Monday, November 16, 2009

Stack Overflow

I've been trying to learn how to use Stack Overflow.

And I've been unsuccessful.

I've had a very hard time finding interesting questions being discussed. I see a lot of questions that look like they might be interesting, but aren't phrased very well. I looked today, and there was a question that read:

My application takes a long time to shut down.

And I see a lot of other questions that don't seem interesting at all: "which language is better, C# or Visual Basic."

Also, I have a hard time figuring out what I can do on the site. I started out with a reputation value of 1, which provides me with a very limited range of actions I can perform on the site.

And I'm having a terrible time learning how to use the tagging system effectively. For example, I'd like to pay attention to questions involving Java JDBC database development, but there are just dozens of tags that are relevant to this area: "java", "database", "DBMS", "SQL", "jdbc", "derby", "apache-derby", etc. Why, there are 416 pages of tags on the web site, currently!

I think that Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky are really super smart, and I can tell that there is, potentially, a lot of value in the Stack Overflow concept, but if I can't figure out how to use it better, I'm not sure how much more I'm going to be able to get out of it.

Is there an "Idiot's guide to getting started with Stack Overflow" somewhere?


  1. I like the Stack Overflow I read about on the owner's blogs, it sounds like a cool place. But when I actually go there it is disappointing.

  2. you don't use stack overflow, it uses you! =)

  3. I've used Stack Overflow as a tool for researching technologies I'm thinking of using in my projects but haven't found time to actively participate.

  4. The primary UI for Stack Overflow is Google.

    But if you want to browse, just go to the tags page, type in a few characters of what you're interested in, and start browsing!