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Some of you may or may not have noticed, but I stopped answering questions recently. Some of you may have thought I abandoned the Raspberry Pi community if you did notice this.

I have not left the Raspberry Pi community. Rather, I was becoming too much of a rep-whore. A little while ago, every question that popped up got an answer from me. Even if there were existing answers, I had to top it. This left little to no room for other users to give an answer and, in my mind, was hurting the progress of this website graduating.

That is why I left the answering of questions to others. I have now started to ask more questions instead, and I still participate in some moderation activities on this site. Every so often I may run across a question that I have a lot of expertise in, and I may answer it. But other than that I will leave the answering up to new users and other experts.

I am still working as hard as I can to get this community to grow larger and reach its goals to graduate. You can occasionally catch me talking in our chat room, feel free to strike up a conversation with me.

Thoughts?

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every question that popped up got an answer from me. Even if there were existing answers, I had to top it.

There's nothing wrong with that if you actually have an answer you think is reasonable and make a decent effort to communicate it. Except if you are skipping meals and bathing, lol -- OCD is bad. But more for you than the site.

This left little to no room for other users to give an answer and, in my mind, was hurting the progress of this website graduating.

That doesn't make much sense; if someone else has an answer they don't see, they'll post it. A dozen half-assed or incorrect answers has never stopped me from adding a better one ;) Part of what's good about the "gamification" of voting is that answers are ranked, and then of course, we have moderators etc. to clean up and delete garbage.

I'm not looking at the site evaluation right now, but I don't think having a high "answer to question" ratio is part of it, so this can't hurt our chances of graduation (I believe it's the other way around: a high ration is good). The quality of answers is of course relevant, but quantity doesn't automatically exclude that.

Of course, again, if you don't think you have a particularly good answer and there are already better ones, don't bother. If there's some bit of info you think is missing, use a comment.

I do see a lot of rapid fire rep whoring on the original S.E. site (Stack Overflow) now, to negative effect, but that is because of the huge volume. I don't think it's a significant problem here at all.

I have now started to ask more questions instead

Having good questions is probably even more important than having good answers, since one tends to lead to the other. Like S.O. and U&L we get a lot of questions that are not exactly duplicates, but are not exactly original either; these are written by people who I think are not at all aware of the Stack Exchange paradigm (canonical questions with canonical answers) and treat their question as something casual and disposable, rather than thinking about stuff like:

  • How can I focus on the real issue and set aside irrelevant details? Realistically, if this were done more we'd have less questions (which might not be so bad, because maybe the others would get answered better), since for a very high percentage of them, the fact that a raspberry pi is involved is irrelevant -- general linux questions belong somewhere else. OTOH, there are linuxy things that suit this site because they involve things someone might do with a pi in particular. So a gray area, but something to keep in mind.

  • How can I ask a question so that other people find it useful? This is really the same point again: we want specific questions on specific issues, not rambling stories. This means, eg., that if your "question" is really a set of things related by circumstances (namely, yours), then you should consider whether it might be better broken into separate, specific questions. You want to avoid the particular in favour of the general in so far as you can. I know it is tempting to explain how you stumbled across a problem, but it probably doesn't matter, and will easily draw you away from the general into the particular. Just leave that stuff out and ask a question.

Thinking along these lines, coming up with questions that you know the answer to (and then providing that) is a great thing to do for a few reasons: You can target issues you find in some of the rambling particular questions in a way that makes your answer more widely applicable, and it (ideally) creates more canonical questions with canonical answers. Remember to tick them, of course, because the checked answers : questions ratio is important to our graduation.

Just to make that last point clear in case you were unaware: intentionally asking questions you provide the answer to is encouraged, presuming they are new and useful. Then you can give yourself 15 points and feel good about it.

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