I'm a relatively new programmer so some things, that are simple to many, are complex or at least not immediately obvious to me. Whenever I post a question, except for one or two responders, most people seem to love giving sarcastic and mocking answers. Why is the community like that?

I think there should perhaps be a beginner tag so that the people, who don't want to deal with that, don't have to.

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    Not meaning to defend the behaviour of many commenters on SO - rudeness definitely is a problem at times - but looking through the comments to your three questions, I don't see anything I would describe as overly sarcastic or mocking. Most responses seem helpful, if terse. – Pekka Dec 14 '13 at 0:22
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    Beginners are welcome. You don't need to know how to program. You do need to know how to ask. See meta.stackexchange.com/a/180698/147247 for some tips on learning how to ask. Invest some time in learning how to ask (coming to Meta is a great start) and you will learn to program much more quickly as a result. Truly. – Kate Gregory Dec 14 '13 at 0:28
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    Considering that this question is still visible on the front page (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/211496/…), all I can say is that if you do the smallest of homework (i.e. search for similar questions), the responses to your questions will be much more positive. – Johnny Bones Dec 14 '13 at 1:14

There's a two way street here, however.

Looking at your questions on Stack Overflow, while not terrible, they're not really great either.
The site help section does give really good information as to how you ask a good question. And if you'd read it before posting (as everyone is supposed to really) then you'd have not missed out some of the issues with your questions.
Or if you had read it then maybe you missed the point.

Things like not providing relevant/problematic code in your question and so people having to ask for it in comments etc.

I'm not saying that automatically warrants a downvote, but people are entitled to downvote for these reasons as this is a professional site. You get professional advice but you have to follow the guidelines really.

Also, I don't really see any of the comments on your questions as problematic. If you see sarcasm, then you need to ignore it and think only about the information and advice provided.
There will always be people like that, especially online.

Also, on the two way street, you have not accepted any of the answers from people who spent time helping you.

Are those users to come here and open a question saying "Beginners don't treat the established users very well and don't give votes etc"?

Live and let live. If someone has been rude, report the comment or answer. Otherwise, expect a bit of wisecrack now and then. While it's not condoned really, who cares. Most people are friendly and will help you out.

One last thing to note about Stack Overflow (and MSO, most Stack sites really) is people are to the point, and it can be easy to mistake a "straight to the point factual only answer to a question" to someone "being sarcastic or cold or unfriendly.
The latter happens, the former is true 99% of the time.

Same with comments asking you for things or pointing out things they believe you should already know for your given scenario (ie have some knowledge of the problem).
They're not being rude, just straight to the point and direct, which most people find more helpful, than, as a comparison, a forum where "hi, how you doing, welcome to..." while is friendly, isn't a quick and accurate response to getting an issue resolved!

Stack is about getting clear cut answers, without many pleasantries, so while people are mostly friendly, some drop the pleasantries for just giving facts.

Like this answer really ... ;)

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    The OP doesn't have enough rep to vote. – Martin Smith Dec 14 '13 at 0:40
  • Doh! Thanks. Edited – James Dec 14 '13 at 1:01

A beginner tag would probably be viewed the same way the homework tag was. Basically the issue was that many questions were being asked about the same exact thing. It is just that the questions contained so much noise in them from the homework assignment it was not easily recognizable until inspected what the same thing was.

My point is that the beginner tag would probably be an indication of low quality content if anything. It would be an obfuscation of a duplicate topic. However, beginners are not treated any differently here provided that they abide by the guidelines of posting content. Stack Exchange expects content to be accurate, well researched, and clearly presented.

Everyone was a beginner at some point. All beginners are welcome. However, as a beginner you should have a certain level of respect for those who are willing to contribute to your advancement.

It is important to be very open minded to the questions people will ask you in the comments of your post. These are not sarcastic remarks (for the most part), but are trying to either offer guidance or get a stronger understanding of your issue.

Narrowing down examples from the entire problem set to a reproduction of the issue you face is a very good way to learn and will also allow others to have a contained example to test on their own. This will lead to them finding a solution much quicker, or perhaps to solving your own problem on your own. After all, there is a reason test driven design is so popular at the moment.

That being said, you are probably close to hitting the question ban. If you continue to ask questions which get negative votes (especially if one or two of them get closed or deleted) your privilege to ask questions on Stack Overflow may be temporarily suspended.

I suggest that you consider making your questions more succinct in the future. There is a famous user(Jon Skeet) here who wrote a very good article on how to write the perfect question.


When you have little reputation, those down votes quickly add up. You can get down voted for anything, without explanation or warning. I'm considering to leave SE for good and ask questions on forums instead.

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    If you post quality content then you'd be getting upvotes, not downvotes. – Servy Jun 18 '15 at 18:32

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