I have been a member of Stack Overflow for nearly three years at the time of writing. A few months ago I decided that I should start treating “Stack Overflow” with more respect. I set out on a goal to try to answer at least one question a day. I admit that there were times where I would abuse the site for its great user-provided content. The common scenario would be something similar to the following:
- I would be faced with a programming challenge or technical issue
- I would Google search the issue
- I’d end up on one of several possible solutions posted on Stack Overflow
- Finally, I would take the answer I needed and be on my way
Does this sound familiar? If you said “no”, you’re probably lying to yourself — we have all been there at least once. I started realizing that it wasn’t enough. I started challenging myself to understand the answers and really started to appreciate those who were willing to provide those answers. It takes a lot of time and dedication to the community to do this. If you’re thinking, “what is stack overflow?” continue reading.
” Stack Overflow is a question and answer site for professional and enthusiast programmers. It’s built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we’re working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about programming.
Stack Overflow has a huge community behind it too, there are thousands of users who act as editors, moderators and even contributors like the famous Jon Skeet. At the time of writing, Jon had a reputation of 862,323 – with 456 gold badges, 6,164 silver badges and 7,207 bronze badges. Jon’s reputation is nearly as high as the total number of C# questions asked on Stack Overflow – (again at the time of writing) 944,130. These numbers will make more sense once you have an understanding of how reputation points are acquired.
Stack Overflow has a simple reputation system in place, where you get rewarded (or dinged) points for your interactions with the questions asked and user-provided answers of the site. Reputation is broken down as follows:
|Defining Action||Points Associated|
|You vote down an answer|
|You place a bounty on a question|
|6 spam or offensive flags|
My first gold badge is the “Fanatic” badge and it is awarded for the following:
” Visit the site each day for 100 consecutive days.
While I’m certainly not as reputable as countless others on Stack Overflow, I’m still proud to say that I’m doing what I can to give back to the community and helping others along the way.
Now go out and an upvote some (or all) of my answers…just kidding…but no, seriously do it. I do want to call attention to one possibly laughable observation, these badges are merely colored bullet points – the only thing that is really special about them is the effort it takes to achieve them. I’m good with that!
I think that it’s time that more people start giving back to the community in ways like this. It is too often that I interact with developers that have a lot to offer but simply don’t put themselves out there like this…but why? I challenge you to create an account and start answering questions, I can promise you one thing – you will learn something new!