Posting a Question to Stack Exchange

Let us first establish that we all know about Stack Exchange — the questions and answers network where a huge part of the human combined knowledge is both available and expandable.

It seems the first of their sites was launched in 2009, about twelve years ago. I signed up about nine years ago, but am fairly sure to have made use of answers from the site for quite a while prior actually registering my account.

One thing I really love about these sites is how questions can live as long as they are relevant, and their answers tend to be improved and updated over time with the input of a huge amount of collective minds. While never having been more than a casual contributor, I have throughout the years made some tiny additions to the knowledge base such as upvoting great answers, making minor clarifying comments or corrections, and answering a few questions. Almost, if not entirely, always related to topics which have been non-trivial to find the solution for.

Maybe this makes me simple-minded, but I find that most good questions have already been posted by someone else. Yesterday I however posted my first question to the network, and today it got an answer which I accepted. This could be the end of a blog post describing a happy experience, but there is a small ending twist.

After posting the question I did bother a few friends by sending them the link to it. Which led to one of them being the one who posted the answer. That made me wonder, to what degree are answers posted to questions given in large part due to pre-existing relationships between the asker and the respondent. It is one thing to share some simple knowledge, but another thing completely to dig deep into a complex and time consuming problem. Something within me makes me believe this is far from the first time a response is from someone well known rather than from an anonymous stranger randomly seeing the question. That might even perhaps be the norm?

Regardless of how things are with that, it's worth remembering that everyone is able to interact with and learn from both the closest of friends as well as complete strangers. It's always great being a netizen!

2022-05-29 16:15:11 +0000
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