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This is definitely a tenuous question without any hard data, but I want an answer:

Is the quality of the average SO user going down? A few years ago SO seemed to be both a source of good answers written well and also a relief from all the stupid antics of almost every web forum in history.

It seems to have gradually changed... There are still oodles of good answers on SO and that will never change fortunately; the good answers will remain.

But more and more I post a question and 30 seconds later people are replying or voting without having read the question. I just posted a question that was very clear, had all of 2 lines to read, and provided a pseudocode sample to reiterate what the question is NOT about; nevertheless within 60 seconds, it acquired three answers plus some comments ALL addressing what the question was specifically stated to be NOT about!

This sort of thing seems to be happening more and more.

Question: Do you observe what I'm observing or not?

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" within 60 seconds, it acquired three answers plus some comments ALL addressing what the question was specifically stated to be NOT about!" -> Then downvote them... If someone's gonna play FGITW, they need to do it right or face downvotes. –  Mysticial Oct 25 '13 at 18:48
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You mean this question? –  Martijn Pieters Oct 25 '13 at 18:49
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related / dupe: Stack Overflow technology makes me write bad answers. Wrt "30 seconds later people are replying" - it would be interesting to learn how much low score fastest gun answers block closed questions from being cleaned up by roomba –  gnat Oct 25 '13 at 18:51
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The answer posted is, "that's not possible, the closes you can come up with is <the thing that you don't want>". It's the first part; the "it's not possible" that is an answer to your question, and that clearly indicates he read your question (or at least skimmed it effectively enough to get the point). –  Servy Oct 25 '13 at 18:56
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@themirror citation needed. Some examples? –  Gabriele Petronella Oct 25 '13 at 18:56

2 Answers 2

I think the answer is 8 am in Paris.


Jokes aside...

But more and more I post a question and 30 seconds later people are replying or voting without having read the question.

Quantify more and more. Do you have examples? My perception is that this is not happening that much, so unless you bring some examples I'll consider your argument invalid.

Also, don't be too quick in judging people as You didn't read my answer!

Perhaps they read it and they didn't understand it. Maybe it's their fault, maybe is your question being unclear.

I just posted a question that was very clear [...] nevertheless it acquired three answers plus some comments ALL addressing what the question was specifically stated to be NOT about!

Maybe the question wasn't so clear after all. Which question are you referring to, exactly?

Do you observe what I'm observing or not?

No, frankly. But even if it was true, there's little that can/should be done, in my opinion.

Just go ahead, downvote the answer, leave a comment and possibly explain your request in clearer terms. As always most of the time happens, obvious bad answers will be downvoted (and often deleted) and good answers will arise.

If this doesn't happen and a lot of people keep posting what you think are wrong answers, probably the issue is in the question.

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Close. The answer is actually 7. –  Servy Oct 25 '13 at 18:52
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have you read my answer? I said exactly 8 –  Gabriele Petronella Oct 25 '13 at 18:52
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yes, and 8 is wrong. It's 7, like I told you to say. –  Servy Oct 25 '13 at 18:53
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also, I'm dissapointed that this answer came 4 minutes after the question was posted, rather than within 30 seconds... –  Servy Oct 25 '13 at 18:54
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Grace period game! Great prizes, come! –  Gabriele Petronella Oct 25 '13 at 18:54
    
@Servy I'm disappointed by myself as well. I should stop having lunch... –  Gabriele Petronella Oct 25 '13 at 18:54
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You lose the grace period game. –  Servy Oct 25 '13 at 18:58
    
Damn! I guess you trained for years with eBay auctions... –  Gabriele Petronella Oct 25 '13 at 18:59

It's Friday in Iceland.

OK, but seriously. A few years ago, SO didn't have me so it couldn't have been all that good.

OK, but seriously... As more and more people find SO, and the membership steadily increases, it's logical that the number of bad answers is going to increase. More users = more potential bad answers. And they're all scraping for rep so they can perform more functions. It's gonna happen, but downvotes can be used to correct that. You're still going to get some good answers, and if you're feeling in a particularly jovial mood you can always post comments to the bad answers letting them know why their answers are bad, particularly if you see they have little-to-no rep and don't understand the flow of SO.

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