Like all web developers Stackoverflow is part of my week-daily life. If you haven’t heard of it, then it’s a website where you can post a “question” asking for help with a technical problem. Members from the community who can help will answer, and because the site is administered according to a strict set of rules that support only the best and genuine answers, you get what you need without much messing around.

Thanks to this, posing a “developy” question to Google will no doubt result in at least a handful of Stackoverflow results and usually a solution. So, when I search “Allow SVG WordPress”, because I’ve forgotten how to allow this mime type in PHP, I’ll no doubt find what I need in a matter of minutes. For good measure (and to remind “future me” which answer helped) I’ll “upvote” the helpful answer.

My approach as a contributor to Stackoverflow is to try and “fill in the blanks”. So, on the rare occasion that I cannot find an answer right away, or indeed I find several people asking the same question on Stackoverflow, but without the solution, I’ll head back to the highest ranked question and share what worked for me. I’ve been doing this for a while now and I always like to see the little green notification symbol when I visit Stackoverflow indicating that someone has upvoted an answer that I’ve provided.

“Sign the OneClick manifests”

I feel I’ve made some really helpful contributions over the years, stuff that once I’d found out how to do it, I felt genuine accomplishment and it was a pleasure to share the findings on Stackoverflow. The only thing that bothers me is that despite these great answers, the one answer that has attracted the most upvotes is something I posted back in 2016 which is effectively “uncheck this option and it will work”.

I’m glad it’s helped over at least 660 people since I posted it, but it’s nothing special. In fact the most challenging part of the solution is finding the right area of the settings menu to “switch off the problem”. Somehow it feels unjust that it dwarfs my other answers to questions that are sometimes really quite a challenge.

Man in thought

What’s also strangely infuriating is that since I’ve posted this tidbit other people have effectively rehashed the basic advice in my answer and reposted it to the same thread attracting many of their own upvotes. I don’t despise the fact that they are claiming reward advice already provided in my answer, or that there is a chance they may have just copied and pasted my answer as some form of “glory hunting”, but it’s the fact you have to scroll passed my answer in order to see the duplicate advice.

If a developer speaks and there is no one around to hear it, does he make a sound at all?

I guess it’s like many other things in life though. I remember giving advice to someone once who was feeling down, that they really ought to “get out more, don’t get stuck indoors, try finding some community groups to join?”. They responded with a “yes, I will”. Then a week later happy as can be they tell me “I spoke to my doctor and they told me to get out and socialise more, so I did and I feel much better!”. Oh, so you did the thing I told you to do after someone else told you to do it and now you have the cheek to inform me of your novel solution like it’s somehow going to be news to me? What I actually say is: “I’m glad you’re feeling better”

Posted by:Joseph D'Souza

I'm Joseph D'Souza, an experienced .NET developer with a speciality in Umbraco and WordPress development. I'm proud to be the Director of Alpha Labs, a leading web development firm based in High Wycombe. Also, a happy family man with a loving wife and two beautiful children.

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