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 Author Topic: how to improve DC's usability: the stackOverflow model  (Read 9792 times)
Gothi[c]
Charter Honorary Member

Posts: 857

 « Reply #25 on: May 03, 2009, 01:27:35 PM »

Quote
Q1: Can humans distinguish between fact and opinion easily? Do they?

Perhaps, question 0 should be, can there be a difference, in practice, between the two?

For example, take the most fact-based community of them all, the scientific one. Earth was flat, earth is round. Light moves in waves, light moves in particles, no it's really both; electricity goes from negative to positive, no electricity moves from positive to negative, etc....

Many of these things were perceived as fact, yet false. The truth is, we never know 100% whether a fact is really a fact. A fact is a really dirty word in my opinion. Our senses, minds, and logic can deceive us, and the minute we think something is a fact, we are being very arrogant indeed.

One could argue that fact is opinion with proof. But then proof can invalidate itself too, just like opinions.

The word 'fact', implies a static universe, where truth can be static, with a non-relative reality. That's simply not how our universe works. (and that being an opinion too, we reach quite a paradox indeed )

So, what I'm getting at is, trying to implement methods to differentiate between fact and opinion is an exercise in futility (in my opinion ).

I'd go even further, and saying that sticking to perceived fact, and tuning out anything else, is diminishing your chances to discover that your perceived fact is incorrect, which is quite damaging to innovation if you ask me

 « Last Edit: May 03, 2009, 01:30:51 PM by Gothi[c] » Logged
urlwolf
Charter Member

Posts: 1,792

 « Reply #26 on: May 03, 2009, 04:11:06 PM »

Agreed on how problematic is to define a fact. A working definition, however, is not that bad: something most people agree on in this day an age?
Wolfram alpha seems to aim at working with those 'facts'. Let's see how it works (to be  released soon, this coming week maybe?).
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urlwolf
Charter Member

Posts: 1,792

 « Reply #27 on: May 04, 2009, 05:02:40 AM »

rww covering stackoverflow has a write-up for those not willing to spend 1hr watching the video.

I think there's something fundamentally right about SO, that DC could take, but I'm not sure what it is.

Quote
1. Voting: Copied from Reddit, via Digg, voting allows people to vote up answers they think are good. Stack Overflow tweaked its voting algorithm, giving the person who asked the question special power to select one answer as the official answer that will rise to the top regardless of what the community voted. The second answer, of course is always the highest ranked community answer.
2. Tags: Tags allow users to specify perspective. For instance, Spolsky explained, "you can add that I'm asking this from a VB perspective, not a C# perspective." Stack Overflow is also customizable with tags, allowing users to specify which technology they are interested in, and typical of most social sites. What is not typical however, is the ability to ignore tags that Stack Overflow has built in.
3. Editing: Taking a page out of Wikipedia, Stack Overflow allows users to edit both questions and answers; so answers could get better, rather than becoming "this frozen artifact on the Internet until the end of time," which is typical of most forum threads.
4. Badges: "A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon," said Napoleon once upon a time, and so Stack Overflow made the decision to reward its users with badges. Over time, the badges show credibility.
5. Karma: People are willing to do for free what they're not willing to do for small amounts of money according to Spolsky and by offering karma, Stack Overflow encourages its users to do more. More Karma equals more privileges on the site.
6. Pre-search: Once you begin typing your question, Stack Overflow's pre-search will do a quick search to see whether the question has been asked before and display the result for easy access and to prevent duplication issues.
7. Google is UI: Stack Overflow was built around the assumption that people will go to Google which will send them to the right page. Each URL has the name of the question; each URL is permanent and clean, Metatags, sitemaps; anything and everything was done to ensure Stack Overflow's pages looked "reasonable to search engines."
8. Performance: Ensuring answers are provided super fast was imperative. As a result, Stack Overflow is built on a Microsoft stack. "This entire site is serving 16 million pages a month and we're doing it off of two servers which are almost completely unloaded," said Spolsky. One server is a Web server, the other is running Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and both are 8 core Xeon's. While many may assume using an open source stack would be more efficient, Spolsky explained that while SQL Server licenses cost \$5000 per box, the Microsoft stack is paying for itself in terms of reduced hardware.
9. Critical Mass: It's imperative to have critical mass on day one; to ensure people are available to answer questions. "That was one of the reasons I asked Jeff Attwood to be involved in the site," Spolsky explained. Between Joel on Software (Spolsky's blog) and Coding Horror (Attwood's blog), the two had a combined visitor count of 1.3 million visitors per month. Combined with the weekly podcast the two began, they were certain to get at least 20-30 thousand programmers interested.

He also mentions that Q-A type sites were done wrong, and I agree. I also have the feeling that forum software is not the most efficient way to do some things.
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urlwolf
Charter Member

Posts: 1,792

 « Reply #28 on: May 04, 2009, 05:05:46 AM »

Sorry, one more thought.

At some point, this ties with the idea of measuring reputation online.
With so much bullshit floating around on the net, I'd be very happy to see a measure of reputation emerge so I know who to trust on what topic. That Karma, badges, voting etc may contain the ingredients for a generalized reputation index, that could be extrapolated to other domains if only we knew what it is that makes it work.

I think SO is really worth studying.
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f0dder
Charter Honorary Member

Posts: 8,838

[Well, THAT escalated quickly!]

 « Reply #29 on: May 04, 2009, 06:01:58 AM »

urlwolf: I've yet to see a reputation/karma/whatever system that really works. Slashdot is a prime example of where it doesn't. On SO it kinda works, but (iirc already mentioned in this thread) there's a tendency for people to make short replies to have a better chance of getting upvoted, whereas a more in-depth thoughtful answer might not get as many upvotes.

And what if you have a participant that only answers a few questions here and there, but does it really well? He wouldn't get a high rep on SO, but his answers might be a lot better than some of the typical rep-whores...
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- carpe noctem
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