Comparing StackOverflow and the R-help mailing list

Only recently I discovered StackOverflow. I know, as a nerd already programming for many years that is quite late. For those who are not familiar with StackOverflow (aka SO), it is a Question and Answer site for programmers. It is part of the Stack Exchange network, which offers a host of these QA sites on just about anything.

In terms of number of questions, SO is still quite small compared to the main QA mailing list for R: R-help. I also have the impression that the number of experts specialized in R is larger on R-help. However, there a few features of SO that I really like:

  • SO is more like a forum, people can revise their questions, and I like the way the question and answer are listed below each other.
  • There are many more option for markup: code highlighting, HTML, and embedding of images.
  • Users that answer questions corectly gain reputation points, as do people who ask good questions. In this way people who are good can be identified in that fashion.Not to mention that these reward points become addictive :).
  • As you gain reputation, you get more options in the systems, e.g. editing questions, removeing bad questions etc.

In general I think that SO is a more interactive system, which is great fun to work with :). What are your thoughts on SO, leave a comment!

Posted in R stuff
2 Comments » for Comparing StackOverflow and the R-help mailing list
  1. Tal Galili says:

    Hello dear Paul,

    If you are into SO+R, have a look at:
    http://stats.stackexchange.com/

    I wrote a similar post about the topic (about a year ago), you might find it refreshing:
    http://www.r-statistics.com/2010/06/a-new-qa-website-for-data-analysis-based-on-stackoverflow-engine-is-waiting-for-you/

    Cheers,
    Tal

    • Paul Hiemstra says:

      Thanks for the tip. However, one StackExchange site is alreay quite addictive, so I’m reluctant to add a second ;).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

To create code blocks or other preformatted text, indent by four spaces:

    This will be displayed in a monospaced font. The first four 
    spaces will be stripped off, but all other whitespace
    will be preserved.
    
    Markdown is turned off in code blocks:
     [This is not a link](http://example.com)

To create not a block, but an inline code span, use backticks:

Here is some inline `code`.

For more help see http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code class="" title="" data-url=""> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> <pre class="" title="" data-url=""> <span class="" title="" data-url="">