From the stackoverflow blog, Question [Closed]… and it’s probably best that way:
When Joel & Jeff first sat around the campfire and dreamed up Stack Overflow, they did so with an insight in mind: They weren’t going to just create a forum where a user can receive an answer. SO (and later, SE) would be a platform to encourage intelligent, invested answers deserving of links across the Internet and useful for generations to come.
Too local? Take it to Yelp. Too easy? Take it to Google. Too subjective? Take it to Quora. Too fun? Take it to Facebook.
Note in particular, the objective wasn't to create a forum where people can ask really dumb questions that get asked constantly so that SE can get a lot of traffic from Google. Rather, it was to get a lot of traffic from Google for things which weren't already answerable there.
Sure, there are a lot of stupid questions one can ask Google, and the first result is SE. Usually those questions are closed. For example, Google "ruby read file" and you get How can I read a file with Ruby? [closed]How can I read a file with Ruby? [closed]. Sure, it has about 60000 views. Does it make the internet a better place? No. The real answer I want (even if I don't know it), the relevant API documentation, is the sixth result.
Besides polluting the internet, SE sites that are all Google fodder are no fun. If I wanted to read Google fodder all day, I'm sure there's some newfangled web 2.0 thing that will notify me of all the new crap Google turns up for any given phrase. What does asking easily Googled questions on SE accomplish?
- more advertising revenue for Joel & Jeff
- reputation injections for crackoverflow junkies
As great as it is that some people make money from this site, I really don't care. And if the highlight of your day is answering a really dumb question so you can get a lot of reputation, get a life. I'd much rather spend my time reading, asking, and answering intelligent questions that I haven't heard 1000 times before.