a companion discussion area for blog.codinghorror.com

Introducing Stackoverflow.com


#101

Hey Jeff, make joel ask you questions or something. The conversation is barely balanced - he can’t stop talking and you’re obviously more introverted. I’m sure you can figure out how to talk more, but I’m not sure you realize it. Do you plan on getting other help on this project?

Anyway, something like wikipedia would be great. Its greatest strength being the ability to save historical information. Seeing a progression of information would help a lot of programmers in the future. Keep up the good work.


#102

I’m more than a little excited to see how it all shapes up. I will most likely be a frequent visitor to your site. I respect both you and Joel greatly. Since he is soliciting ideas for the site, here are mine.

Here is something I would love to see; a series of articles on best practices. Meaning, if you need to show a table of data (repeating rows), should I use a repeater, or a gridview? Why? What if I need to add a checkbox into a column (or make it a new column)…how do I do that in a way that is cross browser compliant?

Beyond that, what I would NOT like to see is a website that is something like what Joel described in his article on how MS lost the API war…please please please do not become an MSDN site showing off the latest aluminum bullet every couple of months. Show me proven ways of accomplishing well defined tasks, with good explanations of why.

Also, I would hope that your site doesn’t get a rush of quick answer artists trying to build “karma” points without doing any teaching.

I’m not sure if you or Joel ever spent any time on the old VB programming newsgroup microsoft.public.vb.general.discussion, but there were a group of about 10-20 developers who really cared about honing their craft, discussing the “best” solution, teaching new users who showed a desire to learn (like me).

That is a site I would frequent.


#103

I’d like to see transcripts made also; being profoundly deaf the site is a bit of a downer so far.


#104

For all the people asking about transcripts: why not write one? Email it to Jeff or Joel, and I bet someone will put your transcript up next to the podcast. (Maybe if you do it really well, they’ll make you the official podcast transcriber.)


#105

The thing that’s missing from Experts Exchange, programming forums, the PHP manual, etc. is a shared coding scratch board. I’ll explain.

Somebody asks for a certain algorithm and gets 25 responses. Some responses are original code and others are modifying the code from previous responses. Now you’ve got to wade through all these responses and figure out which of the code snippets are best and if any of the modifications are useful. This can be harder when two responses offer different modifications and you may have to merge the changes.

I would love to see a shared code board so one person can modify the code from another post, then somebody can modify that code, while a third person modifies the original code again. The scratch board offers versioning, diffs, and merging. so it’s easier to see the most recent version, views and merge differences, etc. Members should be allowed to merge versions to create a new version of the code and other members vote on the version they think is best, which then gets presented as the default answer.

Now that is a programming site I’d use all the time.


#106

Geez people give 'em a break. Their obviously just trying to establish an inital presence and get something out there. Haven’t you ever heard “release early, release often”? The pomp and polish will no doubt come later.

Congrats Jeff and Joel on your endeavor!


#107

Awesome. This looks fabulous. Jeff and Joel on the same project? I’ll be there man.


#108

Podcasts are a great way to practice my spoken english. Just reading text I might get the spelling of words that I do not know wrong.


#109

Great podcast, it reminds me of the early Boagworld stuff. Its nice and free-flowing and honest.

Im not really a programmer (CSS) but I still hope to enjoy the podcast.


#110
  1. Meta moderation is a must, but with a reason required. One of the things about development that make searching forums so difficult is the evolution of the languages that we deal with. So if someone says, “this doesn’t work” make sure they explain why. This allows intelligent digestion of past comments, and the realization that the proposed solution may be valid for you if you’re working with .NET 1.0 vs. .NET 3.5.

  2. Comments about a solution working or not working must also be rateable. At no point should a comment be unable to be removed from the default community view along with its effects on the item being commented on. Each registered user should be able to provide a threshold value for comments and have those comments and their impact on the results displayed.

This means the site search is dynamic. You can choose to view only known working answers and the site will never show you the proposed answers.

  1. Ensure that version information for all aspects of each issue are clarified. Visual Studio 2005, no SP, SQL Server 2005, SP2, etc. Provide a framework that makes it easy to define a new product and revision for questions which are asked.

  2. Allow for the upload of sample files and sample solutions. This gets hairy with the idiots of the world attempting to hijack your upload for their own inane storage purposes, but it’s a must because…

  3. Inform users to refrain from soliciting samples or continuing conversations in email. This terminates the chain of information in the question being posed and ends up with follow up visitors wondering what the eventual solution was.

  4. Find, define, or determine a license that can be used by both the developers who contribute to the site as well as those who browse the site. One of the common issues about code snippets is that they are copyrighted and the poster didn’t give you terms of use. Define those terms, make users agree before posting, and prominently display a link to those terms of use on the site, every page where possible.

  5. Consider a karma, credit, or reputation system. GameDev has one that works incredibly well; each user has a reputation based on other users who rate them. As the users who have rated you have their reputation increased or decreased, your reputation also increases or decreases. The admins of the site start with a high level. Users below a certain rating no longer contribute to the ratings of others, to prevent abuse.

  6. Use one format. Ensure you design the site to allow the UI to change massively, but refrain from having multiple presentation methods both housing information repositories that are separate and distinct. (Don’t do forums, a wiki, and a custom app.)

  7. Dear God, whatever you do, present a site search that works effectively. Even if it’s a Google box that defaults to stackoverflow.com the worst thing in the world is to attempt to search for identifiers considered too small to be significant, but ARE significant when developing.

  8. Have an indicator in the profile for users indicating their native language. Indicate whether languages other than English are allowed; if not, have a location where the individual can rate their English level. This would serve to limit the number of, “wtf, lrn english u idiot!” comments that seem to abound in some communities.

You’ve probably thought of all of the above, but maybe not. =)

I don’t know what platform you’re developing this in but I’ll be the eighteenth guy to say, “If you need help and I’m proficient in what you’re using, let me know.” It would be an honor, great fun, and educational to work with you. (b#m#schkerke@g#mail.com (remove #))


#111

You might wanna look at http://refactormycode.com

If you wanna use it as a support for your podcast let me know, we can work something together.


#112

if you submit them in the form of audio recordings.

Why the limitation?
Not everybody is geeking with a headset on their computers.


#113

Sounds good, congrats on the new venture.

Since there’s no RSS feed for stackoverflow yet, I hope you’ll post updates here to keep us informed of your progress.


#114

Just don’t let the new site cut into your Rock Band practice schedule!


#115

I was going to mention how profoundly stupid it is to be audio only in this day and age, but I see I’m just thirding the emotion.

Ignoring that a deaf person can’t even access your audio only podcasts, imagine the process of asking a question. They type it up, and then have some sort of text-to-speech software read it, ending up with a file that is much larger and harder to process on your end.

Kind of like taking a picture of a printout, (on a wooden desk) then scanning and emailing the photo.


#116

Your podcast mentioned ranking of content on the new site…
I’ve always thought your blog could use some way to weed thru the comments… they are usually worth going thru, but often too time consuming… looking forward to cream rising to the top.

The audio requirement for posting questions sounds like an attempt to move into audio-only (guess that is ok for a podcast)…
but is it really a way to weed out those folks who couldn’t be bothered to jump-thru-the hoops of recording their voice and emailing the result?

might be nice to document your website design process (and expose it later once it’s working well).


#117

would calling your postcast ‘the stackoverflow coredump’ be too negative?


#118

I usually like seeing ExEx search result entries because once i do i know that the answer is close by (they do provide answers most of the time, in my experience).

By the way, in case you’re not aware, you can use the search engine’s cached version of the page to view the otherwise restricted content, hello! :slight_smile:


#119

Despite what some of us have said about the name choice, at least you won’t need to change it later down the road when someone points out the unfortunate juxtaposition of the words…like expertsexchange.com

Congrats on the new venture.


#120

Jeff, first, congrats on the founding of a new venture. I hope the best for you guys. I have a lot of respect for you and Joel both, so I will give the site a fair chance as it launches.

I listened to the first podcast just now. One thing that stood out to me was how much Joel rambles! Ha. His blog posts are usually very focused, so hearing him ramble off to various topics several times was kind of surprising.

Anyways. I enjoyed the podcast and am looking forward to the next ones. Best of luck, Jeff and Joel!