Some readers will have come across the popular Stack Overflow, a site for asking programmers questions. For those who haven’t, it’s based on the idea that users can give feedback on answers to questions, and that this leads to ‘reputation’ for contributors. So the idea is that good questions are easy to find, hopefully with reasons why they are good answers.
TeX and LaTeX questions pop up there from time to time, some of which are programming-related and others which don’t fit quite so well. The Stack Overflow people are keen to expand, and so there has been a move to set up a TeX-related spin-off. This has been in ‘private beta’ for a week, which means that people who were interested have been setting up some questions and answers to get the site working. It’s now moved to ‘public beta’, so anyone can register and ask (or answer) questions: tex.stackexchange.com.
What happens next depends on take-up from the wider world. If the site proves to be popular then the Stack Overflow people will look to set up a ‘production’ version, which will need a domain name of its own, design and the like. So if you like the idea, get involved during the beta phase and help make things a success. As you might guess, I’m answering the questions that I can. Don’t worry, though, as I’m not going to abandon any other outlets. I’m very much in favour of there being a variety of places to go for help.
There seems to be a slight delay in getting the public beta going: the information says ‘soon’! I guess it may be a day or so while the Stack Overflow people make decisions on moving to public beta status.
I’ve just received an e-mail saying that things should now be open to the public.