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I would like to "follow" one specific Stack Overflow user.

By following I mean I'd like to find the "follow the question" + "follow the user" features Quora has.

For example: follow this user's questions/comments/answers on this/these topic(s).

I didn't find any way to follow a user or a question on Stack Overflow the way I do on Quora.

Using user feed would add to0 much noise to my Google Reader. To me the same applies to e-mail + RSS subscription per specific tag, so I don't want to use them.

What do you think?

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migrated from Feb 13 '11 at 11:43

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

  1. Visit the profile page of the user you want to follow. For example:

  2. Scroll to the bottom, click on "user feed". If you're following the example, this will lead you to:

  3. Add the feed to your Google Reader account.

  4. Put those in an ad-hoc folder to manage their volume.

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I saw it. Don't find it interesting. Too much noise. If that works for you, cool ;-) – politicus Feb 13 '11 at 12:30
@politicus It doesn't work for me because I don't follow any particular person. ;) Maybe the noise you receive is a symptom of following people not being that great of an idea! – badp Feb 13 '11 at 12:34

Isn't this view what you're after:

There I can see everything you are doing.

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I knew there were a user page for every user ,-) The "problem" is I can't subscribe to the user activity feed. I want to subscribe to user's activity feeds and read them in on single place. – politicus Feb 13 '11 at 11:49
I want a single place where users activity feeds I subscribed to are syndicated. So I don't have to go to every users activity feeds I am interested in. – politicus Feb 13 '11 at 12:06
@politicus You want a feed reader. Stack Exchange isn't one. – badp Feb 13 '11 at 12:33

I don't understand why you won't want to use RSS for this, since RSS is built specifically for syndication and subscription. Stack Overflow strives purely to be a Q&A site, so all other aspects, like say social networking (which is what Quora does well) is pushed aside for an efficient Q&A system.

The fact is, that the team has reviewed what Quora does well, and this feature didn't even make the list. Features that doesn't have popular support are a lot less likely to be implemented.

And finally, you can always use services like Yahoo Pipes, and George Edison's Stack2RSS to get more customized RSS feeds if your RSS client can't do the job for you. So with all these options, do you really need this feature?

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"I don't understand why you won't want to use RSS for this, since RSS is built specifically for syndication and subscription." >> On twitter I "syndicate/subscribe" via lists not using RSS feed. – politicus Feb 13 '11 at 12:26
@politicus Yes, but Twitter also serve a social networking purpose which Stack Overflow does not. – Yi Jiang Feb 13 '11 at 12:30
Yahoo Pipes has its own limitations. I allready use it customize Twitter feeds. This week, I wanted to delete one of the Twitter feed of one of my pipes. Because you can't easily match Twitters's users ID with the profile name I had to check every feed... It took me 10 minutes. I didn't know Stack2RSS. I will try it. Thanks. – politicus Feb 13 '11 at 14:15

This isn't a social networking site. Following a specific user is the wrong solution (and a little bit creepy).

Instead, set up some favorite tags and follow those instead. The home page is incredibly adaptive and automatically shows you questions that you are most likely interested in, based on those favorite tags and your recent activity.

You can also browse all of the questions related to a specific tag. Clicking on the tag anywhere on the site will automatically take you to a page listing all of the questions containing that tag. If you want to take this to the next level, you can conduct searches for questions containing multiple tags, providing even more assurance that the matching questions will line up with your specific interests. For example, you might search for questions with these tags:

This is one of the many things that tags were made for, and this method has the additional benefit of ensuring that you don't miss an interesting and education question that you might find relevant just because it was asked by a user for whom you haven't personally fetishized.

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The adaptiveness bit for now is limited to Stack Overflow only. – badp Feb 13 '11 at 12:33
@badp: I understood this question to be specifically about Stack Overflow. I honestly don't follow the other sites... How exactly do their homepages work? – Cody Gray Feb 13 '11 at 12:34
Thanks for your answer. I was not looking for a networking site and I don't think stackoverflow is a social networking site. I certainly didn't get the homepage is as adaptable. Will try "Favorite tags" and "Ignored tags" – politicus Feb 13 '11 at 12:35
@politicus: It's probably not adapted for you because there isn't very much data. You haven't been an active participant on the site, either in answering or asking questions, so it doesn't really know what your interests are. Telling it with the favorite tags is a start. Becoming an active participant is even better, for many reasons. – Cody Gray Feb 13 '11 at 12:38
@Cody The other SEs have the old activity-based view, given that they don't have as much trouble scaling up with the activity. – badp Feb 13 '11 at 12:41
@Cody Gray Thanks for your explanation. Becoming an active participant is my goal ! – politicus Feb 13 '11 at 13:56

Do you mean like is your activity feed? All you need to do is to figure out the user ID number (not very difficult) and plug it in in place of yours. You can even visit that user's page and use the activity feed link that's associated with it (it's in a <link> tag in the page header; your browser might present that to you in a convenient fashion).

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It's linked to at the bottom of the page as well :) – badp Feb 13 '11 at 12:13

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