StackOverflow – a missed opportunity

Back when I was young and mostly stupid, I discovered StackOverflow. The site struck me hard. There were a lot of “Wow” moments for a third year student. I still remember the first time I asked the first question, then even think about the questions to ask (so I can gain some precious reputation – yeah, I was young and stupid, remember?), and the first time I tried to answer a question myself.

It has been a long time since those days.

I still use StackOverflow, even at this very moment. But it’s on demand, instead of browsing it everyday as a habit. I search for a question, read the answer, possibly vote it up, then leave. Sometimes, when I have absolutely nothing to do, I try to review the suggested edits from other users. And that’s it.

I don’t entirely leave StackOverflow, I just don’t actively use it any more.

The reason StackOverflow was so great to me, because it’s not only it was not only a great source of knowledge and information, it was also source of inspiration. When I looked at the community of StackOverflow, I saw a group developers with broad and deep knowledge, with unquestionable love for their works and great senses of humor. Sometimes it’s a distraction  – but I would say, a good one. I looked up them and promised myself to try to one day, become one of those.

I felt I was part of that great community.

Now StackOverflow is still there. It has grown to be the biggest site about programming and be the biggest knowledge base for developers around the world. It’s killed the other competitors, such as Expert-sexchange to become the place to go. There are still great questions being asked, and great answer being answered (inevitably there are more and more not-so-good questions asked, but I don’t really care). It’s still a great Q&A site that helped many developers from pulling their hairs and grinding their teeth. It’s not too much to say it has made being programmer much easier and less stress.

It’s just not what it once was.

The community wiki tag is now disabled. The old questions which were once what made SO so fun are deleted, or locked.

Perhaps it’s better that way. Perhaps the strict policies of SO have made it what it’s intended to be – a Q&A site. Perhaps it’s always better with small communities. But it could have been something bigger – a place where apprentices can grow to be developers, and developers can grow to be better ones.

Because information is easy to be found, but inspirations are not.

4 thoughts on “StackOverflow – a missed opportunity

  1. you are still young, don’t write articles as if you was 20 years in industry. you are still rookie with your 3-5 years of postgrad experience.

    1. Would you mind to point which points I made were incorrect? How can’t a young developer express what he think and see the world?

  2. I think stackoverflow is amazing. its growth is a testament to how to be successful when focusing on a specific community. Sure its just a Q&A forum, so many of those, but its the community, organization, and platform that make it great.

    I have had job offers and built an amazing network of professionals as a direct result! I can not be more thankful to have it.

    I completely understand that the site might not inspire you like it did, but consider looking elsewhere. Stackoverflow is like a a piece of many different communities. just like GitHub and Reddit are. I explore both github, reddit and stackoverflow all the time, just poking around to see whats trending.

    My absolute favorite website for inspiration is Medium. Medium allows me to get insight from people in so many different areas of interest. Art, Music, Tech,… then go deeper into specific topics (for example apache spark configuration on google cloud, then read an article on data visualization, and then read a health and lifestyle article on how to stay focused.)

    Hope you find what you’re looking for and stay inspired!

    1. Thank you for spending time writing such comment. Don’t get me wrong, SO has been, and still is a great site, as I mentioned multiple times in the post. It’s however, not what it was, and I wanted it to be.

      It’s perhaps selfish to wish it that way, but then again, it’s my opinion and it might not be entirely correct in public’s eyes 🙂

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