Whenever I have an issue with a Google Cloud service, whether it’s Firebase, Google Compute, or whatever else, I find myself on Stackoverflow looking at answers.

What at first I found strange and proactive, I’ve quickly realized is unhelpful and downright toxic. It would seem, at least on the outside, GCP has a policy that Stackoverflow questions regarding their service must be answered, so engineers will happily jump in and offer a piece of their mind.

In theory great. In practice, off of memory alone, here’s what I’ve seen happen instead:

  • Google engineers tell the user to get a reproducible case

What? That’s not what Stackoverflow is about.

  • Google engineers tell the user it’s a bug

I don’t care if it’s a bug, I’m looking for a solution

  • Google engineers spam the comment section asking if the user has found a solution yet

“Hey have you tried doing X?”

(2 days later) “Hey did X work for you?”

(3 days later) Posts solution suggesting X, even if you told them no repeatedly in the comments

And this one is the worst -

  • Google engineers say the service is not designed to support doing X, meanwhile two other SO users have found a solution to do X

I get why they might think they’re doing a service, but with very few exceptions, Google engineers are totally useless in the SO answers section. They seem to have no interest in actually helping you, and only an interest in looking like they’re trying to help you, and that’s a big difference. If you’re ever on Stackoverflow and notice someone has a highly upvoted, GCP related comment that isn’t actually useful, check their profile and see if they proudly boast to be a Google engineer.

And don’t feel bad giving them a downvote if it’s deserved.


Google engineers tell the user to get a reproducible case

That’s something you’re supposed to do for all stack overflow questions. Nobody, engineer or otherwise, can help you without being able to reproduce an issue.


Well, if you look at the incentives, all of SO is about looking rather than actually being helpful. The correct answer gets you the biggest score, but but somewhat correct-ish answers & comments will also be rewarded.

While I agree with you on some of your points, I don’t think everything you mention is a problem or at least as drastically as you describe it - that being said, I don’t have to deal with GCP at my current job, so your experience is probably more accurate than mine. But this post reads as if there is at least some confirmation bias at play. 😉

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