Even though I’m not a programmer myself I’ve always enjoyed reading Coding Horror.
Okay, partly because it’s one of FeedDemon’s default feeds but also largely because Jeff Atwood just writes interesting stuff that anyone can understand, programmer or not.
His blog however is really nothing more then a side interest, his latest project which has been occupying most of his time is a resource site for coders called StackOverflow.
“So what is stackoverflow?
Stackoverflow is sort of like the anti-experts-exchange (minus the nausea-inducing sleaze and quasi-legal search engine gaming) meets wikipedia meets programming reddit. It is by programmers, for programmers, with the ultimate intent of collectively increasing the sum total of good programming knowledge in the world. No matter what programming language you use, or what operating system you call home. Better programming is our goal.”
To that descriptive list I would also add ‘Yahoo Answers/Forum/Newsgroup’ type community site.
It’s true there is nothing totally unique about Jeff’s ideas, but the site he has created really manages to pull all the ideas together and create an incredibly easy to use site which is fantastic for beginners like myself and advanced programmers.
In many ways it’s just an update on the web forums which proliferated the web during the 90s and early 2000s. It was here that many people learnt the skills associated with an interest or job (coding, design, SEO etc) and in turn taught others.
The issue with Forums however is that valuable information is easily lost. A lot of threads are full of comments which don’t contribute anything and archives vanish rapidly never to appear again. By creating a similar kind of community, yet organising the information, categorizing it and create a valuable resource for any newcomer to discover without having to initially get involved is a great idea.
The barrier for entry is also low as anyone can ask or reply to questions in just the same way as a blog, by providing a name and email without registering. If you wish to become more involved you can register later and associate the questions you have previously asked with your new account.
It’s a great new site and a great growing community. I recommend you check it out if this kind of thing interests you.