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Did you know... You need to use StackOverflow.com?

inidaname profile image Hassan Sani Originally published at Medium on ・10 min read

If only Google was a man, some of us would have received series of slaps. Here are my 5 best google search ever:

  1. www.google.com (on Google’s search bar)
  2. How do I search on google.com (on Google)
  3. How do I spell Hello World with JavaScript
  4. How do I know if my PC is online (With my PC)
  5. How do I know the name of the browser I'm using (With Google Chrome)

Top 10 results of the last 4 above had at least one answer from stackoverflow.com.

A friend of mine once said,

the most generous specie on earth is a developer, you can call him/her up by 2:00 am in the morning requesting how to fix a bug he/she had no idea you created — namdi

Well most times we call this guy 👇🏾 before calling you. Don’t feel bad

A screenshot of Stackoverflow.com

Although This 👆🏾 guy is a prove of how generous a developer can be.

How much do you know about Stack Overflow?

Stack Overflow is not just the over usage of computer’s memory as defined in your Computer Science class or for those self taught like me, it not some kind of an e-Professor that Google always referred us.

It’s way more than just questions and answers.

StackOverflow.com arguably is the largest, most active, most trusted and most referred developers’ community.

yeah GitHub included.
And that’s not all

Stackoverflow.com is likely the second place recruiters check after LinkedIn.com and that’s because LinkedIn is an employment social network. I’m sure you get my point.

Let’s do the Did you know…

  1. Did you know, August is Stack Overflow’s birthday On Web? Ask this guy Community User.
  2. Did you know, As a user on Stack Overflow you have a CV and a Story page, curated just for you? Lifesaver.
  3. Did you know, Stack Overflow awards you for visiting the site?
  4. May be you knew Stack Overflow awards reputation for votes on questions and answers but did you know, someone has earned One Million reputations on Stack Overflow? The almighty Jon Skeet.

Believe me, there is a lot you don’t. Pic Credit: Now You Know

One Million Reputation on Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow’s reputation points, Now that’s a huge Did You Know, which has its own did you knows.

But Did you know a developer got a job just for having a number of reputations in a certain category? See Here

Everything has a purpose. Pic Credit: Forbs.com

Those Reputations… yeah wait.

Let’s talk about Badges.

Let’s not get ourselves confused: Reputation: are the number of points you gain or lose when your questions or answers are either up voted or down voted on Stack Overflow while Badges: are awards you receive for carrying out some activities on Stack Overflow.

So picture a physical community, where we have leaders or elders. Badges on Stack Overflow identify those leaders while reputations grants the privileges.

While growing reputation could be somehow difficult, some badges on Stack Overflow are close to free.

Let’s identify the quick ones you can earn and how. First you need to register or Login. Visit www.stackoverflow.com. Then:

  • Start by understanding Stack Overflow, there is a document on that, it called the Tour make sure you read it till the End, Click Here. For simply reading this document you earn the badge Informed told you it was simple.
  • Next, Stack Overflow and the community should know who you are. You will need to Complete the “About Me” section of your user profile, head over to your profile page. For providing these few information about you, you get the badge Autobiography How cool is that.

Now the journey to the next Jone Skeet has began with these two badges.

There are few more badges you can easily earn, some may take time;

  • If you are the patient type, visit www.stackoverflow.com everyday for a consecutive 30 days, you get the badge Enthusiast and if you make it to the 100th day consecutively you get the Fanatic badge. Believe me some us live here, you may soon join us.
  • You can share links to questions or answers that you feel may be useful to a forum on social media or anywhere, unique visits from 25 different IPs gives you the Announcer badge, 300 visits gives you the Booster badge and 1000 visit gives you the Publicist badge. Be careful don’t spam others.
  • You found a useful question or answer, it only good you up vote the question or answer. With your single vote you are triggering 4 significant things: first, you are appreciating the user’s effort, he/she probably woke by 2:00am, second, you are simply bookmarking the answer or question, third, you are identifying the answer or question for future users and lastly, for your first up vote you will be awarded the Supporter badge.
  • Okay, probably the question or answer is more of, let me quote Stack Overflow itself, “Dangerously incorrect.” It your duty to down vote it, for your first down vote you get the Critic badge
  • Let’s agree, some probably woke up by 2:00 am to answer or ask the questions, this may lead to a typo or even a missing function. If you spot this and the question or answer is useful, simply click the edit and correct the typo or function, for your first edit you get the Editor badge.
  • Another quick badge; January of every year the annual Stack Overflow survey is published, complete at least one of these surveys. You get the Census badge.
  • The Not a Robot badge, this has been awarded to only 561 people as at this write up, to be one of them, this is what you need to do. Meet a Stack Overflow employee at an event where Stack Overflow was an organizer or participant with 50 or more attendees. Good Luck.

Final Note on the Badges

They are around 90+ badges in 3 different categories Golden Badge, Silver Badge and Bronze Badge. Most badges are receivable only after you gain a number of reputations, some are in hierarchy format Bronze->Silver->Golden while most can be awarded multiple times. Enough with the badges.

Reputation is on the far left, under it is the number of badges. BTW this is not me.

Now Reputations

Even on Stack Overflow this is true. Pic Credit: Pinterest.com

Everything Start from 1 or 0 : After a successful registration, Stack Overflow awards you 1 reputation point, there is not much you can do with that but it a start.

As a new user on Stack Overflow some features or privileges (as they call it) are restricted, sure you can up-vote, ask, answer and down-vote questions, you can also accept answers for your questions.

Now some of the Did you knows:

  • Did you know, If you up-vote a question (not asked by you) the user who asked the question is awarded 5 reputation points? this is multiplied by a number of total votes on the question.
  • Did you know, If you up vote an answer (not on your question and not answered by you), the user who answered the question gets 10 reputation points? this is multiplied by a number of total votes on the answer.
  • Did you know, The first answer you up voted on your question: Is marked accepted, the user who provided the answer will gain 15 reputation points? but that’s not all, you the acceptor is awarded 2 reputation points. Now that’s motivation.
  • Did you know, If your reputation points are not above 15 points, your votes will not count as number of votes casted on a question or answer? Yes the reputation points are still awarded, The restrictions I mentioned above.
  • Did you know, You can comment on a question or answer but only if your reputation points are above 50? Another restriction.
  • Did you know, If your reputation points are below 2000, any edit you make to a question or answer (not yours) will not effect until the user accept the edit? and on accepting it you are awarded 2 reputation points.
  • Did you know, You can answer your own question. Let’s just leave this here
  • Did you know, A user can only gain 200 points a day on Stack Overflow? I bet you didn’t know that. Another huge restriction.

An accepted answer with a Vote.

For every reward there should be a punishment

  • Did you know, If your question or answer is down voted you lose 2 reputation points?
  • Did you know, If you down vote an answer you loose 1 reputation point? Seriously and people still down vote answers.
  • Did you know, If an answer or a question receives a number of down votes, the question or answer is soft-deleted? I have no idea why they used the word  soft.
  • Did you know, up voting or down voting a comment does not in any way affect reputation points?
  • Did you know, Stack Overflow built Bots to down vote irrelevant questions or answers.

If you are still reading this.

Did you know, I will appreciate if you let me know that you are already bored with my Did you knows?

BTW, I do have some tips for you on how to effectively use Stack Overflow. I know… But did you know, this article wasn’t suppose to be this long.

Tips for Stack Overflow

A few guides from the master himself John Skeet’s Guides to Stack Overflow.

Did you know

Stack Overflow categories questions according to Tags

Seriously I think I am running out of Did you knows.

Now before asking your questions on Stack Overflow it is important that at least

  • Do the google search for a solution to your problem, yeah it will probably lead you back to Stack Overflow.
  • Make sure your question does not already have a solution on Stack Overflow or anywhere. If you find a question that may be similar to yours but still with a different, draft your question with a link to that similar question and describe how yours is different.
  • Make sure you Tag your question within the right category; for an HTML issue use the HTML tag.
  • Always include the code, the error returned and the result expected. Please don’t paste the whole document on the page, only if it involves the whole document. I don’t even know how that can be.
  • If it not related to coding in anyway please don’t bring it to Stack Overflow. We don’t cook, we don’t drive all we do is code. The punishment for that may cost you the loss of 100 reputation points No Joke. or A simple tag of off topic

Before answering a question

  • Check, does the question deserve an answer: Not every question deserve an answer but every answer needs a question. If you have the power to comment, just put it in the comment.
  • Make sure the question is not a duplicate of another question.
  • Make sure the question is not off topic
  • Are you the right person to answer the question, refer it to someone who can.

A good answer:

  1. Should be inline with the question.
  2. If you have a referable link include it.
  3. It should be well explained, don’t just put the codes in there.
  4. If you can, do a comparison with the problem and your solution.
  5. If the solution is only possible with a workaround explain why.
  6. If the answer is an alternative, the proposed changes should not be more than 30% of the scenario.
  7. The answer should be clear because it not only answering this question, others will need it.
  8. If in future, there is an update to your answer, edit and indicate the update.
  9. If already there is an answer, go through it, see if it proper or need an edit or a comment.
  10. And please if you know the answer give the answer.

Stack Overflow’s home page does go stack overflow, my advice is to go to a tag you are comfortable with and browse it questions. It called growing reputation.

The Final Did You Knows

Did you know,

Stack Overflow is a member of Stack Exchange Community. This article is long already just click the name. 🤩

Did you know,

This article was inspired by Peculiar Ediomo-Abasi’s Pains of a Programming Enthusiast.

Did you know,

I won’t mind if you clap and share this, till Stack Overflow sees it and award me with a badge, any will do

Did you know,

Between the time I started this article and by the time I published Jone Skeet had gained a total of 1725 reputation points, 9 bronze badges, 12 silver badges and 3 golden badges?

Did you know,

Okay… That’s all.

Thank You


Editor guide
sajeetharan profile image

Very good article! StackOverflow has an impact on my career, it has helped a lot to learn many new technologies and to network with developers across the world. One of the major reason for what I am today. Happy that I belong to the top 500 users across the world and top user from my country


inidaname profile image
Hassan Sani Author

I am honored that you liked it, seeing also that your top contribution is Angular is awesome.

dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim

Due to some hostility 😡 I've felt in StackOverflow community,

I've stayed away for about 5 years (from posting or answering questions).

It really is an amazing place to be as you see a myriad of developers 👷‍♀👩‍⚕ willing to spend their own time to help you with an issue.

And would you be able to share you StackOverflow account
so that we can follow suit?
(SO provides a history so we can learn from it by mimicking)

Thanks 😎