John Carmack once speculated that StackOverflow might have added billions in productivity.
Quite rightly so. Imagine, the no of people that didn’t have to go through (maybe lousy) documentation, and long threads to seek solution for their problems. RTFM, many of programmers would be quick to point out but even the simplest questions, like, ”How to read a whole file in python?“, How to kill a process with its name?” must have saved thousands of programmers’ time. Thanks to rookies who didn’t feel embarrassed in asking them, that even experienced programmers can enjoy fruits of their answers.
Talking of embarrassment, I want to talk about the kinky feeling that many of us might have felt, when they had something to write about. There are many challenges we face in our day-job but things that go into write-ups are so feeble. The reason? If you are like me, that is because, we have a high regard of something that we should write about – has to be significant, and detailed. Additionally, reading posts of other programmers, amplifies the fear of posting something of little value. Small problems? Who cares? Everyone “must be able” to solve them eventually, completely disregarding how those “insignificant” write-ups were the ones that aided them in doing so.
I am quite impressed by David Walsh’s blog in this regard. Although, David is an amazing programmer who writes awesome posts, he doesn’t go through such a detailed thought process when he has to write something. He often writes nifty tricks and How-To posts that have helped me countless no of times and yet, there are still very few blogs that might be doing the same thing.
There are lots of things that can be blogged about and yet, we are stuck in the dilemma of, – “Is it worth something to write?”. The fear of being insignificant aka “Nobody will read it” syndrome, inhibits us from writing that simple thing that might have helped many people.
Although, it is something, that even I am trying to motivate myself to do but don’t fear to blog little things. It doesn’t need to be big, significant, detailed, mind-blowing to come out but just of a little value. It is helpful to think just of one person who had the exact same problem as yours and was helped by your post. Maybe the post won’t get thousands of shares as we see in our reading list but hey, it saved someone’s time :).