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I wonder why some of the top answerers (> 1000 answers) on SO have so few questions (< 100 questions). Has anyone ever caught them using multiple accounts?

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More importantly, why do the top askers never answer questions? –  belgariontheking Aug 10 '09 at 20:03
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Oh, dear. I seem to have bludgeoned myself to death by banging my head against my desk. –  Hilarious Comedy Pesto Aug 10 '09 at 20:03
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stackoverflow.com/users/51816/joan-venge and stackoverflow.com/users/22656/jon-skeet must be the same person!!! –  jjnguy Aug 10 '09 at 20:08
    
People who answer do not know every topic out there. They might be very knowledgable, but they have questions to on topics they might not know enough about. Do you know everything? –  Troggy Aug 10 '09 at 20:09
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I've never seen a question more worthy of the vampire tag. –  XMLbog Aug 10 '09 at 20:09
    
@Troggy: Yes. That is why I've never asked a question on SO. –  Hilarious Comedy Pesto Aug 10 '09 at 20:11
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@Pesto: No way! You must have a secret account! –  GEOCHET Aug 10 '09 at 20:12
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@TheTXI: Sorry about that. Your face hit the stairs all the way down as I brought you down into the basement. –  GEOCHET Aug 10 '09 at 20:14
    
It is more fun to answer and see if the community loves or hates you. –  Troggy Aug 10 '09 at 20:15
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@Troggy: We hate you... –  jjnguy Aug 10 '09 at 20:21
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Seems to me like you always win. –  devinb Aug 10 '09 at 21:38
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I thought that said "stubborn steak" –  TheTXI Aug 10 '09 at 21:41
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Well, I am a winner. –  GEOCHET Aug 10 '09 at 21:43
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Why didn't you make those points in your original question? –  jjnguy Aug 11 '09 at 3:57
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@Jader: To answer your second point in your last comment, I've done exactly that. I've asked a lot of questions outside my comfort zone and I don't think it's affected my credibility. We all know that everyone here is constantly developing their skills (well, most of us are), so no one is really going to look down on you for asking even the newbiest questions in a new area you're exploring. –  Bill the Lizard Aug 11 '09 at 12:45

9 Answers 9

Generally speaking I would say because they know more and need help on less. Additionally, I would anticipate that the people who can answer many questions, can do so because they've become adept at learning quickly, and therefore do not need to ask questions as frequently to learn more. And finally, it may simply be a matter of choice, that they're choosing to be involved in the site via answering rather than asking. I expect you would find a similar trend in the reverse, that people who have asked a lot of questions, have answered relatively few. Regardless, I definitely do not believe this suggests they're using a separate account to ask questions from.

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More tersely: They're not idiots. –  XMLbog Aug 10 '09 at 20:03
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@Welbog, so you're implying that people asking (more than just a few) questions on SO are idiots? Hmm. –  Jonik Aug 10 '09 at 20:55
    
@Jonik, not necessarily. But, you are assuming that he is implying that...you know what assuming does? –  jjnguy Aug 10 '09 at 20:59
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@Jonik, His was not an exclusive statement. It simply states that FOR ALL users (u) IF (u does not ask many questions) AND (u answers many questions) THEN it is NOT the case that (u is an idiot) –  devinb Aug 10 '09 at 22:54

This is my secret account. Have I been doing it wrong?

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+1 - this made me laugh. –  duffymo Aug 11 '09 at 0:00

Yes. Indeed, this is the dirty little secret of SO...

As you're well aware, the question/answer ratio for human beings is fixed at 283/7. It is physically impossible for anyone to answer more than seven questions without having first asked at least 283. Therefore, any user with a smaller ratio is undoubtedly maintaining one, if not several, shadow accounts used only to ask questions and thereby maintain their obscenely unnatural Q/A ratios.

The exception to this is Jon Skeet, who is not human.

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+1 for accurate math. –  R. Martinho Fernandes Aug 10 '09 at 22:56

If they'd been caught, they'd no longer be secret accounts...

But seriously, when I need to ask questions, I do so. I just don't need to very often.

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I can guarantee you that even with my ♦ powers, I have never caught myself using a ghost account.

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I guess you're even more clever than you knew. –  Hilarious Comedy Pesto Aug 10 '09 at 20:48
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Have you perhaps paid off one of the moderators to turn a blind eye? Perhaps convinced your wife to seduce "Marc Gravell" in order to gain this additional power? –  devinb Aug 10 '09 at 20:49

Yes. Yes they do.

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Jeff Atwood's known aliases: Eggs McLaren, Sneakers O'Toole –  Kyle Cronin Aug 10 '09 at 21:33
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@Kyle: There are a few more too! "The programmer of the night", "the world's nerdiest vampire" come to mind. –  GEOCHET Aug 10 '09 at 21:46
    
welbog.homeip.net/glue –  GEOCHET Aug 10 '09 at 21:47
    
@Rich B: You forgot "computerscience-est Nosferatu". –  XMLbog Aug 11 '09 at 10:31
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Alright, the gig is up. Jon Skeet is my alternate account. Please merge my Jon skeet account into my Adam Davis account on SO. I'm tired of living the lie. –  Adam Davis Nov 5 '09 at 16:15

Most of the people who try to use multiple accounts on this system are too stupid to be good at it and get a decent sized rep.

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Good to see you breaking the mold, TXI. –  XMLbog Aug 10 '09 at 20:34

I don't use any secret accounts for asking questions. One primary reason is that it's better for me rep wise to ask questions than to use a secret account. Secret accounts don't have any rep benefit :).

I ask few questions because I primarily use StackOverflow.com as a distraction tool. Whenever I'm waiting for a build, running suites, or I just need to let my mind wander I head over to stackoverflow.com.

I do actually ask lots of questions (how else do you learn?). But due to Visual Studios current place in the release cycle most of my day to day issues are dealing with my day job working on Visual Studio. Typically about strange component interactions, old and new API issues, performance etc ... These are answered quickest by emailing various teams or digging through source control and bug logs.

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There is no evidence of this.

A user has nothing to gain from asking questions on separate accounts from the answering ones.

Any serious gaming of the system will be automatically detected and shutdown.

Also, if a user chooses to ask questions on one account and answer them on another, there is no reason why this should be disallowed. (unless they are gaming the system)

And, think about this: If they have all of the answers to everyone else's questions, why do they need to ask their own?

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