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I know this has been asked before but hey, that's part of the reason for the post. I've got a lot of experience in IT having been around the block for 30 years and I am the kind of person who will answer if I can.

But I find the completely uncategorisied list of questions just too daunting. I just haven't got the time to scan through them. I might if it was possible to just see questions in specific areas. For example, I'm mainly a VB.NET guy and whilst I do know C#, I'm not an expert so can't help in that area.

Yes questions can be tagged but that's up to the poster and half the time they might not be sure what's the best categories.

So people naturally categorise things - others don't. That's why we've got librarians.

So bottom line, would like to contribute more but FAR too much data at the moment.

What was the reason for not categorising questions? I know search engines are great at unstructured data but this is for a poor human being who can't cope with the level. Noticed that only a relatively small number of people reply to most posts. That's probably because the rest of us haven't got time to sift through 100 posts to find the 5 they could answer.

Cheers, Rob.

PS. Does Google find StackOverflow questions?

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yea, google is ~90% of stackoverflows traffic i believe – jjnguy Jul 20 '09 at 15:42
Google finds StackOverflow content better than StackOverflow finds StackOverflow content. – TheTXI Jul 20 '09 at 15:42
So, let me guess, you don't like XKCD? – jjnguy Jul 20 '09 at 15:45
One more comment upvote for TheTXI and he'll be that much closer to his Commenter badge! – devinb Jul 20 '09 at 17:04
What is XKCD when it's at home? – user131750 Jul 22 '09 at 10:05
Google scrapes the site 10 times/s AFAIK. I don't know if this is the whole SE site or just SO, however. – tombull89 May 3 '11 at 8:09

Last question first, yes Google finds Stack Overflow questions, and very quickly (I've seen it find them in a matter of minutes).

Next, I don't see how a poster not applying the right tags in all cases matters to you answering questions you're interested in. If you go to the tag, you can be pretty sure that 99% of them are correctly tagged, and are therefore questions. It doesn't matter if there are a lot of other questions not tagged in the system that you're missing. Just concentrate on the ones tagged appropriately.

Addendum: There is an ongoing retagging effort to try and categorize questions correctly, so hopefully the number of mis-tagged questions is shrinking.

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The later comment kind of proves there is an issue... the tag system is still not good enough IMHO unless there is a way to subscribe to tags, e.g. receive a daily digest of new posts with specific tags. Even then, I'd prefer somebody else to categorise at a higher level... – user131750 Jul 22 '09 at 10:07

The easiest way to sort out the questions is to add some tags to your interesting questions list. It is a big visual cue that you may be able to answer a question.

Along those same lines, add tags that you know nothing about to your ignored tags list.

(You can find these settings right on the front page of the site, on the right column, near/at the top)

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I've added a couple of tags to see if that helps – user131750 Jul 22 '09 at 10:09
Later... okay, still not working for me I'm afraid. I've added Citrix and SharePoint to my interesting tags over at ServerFault. How do I see all the unanswered or new (say last week) questions in those tags, in one list? How do I rapidly move between them, find the recent posts in a discussion etc? I guess I'm saying I prefer the user interface in phpBB for answering questions and tracking threads I'm interested in. – user131750 Aug 21 '09 at 10:25
And further, I've just answered a question on Citrix and now at a loss as to how I easily find the next question. Yes, a few backspaces has taken me back to the list but there is no indication I've read it all. So the basic idea of StackOverflow & ServerFault are great for finding and asking questions but the answering bit needs some serious additional functionality IMHO – user131750 Aug 21 '09 at 10:31
I would edit your original post with these new details. It will bump it to the top of the stack, and more people will have a look at it. – jjnguy Aug 21 '09 at 13:01

The biggest mistake you're making is dismissing the tagging system out of hand. Currently, thousands of users can edit the tags on a question to make sure that our taxonomy stays within the limits of sanity. So far, it's been working wonders. Much better than any other user-generated tag system I've ever seen.

If you really want to start on VB.NET questions, then start here. To get your list of new VB.NET questions as they get asked, go here. The tags do actually work phenomenally well to categorize the posts. There are plenty of us who go around and edit tags and clean up the site as needed. As you use the site more an more, it will become much more natural to find questions that you can answer.

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>As you use the site more an more, it will become much more natural to find questions that you can answer I'd prefered there to be an option to push them at me otherwise I doubt I'll remember to check. Is there way to get a daily digest of new questions against a list of tags? – user131750 Jul 22 '09 at 10:15
Why are line-breaks removed in comments? Makes it very difficult to comment to just a section of an answer using the ">" prefix convention? – user131750 Jul 22 '09 at 10:16

Mods can edit tags and add the appropiated ones, so for older posts, wrong tagging wouldn't be a problem.

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Even totally clueless users manage to tag their questions with the correct programming language 90% of the time.

If anything, it's too easy to tag your question correctly.

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