Most of techies online had probably brushed Stack Overflow. It was created while back as attempt (quite successful) to be bigger and better at platform for programming questions and answers. Back then I thought it might become interesting, but didn’t really had a reason to hang around.
Fast forward to this year and I discovered that besides justified growth to one of the most popular sites online Stack Overflow had also kick-started whole Stack Exchange network.
Stack Exchange platform is focused at:
- giving opportunity to ask questions;
- collecting answers to those questions;
- setting up community moderation process that manages quality of both.
It sounds like nothing complex, but it was really enormous amount of design, usability and community work that went into this formula.
When you have something that really works for a topic it becomes a waste to not apply it for other areas. Stack Overflow had gradually spawned sister sites aimed at power users ( Super User ) and system administrators ( Server Fault ).
They had also tried additional sites as commercial service, but that didn’t work out.
And in summer 2010 things got much more interesting with introduction of Area 51 – meta site that gives anyone opportunity to suggest, refine, beta-test and launch new sites on Stack Exchange platform for free.
In recent years I am gladly taking search from highly precise and specialized source over plain googling. The issue is – it is rarely easy to find a source that good.
The killer feature of Stack Exchange network (as for me) is search!
Think about it. Search network of sites that are committed to cultivate good questions and answers. Network that is not only established but rapidly growing and capturing new topics.
Back then Stack Overflow had me barely interested. A while ago WordPress Answers Beta got me quite interested. Some time into it and I really anticipate just how far will Stack Exchange network push amount of topics covered. It had already proven quality, quantity can make this plain awesome.