Kentico on Stack Overflow - How to Get Productive
The world's largest Q&A platform, Stack Overflow, is a perfect place to get and give online help on any programming topic, including Kentico. At this time, there are about 350 Kentico related questions, which is not bad but we believe we can do better. For starters, I'll share a few tips from my own experience on Stack Overflow with you. Let's start building an online knowledge base for Kentico together!
In one of my previous posts, I talked about why it's a good idea to be active in a community. Today, I'll show you several tips & tricks to be productive on Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow is celebrating its 10 millionth question so what better tribute than a little how-to?
CAUTION: This is not one of the many articles about dishonest ways to increase one's reputation.
Before we start...
If you're new on Stack Overflow and haven't created your account yet, I recommend you to do so. It's also desirable that you link it with your Devnet account as described here. Stack Overflow is a beginner-friendly site, so don't worry, nobody expects new users to know all the rules. If you want to get up and running fast, scroll down through the one-minute tour.
1) Tags are key to success
Tags are the building blocks of Stack Overflow. Not only do they facilitate the categorization of questions, making them easier to be found by experts, but they also add relevant syntax highlighting to your code. By adding tags, you basically set the context of your question - you no longer need to describe what technology or language you are referring to in your post.
2) Be in control
Stack Overflow uses markdown for formatting text. It's useful to learn the basis and also a few keyboard shortcuts. My favorite is Ctrl+K(ode) which turns text into a monospaced font with syntax highlighting. It really saves time and helps you be the first to answer a question. Response time is one of the factors that determine whether you receive reputation points or not.
3) Coding playgrounds and Stack Overflow make a great pair
It doesn't really matter whether you use JS Bin, JSFiddle or any other code snippet tool. They are great means of demonstrating your problem when the markdown is not enough. By the way, did you know there is a fiddle for nearly every programming language? Check out fiddles.io.
4) Make sure you think about your question
Be aware that experienced users tend to ignore questions when they see little or no effort put into it. Always do some research on your own first. Also spend some time on formatting and proof-reading your questions as it increases the chance that they will be answered. Here's a checklist of what you should do before posting: http://stackoverflow.com/help/how-to-ask
5) Upvote == Thank you
Never forget to upvote questions and answers if they were of any help to you. Also check back on your questions regularly to upvote and accept possible answers.
6) Love it? Hate it? Filter it!
To be really efficient it's essential to focus on questions you can actually answer. To help you with that, Stack Overflow offers an option of creating lists of Favorite and Ignored tags. Questions with Favorite Tags will be highlighted whereas Ignored will be hidden. Just remember to use the filters wisely. Be cautious when you add tags like "c#" or "asp.net" to your favorites as they are too broad and might not lead to the desired effect of highlighting the most relevant questions. Ignoring broad tags can be counterproductive as the Ignored Tag might not relate directly to the core of the problem. Also, note that you can use wildcards which are useful, especially when you want to target all versions of a platform - e.g. "asp.net-mvc-*".
Start by adding Kentico to your favorites :)
7) Subscribe to relevant topics
Stack Overflow offers two different ways of getting notified when a new question arises. You can either receive email notifications, or you can subscribe to an RSS feed. All you have to do is to hover over the tag you are interested in and choose your preferred option.
Kentico RSS feed: http://stackoverflow.com/feeds/tag/kentico
8) Don't be afraid to google answers
Sometimes, actually quite often, answering a question requires nothing more than coming to the right conclusion from two pieces of information. Don't be shy and Google the information you need. You can easily earn some points while still learning something new.
Tell us what you think
Do you like Stack Overflow? Do you use it regularly? Would you like to see some integration between Devnet and Stack Overflow? Let us know in the comments...