Tool of the Week: Stack Exchange

Over the past few months I've gotten a handful of requests on this blog to help write a custom piece of code. There are a couple reasons I don't do this:

  1. Ain't Nobody Got Time For Dat!
  2. One of the most valuable parts of my 10.5 years of higher education was learning how to learn. If I just gave you answers, I'm really doing you a disservice.

Along those lines, one really useful place to search for answers and ask questions has been the collection of StackExchange.com sites.  These are moderated Q&A sites (Not forums, and not wikis) where users are rewarded for well-asked and unique questions, and well written answers.  They have specific sites on topics ranging from Statistics to Cooking, From Programming to Specific Religions (although I've found that questions that are going to have opinionated answers get much lower quality results).

One tricky part of stack exchange is you have to know the right question to ask, and you can always run into a high-and mighty user when asking a very niche question (This Question by me and subsequent comments exhibit both problems).

P.s., I also found it interesting when filling out a recent job application, they wanted to see if I had a profile on StackOverflow: the programming section of stack exchange.  In theory this means some employers value asking well-written questions, and giving concise and accurate answers.

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