I realize that there are questions that don't get quick responses or good answers. But, Why do you think responses to good questions come so quickly and with great quality?
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Because the people who have all of the answers are 'trolling'(in the fishing sense) the site for questions they can answer.
Wow, people don't like the word trolling. What I picture when I see the word trolling is someone sitting on a boat, slowly driving around a lake looking for fish.
So, when I apply that word to the internet, I mean someone continuously looking through the
I'm from Minnesota, so, maybe thats why I have a different sense of the word trolling. (We fish a lot here)
I think there's some human psychology at work here.
I think it's a combination of some of the following factors...
I've just brainstormed a few answers there. It basically comes down to some combination of pleasure/pain linked in with the approval of others...all powerful human drivers.
I think these sites play on that combination of base human instincts pretty well and it's quite easy to get drawn in. Hence you get many "addicts" hopping on every question they can answer, and usually providing well-regarded answers.
Stackoverflow is like playing Monopoly.
I've found that answering quickly is a huge advantage. After several attempts at answering with really good answers, I found I was being outdone by people with rather simplistic (and often incorrect) answers. Amazingly, sometimes the questioner had awarded the checkmark to some lame answer while I was in my second or third paragraph.
I realized you just want to throw something up there quickly to "buy" the real estate. I'll often answer now with a very short sentence. The down side to this is that you can get early downvotes.
Then you upgrade the real estate by building a nice answer on it. The downvoters then look like dorks.
It would be unrealistic to claim that at least some of Joe's points don't apply to me, but in addition:
I consider myself fairly knowledgeable in my pet areas, but I'm very sure that I wouldn't be nearly as competent if I hadn't spent years reading (and writing) replies on sites like this.
Do they? Some great questions take time to answer. And even then, the answers may not be "great" initially. As others have suggested, asking questions on Stackoverflow is a bit like a game - or a system you learn to manipulate. You learn how to ask, when to ask, and more with results in a net increase in good responses, some instantly, and some after a short wait.