I am aware that Stack Exchange is intended as a repository; it is not a place for people to post buggy code, or even no code at all, and seek help. But I notice that there are helpful people who do attempt to answer even poorly-asked questions, or questions that are not appropriate for Stack Exchange. Especially on Stack Overflow.

Today while telling someone "this isn't appropriate for Stack Exchange/Stack Overflow, either work your code down to a specific question, or post on some forum" it occurred to me that:

  1. Forums are poorly structured to help debug code.
  2. There are lots of helpful people here, and people post these questions because they do get useful answers, even when their questions are crap.

So, why not have a "dumping ground" site, that high rep people can move the questions to? (In other words, moved by anyone with 10K, or 3 votes-to-move by those with 2K.) Then if anyone wants to help, they can do so. (And if no one helps, then that will show that it was only reputation on Stack Overflow that gave people incentive to help with lousy questions, which would be interesting to know...)

** EDIT **

Its totally fine if no one goes there except people posting buggy code. If that happens, then we'll have demonstrated that it isn't worth anyone's time to debug those questions. The point of my proposal is to make it easier to REMOVE those posts from stackoverflow (SO), in a gentler way than deleting them...

Currently, such questions clutter SO, and people get SO rep for answering them, if their answer is accepted. IMHO would be better if no one got SO rep for answering questions that shouldn't be on SO in the first place. Having a mechanism for quickly moving the question off SO would accomplish that, and would better signal to people asking, that SO is the wrong place for such questions.

Currently, people often enough get "rewarded" for their crap questions, by receiving an answer, that they have motivation to ask such questions again. Also, other people see those questions get answered, and think it is appropriate to ask similar questions.

An alternative would be to make it easier to kill off these questions. But I thought having a place to move them to was a gentler approach.

  • 3
    I suspect that such a site would be less popular than 'DigMyLatrineDitch.com'. Anyone who has done anything more than the most trivial debugging knows that they usually need access to the complete environment where the bug manifests. Anything less is hugely likely to be a waste of time. Example: many posters cannot even be bothered to check if an input file has been opened successfully before posting ' Urgent,help me!!' questions :( – Martin James Jan 6 '17 at 18:41
  • 2
    .. or post the actual code that they are debugging.. – Martin James Jan 6 '17 at 18:43
  • 2
    .. or post test input files.. – Martin James Jan 6 '17 at 18:44
  • 2
    .. or post output data.. – Martin James Jan 6 '17 at 18:44
  • 2
    .. or post error messages.. – Martin James Jan 6 '17 at 18:45
  • 1
    .. or explain that they are being paid to do someone else's homework, and want someone else to do the hard work for free. – Martin James Jan 6 '17 at 18:46
  • There's also crap questions that are just about a little typo in code preventing compilation. Users would likely only answer these if they want easy rep. These are useful to no one but the OP, who should at least be able to tell when the compiler is telling them that they're missing a semicolon. – Jamal Jan 6 '17 at 18:47
  • @MartinJames: That should be an answer. – Wrzlprmft Jan 6 '17 at 19:03
  • If you really think it would work (I suspect it wouldn't) you can propose one yourself on Area51 – Cai Jan 6 '17 at 19:30
  • 1
    @MartinJames - but those points you make are my reason for creating this site. Then we could point people there, and move the posts there. Unclutter stackoverflow more quickly. If it turns out to just be a dumping ground, that is fine. Would be a real-world demonstration that no one cares enough to help people who don't put proper work into their questions. Consider it a social experiment. – ToolmakerSteve Jan 7 '17 at 1:16

Firstly, if you want to create a completely new site then I don't approve one bit. Who will go there except people who have buggy code? People in this community answer and browse questions motivated by:

  1. The prospect of gaining some knowledge by browsing and answering questions.
  2. Simply earning rep. No kidding. Rep is designed to be an incentive and it works, too!
  3. Very few are actually in it for others. They think they stand to gain nothing and yet do it.

Now, you can think for yourself and you'll find that no one will gain any knowledge. Or at least next to none. Gaining rep on that site... I don't know... Will people go for it? Unless you link it with another one like Stack Overflow. But that will be similar to just getting a new domain for the Q/A while still having them associated. Which brings us to the next question, are you planning to make those questions visible on Stack Overflow or any other code site or not?

Now if you want to simply segregate questions and not make a new site, it won't be quite worth the effort. It will not be a game-changer of any sort. Most people will 'meh' and roll with it, not exactly happy or satisfied.

  • ... And yet the 3 points you make are exactly why I suggest it be a new site. Its totally fine if no one goes there except people posting buggy code. If that happens, then we'll have demonstrated that it isn't worth anyone's time to debug those questions. The point of my proposal is to make it easier to REMOVE those posts from stackoverflow, in a gentler way than deleting them... – ToolmakerSteve Jan 7 '17 at 1:05
  • @ToolmakerSteve what you are suggesting is no solution to a problem which isn't quite a problem. I hope that makes sense. I don't think people mind all that much and moving them/deleting them will just make the askers unhappy... – Rippr Jan 7 '17 at 13:20
  • 1
    "no one will gain any knowledge". Uh no, you will gain knowledge of debugging, or I should rather say, experience. Debugging in general is tough, any experience you get is invaluable, even if that comes from debugging other people's problems. That said though, such crowd-sourced debugging is impratical to be setup practically. – Masked Man Jan 7 '17 at 18:14

You must log in to answer this question.

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