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Matt C
Matt C

Posted on

StackOverflow is ubiquitous, but how do you use it?

In front of your computer coding and now you have a problem!?!

Over time, we have all built a mental flowchart of what to do.

So...still in "computer efficient mode."

  • Go to Google,
  • Type in a skeleton question; how to css google font lobster.
  • Q. Are you using Linux and does it apply: {append in linux}
  • Scan for links that contain the word Stackoverflow.
  • Research (HA...) the first 1-5 links.
  • follow link(s) and scan even more.

Errrrt, BANG, Can't find it? Alright, chill...

Should I go deeper into the first 10-20 links or... Change up the question with synonyms. Or maybe go into my master library of coding books stolen PDFs from a friend(s), the university library, etc... and get lost for anywhere from 5 to 105 minutes. Go deeper into your head? Yes.

Note: This is an educational document. The writer does not condone, or him/herself use these technique(s). This is only a scholarly document.

Example 1: You are a Noob, and you regurgitate the first words that come to mind in a fit. If you are tongue-tied, you throw in a screenshot.

Example 2: NOW, if all that does not work, you open up the always available Stack Overflow tab open on Firefox and collect your thoughts and construct a question.

By now we have all received the -1:-5 downvotes and were deeply, deeply ashamed...

This is where I stepped in a little while ago. As I began to use S.O. I realized that asking a good question is not easy. Did you know that S.O. has a set of (umm, vague?) rules and suggestions?

How-to-Ask-Good-Question, Should I add images to my question and the Question Checklist

OR my favorite

Why can't users with less than 10 reputation points add images while asking question?

Top comments (2)

mel_reams profile image
Mel Reams

I just double checked and even though my SO account is 8 years old, I've never actually asked a question. I use it all the time, I just reliably find what I need or figure it out on my own. Part of that is probably that I started programming in the dark days before SO so I had to get good at reading docs and figuring stuff out on my own, and part of it is just that I mostly work in java, which has been around forever and has gotten a ton of use. Just about every question I might need to ask already has been asked, I just need to find the answer.

SO's culture does kinda suck, especially for newbies, and I super don't get their weird crusade against social niceties in questions and answers, but I can understand how people get tired of trying to answer vague questions that don't clearly explain what's wrong or include all the details too.

theslamanderson profile image
Chris Anderson

I am in the same boat. I haven't ask questions but I do find that I get answers a lot. It sort of triggers my imposter syndrome that I am somehow not contributing.