Hey all! Today is our second anniversary since graduation, Happy Birthday!
No, I don’t have any cake for you, I think by now, we all know the cake is a lie. Instead, I’ve a not-that-long blog post, summarizing all the awesome things that happened this year. We’ve certainly come a long way since our humble beginnings, the community is stronger than ever and the site has been steadily growing for quite some time now.
So, without further ado, here’s what’s been going on this past year:
Programmers’ second year had some truly exciting moments. First, Anna Lear joined the evil corporate machine and we found ourselves short of a moderator. This prompted our second community moderator election, a process that I was very proud to be part of. The elections run smoothly, with surprisingly little drama and participation, although a bit low, was increased comparing to our first election.
Then, after the dust from the election settled down, we had our first ever contest. An exciting month long event that brought us some awesome questions, and some of the best answers I’ve ever read on the site. You can read more about the contest in this blog post, and it’s never too late for your feedback.
Which, of course, brings us to this very blog. The blog had a rocky start, although it was first proposed in June 2011, we didn’t really seemed to be able to get enough people interested in contributing. We went through various Meta discussions, two calls for contributors, a lot of candidates in the elections commited to make the blog happen, and finally we launched and posted our first blog post almost a year after the blog was first proposed. Kudos to the awesome blog team and everyone else involved for making this happen!
Lastly, starting from late January we undertook the monumental task of cleaning up our most problematic tags. The Structured Tag Cleanup started with the most bothersome of our tags, career and continued with software-engineering and software-development. The clean up effort ended on early April, at which point we’ve gone through 1000+ questions. Those of you who were active at the time may remember that we got at least a couple of blatantly off topic career questions per day, cleaning up 600+ broken windows in the various career related tags took care of that problem almost instantly.
We kick off our third year with the Hat Dash, a network wide event starting on Wednesday, it’s going to be fun!!!
The Stack Exchange network has grown rapidly this past year, right now there are 92 graduate and beta sites and a lot more are very close to popping out of Area51. Here’s a brief list of new technology oriented sister sites that you might find interesting (in no particular order):
When Computer Science first appeared, a question was asked in our Meta about clarifying the boundaries between the two sites. Inspired by that question, and after a brief discussion with a CS moderator, Raphael, we decided to test those boundaries by re-asking CS’s highest voted algorithmic question on Programmers. The answers the question received on Programmers are surprisingly different than the ones it received on CS, which, at least to me, says that although the sites overlap a bit, they have distinctly different audiences:
- Why is quicksort better than other sorting algorithms in practice? (Programmers version)
- Why is quicksort better than other sorting algorithms in practice? (CS version)
And of course, although not a technology oriented site, The Workplace deserves an honourable mention. The site was initially proposed on Area51 to fill the gap for all those general career related questions we couldn’t really support on Programmers, and it was greeted with enthusiasm from Programmers’ regulars when it finally made it to beta. Even today, 8 months into beta most of the site’s high rep users are also Programmers’ regulars, and all four pro tempore moderators are significant contributors on our site. If you haven’t visited the site already, trust me, it’s awesome!
There have been a ton of new features this year, with two very important changes for Programmers:
- We are no longer a migration target from Stack Overflow, and
- We now require registration for asking questions (but not for answering them).
Network wide the more significant changes were:
- Reputation history changes
- Flag weight was removed from user profiles
- Real time updates to questions, answers, and inbox
- Rejected migrations
- Community review tasks (aka the new review queues)
- Disabling migration for questions older than 60 days
I wanted to close this with a list of awesome questions from the past year. At first I wanted to bring some new attention to a few hidden gems, showcase posts from less popular tags, blah blah blah, but at the last moment I decided to go simply with the questions with the highest score. It might not be the best metric we have, but it’s the only metric that I felt would adequately represent the wider community. Here they are, our top twenty questions:
- My boss decided to add a “person to blame” field to every bug report. How can I convince him that it’s a bad idea?
- Is the use of “utf8=✓” preferable to “utf8=true”?
- What is the Mars Curiosity Rover’s software built in?
- I’m doing 90% maintenance and 10% development, is this normal?
- I’ve inherited 200K lines of spaghetti code — what now?
- Should I intentionally break the build when a bug is found in production?
- What software programming languages were used by the Soviet Union’s space program?
- Why can’t the IT industry deliver large, faultless projects quickly as in other industries?
- Torvalds’ quote about good programmer
- Should you keep a copy of all the code you write?
- Why is 80 characters the ‘standard’ limit for code width?
- Why was Tanenbaum wrong in the Tanenbaum-Torvalds debates?
- How do I review my own code?
- Why are shortcuts like x += y considered good practice?
- How to keep a big and complex software product maintainable over the years?
- Has “Not everyone can be a programmer” been studied?
- How do operating systems… run… without having an OS to run in?
- Is it just me or is this a baffling tech interview question?
- Is constantly looking for code examples a sign of a bad developer?
- Is the phrase “never reinvent the wheel” suitable for students?
All in all, it’s been an awesome year! Keep on rockin’, Programmers!