Well I suppose it was both inevitable and only a matter of time before I became the next victim of Stackoverflow addiction!
I hold BrentO fully responsible for this devourer of my valuable free time. For it was he who introduced me to what is quite possibly one of the best technology forums on the web. Whilst catching up on the goings on in the SQL Server community this week, I noticed that Brent was once again harping on about how great some technology forum called Stackoverflow is.
Now as you may already know, I’m a regular on the Microsoft SQL Server Forums and also frequent the SQL Server Central boards every once in a while too. These are the SQL Server knowledge bases and resources that I hold with the highest regard and so it is going to take something pretty special to get my attention.
So what is it about Stackoverflow that separates it from the rest of the pack? For me it comes down to two things, diversity of subject matter and user participation.
Diversity of Subject Matter
Unlike the majority of technology forums currently out there, Stackoverflow covers more than just SQL Server, in fact a whole variety of technology related subject areas are catered for.
This is a brilliant idea as often when you are working on a project or a SQL Server task, you are frequently not actually working with a single technology in isolation but rather a mix of several. For example you may be using C#, LINQ,.NET or even JAVA technology in addition to SQL Server.
The site uses a tagging system so that a question that falls into several categories may be tagged for each subject. This means that questions can reach a wider audience and can be answered by knowledge experts from an appropriate field.
Users have the ability to give recognition to a posters answer by giving either a positive or negative recognition point. The negative feature is unique in that it both discourages the posting of bad advice and highlights what is considered to be bad advice to other readers.
Once a user has accrued a certain level of recognition points, this permits them to edit another posters answer! This serves to enhance the quality of the preferred answer that is chosen for a given question.
Users are also awarded badges in recognition of a whole host of differing achievements. It is the overall recognition system that provides the addictive quality to the site.
To summarise it is clear that this site brings a lot of new ideas to the table but for me it is the increased user participation that is a winner as I believe it results in the production of more reliable content that is of a higher quality. Don’t just take my word for it thought, check if out for yourself. Visit Stackoverflow.com