Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned dedicated developer in the Philippines, it is undeniable that Stack Overflow is a valuable resource for solving problems at work. It saves developers so much time. Instead of spending hours cursing at your computer when you encounter errors, you will be able to dedicate your precious time to doing something more productive.
When you encounter a problem you can’t solve, you just Google it, and lo and behold, there’s a big chance that you will find a Stack Overflow question with the code you are looking for. It’s simple.
But like everything else in the world, every bit of information available in Stack Overflow is a result of somebody’s hard work. It’s fascinating to think that someone somewhere spent their time investigating problems and documenting solutions to help others that may encounter the same issue.
This wouldn’t be possible without the members that contribute questions and answers that add value to the community. That’s why it’s important to help cultivate this environment—not being content at being just a passive consumer.
There are lots of ways to become a better Stack Overflow user. Here is our dedicated developer’s guide to Stack Overflow:
1. Acknowledge Correct Answers by Upvoting
It may seem like it’s no big deal, but upvoting can show the whole Stack Overflow community that a particular answer is likely to be true. This helps developers sift through unhelpful answers in the forum and find the solution they need faster.
Remember, never ever upvote or downvote an answer if you have doubts. Do your fellow Stack Overflow user a service by upvoting when you’re sure an answer is correct.
2. Inform Others by Writing Comments
In forums such as Stack Overflow, it is inevitable to encounter people that post wrong answers or stupid questions. But as stated by the Hanlon’s Razor principle, “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” This does not mean that you should tolerate misinformation though.
It’s always good practice to leave a comment that kindly explains why you downvoted certain questions or answers. Most likely whoever posted the answer or question will fix the mistake or delete the post entirely.
3. Check Top Questions Regularly
Regardless of the length of your work experience as a developer, it is good to go through top questions which contain tags you’re interested in—even if you have no plans to answer them. Doing this regularly will help you learn from other people and grow as a software engineer.
4. Ask Questions
When you come across an error that’s making you scratch your head, know that you are not alone. You have a whole community of developers from all walks of life that has your back.
It’s good to do your research before asking to make sure that your question has not been answered yet. Stack Overflow has a complete guide on how to ask good questions to help you make one that counts.
5. If You Are In The Know—Answer
Stack Overflow wouldn’t be considered a valuable resource if there were no answers. Help a fellow developer by contributing answers that benefit the community. It can also help you grow your reputation in Stack Overflow if your answers get upvotes. A huge number next to your name and avatar will surely show that you’re a pro.
Aside from that, answering questions you encounter is also a great way to learn something new. This can be a good exercise for your mind and a productive pastime.
The Stack Overflow community exists because of people that ask questions and provide answers. It works because of the people that do their part in the system. Let’s help cultivate an environment that supports one another by working towards making each other’s lives easier.