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I'm interested in how do people go about the site.

Not when you want to ask a question because that's obvious. I'm talking about how you go through the questions. Maybe you want to build up your reputation by answering lots of questions. Or maybe you just want to learn new stuff and want to read interesting questions and answers on some topic.

Do you just use the tags and browse through them looking for good questions? Do you rely on search? Are you satisfied by this?

I'm asking this, because I want to build an app using the API, so that you can get questions you like more easier. Right now, I'm thinking of having the choice to like a question or unlike it, and based on that you should be proposed better and better questions, sort of like a spam filter.

What do you think? Would you be interested in this?

If not, maybe it'll be useful for the stack team to see how their users use their sites.

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I am also looking into doing something similar (I can't do anything more major than research atm to due real life), although from the sounds of it a slightly different approach to how I am looking at doing mine. Good luck with yours :). –  HAL 9000 May 27 '10 at 14:32
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possible duplicate of How do YOU use Stack Overflow? –  Ether May 27 '10 at 14:57
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6 Answers 6

I subscribe to RSS feeds for topics I have expertise in.

This isn't effective if you're looking to gain reputation, since typically by the time a questions comes to me on the feed it's already got answers.

But if I see a question that I think I have special expertise on I can answer it.

I should also mention that the StackOverflow feeds are the most frequent victims of the "Mark all as read" button.

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Tha kind of sucks then... doesn't it? –  Andrei Vajna II May 28 '10 at 10:21
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Well, on Stack Overflow specifically I browse primarily using Search. I'm pretty much always in a search for [sharepoint] OR [c#] under Active, but occasionally I'll just check [sharepoint] since the [c#] obviously floods it. One method that would make getting questions I like easier would be to let me click a "related tag", and instead of appending it as an AND like in the current system, let me append it as an OR. Alternatively, let me break an AND search into an OR search if it's only two terms.

As far as from which questions on the filter that I actually look at... it is kind of a whimsy choice on whichever one seems like something I'll like to look at. I do tend to prioritize questions that explore in greater detail some of the technical aspects of certain programming choices, but even then not always.

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When I get the time to look, I hit the tag the my interesting tag list, and look at the newest posts. I also hit the 'Unanswered' button sometimes, which lists all of my interesting tags. I'd like to have a tab for all of my interesting tags, as per this feature-request, that would have all interesting questions in it, and that I could then sort as I pleased.

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I have a button on my Firefox toolbar which does:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/c%2b%2b

I can't think I need much more than this.

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I have an odd way of doing this :

  • click the logo (because the logo vs tab question list differences are too confusing)
  • look for a red question
  • read the title
  • check the tags
  • when i've read all the red questions on the page that way, or when I've finished reading/responding to a question page, I click the logo again as a way to refresh / get back to the question list
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This old answer of mine sheds some light on how I use the system

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