Stackoverflow went into public beta. It is a really fascinating (and addictive!) site. What does it do?

  • It provides a place for people to ask and answer programming related questions
  • It it a combination of reddit/digg/forums/wiki
  • You can vote on questions/answers and also edit them (if you got enough reputation)

A few quick pointers if you decide to try it out:

  • To create an account, you need to use OpenID. There was a discussion to add a native authentication system, but I don’t know when (and if) this will be done. In the meantime you can check out my tutorial on using OpenID and keeping a centralized presence with Blogger. The login process is wonky sometimes (as in it returns strange errors), but this seem to occur less and less. If it happens to you, try clearing your cookies and restarting your browser.
  • At first it can seem very hard to get badges/reputation. Don’t despair! There are some simple badges you can get quite easily (look for badges which have been awarded to a large number of people). Getting to a level where you can edit posts (which currently means 2000+ reputation) is much harder however.
  • When answering a questions, there currently is a fastest gun phenomenon (the first few answers get the most attention, even if they’re not the best ones). The current suggested workaround is to post a short answer quickly, and then edit it to include more detailed information. Be aware however that after a certain number of edits, the post becomes community owned.
  • There is an associated blog and podcast you might be interested in, to get an behind the scenes look.

Finally, you can use the RSS feed associated with your user to display the most recent answers contributed by you (as you can see on the lefhand side of my blog). If you are bothered by the Answer by prefix, you can use something like Yahoo! Pipes to transform the feed accordingly:

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