I was very excited about the Herb Sutter posting GotW articles on Stack Overflow.

He asked a question here on Meta Stack Overflow to - basically - ask for permission, and since it has 26 upvotes and 0 downvotes there is no doubt the community wants this.

I was looking forward to it, but apparently nothing happened in the last five months. Herb Sutter still has the same 3 answers and 0 questions he had back then, and I don't see GotW articles anywhere.

Is this still going to happen? If not, can I ask why?


What James said. The answers to my original question made it clear that there was definitely interest, but also there was definitely some impedance mismatch between GotW and SO.

One mismatch was that most GotWs consist of multiple questions that lead into each other, which is an effective tutorial method, and some felt strongly that I would need to split GotW issues into single questions. That's a problem, because that would destroy the tutorial flow that is structured to help guide the reader's thinking. Also, splitting the issues and linking them would be extra makework for me, which isn't compelling given the negative benefit.

Another mismatch is selecting answers. I do post my own answer to each issue, and naturally that one would be "the" answer, but I'm told that SO discourages self-answering. I don't want to pick a user answer, even as the 'best user answer,' for several reasons: a) SO encourages early partial answers, not full deep ones, which would likely make picking a 'best answer' from users problematic; and b) I had to stop doing just that with GotW in the past because some people misunderstood my to mean that I was asking the questions and taking other people's answers and then later publishing them as my own, and even though that clearly wasn't the case and the confusion was quickly cleared up, I found it easiest to just not pick a 'winner' and so avoid the potential problem.

Clearly GotW would need to fit SO, not the other way around. My question is, can it without destroying its core structure? I'd be inclined to put the new/revised GotWs on SO if the format can be basically as it is -- whole GotW issues, and self-answers. But to split the questions would destroy the flow, and to not self-answer would create other problems.

I'm not sure if the impedance mismatch is bridgeable, but would be interested in ideas. If people think it might be okay this way, I could try one or two (with a link to this discussion) and see how they work out.

Edited to add: I just read Joel's latest. That makes me wonder if the right answer to deal with the impedance mismatch may not be to do a gotw.stackoverflow.com or gotw.stackexchange.com? That way there's a separate forum for a distinct format. Thoughts?

Edited to add: One other concern is the SO license. My XC++ books are made up of updated/expanded/organized versions of the GotW articles and other columns, and my publisher is okay with the fact that I already make all my original GotW articles available for free anyway, but I do retain copyright and they're only legally available at my original site so it's controlled and I can provide links to the actual book which provides value for readers who want to know about the updated versions and value for the publisher to let people know about the book. It's awkward that the SO license allows arbitrary republishing, which requires giving up control of the free versions and so seems to be in tension with publishing serious material in two ways: 1. It may create a problem for the publisher to provide updated versions of the material in book form if there are similar free versions floating about uncontrolled in the wild that won't even link to the book when it's available. 2. It would seem to legalize linkbait sites ripping off the material to generate ad revenue and flooding the Internet with copies (see Ryan McCarthy and Marco Arment).

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    Regarding your last question, it's definitely worth a try. Experiment with one and see what happens: there's nothing to lose! Regarding the rest of your post, I couldn't help but notice a few misconceptions about SO. I'm not sure where you read that SO discourages self answering, but I never heard of this. You are more than welcome to accept your own answer. Maybe you heard it was "discouraged" because self-accepted answers don't award rep and aren't moved to the top regardless of votes, but that is done simply for preventing abuse. If it gave rep, you would always accept your own answer. [..] – Thomas Bonini Aug 30 '10 at 3:34
  • [..] Also, you most certainly don't have to accept any answer. Even if a user posts a perfect answer you are under no obligation to accept it; it's completely optional. Also I don't think it's true that SO encourages "early partial answers"; you may think that because people usually answer immediately with a partial answer, which is a good thing because if the user is in a rush they can get the answer immediately. But almost always the poster keeps editing the answer to make it better; if they don't, it almost always receives less upvotes than a more complete [..] – Thomas Bonini Aug 30 '10 at 3:36
  • [..] answer, even if the latter is posted later. I'm guessing that anyway you will pre-write your answer, so you can post it right away if you want. For the point b), since the answer will be under your name, I don't think this problem applies: it will be obvious that you wrote the answer yourself. While uncommon posting questions you know the answer to is perfectly acceptable. So, long story short, of all the issues you mentioned the only one that I believe may be problematic is posting multiple questions in a single post. [..] – Thomas Bonini Aug 30 '10 at 3:38
  • [..] However, this is done relatively often and is not much frowned upon. I'm pretty sure the community won't see it as a problem, but like I said above there is only one way to find out: try, and see what happens. – Thomas Bonini Aug 30 '10 at 3:38
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    @Herb I really hope you try 1 or 2, I think the format of asking a question, allowing answers for a week or two and then folding the best of the answers with your insights into a single wiki post which you accept could work really well. Regarding splitting the flow: you could have a big fat link to the follow up question at the bottom of your question ... I am sure the community would be able to assist with formatting and so on, so the feel is right. – waffles Aug 30 '10 at 4:05
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    As long as the questions are interesting, intelligent, have an objective answer (or answers), and questions that are asked together are vaguely related to each other, I don't see many people objecting to them, especially not many of the top contributors in the C++ tag. Recently there have been a lot of complaints about the degrading quality of questions on SO, and I think that puzzle- and article-like questions (similar to the GotW questions) can help raise the overall quality of the technical content on SO. I, for one, am hugely in favor of GotW coming to SO. – James McNellis Aug 30 '10 at 4:28
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    Self-accepting answers is ok on SO, especially if people know that that's how it will be done. I would create a Meta post explaining exactly how you're going to do the GotW articles (or edit the existing one), then link to it at the top or bottom of every article so people can read the ground rules. – Lance Roberts Sep 1 '10 at 18:53
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    As a good example of answering your own question and accepting said answer, I'd take a look at "What is the copy-and-swap idiom?" While the author answered that question immediately (it was more of an article-like post than a puzzle/technical discussion-like post like GotW is), the idea is the same, and that question and answer were very well received. – James McNellis Sep 1 '10 at 19:02
  • Whats funny is i created a proposal about writing articles and having others provide feedback the day i heard of SE/area51. After no interest I tried again but allowing it to be about anything software rather then dev software. I thought it was weird not a single person was interested in it (ok i actually do remember there was ONE other person who joined). It perfect for this situation. I knew i wasnt the only one who would find the proposal extremely useful but sadly it was ignored and now someone has deleted it. area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/21756 – user34537 Nov 6 '10 at 5:22

I asked Herb Sutter about this back in June at a seminar.

He was a little wary that the format differences between what Stack Overflowers normally expect and how the GotW articles have traditionally been asked and that the questions might not be well-received. (If you read the answers to his original meta question, a lot of them express unease about the format.)

I of course told him I didn't think it would be a problem :-) and that I thought most people here would be quite excited to have GotW come to Stack Overflow.

Anyway, he said he was looking at possibly restarting the series in July. Given that nothing has yet been posted on his blog, Stack Overflow, or comp.lang.c++.moderated, I'd guess he's probably just a little delayed. He's a busy person, after all.

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