The beginners guide to Stack Overflow

Evgeny Zborovsky · January 5, 2018

Stack Overflow is the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share​ ​their programming ​knowledge, and build their careers.

This is the official definition of this website, and I have nothing to add or remove from it. Being an official member for 4 years and 11 months, according to my profile data, I spent many hours on C#, Android, Xamarin and Xamarin.Forms tags and I am worried.

It seems like the quality of the questions is decreasing and decreasing. The most popular question is “How to deserialise a JSON” with all its variations or “I have a problem” and a screenshot. This kind of questions have been always asked, however lately it feels like an epidemy.

What goes on the internet stays on the internet.

The questions we ask, the answers we make are publicly visible and can be used to measure our competency. Beside that, please always keep in mind that someone is going to spend time on trying to solve our issues. Let’s respect the community.

Before posting a new question please make sure that:

  • The question haven’t been asked before.
  • The title and the description should be easy to understand and to follow.
  • Do not post screenshots of exceptions, logs or stack-traces. Share them as a plain text instead.
  • Do post screenshots or images to demonstrate the problem you are trying to solve, if you think it is necessary.
  • Always provide code snippets or describe how did you try to solve the problem yourself.
  • Re-read your question at least 2-3 times before posting it.

Before answering a question please make sure that:

  • The question haven’t been answered before. In case it was answered already just mark the question as a duplicate.
  • You fully understand the question and see the problem. If in doubt ask questions in comments or start a chat.
  • Always let the authors fix their own code. Describe the solution in plain text unless code is really necessary or unless the author is a total beginner.
  • Review the code and suggest improvements beside the answered question.
  • Downvote or vote to close only for a good reason.
  • Do not answer with a link, instead share the main piece of the information in addition to a link so if the link will die there will be still a short reference.

I believe that following those simple rules we will make Stack Overflow a greater place.

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