Tuesday, July 7, 2009
StackOverflow is a pretty neat idea for a web site. It's one of those forums where you ask a question and others answer, and this one is particularly for questions about programming. They really put a lot of thought into it to make this a useful resource for programmers. I recommend watching the presentation that creator Joel Spolsky gave at Google about this, just to learn about the sort of thoughts that went into creating a modern, useful web site.
I was confused about this for a while, and couldn't really work with the site because of it. But the design of the site is so clear that it was almost impossible that I misunderstood the intents of the various pages, and so I decided that I was at the right URL and the results were wrong. Must be a bug.
At the time, the feedback link on the StackOverflow site led to http://stackoverflow.uservoice.com/. And sure enough, if you search for "unanswered tagged", you get about 11 essentially duplicate results, one of which is claimed to be "completed", and nine of which are "declined" with comments such as "make sure you are on the right tab", "you are on the wrong tab, look again" and "I am on the unanswered questions tab. It is still broken."
Sometime within the last two weeks they must have switched their feedback forum to themselves, at http://meta.stackoverflow.com/. And sure enough, the same complaints have reappeared: http://meta.stackoverflow.com/search?q=unanswered+tagged.
What's so puzzling about this to me is that on a site that had put so much thought into usability, exactly the only one feature that I wanted to use doesn't work, in spite of obviously having been designed in. And I suppose if you can show unanswered questions and tagged questions, you should be able to show unanswered tagged questions without too much trouble. Which just shows that many people must have many different workflows, and there will be many solutions to satisfy them all. See you later, StackOverflow.
(picture by nicolasnova CC-BY)