Who remembers how they found Stack Overflow?
Because for the life of me I can't and it's really bugging me.
Maybe one of you found it the same way I did and can remind me...
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I believe it was GirlDeveloper's blog (aka Sara Chipps) that first put me onto it, although I didn't join until it came out of private beta. Thanks to that blog post I'd heard of it, and Douglas Leeder (a close friend) probably mentioned it too.
I started writing a blog post about the possibility of getting addicted to SO on the evening of the day I joined (September 26th 2008) although the actual post didn't go out until the Sunday evening.
I think Stack Overflow gradually entered my consciousness. It would come up fairly often when googling programming questions, and I think one day, it just sort of hit me that there was something special about Stack Overflow.
It was probably the aesthetics I noticed first--the site has a really clean, inviting look, and code blocks are formatted just how you'd like them to be. So, I bookmarked it and started going there first when I needed help. Soon after that, I started to notice the reputation score and badges. I had seen reputation ratings on other sites, but it seemed to stand out more on Stack Overflow. I could see the power of it. It's like a competition to see who can be the most cooperative. It was then that I joined.
Haackoverflow from PDC.
I didn't join for another week or so, when I finally decided to give it a whirl. I was hopelessly hooked soon after.
I kept trying to convince myself that Jon Skeet's lead was just that fortnight's headstart... but that excuse simply isn't cutting it any more ;-p
I googled some Java question or another and a Stack Overflow post was the most useful result. That single experience wasn't enough to hook me, but the top Google result for the very next question I had was also a Stack Overflow post. So I took a closer look, signed up, and started answering questions...
I don't remember the exact timeline, but Scott Hanselman mentioned it either on Hanselminutes or in his blog. This would have been approximately when Preview 5 was out, and I had just started an ASP.NET MVC project so was mainly interested from that perspective. ("Hey, here's a really cool site that is built in ASP.NET MVC!")
I saw it mentioned on comp.lang.c where someone linked to an answer on Stack Overflow to ask if it was 'best practice'.
I'm pretty sure it was someone getting help working through the K&R exercises, if memory serves. My first thought was:
The good folks at Experts-Exchange are just going to love this!
Naturally, I realized that participating in Stack Overflow was the best way to exact revenge for every time I hit a pay wall in search of a good answer.
Jon Galloway asked me to see if I could create mischief (nicely, reporting how) after some beta testers had already been naughty hackers.
Wow, I've been here for 6 months already!? Well, according to my account, Jan. 13 was the day of my first question. Correlating that to my Google History, on Jan 13 I was looking up a friend by his screenname. It rendered a stackoverflow account - I viewed it, and two other search results. Signed up thereafter.
How's that for MacGyver?
I can't remember, I joined a while ago. I can remember being a big fan of it almost right away though. The clear interface, and the quality and speed of the answers impressed me! When you're used to asking on a forum and then coming back a day later to someone who has a equal misunderstanding of the issue then Stack Overflow was light years ahead.
Look at the quality of the answers.
In the Programming Symposium subforum on Ars Technica.
Someone linked to the programmer joke 'question' that was closed/deleted some time ago on a gaming forum. For a while, I had thought of SO as a sort of joke forum for programmers. Having forgot the name of the site but distinctively remembering the design of the site, I managed to find it again several months later when I signed up as I was getting into web design.
Since then, I discovered the SE network and have participated in many sites (with varying degrees of activity).
I saw it mentioned on http://reddit.com/r/programming several times while it was being developed. When Stack Overflow Private Beta Begins was finally announced, I didn't immediately join because Jeff Atwood made me feel "eww... Microsoft".
However, my repeated feelings of "eww... Experts-Exchange" were much stronger, and I quickly conceded since that this was likely to become the primary programming resource, I wouldn't be avoiding it forever and may as well get on board as soon as possible.
I needed help with my OpenCL project. That's when I searched and found this site :)