I want to express my doubts and disappointments that I get from Stack Overflow. I am a programming beginner, and I believe there are a lot of people out there who face the same problems as me.

Often, when we encounter something awesome, we would like to figure out how to do it, and would love to try it on our own. With all our curiosity, however, we can't find any answers to our questions. Sometimes, we do not even know what keywords we should use in order to find related answers.

So here we are, coming to Stack Overflow with our questions which "seem quite stupid", and we get voted down, questions closed, and that's it. The burning enthusiasm goes out.

How can we seek answers to our doubts without getting flamed?

  • 2
    Do you have a concrete example please? Good (for SO), on-topic questions from noobs (or pros) are always welcome. Can you post a link to a question that got unjustly flamed in your opinion so we can look at it?
    – Mat
    May 28 '13 at 4:17
  • 1
    First thing first, I went through your stackoverflow profile and (undeleted) questions and I found it very good and acceptable. May 28 '13 at 4:17
  • 2
    Drop in chat at the right time and right room. Hopefully, someone may help you.
    – nhahtdh
    May 28 '13 at 4:29
  • @Mat i can't bear to see it and so i deleted it away :/
    – yvonnezoe
    May 28 '13 at 5:14
  • @nhahtdh :) i never knew that! Thanks! I should drop by for a chat before jumping into questions
    – yvonnezoe
    May 28 '13 at 5:15
  • 1
    Tell them to try jQuery. May 28 '13 at 6:15

It seems to be a common misconception that Stack Overflow is intended as the be all, end all of Programmer Information Sharing Resources. This is simply not the case. Its purpose is assembling an archive of solutions to concrete and specific coding situations.

Your questions are probably very good questions, and there is no doubt that everyone, expert and beginner alike, has the head-scratching moment of "how do I even get started with this?" from time to time. There's nothing at all wrong with that, or with having a need for mentoring, tutoring, debugging help, or a desire to share jokes about programmers. But these kinds of posts do not contribute to the core mission here.

In short, I'm afraid that you just need to find another resource for this kind of broad, "where to begin" question. The chat rooms which were mentioned in comments on your question may be one good resource, although you need a bit of reputation to use them. I hope this doesn't discourage you from using Stack Overflow for its intended purpose. This narrow focus is a feature, not a bug. It's what keeps the site searchable and incredibly useful when you do have that well-defined code difficulty.

  • 1
    This was the gist of my answer. It's conceivable that some 'where do I get started' questions could be narrowly scoped enough to do well on the site, but they're few and far between. We're the place you go once you find the answer to that question, and start talking to the devil that is the details of a specific implementation.
    – Tim Post
    May 28 '13 at 4:36
  • Thanks for this wonderful explanation :) that clears lots of my doubts. I do hope that some day stack exchange will open up a new category for beginners like us ;)
    – yvonnezoe
    May 28 '13 at 5:13
  • 9
    Please be assured, @yvonnezoe, that any level of experience is welcome on SO, so long as the questions are specific and show some effort. It is not exactly meant to be an expert-only site; it's just meant to be focused on very concrete problems whose solutions will be useful to other programmers. If you're interested, there's a lot of reading material here on Meta about "beginners" and SO: google.com/…
    – jscs
    May 28 '13 at 5:33
  • @JoshCaswell I see! I hope everyone who faced such problem would see this so that they won't feel upset anymore, just like me :) thanks!
    – yvonnezoe
    May 28 '13 at 7:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .