I think the Eternal September is dooming Stack Overflow to have the same questions asked over and over again, and the people who don't want questions closed are winning.
Why don't people want questions closed? Because then those questions are a candidate for deletion? Why don't people want questions deleted? Because then they lose reputation with easily asked questions that are popular.
As an example, this question was asked today. It's already been viewed 208 times, and the question asker has 16 upvotes for his question. He has a fair amount of reputation, so it isn't as if he's new.
Yet, that same question has been asked at least half a dozen times:
- Why is using a View bad with
- Which is faster or best,
Select Column1, Column2, Column3
- Performance issue in using
- Is there a difference between
Select [List each Column]
Another user has suggested getting rid of the close button entirely. I don't agree with that, but evidence suggests that we're not doing enough to stem the tide of highly duplicated questions (duplicated 4 or more times).
Problem 1: Users can game the system by asking highly duplicated questions and receiving reputation for them.
- User keeps reputation
- User is rewarded for asking a duplicate
- This user (and other users) have further incentive to do it again.
Problem 2: Questions get duplicated; content is splintered throughout the system.
- Broken windows. No upkeep makes this like every other venue for Q & A out there.
- "Expert Users" could start to leave as soon as another system comes out that gets this 'right'. It's been a problem since the Usenet days, but it's one that should be fixed.
- Stack Overflow isn't living up to its core mission of having an authoritative source for each question.
Problem 3: Users that care about the system and want to keep it as an authoritative source get discouraged by the deluge of duplicate and the seeming lack of moderators stepping in.
- Stack Overflow isn't maintained as well by the community that cares about it as something more than a better version of Reddit or Hacker News.
Stop rewarding reputation for questions that are closed as duplicates. Revoke any reputation granted for those questions (This is a draconian solution, I know).
- Implement the features I've suggested here. (Note that those features have been suggested in other places by other people as well.
Examples of questions with 4 or more source duplicates:
- Should I learn Python 2 or 3? (1,2,3,4,5,6,7)
- Password Encryption in C#
- Should I master one language or learn multiple languages?
- Free Continuous Integration Solutions for .NET(1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12)
- Stored Procedures vs Inline SQL (1,2,3)
- How do Married Programmers find time to work? (1,2,3,4)
- Protect C# code from reverse engineering (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10)
- When should I use
- Automated Deployment in ASP.NET? (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)
- Best Resources for learning Objective-C (1,2,3,4,5,6)
- Subversion Repository Organization