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I joined Stack Overflow some days back. I have not contributed much, but I am learning and trying to. Unlike other forums which I am part of, I feel this forum is so good that I can't resist visiting it at least 10 times a day! I am really learning a lot from that. Do you think this kind of learning from problems faced by others will improve my skills overall?

I specifically ask this because, as you all know, there are numerous topics discussed here, and I know only a subset of these, and only to some extent. If I come across some question on a topic I am not knowledgeable about, I am very eager to look for that topic to get a basic comprehension of it, to understand the problem, and then learn from it. I don't know whether this is normal or I am becoming too obsessed. Please advise.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Sep 9 '09 at 17:59

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34  
Only 10 times a day? Newbie! –  Dexter Sep 9 '09 at 17:58
    
@Lucas: Wow! Great!! :). How much time do you spend in SO? –  vpram86 Sep 9 '09 at 18:02
19  
If you're not hitting refresh at least 10 times a minute you aren't doing it right. –  TheTXI Sep 9 '09 at 18:03
    
@Aviator: A lot more then I spend working (or at least it seems). –  Dexter Sep 9 '09 at 18:05
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@TheTXI: I've said it before and I'll say it again. We need more ajax. –  user27414 Sep 9 '09 at 18:05
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My F5 key is almost completely gone. It's difficult trying to explain why that key is dead when the rest of my keyboard looks pristine. –  Matthew Jones Sep 9 '09 at 18:06
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@Matthew Jones: Visual Studio + StackOverflow = F5 death –  TheTXI Sep 9 '09 at 18:07
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@Matthew Jones: If you use firefox there's an add-on to refreash a page every 10, 15, x seconds. I can't think of the name though. –  Dexter Sep 9 '09 at 18:08
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@Lucas Aardvark: That's not nearly fast enough. –  TheTXI Sep 9 '09 at 18:09
    
@Lucas Aardvark, I tried that, but I kept pressing Enter when I should have tabbed. Chrome has so spoiled me. –  Matthew Jones Sep 9 '09 at 18:09
    
@Lucas: @TheTXI: @Matthew: Thanks to all! :) Its really encouraging to hear all those words :) –  vpram86 Sep 9 '09 at 18:09
    
The Firefox add-on is ReloadEvery, and the refresh time is settable. –  Lance Roberts Sep 9 '09 at 18:34
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@Jon B: I got a fever. And the only prescription... is more AJAX! –  Randolpho Sep 9 '09 at 19:02
    
@Matthew Jones: I'm using Chrome also (on Linux (with Flash enabled))! –  Dexter Sep 9 '09 at 19:05
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@Aviator: Don't listen to them, just run!!, you are still on time!! Please.... do it, don't ask anything, you have a life... ruuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnn!!!!!! –  OscarRyz Sep 9 '09 at 20:37

5 Answers 5

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Its perfectly normal to want to learn; in fact it's a trait many people don't have, so you should be thankful you do have it. Where it becomes a problem is when using StackOverflow interferes with your real work. If you think it is becoming a problem, I would try limiting the amount of topics you research; only pick one or two a day, and especially if they are related to your day job or your interests (i.e. don't study Haskell if you have no interest in it).

I wish some of my coworkers were so eager to learn.

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yeah... I too thought to choose topics. But before doing so, i thought it would be really good to get advise from all. I would pick only some at a time. Thanks a lot! I will not study haskell ;) ( though i really dont know what it is :() –  vpram86 Sep 9 '09 at 18:06
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Haskell is like a mixture between a husk and a casket and satchel. See, you have this husk, which is a function, and a casket, which is a functor, and a satchel, which is full of parameters. Then, they all get together to make a Haskell, which is analogous to a giant crab filled with operators. A doctor (or rather, a veterinarian) operators on the crab to remove the Haskell, and then gives it to his boss. His boss evaluates the Haskell and maybe operates on it himself (for he is also a doctor (or rather, a veterinarian)) before passing it to his boss. That's functional programming! –  XMLbog Sep 9 '09 at 18:11
    
That was the most thorough explanation I have seen yet on functional programming. –  TheTXI Sep 9 '09 at 18:14
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And then there's Lisp. Lisp stands for Lisp Is Sanctimonious Programming. And there's Scheme, which is like Lisp but with more spies hanging around in it, plotting the destruction of international veterinarianism. See, the doctors love crabs and hate ponies, but the spies love ponies but hate pizza. So they surround everything they can with parentheses so that the crabs and ponies can't breathe, distracting the veterinarians and allowing them free access to their pizzas. (Veterinarians love pizza, you see (because it's got so many animals on it (like penguin (and sausage (containing pig))))). –  XMLbog Sep 9 '09 at 18:16
    
@Weblog: Nice insight! thanks! –  vpram86 Sep 9 '09 at 18:18
    
+1 for heavy use of parens while explaining LISP. –  ベレアー アダム Sep 9 '09 at 18:18
    
TheTXI better not go anywhere near those doctors. –  Matthew Jones Sep 9 '09 at 18:19
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@Aviator: You have so much to learn. –  XMLbog Sep 9 '09 at 18:19
    
This is why we can't have nice things. –  TheTXI Sep 9 '09 at 18:20
    
Because if you have nice things, Welbog will show up and write all over it. –  XMLbog Sep 9 '09 at 18:22
    
There's always hacking your own hosts file to make it impossible to visit stackoverflow.com without fixing it. So you have to really decide to not do work rather than just kind of "forget" and "slip in a look-see". Or five. –  ErikE Jan 9 '13 at 6:30

Welcome to the club.

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Thanks a lot! :). –  vpram86 Sep 9 '09 at 18:04
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Now go get me a donut. –  TheTXI Sep 9 '09 at 18:05
    
I would love to :), if i know the place you were and if i am near that place :) –  vpram86 Sep 9 '09 at 18:10
    
Damn it, newbie, haven't you ever heard of email??? –  TheTXI Sep 9 '09 at 18:11
    
:) No i was specifically talkin about getting you a donut in person ;) –  vpram86 Sep 9 '09 at 18:14
    
I'm too busy stalking Francesca to have my own stalker. –  TheTXI Sep 9 '09 at 18:17
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Someone say my name? –  Donut Sep 9 '09 at 18:52
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How about getting me some waffles? –  Nathan Koop Sep 9 '09 at 19:51

You have a problem. A good problem. You love to learn and be part of an excellent educational resource. I don't see how any developer couldn't love a site like SO. I personaly have learned a lot of useful information and try to answer what I can.

We should start a support group, maybe a way to contact.....each....other. "Closed as exact duplicate: How do I contact a stack overflow user? by TheTXI, Diago, Welbog, Jeff Atwood"

TheTXI and Diago proceed to beat Troggy with a pony and Troggy burninates them all.

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2  
Are you on crack? It's OK. You can tell me. I'll keep it a secret. You know you can trust me. I haven't even told anyone that you've got a secret rainbow-coloured glittery-covered scratch-and-sniff slow-Elvis-love-music-playing anthropomorphic-unicorn-with-Jeff-Atwood-except-female-and-also-somewhat-masculi‌​ne-somehow-in-a-more-or-less-disturbing-way love shrine in your closet. –  XMLbog Sep 9 '09 at 18:41
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You missed a few hyphens. –  TheTXI Sep 9 '09 at 18:48
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My dealer is Welbog, so I know where to find the good stuff. –  Troggy Sep 9 '09 at 20:06

You are obviously completely addicted and obsessed. Also, this is normal.

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Is it? :(. I thought so.... But, Its great to know that its normal! Thanks! :) –  vpram86 Sep 9 '09 at 18:04
    
It will get much worst. This is like the phase when drugs are funny, and you want some more.... But later there will be only pain and suffering ( well at least until you reach 10k ) –  OscarRyz Sep 9 '09 at 20:39
    
@Oscar: Oh! :) I think i will not reach 10k then, :D lol!! –  vpram86 Sep 10 '09 at 5:40

Do you think this kind of learning from problems faced by others will help improving my skills overall?

Yes, of course. it will improve your skills. Stackoverflow is a way to learn from very very good engineers in various technical skills. Morevover a lot of subjects give you some advices about readings or links that improve your skills. BUT, you must not learn only by this way.

About obsessed.... don't be afraid... It's completely normal for me !

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Thanks a lot! :). –  vpram86 Sep 9 '09 at 18:12

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