There are already a large number of intrinsic hurdles before production code can get reviewed; it can be against company policy, paid developers are likely less open to criticisms and new coders are the only ones actually actively looking for help.
But then Code Review comes to stomp on the little fire we have:
- Code can't really be anonymized (else it's "theoretical"),
- Good code doesn't get reviewed as much,
- Complex code gets ignored,
- Votes further award "lowest common denominator" questions,
- Code must be "snippeted", which makes extracts from production code unrunnable.
Even the low volume of commentary on questions is likely to contribute - newbies often get immediate, simple answers (naming! comments!) but no such activity exists for most professional questions.
I consider "toy questions" to be anything where the code is not intended to be used, or doesn't try to do something of value. To be clear, it's not that I don't accept the toy questions or challenges. However, there is a downward spiral, in that the prevalence of exclusively toy questions enforces the notion that Code Review is for toy questions.
I don't know how we could change this, but it seems one would need a dedicated call to giving attention and good-quality answers to professional code. We should at least keep up the impression - like in-person peer review, the emphasis should be on immediate and hypothetical suggestions, not ground-up rewrites. Voters should appreciate this, and not leave such answers ignored. Perhaps even bounties could get involved - who knows?
(Let's not forget that "looks good" after a few clarifying questions is a valid review, but Code Review has almost no such answers.)
If we can't shake of this stigma now, we may never be able to.
Do you agree, or have ideas on how to fix it?