Much to my dismay, I read this comment on Meta:

"We don't help people. We help the Internet by creating useful information."

I need to know what portion of SE users feel this way. Then I must figure out what is the threshold that I can tolerate. Then it will be obvious if I have any business at all being here.

I try to be basically positive and encouraging in tone when I post, but when I read the comment with the quote above, I just had to lash out by writing the following comment:

{@some SE user} "We don't help people. We help the Internet by creating useful information." The Internet has no value or purpose unless it gets USED by people. It is a THING; people built it, and for only one reason... human use. I hope that I'm taking your comment out of context, because if that is literally what you are saying and how you feel, that means that others must surely share your ideology. If this is the destiny of what values become for lives to be lived, I am deeply saddened by what future lives must endure. Nobody on their death bed wishes they had spent more time at the office.

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    Who said this? Just a random user? I can't find anything offical from se on that quote. Of course se helps people but that is not its end goal. It aims to create a repository of high quality questions and answers. What it does not do, is catter to peoples every whim and fancy. Quality is more important than helping the single individual but that is not the same as not helping people. Your quote is technically correct, though crude, questions must be of good quality, on topic etc or you won't get help, seems fair to me, as I am giving my time to help.. – Mark Kirby Jul 2 '18 at 10:04
  • I think this is primarily opinion based - I think there's a hundred different reasons to be here. Your reasons might even change from site to site. – Journeyman Geek Jul 2 '18 at 10:06
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    For some context, that was a comment on this answer on the post titled Why is SE giving so much attention to the "be nice"-policy? – n8te Jul 2 '18 at 10:21

To get a perspective on the balance between helping individual people one question at a time and helping thousands of people who visit those same questions many years into the future, I recommend reading the paragraph below (and the two that follow it) from We're working on a new stat to help convey the reach of your posts here:

You gotta get this to get us.

Why should we care if people understand just how important the idea of reusable content is here? For existing users, it can provide some rough perspective on how big an impact your time donated here really has. One thing that drew me in long before I worked here was the idea that my effort here would help more people than it ever could buried in some forum. Now, it's fine if you personally find it just as fulfilling to help one person as it is to help a thousand. Or perhaps your motivation is the challenge in solving an especially hard problem... That's awesome too.

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