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Stack Overflow versus the Cygwin mailing lists (Was: prefork error : couldn't create pipe process trackerWin32 error 161)

Chris Faylor wrote:
> [I see the same problem posted on stackoverflow.  I'll never understand why
> people don't just go to the place where they downloaded the software for help first]

(I only just spotted this thread from cgf's linking to it; I suspect I missed
the original due to being AFK for Christmas.)

I suspect the reason is threefold:

1. The required effort from hitting a problem to asking for help is lower on SO
   than on the Cygwin mailing lists, particularly if you already have a SO
   account set up.

2. SO is set up to be tolerant of lazy questions -- what would earn me being
   ignored or referred to the list archives here gets a complete answer on SO,
   because the complete answer earns more points.  Compare the Cygwin lists
   page, which states "This may seem like we're discouraging questions. Well,
   you are right..."

3. SO makes a point of being friendly and civil, and works to maintain that;
   see, for example, the "Summer of Love".[0]  The Cygwin lists tend much more
   to the traditional hacker "cut-through-the-bullshit communications style
   that is natural to people who are more concerned about solving problems than
   making others feel warm and fuzzy."[1]


I don't think either is "wrong" or "bad", and I'm not advocating any change.  I
just think that they're each appropriate for what they're trying to do, and as
such we're going to continue to see questions in both places.

Adam Dinwoodie

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