On SO I ask lots of questions daily, but I also try and answer questions as well.

I have 190 questions and 320 answers on SO, but in a post I saw by Jeff I am now acutely aware that I am one of the handful of people who have over 5k rep and over 150 questions, and I'm headed to top that list I think.

Is asking so many questions considered bad etiquette? Should I try and cut down? I only ask ones I am stuck on and can't find solutions to easily.

  • 10
    Don't forget other people will have the same questions as you do, and you're sourcing the answers for them, before they even got around to asking it. If the quality of your questions remains high, you're pro-actively helping the community. In my opinion, it wouldn't matter if you ONLY asked questions, if they were well thought out questions, you demonstrate you have at least tried to answer it yourself and you accept the answers where appropriate.
    – Leigh
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 10:43
  • 10
    The fact that you wonder whether its OK to ask so many shows you care about quality - which is apparent in your questions too. Keep up the good work. Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 10:49
  • 1
    What Jeff was talking about was the people who make 40 extremely poor quality questions everyday for the purpose of gaining reputation as quickly as possible.
    – Earlz
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 11:38
  • 3
    I'd vote this up, but I'd hate to be misunderstood as meaning "Yes, you should" - By all means don't stop asking questions.
    – user50049
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 12:47
  • @Tom: Could you link to this Jeff's post you mentioned? Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 13:17
  • @Tadeusz sorry I don't think I can find it.
    – Tom
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 15:23
  • In any case, keep asking good questions. There's no shortage on people willing to answer, quite the opposite. Questions are precious. ;)
    – maaartinus
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 19:23
  • What does an upvote mean here?
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 4:36
  • 1
    @drach: It means you like waffles. Mmmm... waffles...
    – Shog9
    Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 5:36
  • No @Shog, not on MSO but HERE on this question. #Conflicted
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 6:12

6 Answers 6


You still have more answers than questions. Plus your questions seem to be of fine quality. In my book, there is no problem.

  • 4
    And even if he had more questions that answers...
    – Trufa
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 12:32
  • @Trufa yeah. As long as they are okay, it's no problem either way
    – Pekka
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 12:33
  • ) -----
    – Trufa
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 12:42
  • Quality is quality. :)
    – user50049
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 12:47

You don't even have 1 down-voted question.

Most of your questions were up-voted.

94% acceptance rate.

I would qualify that as a exemplary citizen.

You even have more answers than questions, not that this matters if it's reversed, this site would die tomorrow without any more questions.

I say bring them on as fast as they come up!

  • @Lance thanks! that is much better!
    – Trufa
    Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 7:45

No, why should you? You answer more questions than you ask. Back then Jeff was talking about certain users who ask endless questions day in and day out (and we're talking very high volumes from these users). Many of these questions were of low quality and verging on the unintelligible. Many of these users selfishly choose not to upvote or mark answers as accepted.

Oh, and don't be ashamed at having 5k+ and asking lots of questions. I have no qualms about asking questions on SO if I'm stuck or tight for time (no time to research properly) and need a question answered quickly. If you participate as a good citizen and keep the questions on-topic, be clear and concise in your questions, accept and up vote good answers then don't be afraid to ask.

Judging by your profile, you're all good in this respect.

  • 2
    Yeah. The kind of users Jeff referred to were more in this league: Example 1 Example 2 - click through to the downvoted questions to get an impression
    – Pekka
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 11:04
  • @pekka - Exactly, but at least Example 1 is accepting answers even if he could do with RTFM at times. Example 2 is the bane of SO.
    – Kev
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 11:38
  • @Pekka oh wow, he has 902 questions.
    – Earlz
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 11:41
  • @Pekka damn!!!!
    – Trufa
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 12:31

it's the key idea of a community... Help others, they help you in return.

Moreover, raising global skill of the computer industry may (it's still allowed to dream) help you in your work. It's far more preferable to work with competent colleagues than incompetent one.

The "1 + 1 = 3" paradox is very accurate in this world. SO helps a bit in this way.

Finally, if your questions are pertinent, other people with same questions will be able to solve their own problem by looking at yours. Asking a good question is as useful as answering correctly to a question

  • 1
    (1+1=3) = upvote+1
    – Moshe
    Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 5:45

There is no reason to stop asking questions (or reduce the quantity), if you think that the quality of the question is good and it is not a duplicate (and possibly you didn't quilcky find answer elsewhere). I also don't see any relation between asking questions and answering questions. It doesn't matter how many answers you have. For example on ServerFault and SuperUser I'm not able to answer almost any question. Does it mean that I should not ask questions? I think no. There will always be users who asks more then answers.


I have little to add but if it makes you feel better, allow me to put things in in perspective. I have 301 questions and 220 answers, as of this writing. You are doing fine. I think I should answer more. I am working on that. I asked one question since I had 150 questions.

I do believe that one should contribute in some proportion to what they take from the community, but there is not hard an fast rule. As others have said, you can't have SO without people asking questions.

tl;dr version:

Keep contributing and participating!

  • I think you did some bad math
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 6:13
  • @drach - Huh? (fifteen character limit beater)
    – Moshe
    Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 6:42
  • I thought you had 151 questions not 301
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 13:30
  • Nope. See my profile.
    – Moshe
    Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 14:04

You must log in to answer this question.

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