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I have an issue with StackOverflow. I am not a very smart person, and so it is difficult for me to answer many of the questions that users have. Therefore, I propose a new StackExchange network site called Heap Underflow.

While I may not have answers for many (or any) of the questions that users have asked, I nevertheless have answers for many questions that have not yet been asked. HeapUnderflow would provide a great opportunity in that I could provide my answers as they came to me, and questions that these answers address could automatically be found.

Many of the problems that arise with StackOverflow and affiliated sites are due to the Pedantic Oligarchy Meritocracy that is community represents. Too much attention is paid to the issue of whether an answer is a good fit for a question, or whether a question should be asked here or there, or whether a question is worth asking at all. These and other topics of debate lead to downvotes, flags, and other generally confrontational interactions. The source of these problems is in part the popular nature of the site and the "Tragedy of the Commons" effect that dictates that the least invested in the site's well-being are those with the greatest potential in aggregate to cause harm to it. However, the root cause of that problem is the involvement of people in general.

With Heap Underflow, these unwelcome human interactions are removed entirely. Using a fuzzy-logic neural net question-matching system, the HeapBrain will find questions to suit answers you have provided, and then automatically upvote and accept your answer, saving you the trouble of long comment discussions or (heaven forbid) back-and-forth diagnostic chat sessions. Here is a mockup:

Heap Underflow mockup

Heap Underflow provides additional benefits beyond simply avoiding the undesirable elements of current Q&A sites. It has oft been said that a Q&A site is carried on the back of its most knowledgeable users. With little to offer them other than the pleasure of seeing another human being succeed and arbitrarily assigned points in a database, these users are often wracked by ennui, overcome with the futility of their mission in the face of the Internet's ignorance. ExpertsKnowledgeable users posting on Heap Underflow, however, are rewarded in not just internet dollars, but real-life dollars through an innovative profit-sharing mechanism that distributes a percentage of ad revenues to users based on their current reputation. The more trackbacks, pings, hrefs, views, impressions, a user's answer gets, the larger the check that arrives in their real-life mailbox.

This encourages answers that rank highly on internet search engines, which increases overall awareness of the site, which increases ad revenue in a virtuous spiral. It has been long established in the web business that attracting the attention of SEO specialists is the highest praise to which a site can aspire. The presence of money and the fixation on metrics as a measurement of performance makes this a natural fit with those champions of the 21st century.

As popular as the StackExchange network of sites is, one can only presume the people running it are terribly smart, and so I would like for this site to be implemented in a week, to go live on April 1st. If you find you have trouble with any aspect of the implementation, you can use the prototype to provide what you know how to do, and it will figure out what problem you have just solved. Thank you.

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A most excellent idea all round. – Rory Mar 24 '12 at 22:42
You spent far too much time on that mock-up :-). – ben is uǝq backwards Mar 24 '12 at 22:50
I wasn't going to read your question because you started with that classic-almost-Forrest-Gump-line about not being a smart man... but it appears you may be wrong. This is the smartest question I've seen this fine Sunday morning, and it promises me lots of cold hard cash. How could I say no to that? – slugster Mar 24 '12 at 23:21
@slugster I figure most respectable users on the site spend at least 40 hours/week here as helpdesk technicians, they should at least earn that wage. – user181547 Mar 24 '12 at 23:25
@Ben Oddly enough, when I logged on to my computer this morning, it was already there, fully formed, along with a cautionary note to "never trust a tan sysadmin". I may have had too much coffee last night. – user181547 Mar 24 '12 at 23:26
I keep a personal list of "frequently pasted answers" to respond to SO questions with minimal amounts of repeated typing. I guess having "speculative answers" is also useful, although it's bordering a blog. You'd have to make sure that posts are still specific answers, and not just extended essays. – Kerrek SB Mar 24 '12 at 23:31
@KerrekSB I kept a blog of every answer I could think of, but after about a week, blogspot sent me an e-mail telling me they would delete it unless I could keep my content under 4 yobibytes. Indicentally, if you have to resort to "frequently pasted answers", shouldn't you just mark a question as a duplicate? – user181547 Mar 24 '12 at 23:34
@K.G. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Often the FPAs get incorporated into a situationally adapted answer. Other times, the original question title is so far off the ultimate answer that it's hard to locate duplicates. There have been repeated calls for a "canonical answer" to certain popular questions, but that has only materialized in a very limited number of cases. – Kerrek SB Mar 24 '12 at 23:39
@KerrekSB With response I think you meant to say close as dupe... Although repwhoring is common these days ;) – PeeHaa Mar 25 '12 at 0:24
You're one day late. Friday was yesterday. – Robert Harvey Mar 25 '12 at 1:23
@RobertHarvey My calendar says there are 31 days in March! In all the project estimates I've ever given, none has ever exceeded seven days. If I'm a day late, then I guess the joke's on me. – user181547 Mar 25 '12 at 1:26
If I provide the answer "42", will Heap Underflow find the matching question? – lockstep Mar 25 '12 at 1:31
@lockstep It probably already has, since it keeps track of all mentions of its name on the internet, but in the case of 42, I thought that coming up with the answer was the hard part, not the question. Any clergymen here are free to register their disagreement. – user181547 Mar 25 '12 at 1:34
You're supposed to post these questions on April 1st. No one gets the joke when you post them in anticipation of April 1st, even if you slip in somewhere towards the end that you want it to go live by that date. – Cody Gray Mar 25 '12 at 8:17
@TheEstablishment I've been told in the past that I'm ahead of my time. Beside which, if we limited ourselves to one day a year for jokes, well, that'd be sad! – user181547 Mar 25 '12 at 16:04

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