Stack Overflow Private Beta Begins

And then a miracle occurred.

I think you should be more explicit here in step two.

We're beginning the Stack Overflow private beta.

I am sending out emails to the first 100 people for the private Stack Overflow beta; the email contains the password necessary to log in, as well as a link to this post. I will continue to email 100 people per day until all ~500 people on the private beta list have invites.

Please bear in mind the goals of this beta, as we proceed:

1. Generate REAL questions and answers

Treat the beta like a real live website! Don't put "test" or "fun" or "play" questions up -- ask actual, real, bona fide honest-to-goodness programming questions! Answer other people's programming questions! If you look some programming question up on the web and you are unsatisfied with the results, post the question and answer on Stack Overflow (yes, it is OK and even encouraged to answer your own questions, if you find a good answer before anyone else.) I want Stack Overflow to be your research notebook for every programming problem you face that you don't immediately know the answer. Help us help you.

2. Help Us Remove the Suck

We probably didn't get everything right. In fact, I'm sure of it. The beta is private so you can help us remove all the suck before we let the general public in. I'm relying on you, the beta heroes, to tell us:

  • What's confusing.
  • What's broken.
  • What doesn't make sense.
  • What could be better, and specifically how, with carefully researched examples and URLs referencing other sites that demonstrate specifically what ought to be done.

I'm sure it'll still suck at the end. But with your help, less. Much, much less! With any luck, we might even flirt with.. wait for it.. not sucking! A man's gotta dream.

3. Be Gentle

I deeply appreciate the effort that you are putting into testing our crappy newborn website. You are giving us the gift of your time, and that's not something I (or any startup) should take lightly. So I, and the rest of the Stack Overflow team, will try to be as responsive as we possibly can to your requests during the beta. But we're only human, and there are only three of us -- and exactly one full time person (me).

If you are unfortunate enough to receive the yellow screen of death, know that all these errors are automatically logged and we will be looking at them individually. You should also know that these are all, like, totally Jarrod's fault. Because he sucks.

For best results, please avoid mailing us directly, and use the stackoverflow.uservoice.com for your private beta feedback. It's also linked from the beta site itself, right there in the header. From here, you can:

  1. list bugs you've found
  2. vote on the bugs you want us to fix
  3. list features you want us to add
  4. vote on the features you want us to add

I will check our uservoice site religiously! Direct email, I cannot guarantee a response to, but I will do my best.

Good luck and godspeed, brave beta users.

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