Stack Overflow not considered harmful

The brainchild of Jeff Attwood and Joel Spolskystackoverflow.com has today shifted itself from private to public beta, in the best tradition of Google applications.

Stackoverflow, a force for good?

Stackoverflow, a force for good?

I’ve been amusing myself building reputation and acquiring badges since joining a few weeks ago (34 days, it says on my profile page).

The idea, as far as I understand it, is to provide a kind of social network for programmers, based around asking questions and giving geeks and nerds the chance to show off what they know. Which at least shows a good understanding of the target audience. On the plus side, from the initial beta audience, limited in all likelihood to a fairly experienced group, I’ve seen a lot of good answers to questions where I had some knowledge. On the minus side, apart from the mild inferiority complex engendered by how many questions I didn’t understand exposing the narrowness of my technical competence, it can be a little tricky to stay on top of questions bearing tags in which you are interested. Yes, you can subscribe using RSS, but I don’t think I want my Google Reader page clogged up with questions, I think they’re likely to be something I will look at once or twice a day.

I think going forward we probably need a more user-customisable “home” page for the site. “My Stackoverflow”, perhaps? Maybe for now I’ll sign up with another online feed subscription service to keep different stuff segregated. There’s bound to be something that’s not too horrible.

But taking a quick look through my favoured tags this morning threw up an interesting Excel question. It’s one of those “can I do this with formulae or should I go to code” things. Well, there was already a reasonable-looking code solution, so I took a shot at formulae. Aren’t array formulae just the bee’s knees?

So once I’d (hopefully correctly) solved it, I went back to take a closer look at the VB answer:

You bump into the strangest people

You bump into the strangest people

Take a look at the site. Answer a question if you can. Ask one if you have one. Let’s see what happens…

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