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12:50 AM
 
1:31 AM
@ArtOfCode though - how many are dupes is a thing too
I'm personally not a fan of the super fast dupe closures here
 
2:27 AM
<-- huge fan
<-- hard blower
<-- mighty wind
 
lol
@Shog9 in some cases I personally feel that its at odds with acting as support for users. Not enough to make a fuss, but enough to mention it.
 
This isn't support, it's really just a helpdesk with a To Read folder and /dev/null imo... support in my mind is where you go, you say "Hey I'd like to dial up support" and someone goes "Hey this is the <company> <"support"/"hotline">, how may I help you?" and they actually walk you through fixing it... in real time too.
But I mean what this is works, it just doesn't work as prettily as it could, but hey... it works.
 
lol
support works in a lot of ways.
And dosen't.
In theory if you need help with using SE, MSE's your primary port of call - and I feel folks getting help first seems like a nice thing.
 
Just... I've gone and asked some things on meta (Those probably won't show up to most of you), and seen a few things on meta, where I've gone... "That question that this was marked a duplicate of was a thing?" but then again, did I really look? No... I didn't look. reminds me of not looking through the file so accurately named README... lol. Just some 2 cents before I go to sleep. Saw the interesting conversation here.
 
2:42 AM
@FreezePhoenix I only think so for MSE :p
maybe a little longer as a mod and I might change my mind
 
3:03 AM
@JourneymanGeek so
Not to go off on a rant
 
But its fine if you do ;p
 
But... This dup system we have?
It's kinda based on an ad hoc strategy that emerged a few months into SOs life back in '08
 
Like a lot of things? ;p
 
We've mostly known it isn't ideal for going on 9 years
 
Well, it kinda works ok on "regular" sites I think
Meta's odd cause its relatively small
 
3:05 AM
What you really wanna do half the time is write a short answer introducing a previous question
 
... which is literally what I recommend when you have a near dupe?
show what you've done and looked at.
But that's a social solution - and folks need to know they can/do do that.
@Shog9 hm. or actually not have dupe closes as closes.
 
Naw, it's... Look, what we have now is a social solution, coded into the system
 
having them linked makes sense - but not telling people they are closed.
or stopping folks from answering in this case.
 
The old Forum Way was literally "this is a dup, we're not gonna answer"
We were trying to be nicer
Twitter whiners aside, we actually succeeded
 
so "this is a dupe, we're not going to answer - but this is close enough!"
except when it isn't
 
3:09 AM
We forced people to provide links. Yay! Win!
 
lol
maaaaybe
 
Except, it doesn't match up with what most folks want to do, which is answer with a link and a short intro
we did better than our forebears, but we could do better still
 
we can do both though. ._.
people might get annoyed... ;p
 
There's the thing: the person who has already answered 1000 questions about null reference exceptions probably isn't wild about answering yet another one; they have 1000 answers they can point to
 
3:11 AM
The person who just learned about debugging null reference exceptions yesterday is way more enthusiastic about answering, but... They're mostly gonna answer by linking to the thing they learned from, which is one of 1000 answers by that first person
Finding a way to make both people happy is the magic trick here
 
the person could also in theory tailor the answer to the specific issue
but more likely is going to take the easy rep route ._.
 
And yeah... It's a social solution, but SO is 10 years old now; unless we code it into the system, most folks ain't gonna pick it up. We don't have the luxury of being able to just browbeat folks into using a convention like we did in '08
 
Nope
The perils of being a pillar of the internet ;p
 
I remember hanging out on IRC when RichB proposed the format for our current dupe system. "Heck, why not?" we said, and started editing it into posts. And it took off. That's something you can do when there are only a few hundred active users on the site.
 
yeah - and I suppose there's a lot less pushback for "big" changes
 
3:14 AM
I mean... RichB got banned, so I guess there was a bit of pushback...
 
But, y'know... You can still kinda do things via raw force of will at that stage, even if you do get banned for it. Now, you can't. You'll get banned and nothing will happen.
 
If you wanna change the system with this much momentum behind it, you gotta actually alter the UI itself
That's why I say, there's less of a difference between "social problem" and "technical problem" than folks tend to let on
After using it blithely for years, I'm starting to realize that "It's a social problem, not a technical one" often translates to "I want to lay blame, not fix anything."
 
Well - the idea of a dupe fundamentally - is to give people pointers to posts with the answer.
That's not orthognal to answering it
 
3:17 AM
Naw, that ain't really it
That's a nice side benefit, but that ain't the goal
 
@Shog9 I think the difference is what happens when you hit it with a spanner
People get annoyed when you hit them with a spanner....
 
Rob
It's the CoC. We can't say: "You didn't use the search and see the answer in the first few hits", but we can flag and with a consensus generate an automated response (and flagging credits) - somehow that's more polite and helpful. I write a polite and helpful comment on particularly well thought out questions that need a bit of help and after mention that they can delete their comments and I'll delete mine, leaving a cleaned up and polished question (or answer). Often that's appreciated,
rarely not.
 
The problem is, in a traditional forum you have a limited # of people who actually know things. Some new ones join over time, but the raw # is always tiny compared to the # who need to know things.
 
@Rob this is an older issue than the COC.
Its lovely to want to blame everything on the COC...
 
Rob
Lazyness.
 
3:18 AM
@Shog9 I'd argue that's the same here ;p
 
So what happens is, you get someone who knows The Thing inside and out, and they provide 1000 deep, insightful answers about The Thing, and then they get tired or have to make money, or their publisher is badgering them, or they die.
 
Rob
Easier to ask someone than to do one's own research, or learn to learn.
 
(ok, not me. I don't really know anything ;p)
@Shog9 I'd argue that's true here too ;p
 
And then... You're still getting 500 new questions about The Thing every day. Someone's gotta answer 'em. The person who Knows it is gone. The only folks who can answer are the folks who know a little bit or who've read stuff written by That Person.
So every day, those 500 new questions get answered a little bit less well
 
@Shog9 that ignores though - sometimes the answer to the new thing might need some synthesis - or the expert missed something or there's some minor difference...
and there's rarely the one
Even that dude on travel who ragequit, then apparently passed on
 
3:21 AM
yeah, sure
but
there's the thing: Dude Who Knows Stuff might still be around to answer New Questions About That Thing
 
I mean, over 8 years on the network, I can think of 2-3 people who've got that level of practical subject mater expertise.
 
What Dude doesn't want to do anymore is answer 500 questions a day that he's already answered.
So either he leaves 'em to someone else (& watches 'em get answered badly) or he throws his hands up & sez, "fuck this forum, Imma just write books & y'all can pay to learn this stuff"
OR
He starts just saying, "look, I answered this 5 years ago and the answer hasn't changed in 5 years. I know. I'm on the standards committee that changes these things; we haven't changed it"
"SEARCH FOR IT"
 
500 times? ;p
(though i guess essentially our closes work exactly like that)
 
yeah. Look, I search for things a lot on the 'Net... There are forums that I'm sure are 99% answers that just say "this has already been asked; SEARCH"
Which, uh, really sucks when those are the only answers your search finds
 
hah. true
(then again, the one thing I got out of the first time I dropped out of uni is mad search skills)
 
3:25 AM
So, y'know... THAT'S the primary purpose of dup-closing. Screw the asker; the purpose is to give the tired old Dude a constructive outlet. The MAIN purpose is to give him an outlet that doesn't involve polluting all future search results with dead-ends.
IOW... It's a social solution.
It's taking what would normally be a destructive pattern for everyone involved, and turning it into something slightly more constructive.
 
Rob
We need the AutoFAQ™ - much as dupes come up as you type the title to your question, and after submitting your question there sometimes appears in the right column a "Related" section, there could be a checkbox to confirm that they've read a Q&A which scores extremely high as a match for their question.
 
And look, I've said all this 1000 times, and I wish I could stop typing it, but nobody really believes me.
 
@Rob .... that's already there
and it works better than search
 
And there are 1000 other people who've said it 1000 times, and nobody believes them either.
 
we've been complaining about that for years ;p
 
3:30 AM
Somehow, this idea that Stack Overflow is about askers keeps seeping through the walls and poisoning everyone
 
Rob
I guess I've got too much Rep to see it. Unfortunate that it isn't more effective.
 
askers are great. Askers are grist for the mill. But they're the input, not the output.
 
@Shog9 I don't think the messaging we get from folks helps very much
 
So forget me; I'm nobody. Here's Joel, in April 2008, 6-8 weeks before anyone had ever asked a question on Stack Overflow...
> But here’s the concept:

Programmers seem to have stopped reading books. The market for books on programming topics is miniscule compared to the number of working programmers.

Instead, they happily program away, using trial-and-error. When they can’t figure something out, they type a question into Google.
...
> Jeff Atwood and I decided to do something about it. We’re starting to build a programming Q&A site that’s free.
Free to ask questions, free to answer questions, free to read, free to index, built with plain old HTML, no fake rot13 text on the home page, no scammy google-cloaking tactics, no salespeople, no JavaScript windows dropping down in front of the answer asking for $12.95 to go away. You can register if you want to collect karma and win valuable flair that will appear next to your name, but otherwise, it’s just free.
That's what SO was meant to be before it ever was, and - here's the amazing thing - that's actually what it did end up being.
Not "support desk for the world where 1 million talented people piss away their time every day"
 
@Shog9 - ehhh.
 
3:33 AM
but a resource where everyone can benefit from everyone else's knowledge, because it isn't drowned under ads, paywalls, some walled garden, some Slack HOA, or just dup'd all to hell
 
That's true for the "regular" sites IMO
I was specifically mentioning meta ;p
 
Dude. Where do you think most of the folks on Meta get their info?
 
which is pretty much this odd helpdesk/bug-triage/other stuff shoehorned into a Q&A site
@Shog9 bitter experience and tears?
 
I got mine by reading meta
 
I didn't really read meta much until I decided to hit 10k to see a deleted question ;p
 
3:35 AM
Shit dude, I got more meta EXP than anyone else. And I didn't start out by building the system or writing the book, I just sat here & used it, & read other people's stuff & tried to help the folks coming in like others had helped me.
 
And a lot of stuff I answer's probably based off experiences as a mod.
> tried to help the folks coming in like others had helped me.
 
When I say meta is just as much a product of this model as SO is, I ain't talking out of my ass. It might be the one thing in this world I actually know stuff about.
 
and this comes back to why I don't like quick dupe closures on meta and meta alone.
I reasonably get how things work, and it took me 6-8 years to get comfortable with meta. And its still a bit of a minefield if you're new
 
If I could give folks one bit of advice when they go to ask a question... Like, actually give it to them, press it into their hands and close their fingers over it like I was handing them a baton in a relay race we can't afford to lose...
 
so you're here, you're basically trying to work out how an easier site works...
 
3:38 AM
...it would be this: read 100x more than you write.
every time someone starts to type... Especially a question... They're giving up an opportunity to learn in exchange for an opportunity to talk.
That's almost always a shitty tradeoff
Sometimes, it's necessary.
 
Heh, I suppose.
 
But... Even when it's necessary, it's a tradeoff.
Asking a good meta question is probably something that takes a half-hour minimum.
MINIMUM!
 
How much can you read in a half hour? How much searching can you get in?
 
I've never taken that long. ._.
granted it usually involves at least a week of seething annoyance at something...
@Shog9 ... lots...
 
3:40 AM
I guarantee, you've spent more than a half hour thinking about it before you start typing
 
ah true
 
Shit, sometimes I'll spend a half-hour just trying to find a single link, a single reference for an off-hand statement somewhere
And I'll end up going down the rabbit hole & changing my entire thesis midway through because I find some excellent idea someone tossed out 3 years ago that I'd overlooked
 
snort
Yeah
(or 2 weeks looking up what ended up being an half hour of actual work)
 
That was Jeff's big epiphany when it came to meta: yes, it's frustrating and tiring and down-right cruel a lot of the time... But meta conversation means learning about something you thought you already knew from folks who somehow managed to know parts of it better than you and are able to take utterly unique perspectives on it that you wouldn't have latched onto in a decade of trying.
 
Rob
If you don't know it's to one's benefit to listen and learn, to study and be able to ask better questions, and understand the answer. A few times I've done hours of research to double check my sources, to answer a question and provide authoritative links; all for a few dozen Rep. points and frequently a thank you (that they aren't supposed to do). The thanks is usually more valuable.
⬉ One funny thing about Meta is that I earned a 1/3rd of the rep from knitting, which I know nothing about.
 
3:47 AM
[ SmokeDetector | MS ] Pattern-matching website in body (97): I have a few questions about coconut oil ✏️ by Liberty on pets.SE
 
Eh
I stopped caring about rep a long time ago ;p
Especially on meta - I'm happy to take a downvote/rep hit if I feel its something worth saying
@Shog9 Can't disagree with a lot of that
 
@Shog9 I saw this a couple of days ago and it reminded me of about a year ago when the social solutions were all we had. It does make you feel kind of helpless to be told that there's no likelihood of a technical solution so work as hard as you can to make a social one do the thing.
 
@Catija I'm ok with both G
Only thing is when I need a technical solution I'll complain loudly on meta. When I need a social one, I complain loudly in chat
 
> That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: "You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.' Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies."
Social solutions in lieu of technical ones: Bricks Without Straw
We are social creatures; our minds infinitely flexible when it comes to devising solutions to the problems we face interacting with one another.
But
The cost of this flexibility is weakness
Our solutions persist only as long as we're able to remember them, convey them to others
Our solutions reach only as far as our own voices
Like straw in the bricks, the technologies we build reinforce our malleable solutions, let them hold their structure beyond our ability to hold them
We can envision a better world, a stronger community... But without reinforcement, our visions crumble, evaporate like every other castle in the air an idle person has imagined
Language itself is the oldest technical solution to a social problem
Writing, the brash newcomer, builds on that
 
4:05 AM
@Shog9 arguably though - you also need mud to make bricks. Solutions cannot be purely technical - and sometimes that little bit of slop helps.
 
Yeah, hence the expression
I was formerly a programmer, you know
 
I know well the siren song of the pure technical solution
 
I erm... for all my sins, mostly work with people.
(ironically even when my job description mostly involves staring at screens and panicing appropriately)
 
Many a time I would think to myself, "These fools who would waste their time talking to one another; I will devise a beautiful framework, provably robust, which will supplant all their bickering!"
...Guess how that always ended?
 
4:07 AM
hah
It was a beautiful framework, just not very useful in the face of bickering?
 
Can a tool no one will use be called useful?
 
We are toolmakers; it is in our blood to perform this task, to take what we find around us and fashion devices to make our work easier
But, we start by hewing the wood and stone to fit our own hands, not by reshaping our hands to fit the rock
The most cherished tools are those which the user wields as an extension of her own body, with no clear separation between the organic and the constructed
The best toolmaker then, is one who understands both the capabilities of the material, and the needs of the user, who does not hesitate to alter the structure of the former to better serve the latter
It is the apex of foolish pride to construct a tool that cannot serve its users, to claim perfection in a device that humans struggle to grasp
what meaning has perfection, beauty, utility or function when divorced from the people?
So human clay we are and will always be, the first and most critical material that the toolmaker - who each of us are as well - must learn to work in.
Are not our own hands the first tool we struggle to find function in? The infant laying in its cradle waves them wildly, seeking out a means of control... Are they not the last to fail us? The elder, eyes dim and tongue no longer in command of language grasps the blanket one final time.
We struggle in the moment when our intellect blazes hottest with the fires of youth to master these tools, and then build others to aid them as our inherent ability gradually fades.
 
What foolishness is it then that causes us to pause and attempt to separate the tools we build from the tools we are born with? Both cause us trouble, both bring us joy, both are a focus for mastery and incompetence alike.
If we may take pity on one who would struggle to grasp a pencil, why would we not also take pity on one who, upon grasping the writing device, scribbles out only nonsense?
 
Ash
4:20 AM
walks in, makes a "this is going over my head" gesture, walks out
 
All solutions are part technical, part social. Anything less is not a solution; it is at best part of one, waiting for something to complete it.
hands Ash a beer
 
@Ash lol yup
 
Ash
@Shog9 takes it on the way by
 
Ash:
 
Cause I think I'm a little lost too
 
Ash
4:23 AM
@Catija Yes! That, minus the hat! I don't really do hats (despite the fact that mod hats helped me and my husband date, you could claim, but that's another story)
 
ON A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT NOTE... anyone here got any experience with YJ Jeeps?
 
Ah. Not I :p
 
My transmission won't shift into neutral or any of the first 3 gears
damnedest thing
 
@Shog9 I think that a lot of this is probably right but my dad's Parkinson's and the ALS and other ailments that hit people in their prime, taking away their control of their bodies while their minds are still active (Stephen Hawking, for example)... not always the case. :)
 
4:24 AM
fair point
 
@Shog9 ... Clutch?
It's an older model by the looks of things
And I'd totally blame that or the gearbox
Granted I know sfa about cars
Alllsooooo....
Don't we have a motor vehicles site?
 
I didn't even know that the old Wranglers were called "YJ"s... so... No. But, I do know how to drive stick... so that's got to count for something.
Have you asked on Mechanics?
 
yeah, but I'm at kinda the "I've wiggled the nob a bit & gave up to shovel snow" stage
If it stays nice tomorrow, I'll pull the console out & make sure I don't just have a lump of rust stuck somewhere unfortunate, then go from there
 
Is it making odd noises?
Ah
 
4:29 AM
Only if you count me cussing at it while inside
if I gotta rebuild the tranny, Mechanics is a good choice
(the folks over on mechanics.se are real nice folks, and wouldn't give me crap about a lazy question... But I do try to be respectful)
 
Sure. You want to rule stuff out first. :)
 
[ SmokeDetector | MS ] Link at end of answer, pattern-matching website in answer (140): How easy to cut a turn light? by user6604 on crafts.SE
 
When did it go out? Could you not get it going from a cold start or did it stop functioning while you were driving?
 
Worked fine last time I parked it, left it in reverse & couldn't get it back out next time I tried to take it
Will go into 4th, 5th... But that's not terribly useful :-P
 
Fine if you have a steep hill to start off on. :D
 
4:36 AM
All I gotta do is somehow drag it to the edge of the yard & hope the three neighbors between me and an open field don't complain... ;-)
 
[ SmokeDetector | MS ] Link at end of answer (60): What do the numbers on the punch cards mean? by Hitek on retrocomputing.SE
[ SmokeDetector | MS ] Offensive answer detected, toxic answer detected (159): Complaint against supervisors by phd on academia.SE
 
 
2 hours later…
6:30 AM
[ SmokeDetector | MS ] Bad keyword in body, bad keyword in title (195): How to prevent automatic ads redirection from 123movies WordPress site? by Zulkifl Agha on wordpress.SE
 
Rob
Background: Bricks without straw and With a strong hand and an outstretched arm. --- Is there a .GIF for that?:
 
What's the plural of exodus?
Exodii? Exodae?
 
6:53 AM
Hm
 
Rob
7:04 AM
@M.A.R.ಠ_ಠ - Exoduses - Source 1 or 2.
 
7:43 AM
Well a lot of people don't consider those credible but OK
Really, I was kidding. In a word this rare, any form you use to refer to a plural, as long as it's understood, is fine
@JourneymanGeek That's an interesting plural
 
@M.A.R.ಠ_ಠ Well the first one would be incorrect in Latin. It would have to be Exodi. ;)
 
Shrug
That somehow reminds me of communitybuilding.stackexchange.com/q/2594/2254 , but probably not the same ballpark. They must know that here on stack overflow, spam bots will be fought off by more sophisticated bots (the latter are sometimes "moderators", but ... meh ;-)) — Marco13 6 hours ago
I think Smokey should be offended
Unless he's a mod too
 
SpamRam takes a bigger offense
 
@JohnDvorak But Community is a mod...
 
> . . . has approved 960 edit suggestions and rejected 42 edit suggestions and improved 4 edit suggestions
That definitely doesn't look like hunting a Steward.
Of every 241 acceptable edits, only 1 needed some improvement.
I am proud of SO.
 
8:17 AM
got 5k ! :)
 
@Pandya Congrats!
 
Thanks.
 
8:50 AM
To sync, or to async, that is the question...
 
9:18 AM
asyncing ship?
 
9:50 AM
@JourneymanGeek If Titanic synced with Google Maps DiCaprio wouldn't have died.
 
 
1 hour later…
Rob
11:24 AM
@M.A.R.ಠ_ಠ Just say exudes
 
 
2 hours later…
1:54 PM
Just in case somebody is interested: I just saw that Stack Exchange is hiring for Community Managers.
 
@Rob Geez that scene was scary.
 
@MEEisJohannGambolputty... does that role come with a tazer? Then I might apply
 
@Bart they often call it "suspension"...
 
/me looks up the ad
 
@MEEisJohannGambolputty... already applied ;p
 
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