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Overview

Stackoverflow has just recently come onto my radar screen, but I've been an avid user of perlmonks for a while, as well as a reader and "fan" of main people behind this very site. Because of that, I think this site looks very promising and I would like to know what others think about these enhancement ideas.

Note: these have nothing to do with perl programming, I just use that as a comparison for a similar site that seems to share a similar niche.

Sub-portals

First, let me start with the biggie. What do people think about segmenting SO into sub-portals based on language? Sure, tagging and searching work well, and hierarchy is so 1998, but I can't count the number of times I've seen people ask if there was a "rubymonks" or a "pythonmonks" or a "foobar_language_monks" site out there.

Don't get me wrong, I don't advocate bifurcating SO content. I just think a couple of tweaks along with some alias sites (ruby.SO.com // python.SO.com // foobarlang.SO.com) would work wonders at garnering more language-specific awareness (and thus experience) under the entire SO umbrella. Also, I think it would help avoid the (unintended?) possible prejudice among potential users that this site is mostly for DotNet people.

Direct Perlmonk Ripoffs

Here are some personal-favorite perlmonks features that (apparently) are not here at SO, but should be (apologies if they already are, please feel free to correct me).

  • Chatterbox: (real time web-based convo, see perlmonks.org for example)
  • Posting types other than Question: After doing a little homework here, I see not every original post on SO is really intended as a question. Perlmonks has something called "meditations" and "Cool Uses". It seems like SO could benefit from this as well, using a scheme a bit bigger than "folksonomy-tagging-only".
  • Best and Worst posts: links (see not only what's hot, but what's been downvoted alot)
  • Categorized Posts: Folksonomy-style tags are good, but sometimes a "top-down" organizational style has benefits too, if used judiciously. (see e.g., Perlmonks Categorized Q and A)

That's enough for now. Great site, thanks for any constructive criticism and feedback.

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If we all look on area51 though this pattern of everyone creating there own subsite is starting to occur.... maybe if the 'view' was more customized for them... it could still show up on SO and the like but for people who wanted the filter and didn't want to click it... example there's a Unix/Linux variant that's about to open up, the Ubuntu is already available. Personally I would be for Ubuntu.Unix-Linux.com (obviously it wouldn't be that domain) if it kept the ubuntu community from segregating itself too much. Same goes with all the requests for separate language and framework forums. –  xenoterracide Aug 7 '10 at 21:19
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Feb 1 '10 at 8:50

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7 Answers

One argument against heirarchy or segregation is that sometimes I answer questions about answers I don't know, just because what is being asked is more general than the asker really knows. I won't be able to do them if I don't see those posts.

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I agree; I normally hang out in C++ questions but occasionally I find myself answering other questions, and I would be limited if I could only view C++ ones. According to SO, my favorite tag to hang around in is actually "subjective"! Also, it adds more confusion - as it is things can be retagged. –  coppro Dec 1 '08 at 21:02
    
+1 I have an about equal number of upvotes in both C++ and PHP along with a lesser amount in C and JavaScript. –  HAL 9000 May 22 '10 at 9:06
    
If we all look on area51 though this pattern of everyone creating there own subsite is starting to occur.... maybe if the 'view' was more customized for them... it could still show up on SO and the like but for people who wanted the filter and didn't want to click it... –  xenoterracide Aug 7 '10 at 21:16
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As for sub-portals, What you are suggesting:

perl.stackoverflow.com

and what exists now is:

stackoverflow.com/tagged/perl

I don't think the current situation is all that onerous.

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If we all look on area51 though this pattern of everyone creating there own subsite is starting to occur.... maybe if the 'view' was more customized for them... it could still show up on SO and the like but for people who wanted the filter and didn't want to click it... –  xenoterracide Aug 7 '10 at 21:15
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Here are my 5 cents.

I don't like the portal idea, when I look at the tags of questions I have answered I see LOTS of tags that don't match what I thought I would answer on. If there was a VB.Net portal, I would hang there all days long and miss good information and a lots of answers would never be made by me on other topics I have knowledge in (there are similarities between the languages and controls and so on).

I don't like Chatterbox for one reason. A lots of questions will be asked and answered in the chat and therefor never will be recorded for other to learn from.

I like the idea of meditations/cool uses. A lot.

I don't like "Best and Worst posts". I don't know why, but I think its to much judging as it is already. ;)

Categorized Posts is just a way to serve the information in another way. That cannot be a bad thing. ;) As long as its an enhancement and not an replacement I'm for it.

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I could see the benefit of a chatterbox function, but I don't know whether the server could handle the load currently. What you call "meditations" already exists here, where people ask for best practices and similar. There's already a best post section, not sure what the point of a worst post section would be, as since the post is bad, why would you want to read it? Categorized posts essentially exist on SO already, only they were created by the users. Having some pre-created for the users doesn't make much sense anymore, now that the site already includes the basics.

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On bifurcation and subportals: an excellent article was highlighted on a previous thread here (credit to @Ryan, not me...)

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I idle here a lot. SO really IS a .NET site in general, with side knowledge being brought in by the .NET participants that helps the other areas.

Is this a problem? In my view, yes. There is a whole world of programming out there beyond .NET/LINQ/C#/MS-SQL & web development, and there are a lot of questions about it!

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The top three .NET related tags (C#, .NET and asp.net) have 13,916 posts. The top three non-.NET related tags (java, C++, php) have 8,267 posts. (I skipped Javascript because it's both) That makes it a approximately 3/5 .NET to 2/5 non-.NET ratio. –  Paul Tomblin Dec 2 '08 at 15:16
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Here are some personal-favorite perlmonks features that (apparently) are not here at SO, but should be (apologies if they already are, please feel free to correct me).

Chatterbox: (real time web-based convo, see perlmonks.org for example)

Interesting, as this is now actively being worked on.

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