I always thought the Stackoverflow question: Team members spending too much time on Stack Overflow was somewhat familiar.

I searched for productivity and found a question which in the essence is the same, but isn't targeted at specifically Stack Overflow: How can I make sure my remote workers are not slacking off?

Is it upvoted that much simply because of it containing the word Stack Overflow? Can questions be created for similar sites?

  • 5
    "Is it upvoted that much simply because of it containing the word Stack Overflow? " Almost certainly. Jun 24, 2014 at 11:44
  • @JoeStrazzere That's actually quite lame.
    – Kevin
    Jun 24, 2014 at 11:45
  • the "spending too much" question is stuck in the hot list for 5 days now (currently at position #93 there), that explains multiple upvotes. It's popularity is half fake, as indicated by answers score, only 3-4 of 9 appear to be really popular. As for creating "similar sites" questions, see Copying a question that had a misfortune of being widely exposed in the hot list
    – gnat
    Jun 24, 2014 at 11:47
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    @Ajaxkevi - (shrug) perhaps I was too quick to jump to a judgement. Perhaps that question had a ton of workplace-related merit and deserved to be upvoted so much. Let me re-read it... Nope. I stand by my conclusion. Jun 24, 2014 at 11:50
  • It is valuable because it's my most popular answer EVAR!!!! Jun 27, 2014 at 20:20

2 Answers 2


The one question is asking about general management of remote workers.

The current question is specifically about spending time on SO. The problem is that a limited amount of time at SO is acceptable and when used as a resource is helpful in performing their job. The question here is how to get the OP's employees to walk the right side of the line between acceptable use and excessive overuse that wastes time and resources of the company.

The questions are definitely related but not duplicate in my opinion.

  • 1
    How can I get my co-workers to do the work they are supposed to? It's the same question, the only difference is SO. In both cases work is not getting done. My company thinks watching the news for a limited amount of time is acceptable or some work related sites. I bet if I would create a question about any other random site, those would be targeted as duplicate immediately.
    – Kevin
    Jun 24, 2014 at 14:06
  • Actually the original question is how can I properly manage remote workers. This is how do I deal with a specific issue that wastes time in the office. The answers may(or may not) be similar but the problems are very different though related. Jun 24, 2014 at 16:49
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    "The issue is that the team sits remotely. They are in a different country and in a different time zone, so I can't physically be there to keep an eye on them and stop them from doing it. I am seeing the decline in productivity, as well as quality." From the StackOverflow question. "How can I make sure my remote workers are not slacking off?"
    – Kevin
    Jun 25, 2014 at 7:22
  • The issue is not that the team sits remotely. At least that is not the problem that the OP is asking for. This is a very specific issue, that is different than the needing to be able to be accountable to superiors that remote employees are actually working. This is how do I address the specific problem with out taking away the resource. Jun 25, 2014 at 13:07
  • "The issue is not that the team sits remotely" Your quote versus question's quote: "The issue is that the team sits remotely." Slacking off == Slacking off, yes you have different types, but does every type of slacking off need to be discussed?
    – Kevin
    Jun 25, 2014 at 13:12
  • That is the issue the as the OP perceives it, but not actually the issue. If it was the issue that is easily solved by bringing the team in house. Jun 25, 2014 at 13:28
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    It was OP's issue. Now it is not the actual issue while OP asked the question. Read the answers of the SO question. They pretty much all state SO isn't OP's problem, but the work not getting done is his problem. Why can't he tell them immediately? Because he is not in the same location! -> How can I make sure my remote workers are not slacking off?
    – Kevin
    Jun 25, 2014 at 13:37
  • @Ajaxkevi - I disagree with those answers though... and maybe that is why I do not think this is a duplicate. I would also note that the accepted and highest voted answer does not say that but instead focuses on how to deal with the problem. Jun 25, 2014 at 13:39

Well, I am the OP and my answer would be biased.

The question you linked for duplicate deals with the general perception that may be remote workers are slacking off.

In my particular case, my team was working properly just before I (and only I) encouraged them to use Stack overflow (not just for reading posts but for posting answers) and then it seems that they become addicted to it some what like gaming. I tried formal and informal avenues to address the issue, but nothing seems to have any effect.

Now, how is that different to workers spending time on facebook or news.

Stack overflow has been beneficial to developers in increasing their skill set and benefit the productivity. Usually one would learn about new things, better coding skills and improve the communicate skills. Because of that particular reason, my team didn't consider this as slacking off. As long as they were spending a reasonable amount of time, it was ok. But when the balance shifted more towards Stack overflow and less towards work, we started seeing problems and hence the question.

Is it upvoted that much simply because of it containing the word Stack Overflow?

Yes definitely it is. But spending time on SO is different that spending time on social media, news or any other activity which would relate to slacking off, since SO involves learning.

  • 2
    I disagree. Ofcourse it involves learning, but who says the learning has anything to do with work-related things? If I am a PHP coder and I answer questions about Javascript is my learnings really still valuable to my employer. My facebookfeed sometimes holds some interesting stuff about my profession from which I can learn. Can I look at my facebookfeed to look for interesting stuff at my job? Probably not.
    – Kevin
    Jun 25, 2014 at 15:21

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