Monthly Archives: May 2011

Start at StackOverflow: A new way to gain reputation

/** Vietnamese: Một cách dễ dàng hơn để kiếm điểm reputation tại StackOverflow, đặc biệt cho người mới bắt đầu **/

In some previous posts, I have mentioned about some tips for starting at StackOverflow. Most of them require the new user to understand the basic value of the site, and then create good questions & answers. That way works perfectly in the long term, but people always want to speed up the process. Ok, I’m here to present a fairly new way (and maybe easier) to do that.

It’s about editing.

Previously, StackOverflow have a fairly strict rule about who can edit a post. If you read the FAQ carefully, you probably know that all your questions/answers can be modified by anyone with reputation-point more than 2000, though changes will get logged. And that’s how StackOverflow mimics Wikipedia: summoning the community support to refine the content on the site, without fearing misbehaviors from malicious users.

But now, editing is open for all users: actually, anyone can submit an edit, but it needs acceptance from users more than 2000 to effect the original post. If your edit gets accepted, you get 2 reputation points in return. That’s the new shiny suggested edit function. The total up to 1000 reputation points can be rewarded by this way.

With this new rule, new comer may have better times leveling up the reputation a bit (yes, it’s not that good to earn 1000 rep points by fixing others’ formatting mistakes). Anyway, I think it’s a good opportunity for starters.

Online Code Editors

codepad,online-editor

/** Vietnamese – Bài viết giới thiệu về một loại ứng dụng hữu ích cho các lâp trình viên: Online Code Editor **/

Well, just when I think my ideas have drained (actually, struggling to sort them out), then I  remember there’s a useful tip that haven’t been shared yet. That’s the using of online code editors.

What’s an online code editor?

An online code editor is an editor that gives you tool to compile and run code online, which means you don’t need to download & install bunch of packages, IDE, and libraries on your machine.

You may or may not hear about them: no online editor can fully replace a good IDE for your favorite programming language. The server generally doesn’t allow you to do all the things:  accessing file system is often prohibited, so does network programming… But it certainly have some value for testing/experimenting. Remember the last time that your cousin ask about Pascal? Well, now you don’t need to re-install or download the packet, just go to a Pascal-supported online editor, and show him a working version of your greedy algorithm. Pretty handy, isn’t it?

Online editors come in many languages: C#, C++, PHP, Java, Groovy… The most popular editors are those which support HTML/CSS/Javascript. This gives web developers a quick prototype tool: Copy your code into the editor, run the code, then send the result link for your boss, your peers, or your brothers. Remember, they don’t need to install & configure their machine!

This makes me remember a theory about the Cloud: sometime in the future we won’t need to buy a machine which is called PC. We only need a monitor, then connect it to the Internet Cloud  to use Office, Calculator, writing emails or playing games… The Operating System is on the Cloud, so do the applications. Will we code on the Cloud, too?

Some of the useful sites:

Start at StackOverflow: short story about the Badges

“On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country;
To obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight”
……
The Scout Oath
/** Vietnamese: một mẹo nhỏ để nhanh chóng hòa nhập vào cộng đồng StackOverflow: thu thập các huy hiệu (badges) **/
Sample of BoyScout Badges

Sample of BoyScout Badges

Actually while writing about the badges, I remember of the American boy scout, a good group that was established to help children shape their good personalities as well as training living-skills. A badge is the symbol that tells everyone that the scout completed a good work. Some badges are fairly easy to get: camping, cooking, first-aids,… others are sometimes very hard to achieve: wood work, water sports, …. Based on this fact, the boy scouts always have a goal to follow.

Return here at StackOverflow: we have a similar system of badges for programmers!

According to StackOverflow FAQ, there are 3 kinds of badges:

  1. Gold Badges: very rare, and proves that the user is highly engaged and (often) have high contribution to the site by good questions & answers.
  2. Silver badges: uncommon, but attainable for anyone with sufficient efforts.
  3. Bronze badges: are awarded for basic use of Stack Overflow. They are easy to earn.

StackOverflow,Badges

According to… me, “Badges” at StackOverflow are divided into about 3 types: site functions, achievements and tag-achievements:

Site function badges are often given after the user try a new function of the site. This kind of badges gets along with the reputation system: when your rep-points reach a limit, you unlock new function; when you use that function, you get a badge. The typical example is “commentor badge” (comment 10 times), or “Supporter badge” (the first up-vote you give to others). All badges of this kind are bronze.

Achievement badges is some kind of reward for your contribution to the site. For instance, if you get an answer with 25 up-vote, you get the silver “Good answer” badges.

Tag-achievements are specific badges that be rewarded for getting lots of up-votes for a specific tags. They are kind of harder to get, since you must get at least 100 up-votes to win a bronze badge for a tag. But these badges are absolutely worthy: it proves that you are an expertise in that specific area. In my opinion, a specific-tag bronze badge is even more valuable than a general gold badge.

Until here, some of you may raise the question: why do we need to know this stuff to start at StackOverflow? Well, the reason is here:

When you are getting started, or even when you are already on boat, there will be a period that it seems you don’t get anything (up-vote or accepted answer), no matter how many answers you throw up on board. It’s a fact, and you shouldn’t be pessimistic. Things will improve when you least expected.

If you are in a time like that, I recommend you pay some time into the badge-hunting game.

For what?

Well, let’s guess: how many users, seeing you have a bronze badge, will actually click to your profile to see if it’s a “Java” badge or a “Student badge”?

People like to look at the surface. They know that the more badges you have, the higher you engaged to the site, so they can trust you more. So do your answers. It’s simple logic.