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Besides contributing great questions and answers, are there any other ways that I can contribute to Stack Overflow and its family of websites?

I would be happy to

  1. give a PayPal donation
  2. contribute code

SFOU has been helping me tremendously, so it's only fair if I can give back something.

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Searching for the same thing, you asked for the same thing. :) –  agpt Jul 1 '13 at 8:20

7 Answers 7

up vote 32 down vote accepted

Clean up other peoples contributions. Additionally, flag inappropriate postings, and vote to close/migrate questions when necessary.

Sporting your flair elsewhere brings more attention to SO as well.

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One important thing is to try to get as many people as you can to SE sites, tell them about how great the sites are.

If the community grows, then the traffic increases
If the traffic increases, then more ads are displayed
If more ads are displayed, then the odds of someone finding interesting products increase
If ...

Well, you get the idea.

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Vote. SO and the rest of the family are crowdsourcing quality control. So vote both up and down, both questions and answers. Propose edits, and when you have the rep just flat out perform edits to make things better. Retag, too. Flag - questions, answers, and comments - so that everyone knows that crap has no lifespan on the site. Promote the site with flair on your blog, by tweeting or facebooking links, by putting your SO profile name on your resume, by telling newbies in your industry what a great resource it is. Hang out on meta and learn the culture of your site, then help others to learn it. Come to the site every day and contribute in one of these ways every day.

Everything else, they can buy. But what each of us does every day for free is what gives the site its value. Keep doing it.

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+1 for your last sentence...well, second to last. –  d-_-b Dec 4 '12 at 6:13

Edit, edit, edit!

Prior to SO, there have existed many, many Q&A sites, forums, newsgroups, etc. dedicated to answering or discussing programming problems. The one big thing SO brings to the table is the ability to take a poorly-written question or badly-formatted answer and make it better: easier to read, easier to find, easier to understand. You may not be the fastest gun in the west, but if you can scrape together a reputation score of 2K then you can edit almost every post on the site - and do so at your leisure. And even if you don't have the 2K, you can still suggest edits.

If SO hasn't become a steaming pile 5 years from now, it'll be because enough people took a little bit of their time to edit it into something better.


Now that anyone can suggest edits, editing should be the primary choice for anyone wishing to contribute in ways other than asking or answering... But here are some other suggestions:

  • Find existing duplicates of new questions and link to them from comments - dup-finding is a win-win situation most of the time, as the OP gets answers faster and the site gets less noise. Flag them for moderator review (use the close as duplicate option) after you've posted a link.

  • Review answers in your area of expertise and point out problems, or post suggestions for improvement as comments.

  • Flag abusive / spam posts or unhelpful comments.

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Post links to interesting questions/answers to Twitter and Facebook.

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I'm not sure about that. When I see a SO question on reddit or HN (I have no twitter or facebook accounts), it's usually a bad open ended discussion question which should have started and stayed on reddit but isn't really suited for SO. So I'd say that to promote good questionnig, post interesting questions when they're fit for SO. –  dystroy Aug 29 '12 at 6:17

Support their advertisers. Or, at least turn off AdBlock for these sites.

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I don't think they are in search of either of what you are asking.

No word yet on whether they would accept offerings of sheep and goats.

It is also unknown how well they look upon human sacrifice.

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It is also unknown how well they look upon human sacrifice. I love this phase. –  Graviton Aug 25 '09 at 15:04
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You get way too much rep for these types of answers ;) –  Jonathan Sampson Aug 25 '09 at 15:05
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Good news is he hits the rep cap fast so a lot of what he would otherwise gain goes to waste. –  EBGreen Aug 25 '09 at 15:09
    
@Jonathan: I've been at rep cap for quite some time. Most of my goofy answers just look pretty but never really do much for me. –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 15:09
    
@EBGreen: basically. I'll post a few things that get me a lot of rep and then the rest of my crap is just there. –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 15:10
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Meanwhile, others are working to provide real answers ;) The cap is more difficult to achieve that way. No harm done - this is meta. –  Jonathan Sampson Aug 25 '09 at 15:10
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@TheTXI: what are you talking about? SO loves human sacrifice! SO is built on human sacrifice! SO lives on the daily offering of small portions of many lives... –  Shog9 Aug 25 '09 at 15:33
    
I thought SO liked waffles. –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 15:47
    
I like waffles. –  Shog9 Aug 25 '09 at 15:55
    
With butter? –  Treb Aug 25 '09 at 16:01
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Yes! Real butter! And maple syrup! –  Shog9 Aug 25 '09 at 16:34
    
Didn't user 52443 give up his mortal body? –  gobernador Aug 29 '12 at 5:40
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Ponies are always welcome. –  Rosinante Sep 23 '13 at 19:23

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