I understand that a large Q&A site like StackOverflow is facing many big problems like duplicate questions, questions that can not be answered objectively or plain rubbish questions coming in large numbers every day.
Obviously, these problems can not be solved by a small staff of administrators. Community moderation is the only way to go – you let long time users with good score to edit, close or delete questions.
Most of the time it works really well and is a win-win for both site owner and moderators. Owner gets free labour, moderators get to satisfy their urge for showing their power over “lesser” users.
This model, however, stops working when some of the mods, like one particular moderator on StackOverflow, proceed to closing a question and deleting it without actually reading it and understanding it.
Today I was asking if there was a forum software that:
- Is implemented with PHP and MySQL
- Allows anonymous posting
- Has extensive HTTP API for listing, adding and deleting threads and posts
- Has +1/-1 voting for posts
And my question was closed and later deleted because, according to the moderator, it was considered “not well formed” and “not suitable for Q&A format”.
If the moderator had actually red it and had any amount of basic human iteligence (no need to be an expert here), he would understand that it was a very specific, almost “yes or no” type of question.
It was a very well formed and objective question for a concrete answer – either “no, there is no such forum” or “yes and it’s called …”.
Unfortunately due to moderators like this one, my question didn’t get answered, despite the many people on StackOferflow with experience with various PHP forums that could answer it.
Not only did I lose the answer to my question, I also lost much of my faith in StackExchange Q&A network and their operating model in general.
StackOverflow has helped me out many times by providing the briefest and most on-subject answers to my programming questions in Google search. It’s a pity that it hasn’t been as helpful for providing answers to my own questions that haven’t been asked already.