Stack Exchange is a series of question-and-answer sites, including Stack Overflow for programming and Cross Validated for statistics. I was introduced to these sites at a short talk by Barry Rowlingson at the 2011 UseR! meeting, “Why R-help must die!”
These sites have a lot of advantages over R-help: The format is easier to read, math and code can be nicely formatted, the questions are tagged, search is easier, and there should be less redundancy.
It’s good to help people.
It’s fun to rack up reputation points for helping people.
It’s good exercise, in both thinking about statistical questions and in articulating useful answers (and there are some interesting questions).
However, some cons
The reputation points thing is a bit too addictive to me.
The easy questions go fast; you have to watch constantly if you want a chance at them.
Good answers are, at times, insufficiently appreciated.
So I gave up
One needs to treat each question with respect, and I eventually seemed to lose my ability to sustain such goodwill. I think I take things too personally.
I should clarify: I do continue to use Stack Exchange, mostly through google. Many problems I run into have already been answered. I just don’t have the right temperament to participate regularly in answering others’ questions.