Please seat comfortable and take some time. I will not be synthetic, but it will be interesting, try to read it completely and see if you like.

Try to judge only after reading the whole document :-)

Have a look to this question: https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/251758/why-is-stack-overflow-so-negative-of-late

It got 5 hundred upvotes in a really few time by both the people who thinks that SO is too much harsh and restrictive, and the people who would like to have a more strict rules.

The reason is that this discussion doesn't express an opinion. Doesn't make a suggestion on how to solve the problem or why there is a problem. But allows everyone to express his own idea.

Here a famous write well explain how to speak to win and influence people. For curious men, the reason is bound to self-esteem. You can Google for: confirmation bias, rationalization, psychological self-defense.

According to scientific evidence human tries to find / see only the evidences which confirms their own opinions, this is a self-defense mechanism for protecting the self-esteem. This mechanism is made through Rationalization.

  • This means that human prefer to be asked their opinion instead of listening
  • Means that human prefer to confirm their idea instead of revising them
  • Means that they try to see only the evidence which confirms their own ideas

These are not theories. All this stuff is completely supported by tons of search made by brain fMRI and so on.

What does all this stuff means? Why I'm saying that?

Because it's really important to understand that human being should not completely trust themselves. We have a strong bias towards confirming our own ideas. So we should always make a strong effort to deeply listen and understand if other people opinion is in someway right, and if ours is in someway bad.

Another very important stuff which you should think of. Is that when an individual is put inside a flow of ideas, like a community, he will tend to polarize in that direction and look for confirmation that all that ideas are completely correct, good and so on.

Most of individual will stop trying to see alternative possibility. It is called Conformity.

Now, according to what I said from Dale Carnegie it's not convenient for me to express an opinion which goes against the beliefs of other people. Because this would wound their self-esteem.

But I'm not good at this, and I hope you to be mature enough to deeply think on what I reported here. I'm pretty sure to get dozen of downvotes, and this is not a good signal, but hope is the last stuff to die.

The question is:

The main objective of SE is to spread knowledge or to classify which question are of a good quality and allowed?

Are we here to learn or to instruct a neural network how to recognize 'good' (better to say allowed) questions?

Both are objective, but which is the MAIN one?

My question is probably against many rules. At the same time it strongly spreading information (for the definition of information spreading look at Information Gain).

Also this question was a bit against the rules but it was spreading some information.


Have you ever deeply thought on all this stuff?

  • 4
    I'm having a very hard time understanding what all this is about. Could you please try to clarify & focus your question a bit? And perhaps remove the long prologue completely, interesting as it might be, it's not really part of your actual question.
    – yannis
    Apr 25, 2014 at 9:29
  • @YannisRizos: I can try to split the question in two parts.. which part would you delete here? If you want you can also mark it with <stoke> and I will edit. Thanks a lot for the help. I'm also a bit scared by deleting all that long part because developers are often strongly self biased.. I fear they will simply think: "this guy is stupid, my ideas are perfect". This was the reason of the premise.
    – Revious
    Apr 25, 2014 at 9:35
  • 3
    I think I understand what he's getting at @YannisRizos - But I need to read this a few more times and think a bit before I answer. He's got a point, it's just a terribly difficult one to articulate.
    – Tim Post
    Apr 25, 2014 at 12:42
  • 5
    All you've really done here with the brain scans and stuff is provide ample scientific evidence for Bikeshedding. As to the "Why can't we all just get along" meta post, about once a year someone makes a post like that one, but the reality is that the discourse on Stack Overflow has been gradually and steadily improving over time. Apr 25, 2014 at 15:39

1 Answer 1


The question is:

The main objective of SE is to spread knowledge or to classify which question are of a good quality and allowed?

According to what SE is about:

Stack Exchange is a growing network of individual communities, each dedicated to serving experts in a specific field. We build libraries of high-quality questions and answers, focused on each community's area of expertise.

(emphasis mine)

Specifically, Programmers is about:

Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professionals and students in software development and related fields who are interested in getting expert answers on conceptual questions about software development. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about software development.

(emphasis mine)

So SE (and specifically Programmers) are neither about spreading knowledge nor really about judging the quality of various questions. Instead, the objective is to build a high quality library of on-topic Q&A. Maintaining a high quality makes contributing more enjoyable for all involved.

Furthermore, each site in the SE network has a narrow scope. Here on Programmers we are about various aspects of software development, but e.g. questions around keeping pets would not be acceptable here. Again, a narrow scope is in line with the objective of building a comprehensive, high-quality library of questions and answers.

  • +1 for the answer, but the problem is that the definition of what is a "good quality question" is completely opinionable. So some post on the official blogs tried to further define and clarify what is "good". And the sentence clearly states, for example, that everything is opinionable, that stakexchanges loves opinionable questions and it only blames primarly opinionated based questions - i.e. "If we can avoid conversations that are — and this is the really tricky part — too subjective, we can maintain the ideals of great Q&A"
    – Revious
    Apr 26, 2014 at 13:50
  • just take a few seconds at watching this document: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective ; it's really clear the effort put by the author at speaking of "Good Subjective, Bad Subjective" and "Great subjective questions"! How many users on SE are missing this shades seeing only black&white?
    – Revious
    Apr 26, 2014 at 13:52
  • Have also a look to this question: stackoverflow.com/questions/23295543/… (+4 votes) and to this programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/236896/… (-2 votes). There is strong subjectivity behind people votes, but there is also some bias in the way people interpret "low level questions". Some users here feel too much to be judges more than contributors in my very humble opinion.
    – Revious
    Apr 26, 2014 at 13:58
  • 3
    @Revious There's no comparison between the two questions; your second one is completely off topic for Programmers. It's perceived quality is irrelevant, it wouldn't belong on the site even if it was a fantastic question.
    – yannis
    Apr 26, 2014 at 19:26

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