I'm not sure if this question is 'allowed' here, or if it even is a valid question.

I'm a student of Interactive Multimedia Design; I don't learn a lot at school. I learn by reading, by doing, and by asking. I ask a lot of questions on Stack Overflow, and I learn a lot from them. However, lately, all I seem to be doing is asking questions.

I often feel like I don't have enough knowledge to answer someone else's question. If I find a question I can possibly answer, there's always ten people who are quicker than me with their answer.

I'm getting uncomfortable by the fact that I'm asking a lot of questions while not answering a lot of them. Does the community here look down upon this? I'm wondering if I should get my 'answering activity' up.

I'm pretty much looking for some comforting words.

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    +1 for thinking about how to contribute. But don't worry about catching up with Jon Skeet; you can't. (Nor can I or any other mere mortal.) – Donal Fellows May 15 '11 at 11:04
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    In addition to all the helpful comments from others, keep in mind that asking questions is a perfectly valid use of the site. As long as your questions are well-written, thoughtful, and useful to others, you're doing a service to the community just as you would be by answering questions. Asking questions only becomes a problem when they're poor, low-quality questions at a high volume. – Cody Gray May 15 '11 at 11:36
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    I've found the same thing, but at least you're learning and what you learn you can use later to help others. Then you can be asking questions about more advanced topics and answering on topics you've learnt already. Plus chances are others have the same questions as you and will end up googling them. – John May 15 '11 at 16:31
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    Thanks everyone. I realise everyone has to start somewhere and the more I learn, the better I'll get at answering other people's questions. I will definitely look at some of the lesser used tags like Donal Fellows suggested and see if I can answer questions there. If an unanswered question is in my field of interest, but I'm not able to answer it right away, I should perhaps try to figure out an answer with the help of Google, other SO questions, etc. I bet learning by answering works too! Thanks. – Joris Ooms May 15 '11 at 19:41

Try frequenting lesser used tags that are more closely aligned with your specialisms, or try going through older unanswered questions and seeing if you can tackle them (try for the Necromancer badge!) Remember, only some questions get jumped on by large numbers of answerers, but they're questions that show up preferentially in some views. The other questions are (almost all) worthy of being answered too.

But don't stop trying to ask good questions, of course.


If your questions are insightful and lead to great answers, you are doing a huge service to the site and you can relax. If your questions never get upvoted, there may be a problem :)

  • A bit of both, actually. ;( Perhaps I'm worrying too much, haha. – Joris Ooms May 15 '11 at 11:03

There are only answers to questions, so if nobody asks questions, they aren't answered.

So if you keep on asking questions that might be asked by someone later (and encourage people to answer by making clear what you're asking and by giving feedback), everyone with the same problem will see the answer without having to ask (and wait) first.

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