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How are you so fast?

I really appreciate the help I got from StackOverFlow. One thing I am curious about is how are users keeping pace with the questions? I mean when ever a question is asked there will be 10 - 15 views in a minute and an answer in first two minutes.

Many of my friends are also curious about this. My doubt is if I am missing some resources provided by Stack Overflow.

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migrated from Aug 25 '11 at 18:14

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

marked as duplicate by Pops, Sathya, Adam Lear, kiamlaluno, jonsca Aug 25 '11 at 18:40

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

I check SO about every 15 minutes... – MVCylon Aug 25 '11 at 18:15
We see your question before you type it out. Magic and mind reading mostly. – jjnguy Aug 25 '11 at 18:18
may be there are some other notifications for the new questions. :( – Prakash Aug 25 '11 at 18:28

StackOverflow has enough answerers to keep up with its askers.

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This answer came in just over a minute from when it was migrated. Shame! You'll do better next time, I'm sure. – ckittel Aug 25 '11 at 18:17
@SLaks Still, it will be possible only if people keep on refreshing. There should be people who are waiting for new questions then? :) – Prakash Aug 25 '11 at 18:21
Was it just me, or was there a cool hover dialog over your user card a bit ago? – jjnguy Aug 25 '11 at 18:22
@jjnguy interesting, that was discussed in a recent podcast, IIRC. No user cards over here though – Sathya Aug 25 '11 at 18:27
@Sathya, hmmm, they don't appear anymore. – jjnguy Aug 25 '11 at 18:34
@jjnguy I saw it, too. It was cool! – dlev Aug 25 '11 at 18:49
@dlev, yay! I'm not crazy! (I agree that it was cool.) – jjnguy Aug 25 '11 at 18:50

Truth be told, a huge number of users on SO are really just pseudonyms created by Watson.
IBM has an ongoing experiment to see how many questions it can answer here.

Some of the more popular names you'd recognize are :

Behind these names it's really just a supercomputer.
Now you know how it's so fast!

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Are you serious? If so how do you know that? – Prakash Aug 25 '11 at 18:35
He knows it because he is a child process of Watson himself, of course. – Pëkka Aug 25 '11 at 18:36
Very interesting. But lol from my side. Because I wasn't expecting any thing like that.:) – Prakash Aug 25 '11 at 18:39
Jon Skeet has even a photo, I thought he was a real person. – Ramy Al Zuhouri Jan 9 '13 at 3:03
That Watson is pretty ingenious for making that picture up. – Gerrat Jan 9 '13 at 13:57

Probably just the sheer number of users that are actively using the site at any given moment. If you take a look at QuantCasts page for you will see that there are over a million hits per day.

Doing some rough calculations you find that:

1000000/24/60 = 694

which basically says that in that 1 minute span there were close to 700 hits to SO. This could easily explain the numbers you are seeing.

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The number of questions viewed per day is closer to somewhere between 3 and 4 million, you are looking at the number of people. – Nick Larsen Aug 25 '11 at 18:27
Also, when you consider questions asked during peak periods, views/minute is even higher. – dlev Aug 25 '11 at 18:50

I think along with many users, the reputation and badges schemes make answering interesting, and keep the environment competitive.

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It's almost like XP in a roleplaying game. – MVCylon Aug 25 '11 at 18:24
yep, that is what i feel, (old runescape days :D ) – phoxis Aug 25 '11 at 18:25

Asked questions are often variations of common questions, where the asker just doesn't quite know what the problem is called, so they can't find duplicates on the site, but there are really thousands of questions that can be answered almost the same way. Those questions are usually answered very quickly, because we are used to answering their variations.

Other questions that are answered very quickly are usually coding problems in a language that the answerer is very experienced in. When the answerer can read code like their first language it doesn't take them long to find the errors in a small sample of code.

Some questions don't get answered so fast. Those questions are usually more difficult to answer, and take more effort. Since many of the people who enjoy answering questions on SO are the kind of people who enjoy challenges, they will put the effort in to try to be the first to figure out an answer to the problem, so there are usually a few people at any given time trying to find the answer to any recent difficult questions. So for their difficulty, they'll usually be answered fairly quick too, unless they're specific to a less widely used technology.

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