I've read many discussions on APIs in search of inspiration to write the ideal SO client; I've also twice started writing one, but gave up almost immediately.

My ideal SO client should pull new questions very often (at least each minute), find interesting ones (by tags or who knows what), then alert me in an unannoying fashion (maybe an icon in systray?). It should also allow for different levels of interest, like: "STFU, I'm working!", "only interesting ones, please", and "whatever, please: I'm bored!".

I gave a try to some rss readers, but without success, as there are too many new questions.

In the end, the best SO client I've found till now is the browser: click the "questions" link, read the summary, be happy if interesting questions are there, click the "questions" link again otherwise.

So: is anyone successfully using something different than a browser to spot interesting questions on SO?



  • seems to be the right answer... should I give up any hope and just accept this one?
    – giorgian
    Mar 1 '10 at 7:46
  • @gio: Giving up hope is your only option! Or writing your own app, but you've already shown that you do not have enough staying power for that. Now we will always tell you, how miserable you are. A loser! Do you really want that? You had already two attempts, the third is always the best. You feel that you can do better than these failed attempts. It is in you! Go for it! GO, DO IT! NOW! Mar 1 '10 at 7:59

This is something we are hoping desktop clients will innovate around; we're working on the API as hard as we can right now.


On irc.freenode.net there is a channel called #sobot with a bot that posts new question titles to IRC.

  • and do you (or anybody) happily use it instead of browsing SO directly?
    – giorgian
    Feb 28 '10 at 18:38
  • @giorgian - I used it for a while, but don't any more. Feb 28 '10 at 23:05

Not quite the an answer (but too big to fit into a comment), but my ideal client would be one that took my history into account. For example, if there was a new question posted tagged c and random, it would alert me as I have a answer in a question with the same tags that got ~80% of the upvotes and is the accepted answer. However if it was tagged c# and random, it would reject it as c# is a major tag so it is weighted highly and I have no answers in the c# tag even though I do have an answer in the random tag.

If php and random came up, it should alert me as I have a lot of answers in the php tag and it should assume that as I have got upvotes in the random tag, some knowledge should carry over dispite the fact that I have no upvotes in php and the random tag together. The question should be given a lower weight than if c and random came up.

You should be able to adjust the weight required for a question to be allowed to alert you.

It would probably be possible to make a fairly accurate system that could do fairly well. It would do better if it took into account how well you answered the questions it suggested to you.

Anything less than something like the above and I don't think there will be any point moving away from a browser based system.


I have a couple of RSS fields for tags in my reader, for tags where I'm most interested in the tags, and there are very few questions.

But I tried the 'python' tag RSS feed, and it was too noisy.

In practice I find most of the questions I answer just by looking at the questions list, and sometimes the unanswered list.

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