Now that you are experienced, help others

I get frustrated when I hear people saying how much SO (StackOverflow) sucks. The SO team works really hard to improve the way people close irrelevant questions, but in the process I can't help but notice how newcomers are treated. If their question is not "perfectly" written it takes only a couple of seconds for it to be closed and sent to oblivion. The other thing is when a beginner asks a question, instead of getting help, he will receive a torrent of ridiculing comments and that will refrain him from ever asking another question. We all had to start somewhere but when you are experienced enough you have to give others the chance to get there too.

Stackoverflow moderator

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Here is what made me tick. There was a question that seemed to be from someone new to JavaScript and the web. The wrong approach was taken to solve a very simple problem: creating a hyperlinks.

This person, not being familiar with HTML, used a button tag and JavaScript to redirect to the url. He could have simply used an anchor tag, be he went with what sounded logical to him, a button.

When I saw the question since I was not sure what he was trying to accomplish, I showed how it could be done with javascript. The downvotes started coming and I wasn't understanding why, and the question was being voted for closing. This is the comment I received from a user with over 140k reputation points:

How dare you even answer this kind of question.

I was awed, I couldn't believe it. Before I could respond the question was deleted. The person who asked this question may never know what is wrong with his code, because asking the question is a terrible sin apparently.

I few moments later I saw another question from the same user, and a barrage of comments followed. Exactly 5 minutes later, the poster deleted the question. I would like to believe that he figured out the problem and decided to delete it because the answer was obvious, however, we know that he deleted it because he was either pissed or offended. That's a terrible way of treating people who are just trying to learn. Looking at his history, he is pretty new to SO and has very basic questions all with negative points.

When I was in school, my best teachers always said the dumbest thing you can do is to not ask the questions. But of course any student that has a "dumb" question is often ridiculed.

It can be humiliating, but I urge anyone to put their pride away and ask anyway. It is the only way to learn. If you go on any QA site don't hesitate a second to ask a question, you just have to filter through the noise. There is someone out there who will make the effort and guide you in the right direction.

And for those who are experienced in their field, weren't you once a beginner? Didn't you have ideas that you find completely ridiculous today? I am not an expert but when I look at my first attempt at programming it was pitiful, but there were still some amazing people who went out of their way to help me. And others that tried to ridicule me.

We all went through this. Consider it your contribution to the world.

Give others a chance damn it!


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