I don't see the stack overflow model as being a great fit for what facebook api developers need. The main problem I saw with facebook api was that the right way to do things kept changing, and the docs and forum didn't keep up well. You basically needed to begin facebook API work by reading the entire blog in chronological order and then keep on scanning the dev blog daily, which may work ok if you're a fulltime facebook API developer but it is not a good fit for contract or part-time or hobby development.
I think changing APIs is begging for a wiki much more than a Q&A site. Facebook used to have a wiki for their api, but they went and deleted it, which I considered basically unforgiveable and proceeded to do my best to avoid having to touch the API after that.
In short, bringing back http://wiki.developers.facebook.com/ and focusing on keeping it current would be a much better start than a Q&A site, even a really good Q&A site. You'd still have the need-to-keep-with-changes problem, but at least you'd have somewhere to start from, and wouldn't keep getting referred to out of date information when googling answers.
Yes I know Stack Overflow has community editable wiki question styles, but then you just compound the problem and now need to update 100 different 'how do I [x]' questions every time the API changes.
Many developers I know, myself included, avoid facebook integration like the plague for just this reason. Other services manage to version their APIs and depreciate them gracefully. Facebook apparently doesn't understand how to do this, or simply doesn't care.
I disagree - I find the stack overflow model much better than a wiki. In practice the search on SO is much better than a wiki because of how the questions are phrased. Using your how do I (x) example that is how the SO title would be phrased and that is how a developer searches for a solution.
Facebooks API docs are improving too - so this combination of quality docs and SO could be great.
I've both responded to SO questions with updates, as well as had one of my top answers be replaced by a newer, better solution. In browsing questions, I've also seen a number of updates to existing answers.
I guess the point is, if you've spent a lot of time figuring something out, and you've proved that a number of solutions on the internet are now wrong, you're tempted to make it easier for the next guy. I think this is true regardless of the medium, but SO seems to have done well at creating an environment where it happens.
I agree. Their platform changes more often than their underwear. A wiki would be very helpful. I hate to search for a problem and find 10 different solutions all of which have been deprecated. Curiously, even in the old documentation wiki developers were not allowed to edit pages. I think there must be some FB development wikis out there, lost in obscurity.
Should I feel better about Facebook trying to crowd-source their developer support? This doesn't address any of the real concerns with usable documentation or proper API deprecation. I get the impression that this is an attempt to spin past bad behavior into acceptable future bad behavior.
I don't love that facebook.stackoverflow.com looks exactly like stackoverflow.com — there’s no easy way to tell where you are, or to get back to the main stack overflow.
Even more confusing, you can get to un-Facebook-related questions on facebook.stackoverflow.com (e.g. from your inbox, or from a user page). Since there are no redirects between regular and Facebook SO, this means that every question on Stack Overflow now has two URLs, and you might see links to both.
At first I figured they just created a separate SE site specific to Facebook development but it appears to just be a filter on all questions which have a tag that contains "facebook" while hiding all others.
More and more this is just a patch for the problem, while what they need is a 180 degree turn and commit to actual developers.
Facebook treats its developers just like its users and throws out updates, new features and changes very very often. With so many users they can afford it for their users, but they need to see they can't just do that for their developers. As a user there are so many little bugs and quirks in Facebook, especially in the News Feed, that popup and a few days later disappear. Facebook needs to realise they need developers too, and that many advertisers run campaigns on their facebook pages, meaning that the API is not just a fun addon for users, but a money maker too.
I agree with your second point, but your first point goes against established precedent at Stackexchange.
I mean, if it was about getting more eyeballs then I think the best way to go would have been to use tagging, so that questions would be posted to 'stackexchange' and would then be tagged with 'programming', 'codereview', 'superuser' etc and as they were tagged they would show up on the programming.stackexchange.com (and other) sites. IIUC the current way is that if I post a programming question to stackoverflow, it will get 'migrated' to programming.stackexchange. That works, but it detracts from the total number of eyes because it is removed from stackoverflow.
That design decision is something that has always kind of confused me about the Stackexchange sites.
It's about the topic of the site. FB API questions are on-topic with SO, others aren't. The Code Review is debatable since it's arguably a subset of SO, but other SE sites (like Programmers) don't really intersect that much.
Hate the idea. SO's search is decent. This is just the kind of fragmentation that I already don't like about programmers., unix. etc.. You can easily filter your lists by tags, you can easily search by tag.
Purportedly, this works better than filtering by tags.
I'm not sure that this level of filtering is quite necessary, but I think that the community fragmentation is useful: People go to each site (SO, SE, SU, Programmers, etc) with a specific purpose, and the topics on each site are broken up by tags. Trying to filter both purpose and topic on one site would be problematic.
(Also, the Unix/AskUbuntu/SuperUser debacle is a special case, IMO)
Omg, this is pretty awesome. Facebook API is terrible, and having one, unified and usable channel to bounce questions would be great. Given that we are all used to Stack model, this should really help at speeding things up.
I would love to see companies with APIs and active developer communities provide rewards to high reputation developers.
e.g. Facebook offers devs with over X reputation access to alpha APIs, devs with over Y reputation direct email support, devs with over Z reputation are recommended on the Facebook.com site as developers to hire for freelance work, etc.
I like the documentation model of API pages with comments allowed, plus a semi-protected wiki model to edit the API pages. This allows the API maintainer to easily update, provides change history, plus allows the community to step in and provide corrections or code examples without the burden of rewriting the article.
This is just providing a view of Stack Overflow that's limited to Facebook questions, and Facebook staff providing more support there. Facebook has been a login option for Stack Overflow for a long time, but don't even require you to even make an account to ask questions.
Of course it doesn't mean that, but even if it did, what user data are you talking about? The only non-public info that Stack Overflow has from (some) users is their email address and real name, which Facebook already knows.