Inevitable Failing Forums

From StackOverflow:

Do look around to see if your question has already been asked (and maybe even answered!) before you ask. However, as long as you’ve looked, if you end up asking a question that has been asked before, that is OK and deliberately allowed. Other users will hopefully edit in links to related or similar questions to help future visitors find their way.

Not to pick on stackoverflow.com at all, everyone other documentation-based forum has something similar.

Aren’t we past this “search first” mentality? Can’t we finally build a system to maintain previously answered questions?

There are half a million words in the English language.

What are the chances that the way you describe a problem is the same way another person does?

What are the chances that your problem with product/language/idea X is the problem everyone else is having (and not something completely different)?

What if the variables related to your problem are slightly/completely different?

“Search first” is a nice idea, but works poorly in implementation. Documentation (which, unfortunately, a lot of forums turn into) needs structure.

There need to be a set of tools for asking, answering, organizing, and finalizing questions. Most forums don’t offer any.

And the ones that do, usually leave a lot to be wanted, either visually, or technically.

One last thing, don’t think because you threw a wiki up somewhere you’re doing any better.