Stack Overflow Documentation For All
Written by Sue Gee   
Monday, 25 July 2016

Stack Overflow has launched a new website, currently in beta, enabling developers to create reference and instructional documentation on many programming technologies.

stackoverflowbannerAccording to Stack Overflow, which it likens it to:

"a manual on the web written by developers"

the Documentation website:

"will complement and improve existing technical documentation by turning instruction manuals into living resources that developers can update in real-time with new use cases, implementations and integrations".

The initiative is intended to help combat one of the biggest challenges identified in its 2016 Annual Developer Survey - poor documentation - and Stack Overflow has recruited developers from several technology companies including Microsoft, Xamarin, PayPal, Meteor and Dropbox, to participate. It is expected that other companies will contribute in the future in order to bring the manuals for their technologies onto the Stack Overflow site.

The documentation on the site is organized around the existing list of almost 50,000 tags from Stack Overflow's Q&A website. So far only a few hundreds tags have a start made on documentation. For each tag the documentation is organized in topics which contain examples explaining the topic, followed by Syntax, Parameters and Remarks sections.

stackoverfdoccolab

 

The site depends on collaborative authoring in which drafts can be shared, proposed changes commented on and you can invite others to work with you on the same material.

A voting system is in place which will make some examples more popular than others. The existing Q&A badge and reputation are extended to Documentation, accumulating points from both websites. At the moment it is difficult to know if this will provide the same motivation for contributors as answering questions and accumulating points. Our guess is that it wont. The reason is that answering a question is easier because the answer is directed and determined by the question - documentation is open ended and far more difficult. 

 

 stackoverflowsq

 

More Information

Stack Overflow Documentation

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