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Feature Requested: Discovery Tool

I think Stack Oveflow is an ocean of knowledge which is currently being used by developers and answered by developers. These gems are hidden deep inside the Stack Overflow's databases as if they are in a sea.

These are hard to discover (if you know how to search them).

Adding a Quora-like feature (enhancing it to allow users to select which tag apart from other options).

http://www.quora.com/shuffle.

enter link description here

Clicking on Next button, shows the random question with an answer (see the selected option in the drop down menu shown on right of the image).

Current state of Stack Overflow: users ask questions and get answered. or search for some question and learn about it.

What do they miss? They could see what they could search. There are ways to follow the pagination and see which questions are answered. While this process is tough, it's tougher to identify the questions which are answered by experts (with high reputation score). Reading expert's responses are always full of knowledge.

How could this issue be solved? By adding a discovery tool which shows the better questions (under a tag) which was answered most or answered by experts or at least asked by experts. There can be so many criteria on what the next questions could be selected (Stack Overflow knows it better than I could try to explain).

This will surely add a lot value to seekers/learners. See how StumbleUpon lets users to discover gems.

I expect the Stack Overflow community to support this feature to help others!

This is the feature which I think could add value to everyone, Stack Overflow and developers. Stack Overflow exposes old contents to developers and developers get the opportunity to learn about some hidden gems.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Feb 9 '13 at 8:04

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

6  
Could you describe what that "shuffle" thing is on Quora? –  Mat Feb 9 '13 at 8:09
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play with quora.com/shuffle. it shows the random question, you can select to show q&a both or just answers. its basically a learning tool for new developers who want to learn from the past questions. browsing is painful however if random questions generator is smart enough (Qs with most answers or answered by most reputed user etc.) then it can show most valuable entries to learners. –  Funsuk Wangadu Feb 9 '13 at 8:26
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Please edit your post to describe exactly what you're proposing. The link you posted requires logging in, I don't believe people who aren't registered on Quora will do that just to understand what this question is about. –  Mat Feb 9 '13 at 8:30
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this could probably be an interesting idea for stackapps –  gnat Feb 9 '13 at 9:20
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I would love to see this kind of app on stackapps! wish someone builds it. –  Funsuk Wangadu Feb 10 '13 at 8:26

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

As has been explained by Manishearth and Mad Scientist, a discovery tool for consumption doesn't make sense on Stack Overflow.

However, I could see a use in a shuffle tool that gives you a random unanswered question from the tags you are strong / interested in, for answering.

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Doesn't the Community user somewhat serve this purpose, by randomly kicking older (unanswered, I believe) questions to the front page from time to time? –  Brad Larson Feb 10 '13 at 0:04
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@BradLarson: Sometimes I wish we had more control over Community. It bumps useless stuff on meta. And on slow days, it would be great if it bumped a few more unanswered qs. Basically, I want to be able to su community :P –  Manishearth Feb 10 '13 at 8:39

As I've explained here, Quora is more of a social networking site, built for consumption. It wants its community to upvote and share posts, so that the folks in the community get to read interesting stuff. Sort of how liking and sharing works on FaceBook.

We're not really focussed on internal consumption. We want users to find SO/SE posts while searching, and get their problems solved. We also want our community to focus on answering problems (rather than reading stuff -- yes, it's fun and helps shore up the voting system, but too much of it isn't good). If someone has a specific problem, they can come to SO/SE. If someone just want's to read fun stuff, Quora is better.

So no, let Quora keep the Shuffle feature. On SO/SE, since we focus on solving actual problems (and other helpful stuff), most of the posts turned up by a shuffle feature will just be boring and useless to you unless you have had a similar problem in the past.

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agree with your point that a successful product should have focus and diverting from it might harm. Quora and SE both have their pros-cons, it all depends on user to user. –  Funsuk Wangadu Feb 9 '13 at 9:06
    
btw I was surprised that SO did not allow me upload image in the question as my reputation was low however they revealed the imgur path where they had uploaded. so it became easy for me toput that link :-) is it a bug or teasing? –  Funsuk Wangadu Feb 9 '13 at 9:46

I just tried the feature on Quora, and as far as I can see it just displays me a random question every time. It doesn't seem to match it to my interests (though I don't actively use Quora, it might not work correctly with my minimal account), and also doesn't seem to only show high quality posts.

I personally don't see the use of such a random feature. It is just too random to be useful.

But unlike the navigation on Quora, which I find completely incomprehensible, you can easily navigate questions of specific topics on SE sites.

When I'm interested in just browsing potentially interesting stuff about a specific topic, what I do is to select the specific tag, sort the questions by votes and just read everything that looks interesting from the title. If you're interested in more practical questions you might want to skip the early pages with the highest-voted questions, as they are often not representative.

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agree that Quora's selection criteria and site experience is not at par with SO/SE. However SE has lots of data about Q&A and users. they could easily dig out the next best match for you which you might like. For me, whenever I'm not asking or answering or getting broed, I really love to stumbleupon a tag on SE and read the expert's answers and learn something new. :-) –  Funsuk Wangadu Feb 9 '13 at 8:54

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