Down voted on StackOverflow just for asking a question?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.


I get a neg rep for my question? Like the helpful notifications from stackoverflow say. Do not just neg rep, if you do, follow it by a comment

The only reason StackOverflow exists is so that people can ask questions. No, wait, that isn’t true. StackOverflow has at least 2 reasons for existing: so people can ask questions, and so that other people can establish their credentials for being smart. These 2 goals sometimes conflict. The folks who want to “establish their credentials for being smart” sometimes get aggressive about punishing people who they think are less smart.

The idea “there are no stupid questions” does not get much sympathy on Stackoverflow. Rather, there are stupid questions, and the gatekeepers are ready to punish you for asking them. Of course, that undercuts some of the usefulness of the site.

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