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Don't get me wrong, StackOverflow is a fantastic site! And I know, the tag system allows me to just look at subsections of the site. But I wonder... I see questions about Java, C++, VB6, Delphi, iPhone, Linux, Windows and a lot more and it's all thrown on a big heap on the main page. JavaScript, ASP, Django, R... The list just continues. Yet the main page shows it all. The RSS feed of SO is also flooded with hundreds of Q's per day. And I can't help but wonder...

Isn't StackOverflow getting too many questions per day, simply because it's such a generic site? Shouldn't there at least be a more global division by adding a few global tags that users can choose from through e.g. a combobox? At least, then visitors could at least filter on those global tags, instead of the thousands of user-defined tags...

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5 Answers 5

up vote 22 down vote accepted

This is definitely by design. Jeff and I decided early on that we consider Stack Overflow to be in the grand, non-partisan, ecumenical tradition of Byte Magazine and Dr. Dobbs Journal. Smart people are interested in all kinds of topics and will often be interested in overhearing what's going on with other programming technologies that they're not working with right now. We're trying to create interesting cross-pollination, and prevent the kind of ghettos that lead to reinventing the wheel, badly. We don't, personally, have very much tolerance for religious partisans of the "my stack is great, your stack sucks" school.

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Aye. Cheers for that, too! Can't tell you how much I've learned just by watching things go by on the main pages of the sites. –  squillman Sep 11 '09 at 1:42
    
+1. I wonder whether it can maintain the quality if it continues to grow though. Too many newby questions might make the main pages uninteresting. –  MarkJ Sep 16 '09 at 22:40

"Programming questions" is already rather specific. Actually, quite specific.

Now if we could only get people to stick to programming questions...

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Less than 0.1% of questions being not-programming-related doesn't seem that bad to me. /ducks –  rob Sep 11 '09 at 1:55
    
Heh... They do get deleted. –  Shog9 Sep 11 '09 at 2:16

You can add any tag to your ignore list and magically make SO ungeneric just for you!

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Is there a regexp to add all but your favorite tags to the ignored? Adding tags to the ignored bag would take like... minutes!!! –  OscarRyz Sep 10 '09 at 21:37
    
Not useful when you're trying to get the Generalist badge. :-) Besides, I don't mind the flood of Q's. I just click the "Mark all as read" button and poof! RSS is clean again. I just wonder when newbies arrive here, won't they be frightened by all these tags and different Q's? This enormous flood that doesn't seem to end? Seeing new Q's pop up every time you refresh the main page? Nearly 300.000 Q's that are all waiting for an answer? (Or are already answered?) –  Wim ten Brink Sep 10 '09 at 21:53
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Uh, if you're trying to get the gener alist badge why are you complaining that SO is gener ic –  Spencer Ruport Sep 10 '09 at 21:56
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I don't think you can get the Generalist Badge. It hasn't actually been implemented yet as far as I know. –  gnostradamus Sep 11 '09 at 1:03
    
Oh, no! Not implemented yet? How sad... Have been trying to get that badge for weeks, as the first one. :-) –  Wim ten Brink Sep 11 '09 at 9:27

Ignored/interesting tags are your friend. You can use wildcards (e.g. *iphone*) for the global scope you're talking about.

Also, there are 3 different sites. What more do you want?

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Well, how about a subdivision like Web development, WIN32, Linux, OS X, iPhone, Windows Mobile and programming theories? Just a bunch of more general tags with the requirement that you always have to pick one of those? (Like here, at Meta!) –  Wim ten Brink Sep 10 '09 at 21:54

No. It has always been like that.

What I do is add to my favorites what I'm really interested on and click only in the "yellow" boxes in the main page.

I don't use RSS but the main page directly. Try that for a while and you'll see SO becoming quite specific.

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