Observations, suggestions and some questions after 4 days on Stack Overflow.
I've been hearing about Stack Overflow from more and more people, and it turns up more and more often in my Google searches. This weekend I decided to finally give it a try, see how it compared to e.g. the original experts exchange where I participated a lot (although it's more than a decade since I last answered anything there), and perhaps to get a chance to find knowledgeable people for a little competition.
Sign-up's fine, site concept looks straight forward, interface is very friendly and understandable. After reading up a little I start answering questions, and getting some accepts, some upvotes, some downvotes. I quickly pick up on the need to be very exact in answers, and the tendency among users to quickly first-post a one-liner followed by an edit with better information. A few hours pass, I get the initial badges, and then the first real surprise when I hit the daily limit. This is kind of a discouragement, so after answering a few more posts I leave for the day.
Next few days progress like this: I watch questions, try to answer exact and quickly, start doing upvotes on others, discover that I'm not getting more reputation and must have hit daily cap, leave the site.
Then, I discover what will make me leave Stack Overflow as soon as the initial fun's over. I cannot compete. No matter how many questions I answer, no matter how good the answers may be, I will never get on the top list. Doesn't matter if I stay here around the day for years, it's simply not possible to catch up. And I, as I believe many others also do, answer questions equally for recognition and as a desire to help.
So, the questions.
Is the one-liner followed by edits a desired behavior? Accepted behavior? If not, are there any mechanisms in place to discourage this?
Is it intentional that newer members should not be able to compete for the top spots? If so, is there a rationale behind this decision?
Why is the reputation cap as low as 200? Answer 3–4 questions properly, and then not much more point for me to stick around?
Why is the reputation cap system not favoring active over long-term users? Why not e.g. "1000 for stuff you posted today, 500 for stuff you posted this week, 200 for anything older"?
And to sum it up:
- What incentives do I, as a new user with technical knowledge in several fields, have for sticking around and answering questions?
I've seen most of these discussed in various forms here, but still post this in order to present my impressions as a brand new user, and in the hope of a discussion of the summary question, "Why stay?". My pardons if this is an inappropriate use of meta.