How to Use Stack Overflow: A Beginner’s Guide in 2022

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Welcome to today’s exciting read, where you’ll learn how to use Stack Overflow.

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At the end of this read, we promise you will walk away with a fuller knowledge of what jQuery is, its usage, and why it is a better option for Web Developers.

In this article we covered:

What is Stack Overflow?
Stack Overflow Usage
Alternatives to Stack Overflow
Future Outlook of Stack Overflow.com

Let’s get started!

What is Stack Overflow and How Does it Work?

Stack Overflow is a website where professional and amateur Programmers can ask good questions and get good answers. 

It is the most popular site on the Stack Exchange Network.

It was made by Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky in the year 2008. 

It has questions and answers about a wide range of Software Development and Computer Programming topics. 

It was made to be a more open alternative to sites like Experts-Exchange that let people ask questions and get answers.

The website offers a forum for users to ask and answer questions, as well as vote down or up questions and answers in a manner similar to Reddit.

You can also modify questions and answers in a manner similar to a wiki.

Thanks to membership and active involvement users of Stack Overflow can earn “badges” and reputation points for their valuable contributions. 

For instance, a person receives 10 reputation points for receiving an “up” vote on a question or an answer to a question and badges for their valuable contributions. 

This represents the gamification of the traditional Q&A website. 

With more reputation, users have access to new features such as commenting, voting, and even editing other people’s postings.

How to Use Stack Overflow Community

If It is your first time on the website go ahead and create an account on Stack Overflow and join the Stack Overflow community.

Please read the tour page carefully for the rules are strictly adhered to before joining.

How to Use Stack Overflow Website Properly

How do you actually use Stack Overflow correctly? 

The first thing is to understand what questions are allowed in the community itself.

How to Use Stack Overflow - The first thing is to understand what questions are allowed in the community itself

Usually, you are expected to ask practical answerable questions about a problem that you are facing. 

When you ask an open-ended question you actually diminish the Stack Overflow community because your question is going to push other great questions further off the front page.

How to Ask a Question on Stack Overflow and What to Ask

You should make sure that your questions are reasonably scoped. 

If you expect a wide range of responses to the question you’re going to ask, it’s generally not sufficiently scoped. 

For example, if your primary reason for asking the Stack Overflow question is “How do I join in a discussion with a bunch of people and hear a bunch of different perspectives about this,” your question does not belong on Stack Overflow.

It’s really too ambiguous and open-ended. 

That question should not be asked on Stack Overflow.

One thing to note is that every stack exchange community, of which Stack Overflow is a part, has a helpful tutorial or help document for beginners outlining the types of questions you should ask, along with sample questions. 

It also has examples of what constitutes a bad question. 

Stack Overflow is one community that is part of a wider community known as stack exchange.

Just because your question isn’t allowed on say Stack Overflow or one of the other stack exchange websites doesn’t mean it’s not allowed anywhere else.

There’s a good chance that there’s a stack exchange community where your question is perfectly valid.

Here are other forums  on the platform:

  • Software engineering is a community on Stack Overflow – that’s a great location to just ask general questions about the software development life cycle
  • If you require peer critiques on your code, Code Review is a useful group to join – if you have any open-ended questions, this is a wonderful place to ask them

There are communities like Ask Ubuntu, Server Fault, Devops, Android Enthusiasts, Code Golf, Software Recommendations, and Personal finance and money. 

How to Use Stack Overflow - You should make sure that your questions are reasonably scoped

There are a ton of stack exchange communities out there. 

You should find the one that will match up with your question the best.

If you don’t have any questions since most of them have already been answered, you can start answering questions on topics in which you excel. 

Topics can be followed by selecting your favorite tags. 

Answering questions earns you reputation points, and seeing and answering other questions will teach you a lot too.

Again when asking questions make sure to keep up with the comments and answers rolling in.

If someone asks for more information about your question in the comments, be sure to provide it. 

They’re simply trying to assist you in any way they can. 

Then, once you’ve received an answer that answers your question, be sure to accept it.

This not only helps the individual who answers the question gain some reputation bump, but it also helps future folks who are Googleing the exact same problem you’re having figure out which answer genuinely addressed the problem. 

Accepting a response is also similar to hitting the like button or giving an upvote.

The upvote also helps with the algorithm of the platform.

Example of Good Questions on Stack Overflow Forum

  • Is it possible to pass listeners via bundle an AlertDialogFragment on Android?
  • Why is the method onPostExecute(String) never used with Async Task?
  • ‘event2/event-config.h’ file not found
  • Segmentation fault when using a shared_ptr for private_key
  • Cannot connect to MongoDB because of the wrong URL

All of those questions have detailed answers. 

They include code snippets in places where they are required. 

Stack traces are included where stack traces are required. 

These really help others trying to answer your question by providing you with the most accurate response possible.

Alternatives to Stack Overflow

According to the results of the 2020 Stack Overflow Developers poll, over 90 percent of respondents used to resort to Stack Overflow when they were stuck on a topic.

So, why are there alternatives?

Many users encounter basic problems with Stack Overflow, prompting them to look for alternatives where they might discover a better platform or just innovate more.

Stack Overflow Problems

  • Unwelcoming attitude toward new Programmers and users that are just starting off by moderators and other users
  • Questions frequently get a downvote, especially if they aren’t technical or are considered duplicates
  • Getting an answer to a question and upvotes are even more difficult for new users

Free Stack Overflow Alternatives

Quora

Quora is a question-and-answer website where users may ask, answer, and follow questions from individuals all over the world.

GitHub

Free and Open Source Software.

GitHub is a code hosting and version control platform where millions of individuals and businesses produce, ship, and manage software in various programming languages such as C++, Java, and others.

Code Ranch

This is an Open Source platform.

CodeRanch is a welcoming community for learning and discussing programming.

Scool

Scool is an Open Source Software.

It’s a Java-based Question and Answer site that has most of the same functionality as Stack Overflow.

Answeree

This is another fantastic question and answer (Q&A) forum where you can share your knowledge or remove your doubts by asking questions.

QueryHome

QueryHome is a Knowledge Social Network where people can get together and ask technical questions, as well as answer queries and solve problems.

AllAnswered

Wiki Documentation, Questions & Answers, Workflow, and an AI Engine are all part of this platform.

Answers

Answers.com, originally known as WikiAnswers, is a knowledge-sharing website.

You can discover answers to various issues here, or you can respond to the questions posed.

Asktopia

A search engine that will help you locate the best answer to your inquiry.

Professionals vote on which responses to business questions are the best.

Question2Answer

Free and Open Source Software.

Over 22,000 sites in 40 languages utilize Q2A, a popular free open source Q&A platform for PHP/ MySQL.

Question2Answer is a Free Stack Overflow Alternative where Developers might discover a better platform or just innovate more

This is a Project Code and also a free and Open Source Software.

A computer programming community featuring articles on a variety of topics and programming languages.

Paid Stack Overflow Alternatives

Stack Overflow for Teams

Stack Overflow for Teams is a knowledge-sharing and collaboration solution that helps businesses streamline operations such as document gamification, editing, and user tagging, among other things. 

The Q&A answer module on Stack Overflow allows employees to create customized assignments or notifications in response to requests for fresh information. 

Employees can also use the built-in editor in Stack Overflow for Teams to detect out-of-date articles, amend knowledge documentation, and highlight specific questions in knowledge articles. 

Supervisors can also assign scores/awards to team members depending on the amount of content published and the completion of other daily tasks using the editor. 

Stack Overflow for Teams can easily interact with other popular third-party platforms like Teams, Slack, GitHub, Jira, and Okta to streamline operations.

There is a free version of Stack Overflow for Teams, however, there is no free trial. 

The premium version of Stack Overflow for Teams starts at $7 per month.

GitLab

GitLab is a project management tool that is cloud-based and enables software professionals to collaborate on code development and administration. 

The platform can be installed in the cloud or locally. 

GitLab assists Developers with managing the entire lifecycle of codes, from concept to deployment. 

Activity feeds, Git storage management, issue tracking, audit logs, and code review are the main features of GitLab. 

Enterprise Edition, Community Edition, GitLab.io, and GitLab.com are the four different editions of the program. 

Users can contribute to the repository by uploading their code. 

GitLab also has a repository reflecting capability that permits users to utilize the GitLab UI to view a repository on a distinct server. 

Users can analyze every single line of code and leave comments using the code review functionality. 

In addition, the software supports Continuous Delivery (CD) and Continuous Integration (CI) for building, testing, and deploying code. 

Audit trails, Git hooks, automated testing, and administrator features are all included in the Enterprise Edition of the product.

GitLab has a free version and a free trial available. 

The premium edition of GitLab starts at $19.00 monthly.

Conclusion

Stack Overflow is a community built around a certain purpose; in this case, your javascript SQL or Python syntax isn’t working and you need assistance.

Many additional communities exist on StackExchange.com. 

Some of them are far more accepting of open-ended inquiries. 

The beauty of the internet is that Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange aren’t the only places where you can ask questions and discover a feeling of community.

You can use Twitter or Discord to communicate. 

Stack Overflow is a community built around a certain purpose; in this case, your javascript SQL or Python syntax isn't working and you need assistance.

There’s also Slack Reddit and all of its subreddits, as well as YouTube, Tic Tac, and a slew of other sites. 

So, if your question isn’t appropriate for the community, please respect it and recognize that, even if your question isn’t appropriate for that community, there is almost likely one for you.

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