First off before allowing all to tear into the meat of what will be written like some saber tooth cat let us cleanse the palate first with a little bit of preface time for those who may not know me. Let me say that I seem to be a Contrarian when it comes to Stack Overflow having written some posts like
- Cult of Personality and Paparazzi (-12 as of this writing)
- Bias against Regular Expression Questions?(-1 almost above water)
That sampling of mine seems to bring a different view to the mix of answers and questions here on Stack Overflow. Note that I am not trying to go against the grain, per se; for it is a learning experience and I have really learned a lot since posting those questions and am truly humbly thankful. I find Stack Overflow’s community very dynamic and its loss from the development community would be profound.
Ok, so you know that some of my questions go against the grain alcohol so to speak, so it should not be surprising that my answers can sometimes do the same. Which harkens to the title of this post but sublty rephrased:
Is diversity in answers really allowed?
Now I understand that not all my responses to questions are the Wonka’s Golden Ticket to a happy result in the burbs, and frankly some of them are downright feral dogs of an answer. But my intent is to provide an alternate line of thinking; for sometimes in development there are more than one way to skin that saber toothed cat. Or maybe I can provide insight on a side topic which is not the answer but could help someone or the originator of the question with an alternate line of help. Isn’t that what a community is for…to provide all possible solutions?
With that backdrop I find myself being targeted and heavily critiqued for some of my, to quote one of the someone’s response “Another not really relevant answer” (emphasis mine) answer. In a span of an hour I became a target of multiple people who began to enumerate my responses and pulled out the worst of the worst (with a couple exceptions) to expose to the world the ones they felt broken some cardinal rule. They took one answer, which I replied two almost two years ago, (where it was marked as answer) and made it a comment (though nobody else answered or helped the OP) and told me and I quote
“Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, we would like you to include the essential parts of the linked article in your answer, and provide the link for reference. Failing to do that leaves the answer at risk from link rot.”
Wow…link rot? The blog linked to is from Microsoft’s SQL server team blog! The article is not a simple how to, but a laundry list of things to try.
Ok, I get that my posts will be marked down and that to me is a learning experience; but isn’t it better to provide an answer than not provide one at all?
I have a blog where I have taken the time to drill down into different topics and yes I link to those articles. The blog has zero ads and I pay for it out of my own pocket. But one individual felt that I am spamming the world by linking and provided this feedback
I get that some answers may be thin…but did the person who went through my queue take time to reward me for good answers?
No, for criticism, sadly, only seems to go in one direction. Did he reply to the good answers where I linked to my blog which turned out to be very forward thinking such as this one: Read MS Exchange email in C#. The criticism implies I only do bad answers…for how about the answer:
Where I came back time and time again to craft the answer via multiple edits. It only has 1 markup, but frankly that answer to me shows my modus operandi, that if I am on the right track I will continue and work with an OP. I am actually very proud of that answer.
I guess I am just venting here, but I won’t be bullied either. I believe it is insightful for answers to be downvoted and criticism provided, that is not my gist, but to be labeled and sought out; that to me doesn’t seem to match the spirit of providing answers to users.
What can I or someone who comes after me learn from this experience? What does the community think and how should I proceed?