layout: default title: StackOverflow’s Toxicity date: 2023-01-15 09:31:33 -0500 tags: stackoverflow toxicity _preview_description: —

Several years ago when I first joined Stack Overflow, I was unpleasantly surprised by the sheer anger and toxicity of the members that ‘answered’ my questions. I couldn’t understand what I did wrong, I couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t just help me.

But after being in the industry and learning how to solve problems on my own, I’ve come to realize that the problem with StackOverflow are more complex than it being filled with angry people.

Research Skills

One of the first differences you’ll notice between beginners and ‘experts’ is not just skill in all areas - no expert is simply ‘good’ at every part of programming. There are many holes in their knowledge, and they are constantly learning, just like beginners and everyone else.

The biggest difference is that experts know how to research their problems. Especially when in their usual environment. They know how to differentiate various issues, format their questions, locate the community powering their work, and formulate searches using the right keywords.

This is a skill that takes time to learn, and it often has to be relearned a little in new environments.

The Expert’s Perspective

The Beginner’s Perspective

What Can We Do?