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Stackoverflow continues to suffer from a quality problem. I don't think any amount of policing can solve the problem. Stuff may get cleaned up, but there's still a ton of garbage temporarily for me to see. No matter how fast the street sweepers go, when I look outside, there's still litter to see.
The real problem is that users that drive by and ask questions are not invested in the site. Not even a little. They want their answer, and there's enough smart reputation starved psychic debuggers out there to figure out there problem for them. We've massed an army of awesome super programming ninja. However, there's hordes of barbarians at the frontier. We know there's like 99 bad wanna-be can't fizz-buzz programmers out there for every competent programmer. We can't win a war of attrition with them. There's just too many bad programmer barbarians at the frontier of our Civilization to make a dent with moderation, down-voting, etc.
What we really want is question askers who are going to be invested in the community. People who, despite their newb status, want to learn and get better. We want people who don't just want their current problem solved, they want to make themselves better programmers.
I think we've reached the point where to participate, you have to prove your worth or at least interest to the community somehow. This is unabashably the Starship Troopers model of Stack Overflow. Force people to contribute before they take away. I think its a good model. If we don't do something, this is just going to devolve into the dead newsgroups of yore. Lots of newbs and lots of moderators. And nobody else. The true meat of society -- artisans, craftspeople, etc -- having long left the festering ruins for others to pick over. Because nobody cares about worrying about moderating every question (they just want to have fun providing answers). If the inside baseball takes over, then we're doomed.
I propose that a questioner on StackOverflow should have had to prove themselves to the community. The simplest way to do this is to require they answer a question and get it upvoted by somebody before they can ask questions. Maybe we should actually enforce a required amount of rep before a question can be asked. Maybe some rep on another, lower traffic SE site would be sufficient to prove some investment. Maybe there's other ideas I haven't thought of...
I'm wondering if I'm way off the mark? What are your thoughts?