Programming Help Category Best Practices

Need help with programming concepts or want to talk about programming tools, languages, and frameworks? This board is the place for you!

This board has two main purposes:

  1. To provide an opportunity for developers to ask for help from their peers when struggling with programming concepts, and
  2. To give developers a space to discuss programming topics that range from the mundane such as opinions on programming tools and software packages to the more philisophical

This board is not a place to:

  1. Ask people to code for you
  2. Post job listings or contests

I’m sure that you might have a bunch of questions about this new board, so I’m going to answer what I can here. If you have additional questions, please let me know in the comments below and I will answer them to the best of my ability.

How is this different from the Project Development Help and Advice board?

The Project Development Help and Advice board was our first attempt to create a space like this. We left the board pretty open so that we could accommodate the needs of different people who wanted to discuss their projects for different reasons. Unfortunately, we discovered that we may have left the purpose of the board too unclear, leading to a bunch of posts without responses.

Therefore, we decided to create this board with a more narrow focus and a more directed purpose to hopefully help people get the sort of help and connection that they’re looking for. If this board is a success, we may open additional boards in a similar way for other topics.

Is this board intended to compete with Stack Overflow?

Short answer: no. Stack Overflow is great at answering really specific technical questions and they have a great community of people answering those sorts of questions all the time. If you’re looking for help with a particular error or with a very specific programming question, you’re likely to find your answer there.

However, there are some sorts of questions and discussions that Stack Overflow doesn’t want to handle on its platform so that these technical questions don’t get diluted. Questions which are subjective in nature or involve a lot of discussions are ones that Stack Overflow has repeatedly turned away from their platform. We feel that these questions are still important even if they aren’t right for that platform and would like to provide a space here to have those discussions.

How can I get help with my programming question?

To get help with your programming question, it’s important that you follow a few guidelines.

  1. Use the “Programming Help” label on your topic. This will signal to everyone that you need help.
  2. Add another label to your topic that indicates the language or framework that you’re using. This will allow experts in those particular languages to filter through the available questions by the languages that they’re most able to help with. If the label you’re looking for isn’t available, please let us know in a comment below.
  3. Provide as much context as possible surrounding your question. Remember, the people who are here trying to help you probably haven’t heard of your project and don’t know the particular challenges that you’ve been dealing with. The more context you provide, the easier it will be for people to help you.
  4. Provide a link to a Gist, a pull request, or to code in your repository. GitHub has a lot of tools for getting help and doing code reviews. It’s worth taking advantage of these tools to help yourself and the people working with you.
  5. When your question has been answered, mark your topic as solved. This will allow people to see at a glance which questions still need help and which ones have already been answered.
  6. Give kudos to people who help you. Everyone likes to be recognized for their contributions. If someone has been genuinely helpful, give them a kudo is an easy way to thank someone and also to indicate to the community who the helpers are.

What do I gain for answering questions?

In addition to the warm, fuzzy feelings that come with helping others, answering questions and offering help is a great way to hone your skills, learn a new language, and ultimately influence the next generation of programmers. Answering questions regularly is also a great way to gain a reputation among your peers for being a helpful and friendly expert in your field.

Thanks again for joining us here! If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.


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This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.