I was about to ask Stack Overflow has too many "too localised" new questions; then I stopped myself from posting because I saw the question and I'm in complete agreement with the subject.
I was a longtime reader of Stack Overflow, and now for some months also an active user. For the last two years it was a very valuable resource, because it contains lot of knowledge about everything.
Now it's pretty useless for new questions, because very good questions are obfuscated by the noise of noob questions. Some examples are the following ones:
- how can I check if the HTTP_REFERER contains a string, but not exact match?
They deserve a big RTFM as answer. However, they are "Noob questions: simple answers and big rep points" so they float along the home page for a long time, obfuscating other questions which are dozens of times more interesting.
I downvote all these questions because the tooltip over the upvote button says: "This question shows research effort; it is useful and clear (click again to undo)" and clearly all those questions don't show any effort.
I've also tried to flag some of them, but sometimes my flags were rejected and I can't understand why. Some examples of this are:
- Check if record already exists in database (I flagged as duplicate; there are at least 100 question on this.)
- http://stackoverflow.com/questions/7312279/need-some-help-converting-this-python-code-to-vb-net (I flagged it as not a real question; the guy wants his job done by others. It's even been upvoted three times, unbelievable.)
I'm saying this because I'm pretty frustrated. I asked a lot of questions, but I always spent at least an hour trying and searching before posting and I always read almost all the questions which Stack Overflow marks as similar. Now there are a lot of my questions which don't have an answer, and they have very poor view counts because they disappear from the home page in a few minutes. I don't pretend that all my questions are solved or that they are the best and most interesting in the world, but I think that they fit well in the Stack Overflow community, better than the question "how to check for a substring" above which gets four answers in two minutes.
It seems to me that Stack Overflow has become a great game of how to get the most rep in the least time.
From the other side, I've read somewhere, most recently here, that there are no beginner questions and any question is welcome in SO.
So, are beginner questions allowed or not on Stack Overflow?
IMHO they don't belong here and they should be absolutely removed or relegated to a secondary page.
I want to update this question, since the original question which inspired me is changed.
What about the "please debug this code for me" questions, such as SCP with PHP - Does not work?
These questions are clearly worse than noob questions, because they will hurt Stack Overflow more than any other. Don't know if the "too localized" flag is appropriate for them -- maybe a new flag reason should be added.