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Can someone please explain the philosophy of stackoverflow and why such questions get upvotes?

Is it appreciated that people shut down their brains and get totally paralyzed until someone tells them how to do thing? Like really context specific things where no general answer exists and rather personal.

Because that is the impression I am having recently especially on Academia. This question with impressive 33 upvotes is another example.

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    Also, not having the same views as you is not the same as people having their brains shut down – user41783 Nov 14 '15 at 11:29
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Can someone please explain the philosophy of stackoverflow and why such questions get upvotes?

Whatever the philosophy, questions and answers are upvoted and downvoted by whoever wish to do so, for whatever reason they fancy. I can upvote a question just because I like the way it is written; or simply because the poster is new to the website and I can give them a few reputation points so that they can comment; or because they made a joke that made me laugh; or because, however stupid it is, their problem had been my problem many years ago; or because I think that, anyhow, the poster might be a kind person because he or she wants to be courteous to their teacher; or ... yes, we can go on forever.

Is it appreciated that people shutdown their brains and get totally paralyzed until someone tells them how to do thing?

Random thoughts below:

When I was a student at high-school, we used to assemble tube circuits powered from 500 V supply voltages on unisolated bread boards, so that every now and then a student could get the thrill of an electric shock.

When I was a student at the university there weren't (almost) any university policies. It was just student against professor. If a professor wished to fail you because you, guy, were wearing an earring, there wasn't anything you could do; a professor could throw chalks to you because you were chit-chatting during a lesson; or they could take pictures of the class just to see at the exam if you skipped a few lessons; and the fact that a professor used to yell at students was, well, taken as normal.

It can't be denied that proceeding, or barely surviving, in such an environment required students to turn on their brain. However, modern safety rules (what about the "it's hot" band around the coffee cups? what about the "don't put the cat in the washing machine" warning?) and university policies forbid all the above niceties to protect people from electric shock, harassment, discrimination etc. Do you consider this a bad thing?

The price to pay -- of course there's always a price to pay -- is that people nowadays has become more cautious about doing things that can possibly break a rule. And so, yes, with the fear of doing something wrong, people sometimes ask questions whose answer seems pretty obvious to others.

That said, as my most voted comment highlights, sometimes I'm puzzled too.

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  • "When I was a student at high-school, we used to assemble tube circuits powered from 500 V supply voltages on unisolated bread boards, so that every now and then a student could get the thrill of an electric shock." Not a bad idea (associative learning), though I'd definitely make sure there's a current limiting thingy in there somewhere if you're doing that on purpose. Giving someone a lil memorable "reminder" and getting them murdered are vastly different, and definitely whit[ish] against black, per my ethic views. – The_Sympathizer Jan 18 at 1:43
  • "However, modern safety rules (what about the "it's hot" band around the coffee cups? what about the "don't put the cat in the washing machine" warning?) and university policies forbid all the above niceties to protect people from electric shock, harassment, discrimination etc. Do you consider this a bad thing?" Rules being excessively pendatic about safety discouraging experimentation and curiosity? Yes, that's bad. Rules that require people to be more considerate of others and mind their ugly side? Hell no, that's progress. – The_Sympathizer Jan 18 at 1:45
  • I believe in the right to be an idiot but not the right to be an ass. – The_Sympathizer Jan 18 at 1:45
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In contrast with the other answers, I think there's often actually a good reason that "bad" questions get voted up. I tend to vote for a question when I think that the answers are likely to be interesting or useful, whether or not the question appears to come from a bizarre or foolish place.

It's very easy for us, looking back from many years distance, to forget some of the confusion and anxiety that can be experienced by people who aren't as experienced---not just in academia but in dealing with people in general.

For example, I have up-voted both of the questions that you link. My reasons were:

  • For the question on missing class, students---even early graduate students---often have a remarkable degree of anxiety tied to perfectionism and rule-following. This question of how to balance conflicting needs is thus likely to be be helpful to others in the same situation, and drew a number of careful answers.
  • For the question on purchasing an essay and regretting it, I thought it was actually an interesting question how exactly one draws the the boundary, which could be useful not just for students but for professors thinking about some of the screwy situations that students present them with. The answers ended up taking a number of different perspectives and making very interesting reading.

In short, I try to remember that a vote on a question is not the same as voting on the questioner.

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  • Actually, I don't think there's any contrast between your answer and the other two. A remark: some people, as a student, might not have experienced much of anxiety and confusion along the years: for these people certain questions can appear a bit strange. – Massimo Ortolano Nov 11 '15 at 7:31
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The voting model of the stack exchange system is entirely subjective. A user believing a question should be up-, or downvoted is free to act based on their personal philosophy. This will result in posts where you might wonder how the net vote score ended up being what it is; but, by definition, there are no wrong scores. If you feel that the underlying question, answer, or comment violates one of the site's stated restrictions (e.g., bigotry), flag for moderator attention. Other than that, any score is perfectly in line with the site's rules and philosophy.

On the other hand, the site has a rule to be nice. Examples for discouraged behavior include to avoid "belittling language" and "name-calling," and users are asked to "assume good intentions." I would thus argue that your question, as currently stated, is counter to the site's spirit.

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