What's some of the pro-tips on asking questions on stackoverflow?

Does anyone feels that stackoverflow is not really “newbie friendly”?

I remembered I asked a question about how to use google chrome’s dev tools/console and such and got downvoted… then stackoverflow warned me that because my question is non-popular I might get banned from posting low quality questions… or something like that.

Does anyone has experience with it?


You need to be an expert and knows everything before they’ll allow you to ask questions on SO. But then again, if you’re expert level, why bother asking questions.

In other words, your question must be smarter than the possible answers.

Ok, I’m just joking but I’m not that far off from the truth. :wink:


This is one of those : “if every company only wants people with experience in their field then how can graduates get a single job” dilemma isn’t it… :thinking:

Also speaking of joke: here’s one

Job posting: Recruiting swift developer. Requirements: minimum of 8 years experience.
PS: swift came out 3 years ago…

If you’re asking a question, it’s expected that you actually know what question you’re asking and that you’re specific. This is generally the issue with downvoted answers that aren’t duplicates - they aren’t specific, so are either too difficult to answer or too easy (ie literally typing the question into Google produces the answer). No-one but no-one on SO expects anyone asking a question to be an expert, just that the question is specific enough to be actually answerable. If you ask a question, you are asking it to an audience that includes experts, and they will give you very good answers if you actually ask a reasonable question. They will not read the docs for you.

This doesn’t preclude being a complete newbie, but as it’s expected that you can Google and read documentation, you need some familiarity with the subject (or a similar subject) you’re asking about otherwise you don’t know what to ask.

Just as an idea of why SO has this [somewhat deserved, pissy] reputation. From my point of view I’ve poured huge amounts of time and effort into where I’m at. I rely heavily on SO for specific answers to issues that crop up. For SO to be useful, those questions have to be specific and good. It does genuinely feel slightly insulting when someone posts something that either would have taken minimal effort (say just typing it into Google), or is a “do my homework for me question” . I get why people feel it is a bit forbidding, but also I feel very strongly that it that’s the way they feel, then they don’t quite understand why SO is useful and good, and should go ask their questions somewhere else if it pisses them off - it’s too useful a resource to risk polluting.

Please read this and the linked articles, it isn’t that hard to ask a good question, https://stackoverflow.com/help/how-to-ask

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As solely a resource SO has always been great. I’m pretty sure I can remember coming across articles from the site since the first days I got the internet as a teenager.

It’s never a community I’ve felt I can even begin to contribute to, for the already stated reasons. I’m in two minds about it. On the one hand, it keeps it as a resource I actually trust when searching for answers on Google. On the flip side, it is the general attitude there and elsewhere in web development/programming that has put me off getting involved and learning markup and programming languages up to now.

Like previous posters have stated, Stack Overflow has these standards so that the site stays usuable and useless/duplicate questions aren’t everywhere.

With that being said there’s also a lot of developer elitism on that site. I’ve met a lot of cool people in this industry who have helped me along the way and are fun to talk with, but I’ve also ran into a lot of developers with Goodwill Hunting syndrome and an elitist mindset.

If we’re being honest CS/software/web dev attracts a lot of basement dwellers and manboys. The type of guy that has no life outside of tech and whose entire world revolves around the industry. A big part of their identity is that they’re “the smart nerd guy” and they tell themselves they’re intellectually superior to everyone else and being condescending and snippy with a newbie makes them feel better about their self esteem issues.

These guys are living out the socially awkward basement dwelling nerd stereotype presented by the media.


I forgot to add, literally yesterday the FCC blog had an article about these very issues. Hopefully as more “graduates” of FreeCodeCamp go on to work and help others, we’ll see the attitude improve in places like SO. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. :wink:

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yeah… i’ve met people online who carried those mentality.
I think part of the reason they carried themselves that way was because they themselves climbing a long hard ladder to get where they are, so they felt that they are superior.

on the other hand I think if someone is truely into programming should brush those things off. we came here, we learn what we can,anything else does not matter that much

thanks1 I will look into that.