Why is QA still not stackoverflow?

    Allow me to provide Saturday sofa discussions on the topic "How can we arrange ..." precisely in the form of an article, not a question, because the article will be read by 10 times more readers, and it is aimed at all readers of Habr, and not just readers of his questions.

    The article also has one simple suggestion on how to fix things with QA. It sounds like this: let's open access to QA to everyone, including ReadOnly. Plus a couple of minor comments on him. I think that after this things will get better. And below - details about what has happened there since the birth of the section, what is happening, and why I think things are going bad there (not like on StackOverflow) .


    On September 1, 2010, the creators of the site made a new QA section, which was designed to replace the lack of the StackOverflow.com site on Runet and become leaders in the quality of answers to complex questions. No, they did not make such statements, but even without a word from the side it is clear why the site and the Runet have a new section. The sections that Mailr lead in terms of technical responses are unprofessional of varying depths and savagery. Yandex quickly closed its "Answers". A number of companies in Russia are trying to do this professionally, but are not "by ear". Google’s answers are better, something is being done at Quora, but there aren’t enough competent people everywhere so that every difficult question is so eager to answer to take a solid place in the community respect rating, as it happens on StackOverflow.com.

    After all, there is every reason for this - the authorization filter on habr has a powerful and sustainable barrier of professionalism, which has proved itself by the results - the answers in the comments and articles show that there are few random people, and those who are are not trying to make false or simply incorrect statements. And in the answers to the mail, for example, false statements abound - there are completely different values ​​and their support through feedback.

    Therefore, the calculation was correct - on the basis of the community of habarausers, create a section of questions and answers, where people checked by the filter could ask and answer.

    At first, everything was fine, the first people were drawn to the section, questions and answers, indeed, were professional and experienced. But there were somehow few of them. A year has passed, another - a firm opinion has formed on the site that QA “has no one”. Admins gave a number of concessions in the answers - ratings can be set not the first 3 days, as in the articles, "bumpy" can write, apparently, without restrictions on the number of messages in the answers. Questions began to mix in a couple of common tapes. But still, this is not StackOverflow. Even close.

    The picture was clarified by the counters introduced to the articles and question-answers around October 2012. They showed that people come to QA, this is not a myth, but it can be seen that the section is visited by a very limited subset of users, about 10% of article readers. Not only answer writers, but also readers of questions. As a result, what does it mean that the question was read by 300 or, by force, 1000 readers? This means that among 300 there are 1-2, who really know the answer. This is what happens. For complex questions - 1-2 answers, for simpler questions - 5-10, and for some questions there are no answers. In particular, because the questions and answers, apparently, also have the effect of news, as on articles on the site - they are read on the first day, and 10% of people from the first day on the next days. That is, there is no constant pressure to answer questions when the right person is found in a couple of weeks.

    To compare the difference between a question and an article on the same topic, we can observe question and article counters (the author has nothing to do with this article - just a good example just today.
    after 19 hours - 500 views
    in 13 minutes - 340 views
    in 18 minutes - 600 views

    What is the difference?

    Unlike Stackoverflow, we have a closed system of asking and answering. If I want to ask on Stackoverflow, I don’t have to write an article, go through a UFO contest, get an invite and ask a question. I only need to register. Later, my rating of both the questioner and the answerer grows (professionals, help with details on how these things go).

    In QA, we have a filter all at once. Only the past circles of hell can ask a question. Let the questions also turn out to be justified and professional from this - not everyone is going to ask a stupid question in order to get cons in karma. But here we cut off a huge chunk of unregistered readers - the rest of Russia and the Russian-speaking part of the world from those 3 thousand (regular authorized) readers who decided to ask a question. So, instead of the base of those asking 100 million people, we have a base of a maximum of 30-50 thousand people if they have an account and non-negative karma.

    Of course, out of 100 million, a much smaller part will ask the desired complex and thematic question than part of the registered users of the site. But still, the barrier to asking a question is narrowing unreasonably. What of this we have - we see after 3-4 years of the existence of the section. we see a small town not even a forum, but a modest passage through a place where it is not even known who is located.

    What is the barrier of a site like Stackoverflow or Yandex.Answers?

    1) I have a technical question. I am looking for sites where they answer similar questions.
    2) Found several sites, but the question remains. I realize that in this place I will get an answer.
    3) No registration? I register. Somewhere you can even through social networks, but on Habré you need, as already mentioned, write an article, go through a contest, get an invite.
    4) After the invite, I can write a long-awaited question.

    It turns out a very complicated procedure already in order to ask a question.

    What about the answers to the questions?

    For answers to appear on questions, people who are able to answer must see the questions. When do readers of Habr articles see questions? It turns out that almost never. If they went on occasion to the questions section - yes, they will. They will see that there is "no one" in particular. Next time they will come very soon.

    Those who read tapes along with questions will also see. About 10 articles - 15-20 questions in a row, in chronology, without targeting. And those who read similar questions will also see. There is a targeting mechanism on the site - the module “Similar questions”. It is designed for those who are looking for answers to their question. I came to the topic with a question - I saw similar ones, and maybe there I found the answer, if not in the first topic.

    But there is nothing for readers and potential respondents to find questions. Logically, we need a module in the “Relevant Questions” sidebar, which would find not only similar articles, but also questions on this topic. Then readers, having seen a question, could come and answer in 3 months. Now, most often, answers are written in the mode of reading questions as news - in the first 3 days.

    Now - who will answer? Yes, there is the possibility of answers recorded with any karma. But Reed-Only and unregistered - can not, although if they read the relevant article of Habr, they could answer something. And thereby, by the way, raise your rating in case you receive an invite. That is, a person who does not have the right to write articles could receive such an invite for the ability to answer questions.

    If you solve these 2 problems - relevant questions and answers from Reed-Onley, then the entry threshold for answers would not differ from the threshold of other sites - you just need to register. To ask a question, the entry threshold for asking a question should also be reduced. The audience of Questions and Answers will now increase at least 3 times. As a side effect - there will be more interest in the site among Internet users and a crowdsourcing mechanism for the development of the response section will appear. Professionalism will decrease - but feedback in the form of a rating set will continue, and you can create a setting for users - turn off the responses of ridon users, if they really annoy someone. Mark the status of the user at the time of the answer with the icon.

    Who will do this?

    Site owners have a plan for other urgent work besides introducing new mechanisms and saving the section (from ridicule). It is not necessary to ask them to do this complex and creative business. They could outsource this task so that a group of developers would study the problem, propose a plan, and implement functionality in a site with all the NDA formalities. The sum of all work, taking into account work in a large combat project, can start from several hundred thousand rubles. The analysis began in this article (getting up from the couch).

    What does the public think about this and about question-answer sites?

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