10 votes

What would you want in a Stackoverflow/Quora competitor?

My friend was rambling about making his own Stackoverflow/quora clone, but with some random specific features.

Note that this project would probably compete directly with Quora, but have multiple subcomminties like Stackoverflow/Reddit. We think taking programming FAQs from SO is too uphill of a battle to focus on.

What are some great ideas?

17 comments

  1. [3]
    Deimos Link
    I could be wrong, but your post gives me the impression that you don't realize this: the StackExchange network (which StackOverflow is the most popular site from) already has 174 sites for...

    I could be wrong, but your post gives me the impression that you don't realize this: the StackExchange network (which StackOverflow is the most popular site from) already has 174 sites for different topics, and adds new ones pretty regularly. StackOverflow isn't the only one, they've already covered a lot of popular topics far beyond programming and will be very difficult to compete with.

    23 votes
    1. suspended Link Parent
      Holy smokes! That's quite a list they have there.

      Holy smokes! That's quite a list they have there.

      4 votes
    2. StellarTabi Link Parent
      We're aware of that and haven't decided much on an opening strategy or first release niche, but feel like we're also going to have some valuable innovations and distinctions.

      We're aware of that and haven't decided much on an opening strategy or first release niche, but feel like we're also going to have some valuable innovations and distinctions.

      2 votes
  2. [4]
    The_Fad Link
    Stream-lined user interface that's not bogged down with unnecessary clicks or ads. My biggest issue with both currently is that they occupy the same space but for different users. Stack Overflow...

    Stream-lined user interface that's not bogged down with unnecessary clicks or ads.

    My biggest issue with both currently is that they occupy the same space but for different users. Stack Overflow gets a much more tech savvy crowd, so while their website has good functionality it's not exactly the most welcoming thing in the world aesthetically. Quora, meanwhile, attracts a more general crowd but suffers from a stale layout that over accentuates "best answers" and makes it difficult to tell at a glance whether the notes below it are other answers or ads, if you're unfamiliar with the site.

    If a competitor wants to stand out it should take cues from the best parts of both and then streamline it so a brand new user can come to the site from an internet search and immediately see the question, the answers, and an indicator as to why one answer may be better than another all without needing more than a glance.

    13 votes
    1. mat Link Parent
      Related to your last paragraph - don't constantly hassle me to create an account or login via some OAuth system just to view the site. I'm looking at you, Quora.

      Related to your last paragraph - don't constantly hassle me to create an account or login via some OAuth system just to view the site. I'm looking at you, Quora.

      15 votes
    2. [2]
      Luna Link Parent
      And all too often, the "best" answers are flat-out wrong*. Being able to state your credentials seems to also increase the amount of pseudo-intellectuals since many times it's "studied [subject]...

      a stale layout that over accentuates "best answers"

      And all too often, the "best" answers are flat-out wrong*. Being able to state your credentials seems to also increase the amount of pseudo-intellectuals since many times it's "studied [subject] at [college]" (aka "I never graduated, but here's my hot take" or "I took 1 intro to [subject] class for gen-ed but will act like I majored in it").

      *See: almost any question about the Kalergi plan - the Kalergi plan does not exist, and Kalergi is a European-supremacist who advocated enslaving all of Africa, so why white nationalists claim he would approve of white genocide (which also doesn't exist, natural demographic change is not a conspiracy) is beyond me, but if you read the first 5 answers on any Quora post about Kalergi, you'd think this rubbish was unquestionable fact.

      2 votes
      1. StellarTabi Link Parent
        That sounds like an annoying scenario. Hopefully we come up with a tool to fix it.

        That sounds like an annoying scenario. Hopefully we come up with a tool to fix it.

  3. [9]
    pleure Link
    I'd like the community to be a bit nicer. I understand StackExchange wants to avoid duplicates and low-quality questions, but a good number of users there seem to be total jerks just looking for...

    I'd like the community to be a bit nicer. I understand StackExchange wants to avoid duplicates and low-quality questions, but a good number of users there seem to be total jerks just looking for reasons to shut down questions. This is somewhat local to StackOverflow I find, Tex and Math seem a bit more chill.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      Deimos Link Parent
      This is the same kind of massive-volume burnout that happens with a lot of mods of active subreddits. They don't (and can't) put much thought into each individual case, it's just the 800th...

      This is the same kind of massive-volume burnout that happens with a lot of mods of active subreddits. They don't (and can't) put much thought into each individual case, it's just the 800th question of the day that looks like an obvious duplicate, where the user could have found the answer if they had searched first. There are surely some posts in there where the user did try searching and their question is different enough, but the mods can't easily separate that out and they just get caught up in the rest of the chaff.

      The root cause is poor design and incentives from the platform's end, which puts an excessive, never-ending workload on the mods, and they get grumpy about it. The Tex and Math sites are probably more chill almost entirely from the far lower volume, where it isn't as much of a burden.

      12 votes
      1. base_class Link Parent
        This becomes especially evident in Stack Exchange sites when you start getting badges and tracking progress to your next badge. For example, you get a badge for editing 5 questions and answers, or...

        The root cause is poor design and incentives from the platform's end

        This becomes especially evident in Stack Exchange sites when you start getting badges and tracking progress to your next badge. For example, you get a badge for editing 5 questions and answers, or for voting to close a topic, etc. I feel like a lot of users are just playing the rating/badge game and looking for questions to mark as duplicate or edit people's questions just to unlock the next level of incentives.

        10 votes
    2. [2]
      haykam821 Link Parent
      Ironically enough, I pointed this out today in r/Apple:

      Ironically enough, I pointed this out today in r/Apple:

      In actuality, the community there [Ask Different, another Stack Exchange site] is way better than Stack Overflow’s. You will get your question closed for being unclear or a duplicate, but you won’t get a middle finger alongside it.

      4 votes
      1. Octofox Link Parent
        I have never seen this tbh. Having your question closed has no consequences and usually the only comment is pointing out the post is off topic/a duplicate

        but you won’t get a middle finger alongside it.

        I have never seen this tbh. Having your question closed has no consequences and usually the only comment is pointing out the post is off topic/a duplicate

        2 votes
    3. [3]
      Emerald_Knight Link Parent
      I find that this complaint is common, but usually not something I experience. I suspect that this is due to the specific languages or tools involved in the question, as elitist tendencies seem to...

      I find that this complaint is common, but usually not something I experience. I suspect that this is due to the specific languages or tools involved in the question, as elitist tendencies seem to be more common in communities where there is a perceived superiority in ability, e.g. lower-level compiled languages vs. higher-level scripting languages. It's also possible that rudeness is being perceived where there is none. A lot of discussion on StackOverflow is professional in nature, and this formal, direct communication could be off-putting for people who are e.g. used to the informal format of reddit.

      That being said, I do occasionally notice moments of frustration on StackOverflow from older users, and they tend to center around one of two major points:

      1. People don't know how to ask questions. They give vague descriptions, or they give an error that provides a line number that is completely useless because they didn't provide all of the code as well, or they mention an error and don't provide the code necessary to help them track it down, or... you get the idea. To receive a helpful answer, you need to provide a helpful question, and I've encountered a fair number of users who repeatedly failed to provide the requested information to help narrow down their problem.
      2. People refuse to read the fucking instructions or otherwise do any of the leg work on their own. There's a helpful little page that you're directed to that details how to ask a good question. Many of their problems can be resolved by reading the error logs. Many of their problems are easily solvable with a quick google search of the error. Had they put in two minutes of effort, they could have had their problem resolved or had a good enough question formulated to get it resolved (see 1. above).

      The quality that you get out depends largely on the quality you put in. A lot of people unfortunately seem to have a lot of trouble understanding this and getting them to put in any effort whatsoever to avoid having to close their question for being completely useless is like pulling teeth.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        johnh865 Link Parent
        The problem is a user cannot ask "a good question" without knowledge. Some users are vague because they have no conception of the technology or methods they are trying to describe. This is...

        The problem is a user cannot ask "a good question" without knowledge. Some users are vague because they have no conception of the technology or methods they are trying to describe.

        This is entirely normal for someone who is ignorant. Ignorance is the motivation for posting on stack overflow.

        I've done searches on stack overflow, but I didn't know or understand the magic key words required to find the right answer. Lo and behold when I ask my question, a person easily and quickly points me the right direction. Then someone else tries to delete the question as a duplicate.

        It is a duplicate, but now it also contains new key words, in how the question was phrased, that can link to the real answer.

        7 votes
        1. Octofox Link Parent
          There is a semi official response to this https://blog.codinghorror.com/what-does-stack-overflow-want-to-be-when-it-grows-up/ Also duplicates are not deleted. They just get closed and linked to...

          There is a semi official response to this

          Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers. By that we mean
          People who either already have a job as a programmer, or could potentially be hired as a programmer today if they wanted to be.

          The choice of audience wasn't meant to be an exclusionary decision in any way, but Stack Overflow was definitely designed as a fairly strict system of peer review, which is great (IMNSHO, obviously) for already practicing professionals, but pretty much everything you would not want as a student or beginner. This is why I cringe so hard I practically turn myself inside out when people on Twitter mention that they have pointed their students at Stack Overflow. What you'd want for a beginner or a student in the field of programming is almost the exact opposite of what Stack Overflow does at every turn:

          one on one mentoring
          real time collaborative screen sharing
          live chat
          theory and background courses
          starter tasks and exercises
          playgrounds to experiment in

          These are all very fine and good things, but Stack Overflow does NONE of them, by design.

          https://blog.codinghorror.com/what-does-stack-overflow-want-to-be-when-it-grows-up/

          Also duplicates are not deleted. They just get closed and linked to the original post so people searching the same thing as you will find the original.

          6 votes
    4. Octofox Link Parent
      I have found stack exchange to be generally quite good. Yeah sometimes you get a question closed especially if its a beginner question on SO but the quality is usually superb compared to...

      I have found stack exchange to be generally quite good. Yeah sometimes you get a question closed especially if its a beginner question on SO but the quality is usually superb compared to everything else.

      2 votes
  4. suspended Link
    How could the admins, practically, achieve this?

    I'd like the community to be a bit nicer.

    How could the admins, practically, achieve this?

    5 votes