Developer Support Teams: Monitor a StackOverflow Tag

If you offer support for Android developers related to your firm, you should have StackOverflow as part of your support platform.

Here, I am thinking of:

  • Device manufacturers
  • Service providers (e.g., mobile-focused “backend-as-a-service”)
  • Anyone with an Android-specific API

Why should you have StackOverflow as part of your support platform? Because, like it or not, your developers are going to ask questions there.

Just within the past few hours, we have questions about:

And I am not even counting questions about Android open source packages (e.g., Robotium), development tools (e.g., Eclipse, IDEA), etc.

Some firms already provide support this way:

Developers will ask questions on StackOverflow about your products and services for any number of reasons:

  • Maybe they are not aware that you have other developer support options
  • Maybe they have had… sub-par results from your other developer support options
  • Maybe they just naturally ask questions on StackOverflow by reflex

The good news is that StackOverflow’s tag system makes it very easy for you to find out about many of these questions relevant for your team:

  1. Set up a free account on StackOverflow if you do not already have one.

  2. Find any existing tags that refer to your firm’s products and services. If there are no such tags, or you would like to have other/different tags, re-tag a question to define the new tag. If you do not have enough “reputation” for that (such as you have a brand-new account), drop me a line and I can try to assist.

  3. Set up to be notified about questions newly tagged with your tag, by either subscribing to the RSS feed (URL syntax is or setting up a filter to email you questions, or via the Question Monitor for StackExchange Chrome extension, or any number of other tools.

  4. Let developers know that you are actively providing support via your tag(s), through your normal communication channels (e.g., social media) and by adding an entry in the android tag wiki (if you lack the ability to edit this page to link to your tags, let me know and I may be able to help). In particular, if StackOverflow “regulars” know about your tags, they will be able to re-tag questions that should have one of your tags, but do not.

  5. When you supply answers to questions, feel free to include links to relevant resources from your normal developer support site, such as forum pages discussing the same issues. This way, not only do you help developers now, but you help inform developers about the other support resources that you offer.

This takes but minutes to set up. Beyond that, it simply adds more questions to be answered on top of the ones coming to you via other means — how much additional work this is, of course, will vary. But, more importantly, you may be able to assist developers that would otherwise “fall through the cracks” of your developer outreach programs, increasing the odds that they will be satisfied with your developer support.

…as opposed to a device manufacturer, who (temporarily) shall remain nameless, that really needs a developer support program but lacks it. I will gripe about that particular firm later in the week.

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