Somewhere in New Mexico, United States
I'm dumb, then. Even when I'm smart, I'm still dumb. I'm sitting here looking at the Amazon page for Caroline Meinel's book --- The Happy Hacker: A Guide to (Mostly) Harmless Computer Hacking. I got in trouble for reading it when I was a kid and it was available as a text file for Usenet.
What's happened to the happy hacker? Where are they now? Have they been replaced by AI or something, or have I really been looking for a missing semi-colon in my life for that long? Because I don't what kind effort I have to put forth anymore to solve my problems. Maybe the short answer is that there is no solution, and maybe the long answer is the proof that the short answer is true. If I threw down a definition, wrote a theorem and proved it, and then asked a question about why my proof might be considered insufficient, I wouldn't get an intelligent answer if I used Zorn's lemma to show that the unit interval quotient group is isomorphic to the unit circle. And then Donald Trump got elected president and in a turn of events unrelated to CoVID, my favorite bookstore got torn down. It was over by Rice and I could get used math books that were way to advanced for me. The library never shut their doors to me, but I always felt like an outsider, because everyone was so concerned about their reputation and that school is incredibly expensive.
And so the questions we ask on here are the same, but different. The same enough to nitpick about who asked which question first and whether the wording was accurate enough to elicit the answer to the question that was asked, the same enough to argue about it when we think that the wording of an unanswered question is insufficient for that end, and yet different enough that when answers are given to old questions that don't answer the new questions that are considered duplicates, we end up with a flagging war of attrition where the purpose of asking questions and providing answers is so muddled by the question of who's supposed to be getting what credit for their precious reputation that the purpose and statement of intent for the entire site is called into question, because individual elements of the community think that flagging your work as "questionable" for an arbitrary reason gives them license to insult your intelligence.