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StackOverflow For Any Topic

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the let-a-thousand-faqs-bloom dept.

Software 191

RobinH writes "StackOverflow, the successful question-and-answer website for programmers, is now over a year old and its top user has just passed 100,000 reputation points. Now one of the creators of StackOverflow, Joel Spolsky, and his company Fog Creek, are developing a software-as-a-service form of the StackOverflow engine called StackExchange to support any topic you want. The software is currently in private beta, but the first few beta sites have surfaced. Topics include business travel, the home, parenthood, the environment, finance, and iPhone game development."

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skeet skeet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560247)

ah yeah!

what about cocksucking? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560265)

That's Joel's area of expertise. That and bottoming for other gay dudes.

Joel, uhg.. (5, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | about 5 years ago | (#29560283)

While I wholey appreciate the community and efforts of people involved in StackOverflow, I believe that Joel is subject to entirely too much fanfair and hero worship. I'd line him up right next to Dvorak in the grouping of "Right about as often as the sun shines on my dog's ass."

-Rick

Re:Joel, uhg.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560461)

"Right about as often as the sun shines on my dog's ass."

-Rick

So... at least twice a day then? Or is your dog toilet trained? Normal people don't force their dogs to wear pants in public, or indeed at all.

How about "Right as often as Steve Ballmer changes his shirt. Not that it never happens, but clearly not often enough to be useful."

Re:Joel, uhg.. (2, Funny)

schon (31600) | about 5 years ago | (#29561139)

"Right about as often as the sun shines on my dog's ass."

So... at least twice a day then? Or is your dog toilet trained? Normal people don't force their dogs to wear pants in public, or indeed at all.

Maybe he's from England... in which case his dog could be outside 24/7 and it would still be only once or twice a year. :)

Face it, stack* is *good* (4, Insightful)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | about 5 years ago | (#29560745)

It's very well designed. Compared to anything else in the same category, it's like the iPhone to a generic WinMo phone. It's easy to use, it's intuitive, it's powerful, it's fast, it's obvious and yet nobody comes close.

I've heard many people make fun of Joel, and I would have been a bit skeptical but stackoverflow is an undeniable success.

Re:Face it, stack* is *good* (3, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | about 5 years ago | (#29560831)

I would agree entirely. But one success does not a savior make. I don't even think that much of the unique features of StackOverflow is what makes it great. I think it is the combination of community and marketing that have made it what it is.

If Joel had come up with a completely different design for the site with different functionality, yet still managed the same community activity, that project would have been just as successful.

-Rick

Re:Face it, stack* is *good* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29561247)

I think it is the combination of community and marketing that have made it what it is.

Well, now that the /. trolls have found out about it, the community part of StackOverflow is as good as gone.

Re:Joel, uhg.. (2, Informative)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | about 5 years ago | (#29561209)

Personally, what I got the biggest laugh at is that, just like Fog Creek's other software, they're wanting ridiculous amounts of money for this code. Hosted? On a shared server? 10 million page views a month (Random page on Stack Overflow, 20KB, so in other words, about 200GB)? How much would you pay? For this forum / QA software?

With Stack Exchange? A THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH.

Wow. Just wow. Really, Joel? You think your software is worth that much?

Or hey, you could use it on your own server. If you're willing to pay TWO AND A HALF THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH...

Re:Joel, uhg.. (2, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29561369)

Personally, what I got the biggest laugh at is that, just like Fog Creek's other software, they're wanting ridiculous amounts of money for this code. Hosted? On a shared server? 10 million page views a month (Random page on Stack Overflow, 20KB, so in other words, about 200GB)? How much would you pay? For this forum / QA software?

With Stack Exchange? A THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH.

Wow. Just wow. Really, Joel? You think your software is worth that much?

Or hey, you could use it on your own server. If you're willing to pay TWO AND A HALF THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH...

Wow, that is rediculous. Why, it's almost as much as a single MSDN subscription [microsoft.com] or an Oracle license [oracle.com] (assuming I actually read that mess properly).

Re:Joel, uhg.. (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | about 5 years ago | (#29561443)

Wow, that is rediculous. Why, it's almost as much as a single MSDN subscription or an Oracle license (assuming I actually read that mess properly).

Leaving aside the odd choice of comparisons, "No. It ain't." A single MSDN subscription is $1,199 for the first YEAR, $799 for every YEAR after that. Running a site on StackExchange can be a thousand dollars a MONTH.

Basic math, you fail it.

Re:Joel, uhg.. (2, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | about 5 years ago | (#29561701)

Clearly you're not very familiar with "enterprice" software. Magento, which is a solid open source e-commerce solution but nothing more, costs $8900+ a year ($11,125 for the average deployment) just to license—no hosting. That's the whole idea of free market capitalism. What something is worth doesn't necessarily correlate to how much effort was put into creating it, its material/resource costs, its usefulness, or any other inherent value it has; instead, it is simply how much you can get others to pay you for it.

The cost of natural diamonds versus synthetic diamonds, for example, has nothing to do with any intrinsic value, nor can it be justified by its artificial scarcity (as used diamonds sell for far under market prices, but are purchased back from consumers by diamond distributors like De Beers, who turn around and repackage/resell it at market prices once again).

I mean, isn't the objective of every good businessman to buy for as low as possible and sell for as high as possible?

Actually yes, it's easily worth that (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 years ago | (#29561901)

How much would you pay? For this forum / QA software?
With Stack Exchange? A THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH.

If I felt like I had an idea that would have a good community around it, yes. StackOverflow is simply the best forum software I have ever used for a site oriented around questions and answers (for general discussion I do not think it would work as well, for instance it could not replace Slashdot). The motivational system between badges and voting and scores is well thought out, the software works really well on whatever browser I use it on, and the site has remained very stable even under heavy load.

After having used it for a while, and having developed server side software for a long time, I know the amount of work it would take to replicate all the good things Stack Overflow would be tremendous, and frankly I'm not sure I could really improve on it.

There's nothing wrong with paying for quality and a proven solution. Something is only "expensive" if it provides no value for what you pay.

I'm not sure if all the stack exchange ideas are really winners, but if I had something that I felt would work well I would not hesitate to use that as a solution - and furthermore I would hesitate to build any solution going against an equivalent Stack Exchange site.

They tried this with Ask Slashdot... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560347)

Anyone remember the short lived Ask Slashdot section on sex? No one had any answers, so they had to shut it down.

Re:They tried this with Ask Slashdot... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29561137)

Anyone remember the short lived Ask Slashdot section on sex? No one had any answers, so they had to shut it down.

Hell, I don't think anyone here had enough information on the subject to even come up with a specific question!

Re:They tried this with Ask Slashdot... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29561173)

Anyone remember the short lived Ask Slashdot section on sex? No one had any answers, so they had to shut it down.

Hell, I don't think anyone here had enough information on the subject to even come up with a specific question!

Except: "where do babies come from?"

Re:They tried this with Ask Slashdot... (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | about 5 years ago | (#29561501)

Even then, the question wasn't asked that well. I believe it went something like:

"How is babby formed?"

Good job, too (3, Informative)

shmert (258705) | about 5 years ago | (#29560373)

StackOverflow is really impressive, and useful. I find myself adding "site:stackoverflow.com" to google queries when I'm troubleshooting some code problem. If there's an answer on there, it's almost always better than the answers on other sites. With none of the horrible multi-page answers, scribd paper, navigation hell that plagues other sites.

Great idea to branch this into other areas, but I wonder how many dedicated users you'll see like jon skeet when it comes to a parenthood advice website.

Re:Good job, too (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 5 years ago | (#29560405)

skeet and parenthood? LOL

For those who don't know, "skeet" is the "pull and shoot" method of birth control, if you get my drift,

Re:Good job, too (skeet skeet) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560515)

Ah, yeah!

Re:Good job, too (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560425)

Great idea to branch this into other areas, but I wonder how many dedicated users you'll see like jon skeet when it comes to a parenthood advice website.

If parenting websites are any indication: a lot. There are many people in knowledge domains that are as dedicated to their chosen pursuit as hard core programmers are to theirs. It's just easy for us to forget that machines can be used for other things despite our jobs being about making them do other things.

Re:Good job, too (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#29560491)

However, the difference is programmers usually know how to -ask- questions that make sense to other programmers. Look at http://answers.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com] for a moment, most of the questions there are either A) Obvious "do my homework for me" questions, B) badly worded questions or C) Simply stupid questions. Also, most programming questions are easy, either it works or it doesn't, on the other hand how exactly do you define "how hard it is to open a liquor store in Texas"? Its easy to answer programming questions because its very easy to figure out if it works, but parenting advice? You won't see the results of that for years down the line (if even that) and its impossible to determine what exactly went wrong/right.

Re:Good job, too (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560563)

In many disciplines people don't ask questions to find the direct answer of how to do something. Especially in parenthood, people ask questions to find out their options and to get other people's opinions. Then they'll consider what they've heard and come up with their own result.

Actually, with regards to programming, I find the more interesting questions on the net to not be, 'how do I do X' but rather, 'which is a better way of doing X, Y or Z (or N)' as they seem to spark more debate and thought.

Re:Good job, too (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#29560613)

We like to think that way, but look at Yahoo Answers or WikiAnswers, they don't really work that way. Most people don't want a thought out answer unfortunately. They want to ask for X and hear X.

Re:Good job, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29561229)

How is babby formed?

Re:Good job, too (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560521)

It should be interesting to see how well or how badly such a system will handle questions on topics such as parenting. It seems to me that parenting advice is less like programming, where there's often clear right and wrong answers, and more like religion where the right answer competes against everybody else's right answer. It seems like the perfect environment in which to observe that the wisdom of crowds also has its antithesis: the stupidity of crowds.

Kick the baby? (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29560617)

Don't kick the baby.

There are plenty of questions with obvious answers.

Re:Kick the baby? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560697)

*Don't* kick the baby. Gotcha!

Only... could you type a little more slowly? I'm writing these down, you know.

Re:Good job, too (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 5 years ago | (#29561423)

I just wish it didn't rely on OpenID. A technology I loathe. LOATHE!

Re:Good job, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29561571)

Yeah I totally love having 500 different passwords.

Re:Good job, too (1)

Frankenshteen (1355339) | about 5 years ago | (#29561731)

At a glance the site is a little crowded. Something more akin to visual thesaurus [visualthesaurus.com] .

A compelling need? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 5 years ago | (#29560393)

Joel Spolsky, and his company Fog Creek, are developing a software-as-a-service form of the StackOverflow engine called StackExchange to support any topic you want.

There are already many BB and wiki systems available. By the way, a little obvious on the Slashvert.

Re:A compelling need? (4, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | about 5 years ago | (#29560439)

Have you used Stack Overflow? It's quite different from a Wiki, and is much more focused than a bulliten board. The ability to rate questions and answers makes it much easier to find good responses than generic phpBB sites.

Re:A compelling need? (1)

belmolis (702863) | about 5 years ago | (#29560471)

So, how does it differ from Ask Slashdot?

Re:A compelling need? (5, Funny)

jjohnson (62583) | about 5 years ago | (#29560565)

The posters at Stack Overflow know what they're talking about.

Re:A compelling need? (4, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#29561203)

The mods at Stack Overflow know what they're talking about.

Fixed it for ya.

Re:A compelling need? (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | about 5 years ago | (#29561831)

Yeah, the mods here are really WTFing me right now. The three posts in this thread talking about why SO is better than Ask /. are all modded funny. But also, it's much easier to navigate SO looking for answers than /..

Re:A compelling need? (4, Informative)

seifried (12921) | about 5 years ago | (#29560575)

You get useful answers that actually help.

Re:A compelling need? (1)

Sancho (17056) | about 5 years ago | (#29560685)

You can edit your replies, and people don't complain that you're asking them how to do your job.

Re:A compelling need? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29561445)

There you can actually get answers.

Re:A compelling need? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560495)

Obviously, you are a S.O. astroturfer.

Re:A compelling need? (1)

easyTree (1042254) | about 5 years ago | (#29560767)

Obviously anyone who likes cake is being paid to like cake.

The average BB experience is TERRIBLE (2, Interesting)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | about 5 years ago | (#29560813)

Even the commercially supported and very expensive ones are *terrible*. They're full of distracting and useless information, their design is full of lines and tables and outlines that serve no purpose whatsoever, they don't present information in a sensible manner (usually signatures, dates, names and navigation take 5 times more space than the actual messages, for instance), and they just simply suck.

Look at stackoverflow. What do you see? Pure information. Navigation is the bare minimum. There is no useless labels. Things work as expected, along the principle of least surprise. The site is snappy. It uses Ajax where it's useful, not for the sake of it. It uses OpenID. It does tag quite well. The wiki markup is one of the most sensible around, and the editor is the best trade-off I've seen between unreadable markup and slow, clunky wysiwyg.

BB is the reason Stack Overflow exists (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 years ago | (#29561991)

Jeff Atwood has said a number of times one of the reasons Stack Overflow came about is because he hated all of the BB systems around. And he was right, the existing BB systems are terrible to use, especially so for a Q&A site.

The site is also better than a wiki for Q&A, because it has really well thought out community moderation aspects. You get more duplication than you would with a wiki, but it works out because you also get heavy user moderation redirecting you to better questions. And because it's a cross between a wiki and a forum, you have a much better ability to have different viewpoints of solutions expressed - for instance a user asking a question can accept an answer as valid, but other users can all vote up other answers as being more correct and those get prominent placement too.

If BB software and wikis are all so good, why is it nothing with the popularity and update of Stack Overflow has existed until now? I've never seen a programming site with such traction and quick uptake, never mind one that covered such a gamut of subjects! It's not just at the top of the list for C# (which is to be expected given the pedigree) but also iPhone development, and is the first place I would go for Emacs elisp questions... even Java.

How very random. (5, Funny)

stevey (64018) | about 5 years ago | (#29560399)

It is good to know that the parenting forum is asking the most important questions [stackexchange.com] .

Re:How very random. (1)

sayfawa (1099071) | about 5 years ago | (#29560525)

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. But yes, it is good to know that parents are trying to do the right thing.

Although, I can't help but to feel a little scorn for them for not knowing the answer in the first place :)

Re:How very random. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29561035)

It is good to know that the parenting forum is asking the most important questions [stackexchange.com] .

Bah, nobody has asked the most important question [stackexchange.com] yet.

Re:How very random. (1)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#29561265)

It is good to know that the parenting forum is asking the most important questions [stackexchange.com] .

What's even more funny is that there is no single answer that isn't a serious one. If it was slashdot however... let's just say the first answer would involve a man whos rectum is severly dialated.

100,000 reputation points? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560419)

over a year old and its top user has just passed 100,000 reputation points.

That can't be right. I've been posting on 4chan for years and I don't have 1 reputation point, let alone 100,000.

Re:100,000 reputation points? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560665)

"Over 9000! there's no way that can be right!"

over a year old and its top user has just passed 100,000 reputation points.

That can't be right. I've been posting on 4chan for years and I don't have 1 reputation point, let alone 100,000.

You just broke rule 1 & 2 annon, you will never get a reputation point now!!

Re:100,000 reputation points? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560905)

Also, the game

Re:100,000 reputation points? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29561057)

You lose rep points for posting there. The top poster has negative several million. The posts mostly consisted of THE BEST THE BEST THE BEST THE BEST THE BEST.

I don't get it (1, Insightful)

Dr. Evil (3501) | about 5 years ago | (#29560433)

First, I never heard of the site before. Is it really popular? Am I just out of the loop? It's not come up in my daily searches for technical info.

I mean, it looks good, like somebody finally created a replacement for the community in usenet and what Expertsexchange was before they turned into a nag-site. It's not original, just re-creating stuff which was destroyed in the past by spammers and misguided business models

But looking closer, it seems to be a showcase for their business selling the software to run the site. Could it really be any different?

This is the most obvious Slashvertisement I've ever seen.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560453)

Its really that good.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | about 5 years ago | (#29560605)

Never seen it come up in a google search.. maybe it's got its niche..

Usenet beats any of these sites anyway - there's decades of experience on that.

Re:I don't get it (4, Insightful)

D Ninja (825055) | about 5 years ago | (#29560715)

Never seen it come up in a google search.. maybe it's got its niche..

Usenet beats any of these sites anyway - there's decades of experience on that.

No, it doesn't always come up in Google search (try searching with site:stackoverflow.com in your programming searches, though), because that is Google's algorithm. As far as a programming/technical site, though, Stackoverflow (and its sister sites; serverfault.com (for admin/IT questions) and superuser.com (for general computer use questions)) is a *wonderful* resource. Don't knock it until you try it.

As for your comment about Usenet, I do agree that there is a myriad of experience on there. Nowhere else are you going to see the beginnings of Linux and quite a bit of discussion on other technologies. BUT - Stackoverflow is current, its well moderated (by a user-community) and has some extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful people on its site to help out.

I disagree with the GP post that is simply a Slashvertisement. I wish someone had told me about the site sooner.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Blackeagle_Falcon (784253) | about 5 years ago | (#29560607)

But looking closer, it seems to be a showcase for their business selling the software to run the site.

StackOverflow has been running for over a year, long before Jeff and Joel thought about selling hosted version. StackExchange is basically a way to shut up everyone who kept asking for a "Stack Overflow on Topic X".

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560731)

Expertsexchange is an awesome place for information, and you don't even have to buy a subscription! When you get google results just page down to the end. Question answered.

Slightly offtopic, but does anyone else read expertsexchange as Expert Sex Change?

Re:I don't get it (2, Informative)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29560863)

Slightly offtopic, but does anyone else read expertsexchange as Expert Sex Change?

Yes, that's why they hyphenated the name. They did that was a while ago, I think slightly after Pen Island [penisland.net] sprang up.

Re:I don't get it (1)

bigbird (40392) | about 5 years ago | (#29560849)

Yes, it's popular, and yes, you must be out of the loop.

Post any technical question and you'll normally get a number of very useful replies within 24 hours.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 5 years ago | (#29560989)

First, I never heard of the site before. Is it really popular? Am I just out of the loop?

Well, it made slashdot, I can't decide if that's popular or unpopular.

How many nerds does it take to make something popular? It's got to be a few orders of magnitude more than how many hot babes... toughy. If only there was a place where I could ask that question.

Shapado FOSS (AGPL Rails) Alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560457)

http://blog.ricodigo.com/2009/09/18/shapado-a-foss-replacement-for-stackoverflow

The Karma-Whoring Generation (0, Troll)

synthespian (563437) | about 5 years ago | (#29560479)

Wow. The new generation has turned to privately-owned web sites in search for answers, instead of Usenet.

I didn't know karma-whoring could be so powerful. Weee! 100.000 points! I must be *great!* (My mom loves me...)

But, hey! What happens when StackOverflow folds (which it will, eventually)?

Then, suddenly, all the knowledge contracts and contracts to a single point until it goes "POOF!" - nada, zero.

It's called the Inverse Topological Asshole Theorem. Otherwise knows as the You've Been Suckered Theorem. The Advertisement Industry Underground Sex Ring knows *all* about it (you can find them on Facebook, did you know?). Wet dreams...

Is it true what they say about under-30s in America, thinking they are so smart when in fact, they're not?

Re:The Karma-Whoring Generation (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | about 5 years ago | (#29560513)

Yeah, but just picture being able to put "100,000 StackOverflow points" on your resume!

Re:The Karma-Whoring Generation (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560529)

You would have a point, except StackOverflow provides dumps of their databases in XML format and under a public license.

Re:The Karma-Whoring Generation (5, Informative)

Blackeagle_Falcon (784253) | about 5 years ago | (#29560637)

But, hey! What happens when StackOverflow folds (which it will, eventually)?

Then, suddenly, all the knowledge contracts and contracts to a single point until it goes "POOF!" - nada, zero.

Actually, all the content on StackOverflow is licensed under the Creative Commons CC-Wiki license. They make monthly dumps of the entire question and answer database available. If SO ever folds, it would be quite easy to use the data dump to put up a new site with all the accumulated knowledge

Re:The Karma-Whoring Generation (1)

fortyonejb (1116789) | about 5 years ago | (#29560857)

great point, but seriously, this guy clearly has to be Mr. Right, it's pretty insensitive of you to deflate his ego like that.

Re:The Karma-Whoring Generation (3, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 5 years ago | (#29561003)

Is it true what they say about under-30s in America, thinking they are so smart when in fact, they're not?

That's true of everyone everywhere.

yahoo answers (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | about 5 years ago | (#29560547)

I thought yahoo answers was where you could ask any question and get a well thought out informative response?

Yahoo! Answers (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | about 5 years ago | (#29560559)

WOW WHAT A GREAT IDEA!

THAT WONT BE OVERRUN BY COMPLETE MORONS!1!!!

</sarcasm> morons... do they seriously think this is going to be more effective thank yahoo answers?

Re:Yahoo! Answers (4, Informative)

seifried (12921) | about 5 years ago | (#29560593)

Yes, because until you interact with the community and earn points it's hard to make an asshat of yourself. I recommend you watch "Learning from StackOverflow": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWHfY_lvKIQ [youtube.com]

Re:Yahoo! Answers (1)

magsol (1406749) | about 5 years ago | (#29560649)

It already has been more effective. Take a few minutes to browse and you'll find that, by and large, the site does what it says it does: the vast majority of users are either posting good questions or looking for good answers and will vote up those that qualify, while the rest either dissolve in forgotten oblivion, or are closed entirely by the crowd that Jon Skeet hangs out with.

Most likely, its success has partially to do with the fact that it is a very focused site; that is, compared to Yahoo! Answers, questions posted must be none-too-subtly related to programming. Yahoo! Answers, on the other hand, can be about anything a moron's mind can conjure.

Re:Yahoo! Answers (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | about 5 years ago | (#29560719)

way to read the summary moron, the new site is generic not specific.

Too bad StackOverflow sucks. (2, Interesting)

pathological liar (659969) | about 5 years ago | (#29560597)

Seriously, what mouth-breather decided you should only be able to search tags instead of a full-text search?

It's also likely that the apparent (I've only skimmed the site) quality of the questions and answers there are because of the subject matter. What works for programming questions probably won't work for a lot of other domains -- just look at the dreck that is wiki.answers.com, yahoo answers etc.

Re:Too bad StackOverflow sucks. (4, Interesting)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | about 5 years ago | (#29560633)

That'll be why it never comes up on searches.

90% of the time if I have to hit google for answers it's because something is giving a stupid error message (google for the message text) or error code (google for the number.. that can be fun..). Keywords won't cut it, because they assume I know what the problem is already (and if I knew that I'd hit the documentation and work it out myself).

Re:Too bad StackOverflow sucks. (1)

magsol (1406749) | about 5 years ago | (#29560663)

Granted, the lack of a full-text search is annoying. But I fail to see how that equates to "StackOverflow sucks".

Then again, if you've only "skimmed the site", you might want to spend a little more time there (somewhere comfortably in between your virtually-zero and Jon Skeet's 100,000-karma) before you blithely condemn it. It does indeed far surpass Yahoo! Answers in quality, for more reasons than simply its content (though that does indeed help).

Re:Too bad StackOverflow sucks. (1)

pathological liar (659969) | about 5 years ago | (#29560701)

The site is ugly and the usability is poor. I'll grant you that beauty is subjective, but a bad interface is not.

Now is where you tell me why it's good for reasons beyond the relative post quality (which we agree on.)

Re:Too bad StackOverflow sucks. (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29560771)

Whoever made the decision, I bet they never heard of Google, or thought qualifying a Google search with site:stackoverflow.com.

Just use google (1)

turing_m (1030530) | about 5 years ago | (#29560773)

Seriously, what mouth-breather decided you should only be able to search tags instead of a full-text search?

About the only time I don't preferentially use google to search on any site (e.g. {site:stackoverflow.com words I want to search for}) is when I want to search for all posts by a given user. That's the only case I can think of where google isn't superior.

Re:Too bad StackOverflow sucks. (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 5 years ago | (#29561591)

One with a blocked nose, I would suspect.

Reminds me of the day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560609)

This reminds me of the times when securityportal.com had a Question/Answer session about various similar topics. It was moderated, and went with the byline: "Ask Buffy, by Buffy Overflow". It was never dull, and there was always something new to be gleaned from the millions of problems that occasionally happened to software.

Web Karma (2, Insightful)

retech (1228598) | about 5 years ago | (#29560623)

/.'s karma system and stack's rep. points both have real web uses. It would be cool to see a standardization of this idea and have it follow you across the net. Granted it could be abused, gamed, misused and just worthless to some. But no system is 100% useful. I could easily see where a standardized web karma could be very useful.

I'm still trying to figure out if this would be make for a utopian or dystopian internet.

Re:Web Karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560723)

Granted it could be abused, gamed, misused and just worthless to some.

Some guy with 10k reputation points published a guide on how to abuse the stack overflow reputation system [codexon.com] .

Re:Web Karma (1)

Anpheus (908711) | about 5 years ago | (#29560819)

If OpenID allowed each site to assign users a reputation, and had an opt in to advertise that reputation, and sites could opt in (after receiving requests, etc) to use reputation from other sites, two sites would be allowed to peer with each other (shared rep), and there would need to be some sort of exponential scaling to adding and removing site opt-ins, and random delays on how long it would take effect (1-24 hours.)

That would prevent these abuses:
* A user would not be forced to have site's that abused their reputation permanently marring their account.
* A site would not be forced to allow other site's reputation affect the "other user's reputation" pool, and the opt-in prevents spam reputation providers, there would also be a facility for scaling reputation for each site.
* Being only able to see the user's total "internal" and "external" rep prevents a site from naively determining the reputation a user has on another site for unknown reasons
* Random delays on the time it takes to have a site opt in to use another site's user reputations would mean a site can't opt in, query all of their users, opt out, and use those scores for nefarious purposes. They are, essentially, "stuck with it."

Presumably OpenID would however allow a service such as querying the mean, standard deviation, minimum and maximum or other metrics for what another site's reputation is, that would help prevent gaming, and of course there would have to be some sort of system whereby a site can have a minimum / maximum effect on a user's reputation, in addition to the scaling factor.

Re:Web Karma (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29561471)

As I understand it, OpenID does not require consumers to keep identifiers private (sorry for the jargon), so it doesn't really have to allow anything for a reputation exchange to come about (consumers just have to choose to use such a service).

That individuals may or may not be able to influence the publishing of their reputation information (or rather, the reputation information associated with a particular identifier) in such an exchange has good aspects and bad aspects.

Re:Web Karma (1)

Anpheus (908711) | about 5 years ago | (#29561583)

Obviously this system would require a revision to the OpenID system, whereby the authentication provider maintains the database, and the site is allowed to query it based on an identifier, assuming the user has allowed the site to do so.

Re:Web Karma (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29561603)

My point is exactly that it would not require such a revision. As far as I can tell sites are free to do what they please with identifiers; it might be more popular to use a system that was explicitly under the control of users, but I don't see anything in the specification that says that a site has to keep the identifier and associated information private.

StackOverflow creates more work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560681)

The problem with StackOverflow is that people will ask a question there rather than more appropriate forums. So rather than asking on the forum dedicated to Open Source package XYZ where there are going to be other people with very detailed knowledge about the topic, they ask on StackOverflow where you get people who quite often know little to nothing about the topic answering. Consequence is you get half assed responses which are often wrong, ill informed or don't give the full picture. This can be frustrating from the point of view of the authors of said package XYZ, because to stop the proliferation of the bogus information, they need to start monitoring StackOverflow as well as their own on topic forums and either answer the questions or waste time correcting the provided answers. End result is authors end up wasting more time than if people just asked on the correct forum to begin with.

That said, StackOverflow is at least a better forum than IRC, which is where many would otherwise end up. IRC can be even more of a PITA as people expect to be able to get solutions to complex issues based on a single line question, and with subsequent response in a matter of lines as well.

FWIW, there are some Open Source versions of StackOverflow being developed which you could install on your own systems, rather than having to pay someone else for a managed service. For example, see:

http://lucumr.pocoo.org/2009/9/2/plurk-solace-released [pocoo.org]
http://opensource.plurk.com/Solace/ [plurk.com]

Ooooo IPHONE !! IT SOUNDS SEXY ALREADY !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29560695)

I love it !! iPhone anything is just swell with me !! Add more iPhone - NO !! IPHONE !! and I love it EVEN MORE !! It's sooo seeexy !!

So is it like the Yahoo Answers of programming? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29560727)

Or will it become like Yahoo Answers?

I like Stack Overflow (1)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | about 5 years ago | (#29560981)

I really like their site and have used it for a number of questions in the past, so I'm happy they're branching out and using their engine to generate revenue. Isn't what they're asking, though, a bit too much? The minimum price point is $130 a month! When there are a dozen open source CMS packages, and countless other sites charging nothing or very little for monthly fees for similar functionality, I can't imagine someone using Stack's engine at that price.

Re:I like Stack Overflow (2, Interesting)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | about 5 years ago | (#29561065)

When there are a dozen open source CMS packages, and countless other sites charging nothing or very little for monthly fees for similar functionality

Show me

Great (1)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | about 5 years ago | (#29561009)

I know slashdot likes to fling poo every new internet phenomenon, but I am really excited by this and wish Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky good luck. StackOverflow is amazing and their mission to destroy those shitty phpBB-forums with their clean and organized interfaces is very noble to say the least.

dirty faggots are infesting your neighborhoods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29561015)

they're trying to get your kids to become dirty faggots too.

The reason why SO (stackoverflow) works... (1)

elenathequiet (1115769) | about 5 years ago | (#29561023)

is because it's based on really nerdy, objective, technical pursuits where there are usually pretty discrete and/or black and white answers.

I'd be really interested to see how well it'll work on things that are more subjective.

The question that I think is more interesting about SO is what happens when 80%+ of the basic answers are already in there (how do I do x in y), and every answer will be RTFM (after about a year I think this is already starting to creep in). Will the site have less activity generally? Will the technology be providing us with so many more new questions it will off-set the decrease in questions about old tech available to ask? Will it become a big newb-on-newb-on-wiki-style-admin-person* fest?
*ie those who know the system well enough to game it to get mega-rep to the exclusion of all normal, helpful punters.

Though for the record I don't think it'll ever go as low as yahoo answers.

Except it's a terrible site. (1, Troll)

kuzb (724081) | about 5 years ago | (#29561095)

The problem with stackoverflow is that the answer most likely to get modded up is the first answer. There are a lot of times when the very first answer is completely wrong. Another example of how stupid Joel is.

Re:Except it's a terrible site. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29561133)

AM NOT

Re:Except it's a terrible site. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29561389)

[citation needed]

YOU FAIL I2T!? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29561915)

charnel housE. Erosion of user every chance I got the deal with you
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