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Where does the time you spend on Stack Overflow come from?

My number 1: My projects take a couple of minutes to compile and run, so that gives me the time to help people or find some answers (or to learn something by browsing interesting questions).

Some other answers I can imagine (which don't apply to me):

  • Getting paid by the hour and you just charge your client.
  • Favorite spare time activity.
  • Being a n00b to programming, you don't have a choice but to visit (Stack Overflow is the best).
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migrated from Aug 5 '10 at 18:04

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Questions about the site itself belong on the meta site, – Ether Aug 5 '10 at 18:03
Good question. I have been wondering that myself. – Jeff Davis Aug 5 '10 at 18:32
Too bad they migrated it. It would have gotten more answers on Stack Overflow itself. – Jeroen Aug 5 '10 at 20:01
no, it wouldn't have, because it would have been closed. :) – mmyers Aug 5 '10 at 20:50
@mmyers: So true! Thanks for pointing that out! – Jeroen Aug 5 '10 at 21:19
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I made a commitment to myself a year and a half ago to spend a little time every day answering questions that I thought were interesting. I tend to do this over breakfast in the morning, which I find to be a good way to start the day. Many days, it acts like a warmup exercise before I head into work.

I also like to replace the time that I would have wasted reading various blogs with doing something constructive on here. It's still fun, but at least I feel like I'm accomplishing something.

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I can't speak for anyone else, but my time comes from a magic hourglass I keep on my desk. When I want some Stack Overflow time, I flip the hourglass over and life is immediately paused for everyone in the world except me. (They never notice, though.) I hit SO and the SE sites I like, and race against the hourglass to do my thing. Usually I finish before the sand runs out and life continues.

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W​​​​​​​​​​​ANT – mmyers Aug 5 '10 at 20:52
This is similar to my approach, except that my hourglass runs all day long. :-O – James McNellis Aug 5 '10 at 21:25
@mmyers: You'd think it would help me be FGITW occasionally ... – John Rudy Aug 5 '10 at 21:56
How do you post answers if the SO servers are paused? Does your hourglass have an Ethernet connection? – Robert Harvey Aug 6 '10 at 2:41
@Robert: It stops time for people, not machines! Think the bad guys in Dark City ... – John Rudy Aug 6 '10 at 17:44

During lunch... or on the crapper :)

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You can't even put your laptop down to use the crapper?! And I thought I was bad. Also, that seems unsanitary. I hope you're the only one using it. – gnostradamus Aug 5 '10 at 18:44
Who doesn't bring their smart phone into the bathroom during work to do a little non-work reading/researching? – NPike Aug 5 '10 at 18:56
Who owns a smartphone? – Pops Aug 5 '10 at 19:45
@gnovice: the crapper, or the laptop? – devinb Aug 5 '10 at 19:49
@devinb: The laptop, or phone for that matter. I don't want either of mine that close to water or feces. – gnostradamus Aug 5 '10 at 19:57
@Pops Three years later, everyone has a smartphone. – tbodt Sep 14 '13 at 0:10
@tbodt Heh, even when I posted the original comment, most people had smartphones. That said, even today, I do know a few holdouts who insist on not upgrading. (And yes, I'm talking about IT/programmer-y people, not general population.) – Pops Sep 14 '13 at 1:28

After midnight, courtesy of my caffeine addiction!

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Similar to waiting for the compiler, I often visit whilst the server restarts.

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When my brain starts hurting from staring at code or being in too many meetings I go to SO to take a break.

So, I suppose it comes straight out of work time, but I wouldn't be very productive doing anything else with that time.

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Between contracts, when I am not working, and at night time, after my son has gone to sleep...

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When I'm having my coffee (or hot chocolate if I don't need a caffeine hit) at the start of the work day. Though I usually finish the coffee before finishing on new ruby questions.

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cocoa has caffeine – Otaku Aug 6 '10 at 4:42

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