When I joined stackoverflow in the fall of 2009, it was a site for experts and enthusiasts. World leading experts took time out of their day to answer questions, and provide feedback that proved invaluable to my professional development. In return, all they asked was a good faith effort, an honest attempt at understanding.
As stackoverflow continued to rise in google ranking, this social contract started to erode. In response, moderators were appointed, rules tightened, sites split off - and things were well for a time.
Then came the "summer of love", followed by the "welcome wagon". The idea that if you have nothing nice to say, you should say nothing at all. And so, ignorance was no longer challenged, and started to spread.
Enforcement of the original social contract all but stopped. No longer were users expected to be enthusiastic, or even interested. Every post was to be welcomed, even if it were just outsourced programming tasks. Can you teach, if people don't want to learn? Are you helping by writing code that will be copied verbatim into some codebase, without any understanding or verification of its suitability for the particular project? Or are you actually enabling harmful behavior?
And so, users grew frustrated. Experts due to help vampires, curious users due to the impatient experts and the ever more elaborate hoops users are asked to jump through to prove they are not help vampires, and the help vampires because they had to repost their closed question 10 times before they find an expert to feed on.
And then, in the fall of 2019, the stackoverflow company identifies pronouns as the most pressing issue of our time, compels their use in a code of conduct, fires one of the most respected volunteer moderators over daring to question this policy, slanders her in the media, and then attempts to cover up this embarrassing turn of events by deleting meta posts and suspending dissenting users (see here for details).
Today, this site is utterly unlike the site I joined 10 years ago. I hoped for it to recover, but the company that controls it clearly has other priorities. It is time I cut my losses, and move on.
Goodbye. May we meet again under conditions more favorable to learning.
Member for 8 years, 9 months
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