First off - I just came up with this idea - It's a spitball - Feel free to contribute (good and bad thoughts).

Reformed idea: Let the questioner mark their thought difficulty, and upvoting and downvoting affect that difficulty - any thoughts?

Some way to separate beginner questions from more advanced questions, or show the level of the programmer's experience in a specific area, to help answer-givers find questions they could help with.

I think it would put in perspective how to better answer questions.

Related ideas for this:
Maybe another rating tool for people to vote if they can't solve it (provided they have experience in the particular subject) or something.

  • 1
    Maybe another rating tool for people to vote if they cant solve it what's wrong with upvoting? – David Robinson Mar 14 '13 at 3:15
  • Nothing, upvoting great, but I think there more that could be done – Greg Mar 14 '13 at 3:19
  • So... two kinds of upvoting? One for whether a question is good, another for whether it is challenging? Which of those would you show on the main page? Where would you show them on the question itself? That's an enormous amount of complexity- what does it add? – David Robinson Mar 14 '13 at 3:25
  • I moved on from that idea, check reformed idea, thanks for your contribution though – Greg Mar 14 '13 at 3:30
  • What would be gained from having a difficulty marked? (I don't know what you mean by "put in perspective"- I wouldn't answer a question any differently whether the user said it was a 1 or a 10 in terms of difficulty) – David Robinson Mar 14 '13 at 3:34
  • Well your answer on "where do babies come from" is gonna be different for a child and an adult – Greg Mar 14 '13 at 3:37
  • 1) that's not a question of difficulty, it's a question of the asker's background 2) It's usually very easy to tell what level one should answer at based on the question (even your simplified analogy- "where do babies come from"- is phrased in a way that indicates it's a young person asking, and questions are a lot longer than 5 words) 3) StackOverflow answers aren't just for the sake of the asker- they have to be useful for future viewers as well. – David Robinson Mar 14 '13 at 3:41
  • That's a good way to put it, thank you – Greg Mar 14 '13 at 3:45
  • This has been asked for before, and wasn't well received then either. – Mac Mar 14 '13 at 4:58
  • Haha, I get that, forgive my ignorance – Greg Mar 14 '13 at 10:33

No; I feel that this would take away from the main thrust of the site to be primarily Q&A focused. Why should it matter if the level of the question is low? What would we consider "low"? Why should an asker have to have a questionnaire presented to them about "how good they think they are"?

I think this would hurt more than help in the long run.

| improve this answer | |
  • Hmm I still think there's something there, upvoting and rep are nice, but I feel stackoverflow could so more to connect Questioners and the right person -- That my main point -- I think the questioneer could determine their experience & level of the question and display it---- Maybe the upvoting could contribute to it too, but people arnt always motivated to upvote – Greg Mar 14 '13 at 3:18
  • 2
    @Greg: When questions are challenging and interesting, they tend to get upvoted very quickly (trust those of us who have been asking/answering for a while!) And questions that are challenging but not interesting (something like "here's an enormous block of code- find the logic error in it") won't get the attention or interest of experts no matter what "difficulty" ratings you put on it. – David Robinson Mar 14 '13 at 3:29
  • I agree, I'm exploring different ideas, Im trying to explore ideas that would better connect people, Another thought was a suggested Questions to solve based on your w/e stackoverflow has on you – Greg Mar 14 '13 at 3:35
  • suggested questions to solve is basically the front page- it gives you a list of recently active questions, weighted by the tags you follow. You can also click the Unanswered tab, then the "my tags" tab. – David Robinson Mar 14 '13 at 3:48
  • Mmm yea, I think that could use some work, by the way thank you for discussing this with me, most people just go, I can't relate-- downvote... How you feel about downvoting.. I think if you downvote, you should have to give some sort of explanation to why you did(whether its a list of provided reasons,or your own) – Greg Mar 14 '13 at 4:03
  • 2
    Please don't turn the comments into an unrelated tangent about downvoting, @greg – simchona Mar 14 '13 at 4:28
  • @Greg: Incidentally (while you shouldn't discuss this in an unrelated comment thread), requiring comments with downvotes has been brought up many times on Meta and is always very soundly rejected. – David Robinson Mar 14 '13 at 6:52
  • Cool, learned a lot about stackoverflow from you guys, thanks again – Greg Mar 14 '13 at 10:31

This isn't a good fit for the SE Q&A format. This difficulty of a question is completely subjective, and virtually all other aspects of the SE network strive for objectivity.

Obviously what seems difficult to a new program will often be a well-solved "easy" problem, but additionally what seems difficult to an experienced programmer may seem trivial to a new programmer who doesn't fully grasp the intricacies of the problem. There is no good, objective way to rank a question's difficulty.

...and upvoting and downvoting affect that difficulty -- any thoughts?

No, that is not what downvotes mean, and I highly doubt we want to completely change their semantic meaning across the entire network to mean "this question isn't as difficult as the asker thinks it is".

Related ideas for this: -Maybe another rating tool for people to vote if they cant solve it(provided they have experience in the particular subject) or something

I'm not at all sure what you mean by "another rating tool". Would we have an additional set of up/down vote arrows affecting some other quality metric? This just seems like a complete mess of complexity.

In all, I strongly feel that you've failed to identify any actual problem, never mind a viable solution. What exactly do you think is broken, and how do your proposals fix it?

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks for contributing but the discussion is already over, by the way you might wanna look up what spit balling means – Greg Mar 15 '13 at 3:29

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .