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So far I love what I see from Stack Overflow, and I find myself visiting quite often during my work day. My areas of expertise are J2EE and Spring Framework, and I'm starting to get a little frustrated because most of the questions are in categories where I don't have much expertise.

I'm also not in a role at work right now where I'm writing any code, and haven't had much time outside of work to take on personal coding projects. So, I'm finding I don't have a lot of questions to ask either.

I can't upvote any answers to questions because I don't have any reputation points. (I do have a sweet Autobiographer badge though.)

So, what's the best way for me to contribute to the community?

For now I'll just keep monitoring the J2EE and Spring tags and hope some more of those questions come along that I can answer. Otherwise I'll just keep browsing and answer/contribute where I can. I love the community here, though.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 24 '09 at 18:05

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14 Answers 14

Perhaps ask questions and then answer them yourself to contribute your knowledge? Or ask questions that you think of when reading blogs or news posts?

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By answering the questions you do know the answer to and asking the right questions for those you don't

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I'm feeling a bit of what you are describing, having most of my experience in dynamic languages, and not being able to help with much above C++. Stack Overflow states in the FAQ that questions should be technically/programattically oriented, so I don't think theres much luck for anyone without experience in programming who wants to answer questions, rather than ask them.

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Asking good questions that could lead to great answers by the experts, so in the future when someone search for something similar it's already here to help them

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  • read
  • point out bugs (this is after all a beta application)
  • flag inappropriate posts
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What about asking questions you know the answers to. Nobody will stop you from answering your own questions. After all, every question and answer will help the community. Regardless of who gives the answer.

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Have you ever had a problem that you never got to the bottom of?

If so ask a question regarding that.

Even if you don't really need the answer now, if it's a good question that maybe someone else might need the answer to, it will be voted up.

You'll earn reputation for asking the question and for upvotes.

Once you have enough reputation, you'll be able to upvote other answers.

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There'll still be plenty of conceptual questions that are platform-agnostic, I'd imagine.

"How would I write this algorithm" or "what's the best way to set up this database" will be answerable - perhaps best answered - in generic terms that help illustrate the theory instead of the "follow these instructions without understanding why" approach.

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As Tundey pointed out this is a beta-application - I'm sure come full release there will be more users with your same background. I'm personally waiting for more PHP queries I can hopefully answer!

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Have you gone through the unanswered (or single answer) Java questions?

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/java?sort=unanswered

or the Spring questions?

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/spring

Beyond that, feel free to pop in every now and then and browse -- don't feel you have to check here obsessively, like some people. I'm not naming any names but you know who you are. :)

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You can subscribe to J2ee and Spring tags too. You also can see language agnostic tags like best practices or language agnostic.

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The thing I've noticed about my usage of Stack Overflow is that I see questions that I want to know the answers too and I will read them. Some questions prompt me to do some research into them and this will allow me to contribute to them.

So for example if you see a question that interests you. E.g. Beginners Guide to Haskell?

Why not learn Haskell and then contribute any questions that come up.

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By asking J2EE and Spring questions you will help diversify the site's content.

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I think a good start is to suggest edits to questions and answers. If you're reading the posts and understanding what's going on, it shouldn't be too hard to find things you think need slight changes (or updates to keep up with stuff that's happened, like major new releases of software related to the question, or new advancements in CS, or whatever).

Another place to start is by asking good questions (well-researched, you tried to solve it on your own, code samples, etc. See: How to Ask a Good Question)

Obviously, if you come across questions you can answer, then by all means, answer!

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