answering your (development) questions

There are a few blogs that I read daily. Actually, I should say that I read them only when new articles are posted. I use RSS in Thunderbird to avoid having to load these web pages each day to look for new content.

The blogs I read change as I get bored/annoyed with some and find new interesting ones. One blog that has maintained its position on my blogroll is Joel on Software. Although I don’t always agree with Joel and he can sometimes come off as arrogant, he is usually pretty dead on in his philosophies. Plus his posts have humor and sarcasm built in and so are never boring. A lot of time he writes about software applications that I end up finding extremely useful.

Recently he has played a part in the creation of a website called Stack Overflow. The site is for developers like myself who need help sometimes and could use a one stop shop for answers. One thing they came up with which I think is ingenious is to essentially make the site a big contest. When you answer questions with answers that people like, they mod you up (in slashdot terminology) and your post jumps higher in the discussion list. Not only this, but you get a ranking based on how high you are in the discussions you participate in.  So how do you get smart people to answer other people’s questions on your site? Reward them with bragging rights!

Right now when I google a programming question I have to sift through lots of old discussions where people are left hanging because no one can or wants to answer their question. I also have to filter out any search result from experts-exchange since you have to pay for those answers. Why these experts-exchange pages come up so high on a google search is beyond me.

Stack Overflow just went live to the public today, and I think it has a lot of potential. Maybe even I will be entering the competition..