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I hope this is the right place to post this. I was thinking that it would be great if there was a site (or addition to StackOverflow) where you could enter a 'chat room' and talk to people live for help.

You could have people's profiles sorted by their areas of knowledge that they feel they are capable of answering questions with, and then as a user looking to ask a question you could just filter through the available online help members. It would be easier and faster to ask the questions over microphone and let them view your screen if you need to show them code snippets and what not, instead of having to format everything properly when you ask the question in text.

I would definitely be willing to pay for a service like this.. most the time when I'm developing everything goes smoothly and the answers on stackoverflow and google solve most my problems.. but when you REALLY get stuck on a specific problem, formulating the perfect question and hoping someone can answer it can really become a lengthy process with no solution and all it really comes down to is being able to talk live to someone experienced about it.

I hope this suggestion can spark something like this to come about. If there is already something like this out there, please let me know. Thanks!

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I've found that formulating the perfect question is often all I need to do to wrap my head around it. There have been many times where by the end of typing the question, I had realized the answer myself and had no need to post. –  Wesley Murch Apr 11 '11 at 7:59
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I'm amazed at how many questions receive high quality answers ten to fifteen minutes after being asked. It feels faster than IRC in most respects, since people have the time to write good questions without constant interruptions with premature ideas or requests for clarification and give good answers without premature "Oh that'll never work" or requests for clarification. Ten minutes to get an hour of expert assistance. Amazing. :) –  sarnold Apr 11 '11 at 8:12

2 Answers 2

Yep, it indeed already exists, and it's called chat.stackoverflow.com.

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Beat me to it :P –  Ivo Flipse Apr 11 '11 at 7:43
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Yeahh..... but I'd be very careful about advertising chat as a live help forum for everybody who happens to come by and thinks that one-on-one support is more convenient than having to ask a proper question. But I don't know what the SO chat rooms' policy is on that, I imagine they have ways of dealing with this. –  Pëkka Apr 11 '11 at 8:49
    
Its just an excuse to help them figure out what the real question is and make them post that on SO instead @Pekka ;-) –  Ivo Flipse Apr 11 '11 at 9:12
    
@Ivo heh, fair enough. :) –  Pëkka Apr 11 '11 at 9:13
    
Like, you get to point them to that blog post about debugging you owe me, so that they can figure out what the actual problem is @Pekka ;P –  Ivo Flipse Apr 11 '11 at 9:17
    
@Ivo I can see, I'm not going to be able to wiggle out of that one! :) –  Pëkka Apr 11 '11 at 9:21

It would be easier and faster to ask the questions over microphone and let them view your screen if you need to show them code snippets and what not, instead of having to format everything properly when you ask the question in text.

I would like to highlight that Stack Overflow is not meant to be a debug-my-code type of site. Sure if you have a problem you come here and ask for help, that is amongst others, the purpose of this site, however it is not meant to be used like "Oh damn, it threw an exception, I'm just going to dump the entire code in a question so someone can debug it for me".

I'm not implying that you are such a user but seeing that you are relatively new I just want to make sure you don't get the concept wrong.

On top of that I would not really say that the SO chat should be used that way. Stack Overflows primary goal (at least how I get it) is to gather content in the form of questions and answers for the future, so someone running into the same problem can consult the site and find an answer. Now with the chat this is not possible. You can get your questions answered on the chat but that won't help anyone else other than you which is not exactly the idea.

On top of that the chat is not really meant for Q&A anyway it is more for discussions of like-minded people. Of course discussing questions already asked on the main site is possible and even valid but only as long as the outcome of those discussions will be visible to the broad mass, i. e. if it is later posted as an answer for example.

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You make a good point about the importance of other users being able to search the QA in the future. I wasn't implying that I wanted a "debug my code" site although I could see how that would be concerning. Anyhow, I think you all answered my question. Thanks. –  winnicki Apr 11 '11 at 18:28

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