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I am quite looking forward to Superuser. I think it's going to be vastly bigger than Stack Overflow as it could attract many more users who may be less experienced in Internet discussions.

On the other hand I imagine it's going to be more dynamic and have a wider variety of questions.

How do you think it will turn out? Will you be a active member?

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I will "sign up". I did on ServerFault, but as I'm not a sys admin I can't really contribute there. I think I'll more likely to be able to answer the questions on SuperUser, but I'm also more likely to be annoyed with the number of questions that could be solved by the poster doing a Google search themselves.

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    Maybe we need a button to provide an easy link to lmgtfy.com ? To save time typing it out each time? :) – a_m0d Jun 30 '09 at 12:21
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    @a_m0d: It's been pointed out many times (in Jeff's blog or the podcast) that "lmgtfy" is not a good answer on SO (for one thing because in many cases an SO question will become the number one google hit for a related phrase), so I think it would be the same on SU. – Jonik Jun 30 '09 at 12:27
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    Yeah. Superuser wants to have the answers to these questions – Damien Jun 30 '09 at 13:29
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It is most likely going to be the place where we attempt to send all the junk we don't want clogging up StackOverflow and ServerFault. You can drawn your own conclusions about how that's going to turn out for SuperUser itself.

It will definitely have the highest Noise to Signal ratio out of the three because of it's free-for-all nature.

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    And it might have move ponies...you might say it will be overflowing the overflow of ponies. – Thomas Owens Jun 30 '09 at 12:18
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    I already have ponyoverflow.com to visit. – TheTXI Jun 30 '09 at 12:27
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    and he isn't even joking... – Marc Gravell Jun 30 '09 at 14:59
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    superuser.com is NOT your trash bin. I've seen some really bad questions sent to serverfault.com that were irresponsible, IMO. – Jeff Atwood Jul 2 '09 at 11:34
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    When everything that I have heard says that SuperUser.com is supposed to be for any type of computing question, that sounds like it is going to be the de facto location for all of the "doesn't belong here" questions that we already deal with. I'm sorry if that isn't what you want to hear, but SU already sounds like it has quite the large window of acceptable content. – TheTXI Jul 2 '09 at 11:43
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Right now, I've got nowhere to ask my computer questions.

If I've got a programming issue, then Stack Overflow works great. But because I'm not a cable monkey, Server Fault thumbs its nose at me:

A moderator closed this question regarding screen resolutions as "not sysadmin related".

I think the "rules" of Server Fault should be relaxed.

And since that's not likely, Super User might fill that gap. I don't understand Jeff's "Anything goes!" and "Ewoks!" attitude, though. I hope he's not trying to make it silly and useless.

  • No, I but I think a degree of noise is inevitable on a site that's deliberately there to do lowest common denominator questions. However, I suspect that the moderation system will deep-six most of the real rubbish and may have to be restrained on some types of Noob questions. – ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Jun 30 '09 at 16:16
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I think it will be a cool experiment - very interesting to see what comes up when combining this concept with a wider variety of questions (which we certainly can expect) and overall more relaxed rules. After all, everyone seems to agree that the SO/SF software would be great for a lot more than programming/sysadmin questions.*

Too early to say if I will be an active member - will have to see what it turns out like. But I am fairly sure that the site will develop an active, knowledgeable (and addicted?) userbase rapidly (like SO, and more so than SF); the reputation system and other features will make sure of that. And there will be no shortage of questions either, if the typical user experience will be anything like I suspect: "get great answers to almost any computer question in 5-10 minutes".

(* Which makes me wonder if we'll see an übersite some day where you can ask anything, from any walk of life... :) The problem would obviously be getting experts from every field to the same place.)

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    Yahoo Answers already tried that and it's a giant crock of poop. The answer is to make sites specifically tied to certain subject matter instead of housing it all in a central location. That's why they developed StackExchange as the framework which they can host and resell allowing other sites to be developed for different subject matter but using the same underlying technology. – TheTXI Jun 30 '09 at 13:08
  • well, giant crock of poop might be too strong of a .. nah, you're right. But seriously, if your site is about everything then it is about nothing. superuser will at least be focused on the topic of "is this about a computer?" which is pretty broad but a far cry from "anything goes". – Jeff Atwood Jul 2 '09 at 11:36
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SO and Severfault got their user base, which is a pretty apt one, by saying "Hey, the other helpsites aren't very good, and we can improve. A lot of smart people who read our blogs, so here, we invite you to join our site." I would suspect, then, that for the first n months, questions will be pretty good because the user base will mainly be the people who are already active on SO and Serverfault.

Over time, as more people come on board, it isn't inconceivable that we'll start seeing Yahoo-answers type problems: unclear questions, scant on details.

Many forums try to combat this by having a sticky "FAQ" thread, in which they take common questions and post them at the top, along with links to the relevant posts.

The other thing that happens is that people ask questions and nobody knows. This happens a lot when searching (for example) the Ubuntu forums - lots of problems specific to someone's hardware and video chip, and plenty of people who have the same problem, but nobody who has an answer.

So what is yet to be seen is this:

  1. Many forums have posts which say "I have this problem too! Does anyone have a solution yet?" Does the upvoting metaphor accomplish the same thing?
  2. Is upvoting an effective way to actually get someone to investigate the issue at hand?
  3. Will bounties and reputation also increase the chances of finding a good answer?

We know that this (usually) works for code-related questions. But taking the time to explain scheduling to someone when you already understand the concepts is different from doing the necessary research to figure out a display-driver problem. Of course, I say things like that because, to me, many of these things are a complete mystery.

So my hope is that, in contrast to ubuntuforums, superuser will help experts come out of the woodwork. But right now... its hard for me to even conceive that such experts exist!

  • "I would suspect, then, that for the first n months, questions will be pretty good because the user base will mainly be the people who are already active on SO and Serverfault." absolutely, the user base is very high quality to start with -- the challenge is sustaining it over time as it gets larger and more popular. – Jeff Atwood Jul 2 '09 at 11:36
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I already have some ideas of the topics that would be good, one or two I may ask (I am currently looking for a monitor/tv and recommendations are good). I think a large scope will make this site more fun, and as long as it has careful moderation it will not turn into Yahoo answers.

But Zack is right, It's gonna be awesome to have a Stack Overflow for computer questions.

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How do you think it will turn out?

Well... You know how every week or so, someone starts whining about how their favorite question on SO got closed or deleted or down-voted or unkind comments posted to it?

And how when they're informed that, strictly speaking, "What did you put on your resume to get a job where you could hang purple drapes in your private office... as a programmer?" isn't really programming related, they get all indignant and claim that this policy of requiring programming questions is fascist and could all be handled by judicious use of tags and an army of people to maintain them?

SuperUser is the site that'll prove them right. Or not.

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Not so sure on the answers part - but I have a stack of questions to ask that are "too lightweight" to ask on server fault or are not directly related to programming.

e.g. a.) This might sound stupid... but I want to be able to (re)sort my tasks on the windows taskbar (e.g. move/drag tasks left/right) of others. b.) Why do most of my PCs offer no "always do this" option when I plug in my USB key, but this computer removes that checkbox/option. etc.

  • This utility works well. taskix.robustit.com But it doesn't work on UltraMon's extra taskbars--only the primary monitor's taskbar. – Zack Peterson Jun 30 '09 at 19:16
  • stackoverflow.com/questions/1070869/… – Zack Peterson Jul 1 '09 at 19:58
  • @Zack - thanks! works like a charm. – scunliffe Jul 3 '09 at 2:04

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