How we use StackOverflow to support our developers

These are some of the tools and techniques we use to answer your questions about Square’s APIs; they might help you support your community, too!

StackOverflow is an invaluable resource for developers of all skill levels, and is a part of millions of developers’ regular workflow. All of that knowledge is only useful if people are answering questions. We use a combination of tools, design, and analytics to make sure we can efficiently answer the questions we know best.

Tagging

Question tags are one of the most basic pieces of meta-data that StackOverflow has. We do our best to answer questions our developers have, but it's hard to find them if they aren’t properly tagged. To get developers to that point, we try to make our tag as obvious as possible:

  • We mention it in our documentation in our troubleshooting page and at the bottom of every page like this ⬇️
  • If a developer happens to go out of their way to squareup.com/help and wants to ask a question about the APIs, we talk about it there as well.

Tools

Having a question tagged doesn’t get it answered, so we use a couple of integrations to help keep us up-to-date with questions under the square-connect tag.

  • Email notifications for specific tag sets. Stack Exchange has built-in functionality for sending emails based on new questions for specific tags in any Stack Exchange network, and at a variety of time intervals.
  • RSS feeds. We use an RSS feed for the square-connect tag so we’re easily notified in our internal team chat app about new questions. From there, we can discuss them and help identify the right person to answer.
  • Stack Exchange mobile app. Answering questions on the go isn’t always a good idea, but it can be an easy way to respond to a comment when you aren’t at a computer. This can be a key way to help make sure developers don’t wait too long with back & forth with developers.

Metrics

With any product or service, it’s important to measure how effective it is in meeting your customers’ needs. For us and StackOverflow, we want to make sure developers get unblocked quickly and can easily access help when needed. Luckily, the Stack Exchange Data Explorer provides a handy way to access any information we might want. There are tons of helpful metrics; one that’s particularly interesting is the median response time for questions asked with the square-connect tag. You can see the query here, and a graph of the data below:

You can see when we started paying closer attention to our tag 😉

Looking at one of the most popular tags, javascript, you can see that there are definitely some trends at play when you have tens of thousands of questions being asked. I’ll let you decide what the cause is.

Javascript: 10 minutes harder to answer since 2014

I hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes peek at some of the things we do to support developers! If you want to see more posts like this, or you think we could be doing things better, let us know in a comment below. 😁

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