in the idea so much. As for the effort in registering a domain name and throwing a site up... 20 minutes & Paint.NET.  Ivan needs a girlfriend? My fiancée thinks I spend enough time listening to Joel, without having to hear from him that she's not fulfilling her duties.

Jeff suggested two options:

  1. Leave comments - I didn't have to rep to do this at first. But after earning a little rep, I had already run around and done this. And what I found most amazing, is that two of three of the authors have come back and changed their answers (but personally I have doubts that this would stay the case once the novelty wears off).
    So how do I like the game now? Not much, but I'm hopeful. I'm left feeling a little empty (I know... whinge, whinge, whinge). I don't like the idea that an incorrect answer will sit there at the top until enough people bug the author of it to get it edited. Maybe I feel it's unjust that a top rated answer is later changed to say "Whoops. I'm wrong. What Fred said below it right", yet Fred gets no cred. Maybe I'm just pissy that I don't have the rep to go and change these things on a whim. Maybe I'm pissy that to get that rep, I'd need to give "popular" answers... "Survey says!"
  2. Vote it down - I would, but it hurts my rep to vote answers down. As Jeff's stated before, the site is setup to be "anti-down". Many of Jeff's comments draw parallels to gaming, and voting something down damages your own reputation. No gamer would set themselves backwards for no gain (I also think, there's not enough down-voters to correct these situations).

I do agree that you should never look at any site and take the "accepted" or top rated answer as lore. As it's not hard to check all the answers to see if what you're after is mentioned there. Well, not hard for some of us in our "areas of expertise", but I've worked with many people before who have taken code from "Expert Q&A" sites, and wondered why it didn't work. They didn't understand the answer, so couldn't understand why it should have worked, and therefore couldn't fix it when it didn't. I worry for these people... maybe they're just lost.

Jeff makes many references to Wikipedia, but Wikipedia has massive guidelines on it's content. And from Wikipedia, here's what I think StackOverflow may be missing: Verifiability. I don't know how you get people to, firstly answer, and secondly vote, based upon such criteria, but I'm worried that without it, it's too open to group opinion.

I've seen some great answers on StackOverflow, and hope to continue to.  But I'll stand by my original point. How many times did you watch "Family Feud" and ask yourself "What random drug smoking monkeys did they survey to get that as the most popular answer?". Be wary of the popular posts.

P.S. Jeff, I love you man. Joel had the daggers out, but you were there for me. ;-)

Currently rated 1.9 by 34 people

  • Currently 1.882351/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5


Related posts


9/16/2008 6:06:07 AM

I wouldn't let Joel get you down. He was just being silly.

I think it would be cool if you setup crapoverflow to be like "Digg" to bookmark all the questions that were answered wrong and selected as correct. Then your system could choose the actual correct answer that may not have been selected for voted on. Just an idea, if they don't want to fix things, themselves.



9/18/2008 2:50:43 AM

By the way, I've voted quite a few things down in StackOverflow and it hasn't affected my reputation much...

Here's some news that I saw 'slashdotted' today, about how Tim Berner's Lee wants to have a trustworthiness rating system developed for websites:



9/18/2008 2:53:31 AM

Sorry - once again - the Tim Berners-Lee article about website trustworthiness ratings:


7/16/2009 10:17:11 AM

Great write up - Thank you for sharing..


7/26/2009 12:13:55 AM

Are you a chess player?

Mens Wear

8/10/2009 7:58:35 AM

We�re reading, keep writing! Thanks for explaining!

Oceanside Thrift Clothing

8/20/2009 4:24:53 PM

I hadn�t thought of this before, but it�s definitely an interesting idea. Thanks for the insight.

Learn German

10/7/2009 5:12:47 PM

Wow....I'm really appreciate your posting it's really informated for me hope you always update more often and share to us what you know.


discount clothing

10/12/2009 7:49:28 PM

s there any module that works like (QA site) even if remotely with votes and comments? Not looking for FAQ modules.

forex reviews

10/28/2009 2:49:15 AM

Thanks for all your work on Semanal - it’s an inspiration! many thanks


10/28/2009 10:43:18 AM

I am thankful for the new things I learned reading your post. Thanks.

ATV San Diego

11/29/2009 1:47:23 AM

Great post! I'll subscribe right now wth my feedreader software!

Justing Hosting

12/10/2009 10:43:57 AM

I will post a link to this blog on my page. I’m certain my readers will find this article very informative.

Lose Abdominal Fat

12/16/2009 1:48:13 AM

Considerably, the article is actually the best on this deserving topic. I harmonise with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your approaching updates. Saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the tremendous lucidity in your writing. I will at once grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Admirable work and much success in your business dealings!

eye herpes

12/18/2009 8:52:15 PM

This was a topic of conversation yesterday at lunch with my colleague. I have to agree with you that your point was right on the mark.

Andy Pelt

12/20/2009 12:58:17 AM

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your posts, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the excellent work.

cash flow

Add comment



Powered by BlogEngine.NET
Original theme by Mads Kristensen

About the author

Name of author Ivan Hamilton
"My inner nerd can beat up your inner nerd."

E-mail me Send mail



<<  April 2018  >>

View posts in large calendar

Recent comments





    The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

    © Copyright 2018

    Sign in