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This confirms my suspicion that I need more than one SO profile: one for answering questions and using on a resume; and a separate profile that gives me the freedom to ask as many stupid questions as I like on topics that I know very little about currently -- but that I may know enough about at some point in the future to apply for a related job without needing to worry that my earlier noob questions will be taken out of context and unfairly disqualify me. On the other hand, my habit of writing long-winded sentences may be a bigger disqualifier.

I'd say the problem isn't with asking quirky questions, but with idiotic employers who expect their staff to be unrealistic, dishonest automatons.

No-one's perfect. We all ask stupid questions, many of us have crazy things in our online profiles, and we've all gone off the rails at some level or another. Employers who want to see people who are 100% "proper" all the time at their interviews are idiots.

And, no, I have no problem with employers like these pulling up this very message and reading it back to me in the future because I'll know they're not worth working for. Smart employers use smart criteria.

i think what the parent was saying is that (s)he is trying to avoid any possible ding. it's not that all employers demand 100% propriety (well, some do, but we certainly don't) -- just that, when browsing through a list of comments haphazardly, one errant comment, now out of context, might affect the perception of the candidate. in a tight labor market, that might be enough to put one candidate above another.

it's similar to the need of all college grads to clean up their facebook profile.

ask your "stupid" questions on highly specific IRC channels on Freenode and get the answers you need in seconds.

P.S. I used a handle to ask "stupid" questions on USENET, more than a decade ago, and now I wish I had asked them under my own name: the people who replied to me where pioneers of systems programming, and geek-gods.

I'm just doing the same.

Questions on one account, and Answers on the other.

I have no idea how to delete the questions I've asked already though, the system doesn't seem to allow for account and question deletion.

But this is the way I'm going... nuke everything, start again with 2 two accounts.

Reputation is starting to become a bitch online, no-one is always impeccable and because of the power of search we stand to be judged on the few dumb things we do.

The only way to counter it seems to be to act as if online there is a Stasi watching and to only put against our identity that which we wish to be judged by at any future point in our lives... which certainly doesn't include the dumb questions we might ask when it's 11pm and we're tired of fixing some annoying issue or defect.

I would say that these recent changes now reduce the value of these sites for me. I'll use it as a resource but I'm now less likely to contribute.

People who judge your fitness for a job on "a few dumb things you do" aren't fit to employ you.

One of the most positive realisations after I left my employment in a large corporation was that everyone is unique and different, with special quirks and "dumb things they do" and weird stuff attached to them. The myth of the perfect corporate drone is just that - a myth. Everyone does weird stuff. It's just that, within the corporate environment, that weird stuff is repressed and hidden, so you never get to find out about it.

Hopefully the corporate world will wake up to this some day and become a competitive employer again - I mean, hopefully for them. I'm sure some of the leading companies (large and small) out there are already ahead of that curve, and they have an edge over more backwards rivals who only hire people who behave "properly" all the time.

Just so you're aware, the JoS/SO/ServerFault job boards do not even have a concept of applying via the website. The idea here is to reach the crowds that are on StackOverflow and ServerFault--not to force you to expose your profile in your résumé. Doing so is entirely up to you. Don't like your profile? Don't mention it in your cover or résumé. Simple as that. The résumés are always cross-listed, so there's no way for your employer to even know that you necessarily saw the post on SO instead of Joel on Software.

All that said: admitting I might be atypical, if you gave me your SO profile, I'd be curious whether you were asking well-thought-out questions and providing reasoned answers--not what your question:answer ratio was, or what topics you needed questions and answers on. Although I see one hell of a lot of posturing, both her and on reddit, that "real" programmers would never deign use StackOverflow, most "real" programmers I know, no matter how experienced, at some point, have to use a technology they've never used before, and get stuck with something simple. The ones I'd hire at that point go ask a question; the ones I wouldn't spend the next eight hours stumbling through manpages because their pride prevents them admitting they might have a knowledge gap.

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