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Q&A

Welcome to Codidact Meta!

Codidact Meta is the meta-discussion site for the Codidact community network and the Codidact software. Whether you have bug reports or feature requests, support questions or rule discussions that touch the whole network – this is the site for you.

Comments on What's more important for codidact - quality or helping questions get answered?

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What's more important for codidact - quality or helping questions get answered?

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When I read through https://codidact.org/ I get the impression that the focus is on helping people get their questions answered. There are obviously other benefits, like providing a platform for people who want to share their knowledge, but the message that stands out to me most is:

This is a place where you can get your question answered.

If anyone disagrees with this, I can try to edit the question to provide examples/quotes, but I feel like it's kind of obvious so I'll keep it brief for now.

However, in my interactions with some regulars on here, sometimes I've gotten a different impression. Often, they assert that content quality is paramount, and seem very concerned about keeping the hapless newbies from posting stuff that isn't good enough for the site. The same people don't seem too concerned about trying to help the most people who come to the site - there seems to be an elitist sentiment of "if their content isn't good enough they can stay out". A lot of voting, moderation, discussion and feedback is currently dominated by this attitude, which I think is very confusing for new users. It's not clear what the site is about. Is it a populist site that tries to help everyone who asks, or is it an elitist site that maintains high standards?

I intend this post as feedback on either the text on https://codidact.org/ being misleading, or the culture being out of alignment with the site's vision. Notably, the word "quality" doesn't even appear on that page. Moreover, it mentions things like "community-focused" and "non-hostile" which seem to me at odds with elitism.

Of course the two things are highly related, but ultimately one must be the first principle. For example, if quality is most important, it is reasonable to close or delete poorly-written questions even if it means the asker might be denied help and other users are prevented from helping them. If answering questions is most important, there is an argument for helping the asker first, cleaning up the question later.

I don't think this is a philosophical question. I'll assert that the two biggest types of user on QA sites are:

  • People who want to create quality content - they want to see the site grow and evolve into a compendium of high quality knowledge, where only the best-written questions get asked and answered
  • People who want to create a helpful community - they want to see the site become a resource where you can go and ask your own questions, even if they're not the best written

I think currently the "marketing" is aiming mostly towards the "helpful community" group, but the actual site culture seems to be more like the "quality content" group. This is counter-productive to growing the site. Suppose the "marketing" works and you attract the "helpful community" people, and they immediately discover a dominant "quality content" culture - they will probably feel frustrated and not want to participate as much. Meanwhile, if you want the "quality content" group, you will keep getting confused "helpful community" people who wander in and annoy the regulars with bad questions and create more work for moderators. The site presentation should not be encouraging them.

And yes, I do see that these are not mutually exclusive. Some people would be happy with either type of site. My question here is about those people who want only one or the other - I believe such people are quite numerous.

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1 comment thread

Confusion between 1st and 2nd (5 comments)
Confusion between 1st and 2nd
trichoplax‭ wrote about 2 months ago · edited about 2 months ago

I think there's a typo in the paragraph directly following the bullet points - first and second seem to be switched from what you intend in at least one place.

Even if that is fixed, the reader still needs to keep track of what "first" and "second" mean for the rest of the post. I wonder if it might be easier to read if the 2 groups were given names instead of numbers? Perhaps the "quality content group" and the "helpful community group" since those are the terms used in the bullet points.

matthewsnyder‭ wrote about 2 months ago

Thank you! It was indeed an error, I edited with the fix.

Let me see if I can rewrite with names as you said.

matthewsnyder‭ wrote about 2 months ago

Thanks for the suggestion! I did have that thought when writing it, but gave up on it because I couldn't think of good names. Yours work great, though.

trichoplax‭ wrote about 2 months ago

I'm recommending making the post as clear as possible because I believe this is an important discussion to have, particularly because Codidact is set up to let communities largely govern themselves via Meta. Where to draw the line between helpfulness and strictness is a subjective decision that may have different outcomes on different Codidact communities, in their individual Meta sites. Having a very clear discussion here on Codidact Meta will hopefully inform those more specific discussions later.

trichoplax‭ wrote about 2 months ago · edited about 2 months ago

(That last comment of mine was sent hours ago before your responses but my internet failed so now it's out of order...)