I was wondering if you think meta-stackoverflow might end up getting to the stage where almost every question you can think of has already been asked and so it becomes difficult for new users to get to the stage where they have enough reputation to do anything. I don't believe that this is the case now or that this will ever happen for stackoverflow, as there are always more programming questions, but surely there is a limit to how much meta-analysis is possible.

So do you think this effect will occur and if so how would you suggest dealing with it?


There will always be meta discussion. That is just the nature of the beast.

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    We would just end up ask it all over again. – TheTXI Sep 1 '09 at 0:08

We'll just spend more time arguing over potential features instead of actual, existing features...


And there will always be different answers. Even though someone else answered well.


It is not too hard to imagine a situation in which essentially all of the common problems for some set of common environments are pretty well covered. We're not there yet, but a lot of the low hanging fruit has been taken.


  • I don't see how the number of ways to get stuck can be less than countably infinite.
  • There are a lot of less popular environments and platforms, that are not so well represented in the questions and answer already on the site. For instance, there've been several good but quite basic latex questions this week.

So, the answer to your title question is

we'll never be done.

The procedure for finding the as yet unasked basic questions is:

  1. Stop trying to think of a question to ask on SOFU.
  2. Get back to work, code monkey!
  3. When you find yourself stumped, search the sites. Search carefully and creatively, use the wisdom you find that way and become a better programmer.
  4. If you don't find an answer, do 3 some more. If that fails, you have probably discovered a question that is new to SOFU, so ask and reap the rewards.
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    This question was actually only about meta-discussion. With stack overflow itself, new technologies are always being created and so it should never run out of content in the forseeable future. – Casebash Sep 1 '09 at 2:29
  • Er...missed that. – dmckee Sep 1 '09 at 4:10
  • @dmckee, thanks for your answer anyway. Its useful even though it doesn't answer the question I asked – Casebash Sep 1 '09 at 4:39

The meta discussion will only end when the site stops evolving. Has any website ever attained perfection, such that it no longer needs to be changed ever again? No. The site will always be changing and people will always want to understand and discuss those changes.

  • I am not sure evolution will provide enough material. How many questions can there possibly be about each new feature? – Casebash Sep 1 '09 at 2:31

I would think that eventually, a question and its answers becomes out of date and closed as no longer relevant. A new question would then take its place, and the cycle would continue. After all, as technologies change (even C++ is still changing, after 25+ years), answers will have to change as well.

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