Drinking from the firehose

StackOverflow is now in open beta, so anybody can sign up and participate. And evidently, anybody has. The quality of the questions has gone way down, and the quantity has gone way up. It used to be that I’d stop back every 15-30 minutes and hit refresh, and there’d be a few new questions, but a couple I’d already seen would still be on the “Newest Questions” page. Now when I do that, not only have all the questions I’ve already seen been shoved off of page 1, sometimes they aren’t even on page 2.

And a lot of the questioners are obviously not looking as they’re typing their subject line, because one of the really nifty features of StackOverflow is that as you type your subject line, it picks out keywords and shows you other questions with the same keywords. If you pay attention, often times you’ll find your question has already been asked and answered. So seeing questions that you know were already answered before is a prime indicator that people aren’t paying attention to that feature.

In some ways, it reminds me of September in the good old days of Usenet. Hopefully it will calm down a bit after a while.

Actually, that reminds me of something – on day 1 of the open beta, somebody asked “So how is StackOverflow just not a re-implementation of Usenet groups”, which quickly got deleted as off-topic or moderated down so far that I couldn’t see it any more. (Which pretty much answers that question, doesn’t it?) I have some thoughts about that, but I should probably leave that for another post.