Sadly I had an answer on this question I deleted 2 days ago which disagreed with the OP. However after some review in the last 2 days I have to admit I actually agree with the OP on this, sad as it may sound coming from a moderator.
In the last few days I have found myself more and more deleting my own answers, solely because of the lack of understanding, misunderstanding of the value of the answer to the question or even downright laziness by the SU community to do proper research, or even provide good quality answer.
Don't get me wrong, I can deal with people disagreeing with me, however I can't deal with people who don't bother to accept that there is alternatives to particular problems or no matter how many ways you ask a question the answer still remains the same. Just because you don't know the answer or haven't seen something work, doesn't mean it does not exists or hasn't been done.
Some examples of the current problems with the questions and answers on SU that I see every day:
- Questions are duplicated, yet never flagged because it's more beneficial to gain reputation then close a question as duplicate.
- Posting questions that are subjective and still not bothering to mark it CW, or getting upset because the question is closed.
- Instead of upvoting an answer, posting exactly the same answer as 10 others. Sadly none of the other answers get upvoted.
- Killing a question with lengthy and unnecessary meta discussions
- Single link answers or LMGTFY answers. No description or attempt at solving the problem.
- Not being able to define the logical line between gaming questions.
- Users spending more time implementing their idea of what the tags should be to gain a badge, rather then fixing the question itself or providing a proper answer.
Since SU already has a fairly good percentage of high level users, I would expect these users to actually guide the rest improve the value of the site. I never understood why JohnT never upvotes anyone yet he is the highest user on the site, however the quality of his answers is brilliant. The same goes for Nik Therefore the potential for high quality is there.
At the moment it seems the biggest problem with SU is that the current user base treats the site like a dumping ground. Although these sites are part of a trilogy, they each stand on their own, and should be considered individually. Sadly this is not happening, and therefore the users that can add value doesn't want to contribute to the site, because it is overflowing and when they do contribute they don't get the level of response they do on the other sites, as mentioned by the OP.
I know I have been an over zealous moderator. I know I have made some bad judgement calls. However I have tried to be active and visible. As has the rest of the SU moderator team. We try improve the quality of questions and answers. Unfortunately this battle is becoming harder and harder everyday. I have started to step back leaving the community to handle the questions that I used to get involved in, unfortunately it seems that this is not working as well as it did for SF and SO.
At the end of the day the goal of the site should not be the issue. Quality questions and answers is a goal of all the sites, whether is development, server or desktop related. A standard was set a year ago on SO. SF outright inherited it. I can't believe it is that hard to meet this standard on SU as well. However I am not entirely sure if we currently have the user base that can make this happen.
Considering the target audience of SU, having detailed and high quality step-by-step answers your mother can follow should be the standard for providing answers.