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I've noticed that questions about assembly language on Stack Overflow tend to attract more downvotes that questions about most other topics. I think this trend is a bit alarming - I'm concerned that this will "scare away" many students of assembly language who would otherwise post useful questions on Stack Overflow.

Because of this trend, I've been very reluctant to post questions about assembly language as well - just now, I counted 11 downvoted questions on the list of new assembly language questions, while counting only 2 downvoted questions for the list of new JavaScript questions.

I'm curious about the reason why questions about assembly language are getting downvoted so frequently. Does it indicate an unusual degree of hostility toward first-time assembly language learners, or does it simply indicate the prevalence of low-quality questions?

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i think php getting more downvote stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/php –  NullPoiиteя Apr 14 '13 at 4:38
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The raw number of downvoted questions doesn't necessarily mean anything. Have you looked at what kinds of questions are getting downvoted vs what kinds get upvoted? Do you have any examples handy of questions that you believe were wrongly downvoted? These conversations always go better when there's something specific to discuss. –  Anna Lear Apr 14 '13 at 4:39
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Wow, this question got 2 downvotes. I feel like the most worthless person in the world. –  Anderson Green Apr 14 '13 at 5:23
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Don't take downvotes on Meta questions to heart: Voting works differently here. I downvoted this question because I disagree with your assertion. I did, however, upvote your Assembly question, to take you back to 0 on that. –  Danny Beckett Apr 14 '13 at 5:24
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If you ask questions like "Please help. How can I write assembler code? Thanks", you really deserve some downvotes for lack of research. –  Bo Persson Apr 14 '13 at 6:20
    
@Anderson well, at Stack Overflow, we hate fun. –  Cole Johnson Apr 14 '13 at 22:10
    
"I've noticed that" - I'm not disagreeing with you, but if I were to disagree with you, it would be with data. You could pre-empt any other potential disagree-ers by providing your own data up front... –  AakashM Apr 15 '13 at 8:36
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2 Answers

up vote 23 down vote accepted

Yes, it has been a difficult year in the [assembly] tag. Around the summer of last year, it became evident that assembly was chosen as the new educational focus for students in the Indian school system. It was Turbo-C the year before that. It's been a perfect storm of do-my-homework questions, poorly worded or barely understandable due to the inevitable language barrier, about a grossly outdated technology that everybody stopped using 20 years ago. Not just because it is assembly, they are learning about 16-bit x86 programming. Ralph's interrupt list is popular again. I strongly suspect this seeming regression in Indian teaching is intentional, giving students a hard time to find help elsewhere and forcing them to do their own homework.

This should not concern you. Ask your question using the guidelines that you can find on the Ask Question page and you should be fine. You already know how to not ask a question, having a look around before you ask is an excellent strategy to maximize the odds you'll get good help.

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Seriously? Assembly?! What goes through their heads when they decide this? What should we do this year? I don't know! Lets try 16-bit assembly! Oh, yes! Something none of them have any experience in! Yes! Less knowledgable people means more money! That's our new curriculum! The most obscure stuff imaginable! –  Cole Johnson Apr 14 '13 at 22:14
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It's a bit ironic that my question got so many downvotes even though this answer got so many upvotes. –  Anderson Green Apr 15 '13 at 0:35
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Assembly is grossly outdated??!! Nooooo!!!! (Well, 16 bit assembly is, there is no excuse for that). At least if they become proficient in assembly they should become considerably better coders. –  slugster Apr 15 '13 at 0:45
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@Anderson No, it's not remotely ironic. It's normal meta voting. –  David Heffernan Apr 15 '13 at 0:47
    
@AndersonGreen Yes, very ironic. Other similar examples of irony: rain on your wedding day, good advice you didn't take, and ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. –  Goos May 3 at 0:00
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After having look at the search results you linked to I disagree with your assertion. The down voted questions are indeed worthy of down votes, regardless of the language or technology they are targetting. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...).

All of these questions fail the quality criteria on one point or more, most of them have been closed as a result. And after looking at that list of questions, I see no evidence that related questions are getting a raw deal at all.

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I asked a question about assembly language just now that got downvoted for no apparent reason. I think this was very predictable, given the prevalence of downvoting for assembly language questions in general. stackoverflow.com/questions/15995696/… –  Anderson Green Apr 14 '13 at 4:57
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@Anderson - Your question looks like a translation request. They often get 10+ downvotes in other tags. You only got one. –  Bo Persson Apr 14 '13 at 6:24
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@BoPersson Why do translation requests deserve downvotes more than other types of questions? –  Anderson Green Apr 14 '13 at 6:27
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@Anderson - I don't know about deserve, but they usually get - for lack of research. Like "I have this network code in C#, how do I do that in Fortran?". –  Bo Persson Apr 14 '13 at 6:32
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