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Stack Overflow: I’m sold!

20 September 2008 · Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Joel Spolsky announced Stack Overflow a few days ago. After mostly lurking since then, I posted my first question a little bit ago. 35 minutes later, I had a drop-in solution to my problem. Crikey, that was fast!

See that big-arse “S” to the left? Before Eevee came to my rescue, there would have been too much space between it and the rest of the paragraph. The problem was that I needed to push the outdent far enough left that über-wide Ws and Ms had room to breath. This meant that waif-like Is were so far out there they looked like they weren’t welcome at the typographic table.

Stack Overflow is a Q&A site for programmers. What makes it different from the hundreds (thousands?) of programming discussion forums (bless their hearts) is that users can vote up/down both questions and answers. This lets the cream rise to the top and the dreck fall to below the fold (that is, unless you have one of these babies).

It’s not a revolutionary concept or anything. After all, /. has been doing the community voting thing for a long time now. The difference between this site and other reputation management sites is: a) this site is strictly Q&A, no discussions for you!, and b) it's all programmers so there’s not a lot of off-topic nattering on and (as I found out) there are some really clever people just waiting to share their expertise.

Developers are a skeptical lot. I’m no different, but from Joel’s description, it sounded like this site was done pretty smartly, so I was willing to give it a chance. After my experience today, I’m sold!