Down Goes the Ladle: Understanding Code Forum Culture

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Ah, online code forums.

They can be a great place to give and receive advice cordially.

But sometimes the vibes can be a bit…. harsh.

I hadn’t spent too much time on code forums before this semester. What experience I had was on the MrExcel forum, and I never had a problem.

But my current research involves textual analysis in Python and R. I often need help.

And then… I sheepishly enter a forum on my best behavior, doing all I can to avoid this scenario:

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What gives?

The ladle comes down. “This is not clear. We are not a code-writing service. You cannot expect me to answer this.”

“NO CODE FOR YOU!”

Why do some forums seems so cordial, while others nearly uncivil? How do these norms and cultures develop? 

If you are a frequent visitor to online code forums, please leave a comment or message me. Where do you like to visit and why? Any theories on the culture of various forums?

I’m doing a short research study on this phenomenon for a course this semester — your insights are most helpful.

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