To show why it’s not that way, I point you back to an important sentence from Frank:
Weird as it may sound, SO is not about helping you answer your question (directly, anyway). Instead, the tour tells you
With your help, we’re working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about programming.
i.e. SO is about helping build a resource that answers your question. That explains exactly why SO is structured as it is, e.g. why asking a question is hard:
At Stack Exchange, we insist that people who ask questions put some effort into their question, and we’re kind of jerks about it.
But for good reason: we’re not-so-subtly trying to help you help yourself, by teaching you Rubber Duck problem solving.
—Jeff Atwood, “Rubber Duck Problem Solving”
and answers are valued so much:
Incoming questions are a universal constant, all around us in countless billions. But answers — truly brilliant, amazing, correct answers — are as rare as pearls. Thus, questions are merely the sand that produces the pearl. If we have learned anything in the last three years, it is that you optimize for pearls, not sand.
—Jeff Atwood, “Optimizing For Pearls, Not Sand”
A repository of high-quality answers is the goal because
It is probably getting difficult to imagine what a programmer’s life was like BSO (Before Stack Overflow, prior to 2008). Back when Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood were still programming for a living. And ran into the same problem that everybody was experiencing back then, finding help to get you unstuck to solve a programming problem was hard work back then.
You would be lucky if you found a FAQ or knowledge base article on a vendor’s site. Low odds for that after ~2000, vendors started to rely on their forums as their primary way to provide support.
If you would not be so lucky, and very common, you’d hit the paywall of a sleazy web site like expertsexchange.com. A web site that did more than any other to formulate the founders’ ideas of what a useful site should look like. They took answers from volunteers but charged a subscription fee for anybody to look at those answers.
But most commonly, you’d have to dig through hits for Usenet posts and programmer forums that touched on the same subject. But maddeningly poorly curated, you’d have to sift through hundreds of pages worth of chit-chat and people calling each other names. Often not providing an answer at all. Or resembling an answer but not in any way an accurate one, just blind guesses that you could only weigh by having to read on for the “it doesn’t work!” follow-up posts.
So Spolsky and Atwood set out to do something about it. Core ideas where a site that’s strictly Q+A, no chit-chat or discussion, just questions and answers strictly separated. And a means to get the true answer to the top efficiently by voting. And strongly avoiding a glut of duplicate questions to limit the amount of Google hits anybody has to scan. And, after a fat year, focusing only on true programming problems.
Very successful of course, SO was a strong magnet for subject experts that were pretty happy about the focus, providing excellent answers. Most programmers that asked a question could get a great answer in less than 10 minutes. It quickly overtook any other web site in Google ranking, nobody else comes close.
The question that that was designed to answer and its other answers are a gold mine for understanding SO, and are well worth a deeper look:
The goal of SO provides a justification for Baptiste’s point, as well:
If the goal of the community is similar to SO, that’s correct: there are no high-quality answers without capable answerers. If the goal is different—likely, or Discourse is an odd choice—experts may or may not be necessary (to be a gathering place for new useRs to commiserate is a valid goal), though it’s undeniable experts would make the community considerably more valuable.