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Lately it seems that when I ask a question about how SO does something, there's someone determined to downvote the question, even though said questions, generally speaking, have a fair bit of research in them.

It seems some users dislike my desire to gain detailed knowledge about how certain things are done behind the scenes at SO (the app engine).

This leaves me with the impression that I'm doing something wrong, and I'm trying learn about things I'm not meant to.

From the FAQ:

If your question is about:

Stack Overflow

Stack Exchange Area 51

The core Stack Exchange engine that powers all Stack Exchange websites

… it is welcome here.

There is nothing nefarious about my desire. I am writing an application with overlapping functionality and, lacking the knowledge and experience to think of my own solutions to every problem, I find it useful to know how SO does certain things.

I could have asked on SO itself, but Meta seemed more appropriate. It seems some users have an impulsive, negative reaction to this.

Is knowing how stuff works at SO frowned upon?

Have I misunderstood one of the purposes of the meta site? Or is there a better way to ask?

I point to one example, but this has happened on several occasions now. So I'm curious what the official position on this is.

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1  
Note: Your last 10 posts have 25 upvotes and 4 downvotes, 3 of which are on the two posts you linked to, so you're actually doing pretty well overall –  Michael Mrozek Aug 10 '11 at 19:46
    
@Michael, I suppose you could say that. Although, looking it strictly from a 'questions intended to gain inside knowledge', I would say it's 6 out of the last 10 questions. I suppose I'm trying to rationalize why anyone would downvote a legitimate, researched questions. –  Mohamad Aug 10 '11 at 20:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Downvotes on meta do not indicate that the question is wrong, or that you shouldn't be asking the question. Often they mean, "I don't agree" but in your case they're probably due to your questions requiring inside knowledge of the system, which very few people here can provide. In other words you're posting a question to a large community where it's known not only that only 10-20 people can answer it, but that they're not terribly likely to do so. Don't take it personally - voting on meta is a bit more random and whimsical than on regular stack exchange sites.

Further, your questions don't appear to have a purpose. You're not reporting a bug, asking for a feature request, or starting a discussion. If you're implementing a similar system, it would be better to post about your system and your problem on stackoverflow. Unfortunately, the Stack Exchange engine engine is not open source, so unless there's a compelling reason to divulge how parts of it operate (such as security, performance, etc) then curiosity is generally left unrewarded.

Since the majority of users can't answer it, and those that can often don't, then some users downvote the post as unproductive.

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thank you for the input. While I appreciate that my questions do not appear to have a purpose, I can assure you they do. I also believe that a desire to learn and a healthy curiosity are purpose. If we're to evaluate every question on our perception of how useful it is to other people, we would run into trouble very quickly. It's impossible to reasonably answer such a question. I agree with your analysis of "why", but I disagree with the logic of the voters. The down vote link says "this [post type] is not useful". It's materially useful to the OP, shouldn't that be enough? –  Mohamad Aug 10 '11 at 20:15
    
@Mohamad I don't disagree with you. I'm just giving you the most likely reason people are downvoting. It doesn't mean they're wrong, or you're wrong - downvotes here are fundamentally different than other sites, and downvotes don't mean anything terribly significant. –  Adam Davis Aug 10 '11 at 20:22
    
in case you are curious, I solved the mystery: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/101746/… -- I don't classify that too important of a data to divulge, but that's me. –  Mohamad Aug 10 '11 at 23:46

This is the place to ask SO engine questions.

Please search first, since many have been asked before, and there is a lot already out there.

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