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May be this is not such a good idea but I would like to give it a try. I guess there is no harm in trying it. I try to answer Stack Overflow questions tagged under . If I don't know about what questioner is asking, then I try out an example to learn more about it before providing a workable solution. It also helps me to learn about the technology by trying to answer them. It got me thinking what if I revisited all the questions under that tag and try to answer them as much as I can. So, I copied all the questions under into a Google docs spreadsheet. At the time of writing this question, there were 1945 questions.

I intend to do the following. I would like to know if I am doing anything that is unwelcome in Stack Overflow community.

  1. I noticed that lots of the titles and descriptions are poorly phrased. So, I would like to rephrase them and correct the grammatical/spelling errors. Remove the technology prefixes like most questions are prefixed with SSIS: or SSIS/SQL Server:. Remove the salutations.

  2. If a question is more like an error or a problem, I would like to give it a try by solving them. It will help me to learn something out of it and also contribute to the community, I hope.

  3. If the questions have not been answered, I will try to provide an answer provided I can come up with one.

  4. If those questions already have accepted answers, I would like to blog about it on my website at least for my future reference. Is it wrong to mention in my blog, that the post is an answer to a Stack Overflow question along with a link to actual question? I usually post answers directly at Stack Overflow but except in very rare cases where my answer is too long. I describe the answer at Stack Overflow as much as I can before providing a link to the blog. EDIT: I have decided to post the complete answer in Stack Overflow unless and until I exceed 30,000 characters, which I highly doubt that I will. I know there is nofollow attribute on Stack Overflow links, so I am not trying to gain anything by linking to my blog I want to make sure that I don't violate any copyrights or ethics of the community. Even if the question has an accepted answer, should I provide an answer of how I went about solving it (only if it differs from accepted version)?

  5. If I come across with questions that are very similar. How do I group them? Should I post an answer/comment saying that this question is also related to so and so questions?

  6. Some questions refer to SSIS 2005 (older version), in which some things the questioner was trying to do may not have been feasible. If I found a viable solution in the newer versions, should I post it as an answer?

Most probably along the way, I will come across interesting questions/answers that I can upvote. I would like to keep the questions under the cleaner and more helpful to others who might come across them in future.

I couldn't find a way to easily export the questions. So, I visited each page, copied the questions along with links (so I can easily visit from spreadsheet) and pasted them in the spreadsheet. It took about 3 hours. If there is an easier way, please let me know.

I would really appreciate your inputs.


I will be updating this Google docs spreadsheet with the status of what I am doing as I proceed with this task of cleaning up questions tagged under .

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What I did once is posting one answer here as a series of articles on my blog (with a bit more information added). – Paŭlo Ebermann Jul 24 '11 at 16:27
When you link to external articles (whether on your own blog or somewhere else), make sure the answer itself contains the essence of the solution, so it is still usable if the external source goes away. – Paŭlo Ebermann Jul 24 '11 at 16:28
up vote 12 down vote accepted

If you want to clean up titles and descriptions you'll have our full support, including Jeff's. As he says, good titles are the best thing you can do for the site on a per-byte basis.

Linking to questions is also explicitly encouraged. If you use the "link" link at the bottom of each question it will give you a special URL that is associated with your account, and you can earn badges for driving traffic to the site. As long as your answer can stand on it's own, linking to an even deeper analysis on your blog should be ok. I'm not sure what the limit is for answer length, but I've seen some really long ones (at least several printed pages) so you shouldn't have to worry about it too much.

For similar questions, good titles and appropriate tags will help the right ones show up in the "Related Questions" sidebar. You can also add a comment linking to the related question, or include the link in an answer. It will then appear in the Linked Questions sidebar, which appears above Related Questions (when there are Linked Questions). If they're exact duplicates you can vote to close or flag for a moderator.

For old questions, adding new answers as technology changes is also strongly encouraged, regardless of whether an answer has been accepted.

It sounds like you're trying to do everything that reputation and badges are designed to encourage. Go forth and organize.

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The limit is 30000 characters per answer. – Hendrik Vogt Jul 23 '11 at 6:25

Concerning your question how to easily export all the questions which have the tag: you probably don't know there's a Stack Exchange Data Explorer. The contents of it aren't real time (it gets refreshed every month or something like that), but the query to build what basically is your Google Docs spreadsheet took me a couple of minutes to write, and 350 ms to execute ;-)

The result contains 1912 posts, so not that much less then you have in your spreadsheet:

All the questions in the ssis tag

I just now see there's even a 'download results' link. Nice!

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