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As I am new the world of Stack Overflow and just (very) recently learned about the Meta side of things, I want to explain my ambivalence.

As a "questioner"... I find the display scheme of big, bold print indicating the question, and a few (2?) lines of response visible plus the VOTE, etc., graphics on the left to be perfectly reasonable. After searching for help, this style of presentation does provide fast and easy decision making in determining if my "particular" answer has been found.

As a potential "responder"... I find that the presentation is very ineffective for me to determine if there is a question in which I might be able to assist. In this case I am much more used to the "classic" one-line question format along with a scheme for breaking out various levels or aspects of an area. For example to tag something as is not terribly granular, and it gets "worse" if a question has, say, a , and perhaps 3 or 4 other tags as well.

And yet, being able to use multiple tags does offer a lot of flexibility and widens the potential audience greatly! I just want to be able to easily get to areas of programming in which I can be helpful without having to grind through so many areas that I cannot. See my ambivalence?

Now I suppose there are several responses you might offer {Please feel free to prepend each with "You Twit! " }

  • There is a way to completely customize your display. Didn't you look in the FAQ before posting this trash? -- Uhm , yes, I did. And please forgive me if I missed it.

  • There are sub-tags within each tag, you'll find them

  • You're missing the whole point of Stack Overflow

  • I can see your point, but just use it for a while and you'll find it very effective

As well as many others I imagine.

The best line I ever heard regarding the definition of "Ambivalence" was: Watching your Mother-in-Law drive over a cliff in your brand new Cadillac.

share|improve this question
Help me out.. what does TAG stand for? – Ether Feb 13 '10 at 16:51
How about changing the question title to "Improving stackoverflow UI to help users find questions they might be able to answer"? Is that not the center argument? – tucson Feb 13 '10 at 17:20
Try ketchup. It has natural mellowing agents -… – Adam Davis Feb 13 '10 at 18:13
@Pollyanna, I never thought I'd see a PHC link on SO. – pavium Feb 13 '10 at 23:47
Tucson --- Yep, thats the gist. e.g. Suppose there was a TAG = UNIX. It would be nice to have sub-tags (and I just invented that) along the lines of "Commands", "Directory structure", h/w interface, and many more. I'm suggesting that ANDROID is perhaps not granular enough. Pollyana -- ??? – tony_obrien Feb 14 '10 at 16:30
Ether: I was capitalizing the term "Tag" which is one of the fundamental properties of the StackOverflow presentation scheme. – tony_obrien Feb 14 '10 at 16:43

I guess we'd need to see a screenshot of your proposed layout to really understand what you mean.

edit: also, as a new user, welcome to meta! Now give us your proposed screenshot! :)

share|improve this answer
with FH circles of course – juan Feb 13 '10 at 15:54
It is a shame this actually had to be said. – ChaosPandion Feb 13 '10 at 16:04
Jeff Atwood -- Perhaps a mechanism for the GUI as is and another more like a "digest" view; one line per question, no graphics, votes ,etc. Downvoter / ChaosPandion --- must be an insider joke. As the famous line in "Big" goes: "I don't get it." – tony_obrien Feb 14 '10 at 16:34

Maybe I'm active only in less frequented tags (although PHP is among one of the most popular), I must say I've never felt the need for a more granular tagging system. There are usually 20-30 relevant questions (i.e. questions that have tags I have marked as "interesting") on the front page, and a quick scan of the headings tells me whether I'm interested in taking a closer look or not.

Or am I understanding your question completely wrong?

Just to be sure, you are aware of the "interesting tags" function that highlights questions from your areas of expertise, right?

share|improve this answer
Yes sir, I am --- but with the granularity of "ANDROID" as the TAG... its a bit too encompassing for me. – tony_obrien Feb 14 '10 at 16:37
@tony_obrien Okay, I can see how tagging only Android, being a full-fledged platform, is a bit much. But most questions I see in that tag have at least one additional tag that helps narrow it down, don't they? – Pëkka Feb 14 '10 at 16:56

One could argue that making sure the question is interesting is left in the hands of the asker. The 'question' as listed in the header should be descriptive and concise so that those who would answer know what the questioner wants and click through to see more details.

You can't design around poor questions.

share|improve this answer
This is the gist of the idea Mr. guitarthrower -- a more "digest" version of the questions without all the graphics hoopla and one would click in for details, voting etc. – tony_obrien Feb 14 '10 at 16:36
@tony_o have you checked out the RSS feeds? – An̲̳̳drew Feb 15 '10 at 4:27
I see what you mean, but my point still stands. Given the design as it currently stands, the user must write appropriately to attract attention. This would be the case regardless of the design. – guitarthrower Feb 15 '10 at 5:20

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