I started really programming 94 days using Mathematica. I learned with 2 friends and SO. I asked 74 questions yet all answered with generosity.

Sometimes I feel guilty only "asking". Then I thought that it depends on what others do.


I would be greatly interested to see some data of users behavior in that regard. From always asking to always answering, how are users distributed? This, along with data on time spent on SO, votes attributed, etc.

I would then like to see how that compare to Wikipedia Editors/Readers statistics.

  • 1
    this is not a forum
    – genesis
    Sep 16, 2011 at 23:07
  • @genesis-φ,Sorry, please know I have no other object than SO in that "forum" category. What is the best term to describe that "platform" ?
    – 500
    Sep 16, 2011 at 23:11
  • Question & Answer website, aka Q&A
    – genesis
    Sep 16, 2011 at 23:14
  • Some links you might find enlightening: What kinds of bad question askers exist? and Should parasite behavior be punished somehow?. Short-short version: only asking isn't itself a problem, but is sometimes a symptom of a bad pattern. Sep 16, 2011 at 23:20
  • 1
    Sounds like a dupe. (Yes, that's the first time I've used that phrase.) Sep 16, 2011 at 23:21
  • While we're on the subject of "good" questions, you may want to narrow this one down a bit. I think what you're trying to ask here is "Is it okay to ask questions on Stack Overflow without ever providing answers"? Sep 16, 2011 at 23:36
  • "Yes, but actually, I am very curious about the stats now. Then do you suggest opening another " I was writing this and I saw kiamlaluno brilliant Edit :-)
    – 500
    Sep 16, 2011 at 23:58

3 Answers 3


As long as you are asking good questions that will be helpful for future visitors to Stack Overflow—often from Google searches—I don't see a problem with continuing to ask questions but not answering them. After all, Stack Overflow needs both questions and answers!

In any case, Stack Overflow does enforce limits on the number of questions that you can ask. If you're getting close to that limit, you may consider slowing down a bit.

  • 3
    Amazing their limit is truly a good Max. For each time frame, it would be unreasonable/thoughtless for myself to ask that many questions !
    – 500
    Sep 16, 2011 at 23:32

StackExchange != BitTorrent

If you're asking good questions, you're not taking from the community - you're adding to it. In other words, asking good questions is just as important as answering good answers - that's why you get rep doing both!

Your questions could help someone on Google searching for an answer. As they read your brilliantly phrased question, and the out-of-the-box answers, they'll realize StackOverflow is a great place - and maybe even sign up, become users, and ask/answer questions themselves. It's best to try to keep your questions 'canonical' so they can help someone else; although, there's nothing wrong if you're having a 'specific' problem.

Now, if you're asking bad questions*, then it's a bit of a problem...

*Questions like The Ask ask in Patrick Ness's The Ask And The Answer (Chaos Walking #2).

  • 2
    This is absolutely right, but it's worth noting that there's a very delicate balance between questions that are general and ones that are overly broad. I think that canonical is the better word to describe the best questions on Stack Overflow. Sep 16, 2011 at 23:32
  • @Chris I've changed it, but it probably sounds a bit weird. :) On a side note: When I type in @C, your name pops up; new feature! Sep 16, 2011 at 23:37
  • Yup. Sep 16, 2011 at 23:39
  • 1
    It's also worth mentioning that if your questions are getting closed, deleted, and flagged by the community, or are just low-quality in general (not the case for this user, but has happened with others), then just asking questions is harmful, and you may be contacted by a moderator about low-quality content. There is also a low-quality content question-asking automatic ban that kicks in if you ask too many low-quality questions.
    – nhinkle
    Sep 17, 2011 at 2:18

Your questions are fine, and when it's related to programming language, I see no reason why would it be an issue.

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