Whenever I’m working on a project, the
3 4 sites that you will always see up on my browser are Google, iOS Developer Library , Spotify , and StackOverflow. But from time to time, I notice that I have no open browsers while working.
Among the 4, StackOverflow has to be a programmer’s go-to when stumped with something crazy. The amount of support one can get from that site is massive. If I had to guess, the average turnaround time for an answer to a question is less than 15 minutes. It feels like people just sit in front of their screen spamming the refresh button, waiting to answer questions. (I am guilty of that too, sometimes)
But more often than not, you see people asking questions that clearly show that no prior effort has been put into trying to solve it themselves first, and then I stumbled upon this post on Meta StackOverflow that I thought was worth sharing.
A lot. An absurd amount. More than you think you are capable of. In fact, asking a question on Stack Overflow is the absolute last thing you ever want to do. You want to avoid it at all costs. You want to think of it as a horrible shame  that will forever haunt you and pass down from you to your descendants. You want very much to find your answer some other way.
You want to
- Search. Like mad.
- Test your code.
- Read blogs.
- Find books.
- Follow tutorials.
- Anything to avoid adding another question to Stack Overflow.
You never want to hit that “ask question” button and absolutely never do you want to click the “post your question” button.
After you have reached the end of your rope and the pain of not having the answer exceeds the vast amount of shame received by posting your question, that’s when you can go ahead and ask. Because at that point, you will have done whatever research necessary to make it a good question worth asking. Because so help me, if your question gets an answer within 30 seconds that has 10 upvotes within 3 minutes, you did not do enough research.
1. Documentation dependent on current written language.
2. I know Spotify has a desktop app, but the company I work for finds immense pleasure in controlling/restricting internet access, POP3 & IMAP included.
3. The terms “shame” and “never” are a tad bit hyperbolic, but the important point remains that we absolutely want you to do your homework. Understand that our time is not free, though we do not charge for it. Answering low quality, poorly researched, or duplicated questions become tiresome.