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Why don't high rep users ask questions?

Can I ask someone here why most of the high reputation members of SO seem to have asked very few questions?

Does it imply that they really have strong knowledge about their stuff or is it that they know to find their stuff without SO?

  • Answers bring more reputation ))) – superM Aug 24 '12 at 11:44
  • @superM Ya I know they answer lot of questions and that too very good answers.But it seems to be opposite about questions. – priyank patel Aug 24 '12 at 11:46
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    These guys are experts in their domains, the reason they're experts is they have enough experience, subject knowledge, investigative skill, and general raw intelligence to figure this stuff out on their own. – Binary Worrier Aug 24 '12 at 11:46
  • @priyank patel, I'm joking ))) Binary Worrier is closer to the truth – superM Aug 24 '12 at 11:47
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    SO works well when you have a question which will be seen by a number of people with better knowledge of the topic than yourself. I guess if the SO reputations are "accurate", this often means that there is a small population of people to answer their questions; making it less effective than just searching for a solution elsewhere. – Daniel B Aug 24 '12 at 11:48
  • @BinaryWorrier Thanks for the comment:)They really seem to have enough experience to find their own stuff. – priyank patel Aug 24 '12 at 11:49
  • @DanielB Might be:)Thanks. – priyank patel Aug 24 '12 at 11:51
  • @MichaelBorgwardt: I'd consider that as a good answer, if you take also into account that answers get easier upvoted then questions. – Time Traveling Bobby Aug 24 '12 at 11:58

Answering for myself (>100k rep on SO, >3000 answers, 61 questions):

There are areas where I hardly ever need to ask questions, but mostly I find solutions to my problems by looking at the code (often in a debugger) asking colleagues, reading documentation and searching for error messages or a combination of carefully chosen keywords on Google (and quite often that leads me to existing and answered questions on SO).

I'm sure that in some cases I would have gotten a solution more quickly by asking on SO, but I prefer searching actively to waiting passively.

And @Daniel B's comment is also on to something: The questions I can't quickly find an answer for on the web tend to be difficult, which means they take longer to get an answer and may even get none.

Dirty little secret: quite a few of my answers are actually the result of seeing the question and thinking "I'm sure I can easily find an answer for that on the web!" despite knowing very little about the subject matter.

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    Great answer , I now understand that we should probably do our search properly and only if we really have a hard time then may be SO is the destination.Great answer. – priyank patel Aug 24 '12 at 12:15
  • +1 for your dirty little secret. I signed into Meta just to upvote your answer. – user194162 Aug 24 '12 at 13:28
  • Another +1 for the same reason as GlenH7... I've done the same thing over on SciFi.SE quite a few times ;) – Izkata Aug 24 '12 at 19:14

One big reason you seem to have missed as a possibility, and this applies to me:

Many of the users with measurable reputation don't ask lots of questions because they tend to find their answers already posted on the site. I would say that for every question I've posted on Stack Overflow, I have another time found my answer in an already-asked question. Most high-reputation users should be pretty good at finding existing information on the site, on balance.

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    Ha, you were just ahead of me. :) I myself am by no means high-rep on SO at just over 6k. But I have asked 0 questions. Not because I don't have any, but because by now SO holds such a wealth of information that those questions I wanted to ask were already asked and answered to some extent. – Bart Aug 24 '12 at 12:04
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    I'd even say that the High-Rep-Users are very good at finding information in general, no matter where. – Time Traveling Bobby Aug 24 '12 at 12:04
  • @Andrew Low reputation so cannot upvote..But great answer I think they search thoroughly for their problems on SO or anywhere else and they usually solve it by existing questions or information.Wonderful answer. – priyank patel Aug 24 '12 at 12:12
  • This is what I've found as well. 90% of the time I can find an answer with Google, whether or not I find it on SO. A very large proportion of the remaining 10% of the time I either find that my question is already asked when I type it in to SO, or I figure it out when formulating the question. – Bill the Lizard Aug 24 '12 at 12:29
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    I have sometimes asked questions because having the question and answer on SO will add to the site, or promote discussion of the topic. More so in the early days when there were fewer questions. – Martin Beckett Aug 24 '12 at 13:17

Speaking for myself (6000+ answers, 3 questions), this factors in:

  • Most problem that I have that would be suitable on StackOverflow, I manage to solve myself in less time than it would take to ask the question.

  • If I have a complicated problem, it's too much code to post, or to complex too expect anyone else to even read the question.

  • Answering questions taught me a lot, so sometimes I experience a problem that I have answered before. Quite often answering a question is more about being able to find the right information than already knowing the answer.

  • Very good answer:)Thanks mate. – priyank patel Aug 24 '12 at 12:43

Does it imply that they really have strong knowledge about their stuff or is it that they know to find their stuff without SO?

In my case, I think that the reason is I ask few Questions is that I can usually find answers to problems myself. I find it is usually quicker to search than to formulate a decent question and wait for the right answer.

It helps that ...

  • In my area of expertise (Java), I know my way around the available documentation pretty well ... after 10++ years.

  • In areas where my knowledge is limited (e.g. Python at the moment), I have enough knowledge of IT terminology to know how to phrase a search query to get relevant results. (And I have the patience to wade through a few pages of Google search results ...)

In my case, I guess there's probably a bit of "real programmers don't ask questions" mentality too :-)

  • +1 for this great answer.From the answers that I am getting I think good programmers know to swim deep.Knowing how to use Google is a an art itself.Really helpful answer:) – priyank patel Aug 24 '12 at 12:40

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