I did a deliberate search before posting this. There's a similar question regarding Homework on SO, but didn't find the anything close to a duplicate.

Here's my concern. I can't help but to realize that there are more 'suspicious' questions here that are posted by SO users who just want a wholesale answer (complete code etc) to maybe solve a work project problem or to solve something they have no clue about. I will not finger-point here, I am sure some of the guys here might agree.

It is something like the homework issue but if it's to the extent of copy-n-paste a client's/colleague's email request into a question post, that really pisses me off. I hope I am wrong, but if it is true, what can we do about it?

My observation of typical behavior of these group of users:

  • They seldom accept answers
  • The question requires a huge effort to answer and often entire chunks of code
  • They don't respond promptly (probably at work) and disappear when the problem is solved

PS: Wiki-ed this post for discussion

  • 5
    Pretty much all of Meta is discussion. So wiki is kind of pointless.
    – random
    Commented Oct 24, 2009 at 11:29
  • Well, it's for the sake of not getting low acceptance percentage. :P
    – o.k.w
    Commented Oct 24, 2009 at 11:46
  • So close: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1957/…
    – random
    Commented Oct 24, 2009 at 12:38
  • I'm not sure what the question is - or the discussion point. Yes, some people want the complete answer; yes, some of them are lacking basic graces that members of the community (as opposed to casual or one-off users of it) expect. Since they're developers, maybe that's to be expected; as a class, developers are not renowned for their social skills (though many, including most of the best and the successful, are in fact socially adept). Commented Oct 24, 2009 at 14:51

3 Answers 3


Its rather easy to spot 'show me the codez' questions on sight. I answer them depending on the tags and edit history. If the original poster tagged the question as homework, beginner, etc .. I'm a little more inclined to help, but I don't rule out those who are obviously trying to get out of trouble at work.

No matter what, you are helping some (albeit often budding) programmer, somewhere have a better and more productive day. Considering that, I fail to see anything really sinister if for you immediate gratification when providing an answer is a non-issue.

Every community, even the hacker community has one way streets. Consider giving two bucks to a homeless person, your reward is instant, you did something good and you know it.

It gets a little different when you donate your time and creativity and then enjoy radio silence. I do understand your point, however I think you may enjoy the system a bit more with a slightly thicker skin. Remember, its not only the original poster who benefits .. someone else is very likely to have the same problem and (given the recent stats that Jeff posted for SO) likely to find your answer.

Yes, you have answered their question, but in a short amount of time they become rather incidental, its the answers that remain helpful over time. After all, what is a question but a means to find an answer? :)


It sounds like a self-correcting problem to me. If the OP really does ask questions without giving back to the community, eventually the well will dry up for him.

  • they can make new account everytime
    – IAdapter
    Commented Oct 24, 2009 at 19:23
  • There's always some keen SO user around the corner who is willing to help out this luser, just this once. So the OP gets what he wants, and will know to come back next time his manager assigns him a task.
    – Ether
    Commented Oct 24, 2009 at 23:22
  • 1
    Ether is right. The well will never dry up. Take a look at shore who will be out of his suspension box in 12 hours: stackoverflow.com/users/104015/shore
    – innaM
    Commented Oct 25, 2009 at 10:09
  • Wow, 475 questions and 1 answer. Nice!
    – o.k.w
    Commented Oct 26, 2009 at 10:30

If the question is valid and well written, why should there be a problem? I've yet to see the rule that you can only use SO for help with hobby projects.

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