Stack Overflow does not need an introduction. It is one platform that has helped millions of developers across the world to be a better programmer. It is Google of software development. Maybe even more, because, Google still has competitors, Stack Overflow has none.
Recently, I managed to cross 1000 reputation points on Stack Overflow. You may be thinking, what’s the big deal? Who writes a blog post for that? There are hundreds of people out there with over 100K reputations and many who may be adding 1000 reputation in a day. You are right, it is not a big deal to reach have 1000 reputations after 10 years of being a programmer. But still, it is somewhat special for me.
I have been using Stack Overflow since forever but I have never been very active on the platform I asked my first question way back in 2011 when Windows Phone was still a rage.
What really changed my outlook towards the platform was this question. I was at a customer location, highly stressful environment desperately looking for a solution to a not-so-easy problem. However, probably within 15 mins, my question was downvoted with a comment that I need to provide more information. I edited my question, provided more information but all I got was two not very helpful answers. This made me feel, maybe Stack Overflow is not so helpful platform after all, especially, if you were a new user. I found Stack Overflow to be hostile where you had to be lucky, very descriptive (difficult for a new user) or have a good reputation to get an answer to your question. The barrier of entry was just too high.
What I wanted to change with my small contribution to the otherwise great community, was to help the folks who felt the same way as me. I never had time, energy or motivation to spend hours on Stack Overflow. But, spend a few minutes here and there in a week.
Other such example was this question. I spent 20 mins framing the question, trying to explain my problem in-depth. But, it was downvoted within a minute without any explanation. Luckily, by that time I had gained enough reputation to put a bountyand get a good answer from the community.
- Asked 15 questions on the platform, with 26 replies and 5 marked as answers.
- Answered 96 questions, of which 35 answers were upvoted at least once, 22 were marked as answer and 3 were downvoted.
- My most popular question till date is not from Stack Overflow but Stack Engineering. It has received 51K views and 36 upvotes.
- Edited 41 posts, raised 27 flags and cast 114 votes, mostly upvotes.
Contributing to Stack Overflow has helped me in many ways. It has helped me to better frame my problem statement. I feel I’m able to explain my problem to others much better than before. When I answer others question, I need to do a little bit of research myself, helping me to learn and grow. It gives immense satisfaction and joy to know that I could help a fellow developer somewhere in the world with his/ her problem. When I find questions for which I have no idea, it makes me realize where I stand. It keeps me grounded. Few of my questions/ answers have turned into a blog post and visa-versa. But, most importantly, Stack Overflow has helped me become a better programmer.
If you are a programmer to then I encourage you to contribute to Stack Overflow or similar platform. I’m sure you will enjoy the experience and learning which comes along with it.