OK, so I saw this discussion about developer laziness and decided to try and follow Mike Houston's suggestion from the comment of posting "How do I implement bubble sort?..." question.

Now, I was ready to sacrifice some reputation for the sake of science, as well as suffer some flame, so here's the result: Bubble-Sort . To summarize:

  • Nearly instantly got 5 down-votes with no upvotes :(

  • Someone instantly re-tagged the question as "Homework"

  • Someone fairly rudely but quite accurately noted that the question was not as good as it should have been.

  • People posted at least 2 very good answers that I saw. Don't know if they were the same people who down-voted.

So, my biggest question is, how come Joel Spolsky's infamous LOGO turtle moving question was voted up high, while this one was downvoted into oblivion? Was it merely Joel's name on it?


2 Answers 2


For one thing, you could have mentioned that fact that you wanted to make sure SO had a bubble-sort-related question on it, and that's why you were making the question. To make it more likely to succeed, I would have linked to the similar Joel questions as evidence that you know what you're doing.

But otherwise you hit the nail on the head. Questions like that only work because they are highly visible due to the people asking them. Stack Overflow is not very friendly to that kind of question because, frankly, it looks like a "plz send me teh codez" question.

When Joel asks the same question, people give him the benefit of the doubt. When you ask it, it looks like a new user trying to take advantage of everyone's generosity.

  • I posted clarification as per your suggetsion.
    – Lemurik
    Oct 20, 2009 at 18:12
  • Joel's question and an earlier attempt at something similar (which has probably been deleted by now) were what prompted my question - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/198/… - not long after meta started up
    – ChrisF Mod
    Oct 20, 2009 at 21:37
  • (Steven Spielberg's )?(We|Ouè)lbo[u_]?g(ue)?|Susan( Papadismgaogenabhieanae(laegkae)?)? - How often do you change your name these days? How many of your former names is my regex missing? Oct 20, 2009 at 23:01

I was the one that originally edited Joel's question; and I would have voted to close if I hadn't googled "Turtle LOGO" and found out what he was talking about.

To answer your question: It doesn't matter to me who you are.

There are stark differences between Joel's question and your question:

  1. Joel's Question didn't have the propensity to be a homework question.
  2. Joel didn't ask us to 'plzsendtehcodez'.

If you had asked the question in such a way that it didn't appear like you wanted us to do your homework1 for you, then it probably wouldn't have been closed.

1I realize that it wasn't a homework question for you, but it is a possible homework question for someone out there.

  • 2
    George - I have one-word rebuttal to what you just said: stackoverflow.com/questions/459457/… . It's your own question, answered by a simple Google, that to most people sounds like homework. Irony? :)
    – DVK
    Oct 20, 2009 at 18:17
  • I'm not criticizing you, BTW... I might have voted that Q down myself had I stumbled upon it on front page, not sure.
    – DVK
    Oct 20, 2009 at 18:22
  • @DVK: You misunderstand my position. I welcome LMGIFY questions. I do not welcome questions where the asker says, "Can you please write my code for me." As I point out in that question, if Stack Overflow is meant to be the repository for all useful programming knowledge, then definitions -- by definition ought to be welcome. Oct 20, 2009 at 18:38
  • 3
    If "Stack Overflow is meant to be the repository for all useful programming knowledge," wouldn't it also include the full source code to as many useful tasks as possible? That'd be some useful programming knowledge. (Just playing Devil's advocate here.) Oct 20, 2009 at 23:03
  • @Chris Lutz Yes and no. Yes, it should include it, but no it should not be off of the stick of someone who wants us to do his work for him. If someone posts their implementation and says, "Hey, what's wrong with my implementation", then it's perfectly acceptable to link to or provide a better implementation. Oct 20, 2009 at 23:34
  • "it should not be off of the stick of someone who wants us to do his work for him" - Isn't that essentially what a question is? There are three levels - knowledge (things you know), analysis (understanding via inspection), and synthesis (creation of something new). Are you arguing that we should only answer questions with answers that are knowledge and analysis, but stop short of doing the actual thinking and work to create the object of desire for the OP? I really don't understand why we should limit our answers to theory and knowledge, rather than practical "here's the code" as well.
    – Pollyanna
    Apr 23, 2010 at 13:40

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