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Have a look at this question: Help ! -Frusrated PHP Newbie - Where the hell do I start ?

There's a question in there, yes, but I can probably state it in one line:

Where to find tutorials and tools for someone starting over from ASP.NET?

Instead, our friend here launches into a tirade of complains about how PHP is less noob-friendly and troublesome to set-up than ASP.NET, et cetera.

It is, in my opinion, a bad question. It's about three times as long as it should be, it makes overtly inflammatory remarks on PHP, is written in poor English and is an obvious duplicate. Those last two on their own won't make this a "bad question", but I feel that the first two should be strictly forbidden on SO.

Here's the surprising part: Apparently a lot of people disagree with me here.

The question currently has two upvotes. There are six answers, one of which is actually not an answer but a rant by another (obviously frustrated user) on his problems with PHP compared to ASP.NET. That answer also has one upvotes. The downvote on both the answer and question came from me.

So something must have gone wrong here. When did SO become a dumping ground for people's frustrations, and more importantly, when did we start encouraging this behavior?

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I think people were just amused by the writing style, and/or saw a chance to vent along with the OP. I'm not sure I see it happening any more, or less, recently. I confess that I do getting annoyed when I see a garbage question, I downvote, and it gets a sympathy upvote soon after. –  Michael Petrotta Sep 23 '10 at 1:54
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2 Answers

This is because people love to discuss stuff, chew the fat, shoot the breeze, chitchat, and gossip.

It's just a natural human urge that is apparently stronger than the tides, and it's basically why programmers.so was created.... so these types of questions should be moved there.

I don't think it's a new phenomenon on SO.

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  1. Horrible questions? Downvote.
  2. Rant non-answer? Downvote.
  3. SO is better without it? Closevote.
  4. Truly offensive (more than just simple disagreement)? Flag.

That's all you have to do (and you did, at least the closevote); don't sweat it past that point.

As said, it's not new and people often jump in on questions just for the rep game rather than trying to personally help (of course, you get the former by doing the latter...), so the multitude of answers isn't surprising for a basic question that about anyone with some PHP experience can contribute to. However, this question has an added affect by indirectly praising ASP and very directly slamming PHP; given the higher popularity of Microsoft products, the .NET side of ASP.NET, etc. on SO and how just about everybody likes to slam PHP, you're going to get more upvotes, attention, etc.

These type of questions often don't live long, so it's easy to not realize how many of them there are (a good thing).

Only 6 answers and 2 upvotes isn't a strong show of support; the two upvotes could easily be answerers, giving you only 6 people. Some of those 6 answered purely for rep, badges, or attention rather than to "support" the question, and you viewed the question when it was new and unbalanced.

Oh, one last step to the above list and the most important:

  5. Really frustrated? Post on Meta. ;)

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