Researching IT knowledge on the web – why it doesn't always work
What do you do when you have an open question? You grab your phone or computer and start looking for an answer on the big World Wide Web. When it comes to the opening hours of your favorite restaurant, the answer is quickly there. But what about specific IT knowledge?
This is where we come to the point of this article. Of course, there is several ways operation specialists and developers can get information. Find out here what these are and where their limits are!
The world's largest knowledge database: the Internet
The knowledge on the Internet and the amount of data stored there are growing by the minute. Does that make it the ideal source for finding the answers to all the questions and expert opinions that arise? Unfortunately, no, it doesn’t. In our previous article we talked about the short life span of IT knowledge. And it is precisely this aspect that is fatal here.
What is that supposed to mean? In fact, there is a lot of very useful information on the web. There are experts who share their knowledge freely and thus help other developers to overcome problems and challenges and to keep an eye on new technical developments. But a lot of information outdates within a very short time. The problem: The Internet does not distinguish which information is correct and which is not.
There's also the question of how relevant a post is that appears at the top of Google and other search engines. Are the contributions written by experts or were articles written by copywriters who compiled the content based on their own research? The latter is dangerous because how old is the knowledge they used for the article? Is everything technologically correct?
You see: There is relevant, important and indispensable information, but it is sometimes difficult to get hold of it and then also to determine whether the content is correct. So let's look at the next research source.
Stack Overflow - a platform for experts
Stack Overflow is a platform which brings together experts in your field. More specifically, this platform has been provided for software developers and operations experts to ask and answer questions.
The principle works according to the gamification concept. This means that the platform rewards useful and good answers and gives "badges" to the responders, who can then have privileges unlocked.
This works from two directions: On the one hand, users can rate answers, on the other hand, the questioner indicates whether and which answer was most helpful for his question. The ranking allows you to see directly when researching on the platform which answer is more likely to be relevant. That's great!
The problem: Stack Overflow lacks a system that recognizes outdated questions and reduces their ranking. So, it can happen that the solution was absolutely correct and useful a year ago, but today? The same answer may no longer help to solve the problem or is already technically incorrect.
There are also a few things to consider when doing the actual research.
Challenges and issues encountered in research
The Internet has one thing in common with all public tools and expert platforms: the answers do not just come to you on their own but have to be researched carefully. However, this sounds easier than it actually is in practice.
Several questions arise here:
- How do I choose the right platform for my research?
- How do I choose the right search terms for a complex problem?
- How do I quickly filter out irrelevant content?
- How do I get the correct solution quickly?
- How can it be determined whether content is current or outdated?
The list can be continued at will, but what we want to make clear to you can be summarized in one sentence: Researching and filtering information is a separate skill that may first have to be developed.
Another problem of public research is that the information does not always match the company's internal circumstances. Interfaces differ or information is not disclosed due to company secrets. As a result, the solution cannot be transferred one-to-one to your own company.
It's the same the other way around. There are often internal peculiarities that must not be shared with the public. Because you can't mention them in a question on Stack Overflow, solutions can be suggested that just aren't feasible. This is where public research reaches its limit.
The solution? Can be found internally!
8Buddy – find trustworthy buddies from within your own company
We developed 8Buddy precisely to evade the problems just discussed. How about getting answers from a buddy who is both trustworthy and knowledgeable about all the important company internals?
After all, the knowledge is already in the network of the teams in the company and the research effort is many times lower. It is quickly recognizable which developer has which skills and is therefore the right expert for his or her own concern. And even if you don't know who the right contact person is, the expert can approach the questioner and support you in working out a solution.
By using 8Buddy internally, you no longer need to ask yourself whether the information comes from experts. After all, your buddy is directly accessible to you. The knowledge she shares with you is always more up to date than anything you find on the web. After all, every expert is constantly educating himself.
The internet offers an abundance of information. In order to get the information that is relevant to you, however, you need to invest a lot of time and effort into research. While platforms like Stack Overflow make research much easier, they don't protect you from outdated knowledge and often don't help you to find in-house solutions.
Your way out? Use 8Buddy as an internal knowledge platform with the opportunity to network directly with an expert. Together you create in-house solutions with the latest information! Do you have questions about 8Buddy? Talk to us!
- Stack Overflow