What the hell happened to StackExchange?

Earlier this morning, I was doing some work with XSLT and had a question on version support in .NET. I found the answer I needed on StackOverflow. What bothered me was the fact that the question was closed as being off-topic.

 So I went onto meta, and asked why this was. The short answer was that just because a question is popular, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is on topic. I can’t fault that logic.  But this is where I have an issue: I think that the StackExchange moderators have become so rigid in their rule enforcement, that we have lost sight of the forest for the trees. 

 In the response to my meta post, I was told: “The reason StackExchange sites are as useful to their users as they are is the rigidity with which we enforce these rules. If we simply allow the community to decide, we would end up with a site full of lol-cats and other popular content. The line has to be drawn somewhere.”  Why are we drawing the line where we do now?  I’m totally for weeding out lol-cats, but do you really think that this question is just as bad?

 It just feels that at this point, its dogma. It just seems that moderators have now become site police and any slightest deviation will be dealt with harshly. Having used StackExchange since very early in its life, I guess I’m just used to it by now. But how do new users feel, when there is a critic standing by for every question you write? It used to be a place where people could openly ask questions and things were more relaxed. Now I’m not so sure.

I don’t know what the answer is. As a guy with only a couple thousand rep on Server Fault, I guess my opinion doesn’t really matter anyway.


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