The Best Places to Ask Programming Questions (Besides Stack Overflow)
Jun 6, 2023 by Florian
In this post, I want to give you my top websites to ask programming questions.
When I prepare my tutorials, I always do a ton of research to make sure they are as exact as possible. But often, the documentation is not enough to really clarify everything. Sometimes you need actual people to help you with a specific programming question.
Of course, we all know about Stack Overflow. But not every type of question is suited for Stack Overflow. If your question ever got downvoted, you know what I'm talking about. More opinionated questions like "How would you improve this code?" or very general questions, like "How do I implement this feature" are not welcome on Stack Overflow and can quickly get you downvoted or even banned (it happened to me).
But there are places where these kinds of questions are welcome.
So, let me give you a list of my favorite places to ask programming questions, and what kind of questions I ask there.
Table of Contents
These days, when I have a programming question, the first place where I go is usually Discord.
Almost all popular frameworks and libraries have their own dedicated Discord servers. For example, Next.js or React-Hook-Form (just as an example). Just google for "[framework name] Discord" and see if something comes up.
Some platforms use Slack instead of Discord. But I've seen many of them move over to Discord for their public chats because Discord is free.
Posting on Discord is quick and easy and they usually allow more casual questions there. You can send one-liner questions asking for a short clarification on a topic, or post full-blown code blocks like you would do on Stack Overflow. Often, you get an answer in a matter of minutes.
Just keep in mind that every member can answer your question in these chats. So they might not always be 100% correct.
By the way, Coding in Flow has a Discord server too. You're welcome to join and ask your question in any of our numerous programming channels! I'm also active there and help out when I can.
If I don't get an answer on Discord, I usually post the same question on Reddit. Similar to Discord, all popular frameworks, languages, and tools have their own dedicated subreddits. Like r/nextjs.
The answer quality is similar to Discord too. You have to take the advice with a grain of salt. But from time to time, you get an actual expert to chime in and help you out.
If the Subreddit is active, there is a high chance you'll get an answer in a matter of a few days. Just make sure to properly explain your problem, write a descriptive title and pay attention to the rules of the Subreddit (usually that just means, don't spam and tag your thread properly).
Another place that's very accepting of more casual questions is the Discussions tab on the GitHub page of the framework or package you have a question about. Here is the one for Next.js, for example.
Not all repositories have GitHub Discussions enabled. But when they do, it's a great place to clear uncertainties and get help from actual experts on the topic. If you think you found a bug, it's better to file a bug report in the Issues tab next to it.
Twitter seems like an unusual place to ask programming questions but it works quite well. Many tech influencers and developer relations teams are active on Twitter and respond to questions there publicly.
The next time you don't understand something about a topic, try tagging one or two people you know could have the answer. Even if they don't have the answer, their interaction with your tweet might make it visible to more people, one of which could have the answer.
You can also use hashtags to make your question more visible. For example, I used the hashtag #nextjs with some doubts I had and a team member of Next.js reached out to me directly via direct message.
Most tech influencers want to help on Twitter because it helps grow their audience and increase their authority in the field. Just don't do it too often because that can get annoying and that person might mute you.
So what kind of questions do I actually post on Stack Overflow?
I only post on Stack Overflow when I have a specific problem in my code, I know the expected behavior, and I've already tried out all the solutions I found on Google and other Stack Overflow questions. I also make sure to provide all the necessary code snippets or sample projects required to reproduce my problem.
Stack Overflow is usually my "last resort" because they have very strict rules on what you can post there. Make sure to read them and don't ask anything off-topic because too many downvotes can get you banned from the site altogether.
That's it for my list. Hope this was helpful!
Again, don't forget to join our growing Discord community! It's free!
Happy coding and take care!
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