Stack Overflow.…developers life savior, feeling for computer science engineers, an online coding tutor for programmers and definitely a coding related social media for them (yes!….they love it, and they are addicted to it more than Facebook and Instagram…). A lot of names we can give to this amazing site where excellent programmers are sitting around the world and spending their time in sharing some valuable knowledge.
Being a developer or programmer can you imagine your life without Stack Overflow…. ? Most probably the answer is No.
This site is the leading Q&A site for developers with more than 18+ million questions, 28+ million answers, and 11+ million users. It is the most frequently used site by developers daily for programming related problems. It saves a lot of time which can be used to do something else instead of reinventing a wheel on a computer.
Whenever developers get stuck in some programming related problem the first thing they do is they Google it. Most of the time the top link that appears in the search result is Stack Overflow. You find the code or the answer to the question you’re looking for.
You get a lot of useful information on this site shared by great programmers and developers across the world. These developers have spent their valuable time in exploring the problem and writing down the solution on the site which really gives benefit to the other developers. In this blog, we will discuss all the contributions and reputation on StackOverflow. Also, we will discuss how to build a good reputation on this amazing site…
What is Stack Overflow Reputation?
Reputation on Stack overflow is earned by the developers by sharing their knowledge which is measured by the community members. It shows how much the community trusts you. Basically, it’s all about convincing the community members that you know about the topic you’re talking about.
You can earn the reputation on Stack Overflow by the upvotes given by the peers on your questions and answer. Below is the breakdown…
- Upvotes on Questions = +10 reputation
- Upvotes on Answers = +10 reputation
- Answer is marked as accepted = +15 reputation
You can earn an additional reputation if a question has bounties associated with it. Bounties provide a big amount of reputation if the answer is accepted. The range varies from +50 to +500 reputation.
Why Does Reputation Matter?
Your reputation on Stack Overflow profile shows the level of knowledge you have on different software development topics. Your earned reputation makes you more trustworthy. You can easily identify where a person’s expertise lies if you see the breakdown of their earned reputation on Stack Overflow profile.
Your high reputation on Stack Overflow makes a good impression on prospective employers and you become a much more desirable candidate for various jobs. If you’re a freelancer then it also makes a good impression on prospective clients. You give tough competition to your developer peers, you get inner satisfaction and it creates a hunger for knowledge.
Why You Should Contribute?
There are many reasons to contribute to Stack Overflow. Some of them are given below…
- You can search for the answers to a specific question if you’re stuck somewhere in coding.
- It clears out your doubt on various topics in programming.
- This site allows you to learn something quickly if you don’t have enough time. Instead of going through various articles and books, you can take help from this site where a lot of tech giants are sitting around the world and sharing the knowledge on this platform.
- You can check out various coding techniques, approaches, and your favorite questions and answers on this platform.
All the above reasons we have mentioned are only possible when somebody, somewhere shares the knowledge on this platform selflessly. A lot of developers get the benefit from other developers’ contributions and it becomes a good reason for them to contribute back on this platform.
How to Contribute?
Your contribution to Stack overflow is worthy if it leaves the community in a better state. Now the question is…how to contribute? What’s the valid form of contribution?
You can follow the things given below to contribute to this platform…
- You can make improvements and make the quality of posts much better.
- Ask questions clearly that are not asked previously. Add the code snippet in your question if it requires for the explanation.
- Answer the question if you have an area of expertise and you’re interested in some topic. You can follow the different tags you’re interested in and you can provide answers for the questions which come under that tag.
- Upvote question and answers if you feel it add some value to the community.
- Downvote but make sure that you mention the valid reason.
- You can leave helpful comments.
- You can participate in the community election, vote the questions and answers, edit the post, and leave the comment if it’s needed.
- You can encourage others to contribute back to this platform.
You can contribute to Stack overflow by asking relevant and thoughtful questions. Before you ask questions make sure that your question is not asked previously. There are many ways to ask meaningful questions on this platform.
- Read the essential guidelines before asking a question. This way you will become aware of the rules to ask questions on this platform.
- Make sure that the question is not asked previously. If it is asked earlier but doesn’t solve your problem then mention the link and state this thing in your question.
- Make sure that you do proper research to solve your problem. Whatever research you have done so far mention that in your question.
- Use the relevant tags in your question and make formatting properly.
- Do not cross-post your question to another community or website.
- Pay attention to the flags and comments. Also, update your questions according to that.
- Keep your eyes on the front page and the new question list. Understand the cache time and refresh according to that or use the tag (example) pages to receive live updates on new questions.
- Try to avoid the wall of text questions. It takes away a lot of effort for little reward. Also, it is mostly filled with a lot of errors and bad structure.
- You can use the sandbox tool to demonstrate your question. It will be easy for the other members to fork your sandbox and work on a solution to the question.
Gaining a reputation on Stack overflow depends a lot on your experience level. If you’re a beginner in programming than focus on asking clear and detailed questions instead of answering the questions. Usually, beginners get stuck in coding related problems a lot and this can be a good opportunity for them to either Google it or check it on Stack Overflow (beginners level question can be easily found on the internet). If the solution is not available or not appropriate then ask with proper explanation.
On stack overflow, beginners can spend time in programming, run into the various problems and check out the solution on their own. This is one of the best ways to learn and grow on this platform. Also, beginners will find very few questions to answer confidently. So even if they try to answer the questions, chances are less that it will be correct or it will be up to the mark. This may result in getting downvotes and losing the reputation on this platform.
Remember that your reputation doesn’t depend on the number of questions you ask on Stack overflow. It depends on the number of upvotes you receive on your question and your answers.
A lot of times it happens that people post questions that are not clearly defined and not so easily reproducible. If you are someone who can write a clear and easily reproducible question then the other members will appreciate it and most likely you will receive upvotes on your question for your effort.
In the above image, you can see that the user has gained a reputation from asking a question which you can observe by looking at the top-voted question. Writing a good question on Stack overflow helps you to improve your written communication skill. This skill is much needed in software development if you want to collaborate with other members.
Another way to gain reputations on Stack Overflow is by answering questions asked on the platform. Depending on your experience level and your area of expertise you can answer questions and there are many ways to do that.
- You don’t need to post the answer if your response can be written in the comment section.
- If you have any confusion regarding the question then make sure that you clear that confusion via comments.
- You may have to verify or validate your answer. So it’s important to keep your coding environment ready to try something hands-on.
- If you need to copy the code or the content from any other site or tutorial then make sure that you link the source or you give credit to that source.
- Questions associated with bounties can help you in gaining more reputation. You may have to put a little more effort into these questions.
- If your issue is not resolved from any one of the answers then make sure that you post the solution that fixed your problem.
- You can prevent some questions from showing up in your list of questions. You just need to mark some tags as “ignored” and StackOverflow will filter out those questions.
- You can use the sandbox tool to demonstrate your answer.
- Learn when to edit your answer. Firstly post a short answer and then edit it. You have less than 5 minutes to make your answer valuable.
The more experience you will have in a specific domain of software development the more you will become better at answering the question. People who have a good amount of experience can gain more reputation by answering people’s questions. Experienced developers have a lot more answers people are looking for than the question they need to ask.
Stackoverflow uses snippets to run code right inside it. You can find these snippets from the questions and you can copy the snippets to quickly see the issue, debug the problem, and fix it.
Answer Your Own Questions
If you don’t find the answer to your questions on this platform from other developers, you can answer your own question and gain a reputation. When you get stuck in some coding related problem firstly do some research on your own. If you don’t find the answer post your question on Stackoverflow. Wait for the answers from other developers and meanwhile do some research on your own. Try to get the answer by reading some documentation, blogs, tutorials, books, or watching some youtube videos. If you find the answer then go back to your question and answer it yourself. This approach may sound weird to you but your knowledge will help other developers, and they will get benefit from it.
Upvoting and Downvoting Posts
This is another way to gain a reputation on this platform. You get a lot of benefits when you upvote the posts…
- Helps in ranking the posts
- It shows appreciation
- You motivate other authors to make more helpful posts.
To upvote or downvote the question and answer you just need to check that if the question or the answer is helpful or not. If yes then upvote it.
When you decide to downvote the question or the answer make sure that you mention the proper reason in the comment section. Also do not downvote other people’s answers just because you want your answer to be accepted. Downvoting the answer which is correct/helpful will be considered as a selfish thing in the community and it won’t make a good impression on other community members.
Building a reputation on Stackoverflow takes time. Don’t feel discouraged and have patience. Visit the site every single day, keep learning from other developers, dive into the questions, read documentation, create a playground project, ask the questions and write the answer if you think that other members will get benefit from it. This will also train your brain muscle and slowly you will become an expert in it.