I'm sorry to flog a dead horse, but I'm honestly disgusted by the conduct in the Programming Tourism question.
I want to be clear about this. I would never do the kind of thing he's proposing. I'd go out and enjoy the sights and sounds and smells and tastes and
But the OP asks two very simple questions, point blank:
- Is it legal?
- Is it possible?
And the top-voted, ridiculously voted answer, now at 62 upvotes, scornfully rejects the premise of the question without offering any real insight or rationale:
Sorry, but I think you're crazy. Paris is one of the most interesting and lively cities in the world. You have a 10 day vacation with your girlfriend and you want to spend that time coding?
Why not take a break from computers for the 10 days and come back refreshed and energised to complete your Ph.D?
That's it. That's the whole post.
This is not an answer to the question. It doesn't answer either #1 or #2. It does not provide an "alternative" because the OP was not asking for options. It is no more than a snarky retort.
Let me reiterate: I agree with the general feelings expressed within that answer. But there is a difference between feeling the same way as someone and upvoting their answer. The answer is not helpful or useful to the person who asked the question, or any future readers, in any way. It is no different from all the joke answers on Stack Overflow we saw in the early days that went, dude, you should totally drop that and try jQuery - now relegated to a silly meta meme.
What really bothers me is not that the answer was posted; quite honestly, I can forgive Steve for having the knee-jerk reaction he did, even if I personally would have had more tact.
But the mass upvoting and people militantly defending the answer afterward is not what these Q&A sites are supposed to be about. This is not supposed to be a place where people come genuinely looking for help, and not only get shot down, but get a pile-on of comments and votes telling him that, basically, he's a loser.
I know that we're seeing the bike shed effect, but this seems way out of proportion to any of the bikeshedding I've seen on any other Stack Exchange site.
Is there something I'm missing? Why has this answer been upvoted so many times? Why hasn't it been locked or deleted? Are there seriously people who don't think this is utterly childish and a very poor reflection on the community in general?
Is there anything more we can be doing to improve the level of discipline here? (Don't say flag/downvote - I already did.) Or is this type of behaviour already firmly entrenched in the site's culture, something that we're all expected to just ignore or chuckle at when it comes up?
This site's come a long way in terms of question quality - but are answers and votes still basically a free for all, or is there actually some standard people are expected to follow?