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I'm quite a new user, so it feels somewhat inappropriate for me to post this (I kinda thought it would have appeared already ^^). But as a member of the Stack Exchange network who just read Jeff's blog post that he was leaving the SE network I thought I should say something to thank him for all the work that I've seen him put in so far.

So thank you, Jeff, for helping to create what is, to me, one of the best sites on the internet! (and the corresponding network of sites that sprung up along with it) It will be a shame to never wonder again whether you sleep or why your rep is so high on meta, but I hope that in exchange you will have more time to spend with your family.

If it's okay with the mods, then maybe we can all use our posts to thank Jeff!

Edit: As was suggested in the comments, I'd like to add to this discussion by asking members of the community how we can pay tribute to Jeff, and make this, as a goodbye card a really nice way to wish him well for the future. What would be something good for us to give to a man who has given so much to us?

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This probably isn't the best place for such a question but +1 anyway since I completely agree with the idea behind it. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Feb 8 '12 at 3:03
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It's the ultimate place for such a question! –  Shog9 Feb 8 '12 at 3:05
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Ah, come on guys, lighten up a bit. OK so it's too localized, so kill it in a few days or something. It's not like he's asking for a system alert :) –  Benjol Feb 8 '12 at 6:26
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Perhaps it would be more fitting to edit this to become "How can we pay appropriate tribute to Jeff?" rather than "Thank you Jeff". That at least would be a question, and might generate some nice suggestions. That said, if @Shog9's happy with this as it stands, then we're good as he is the new uber overlord of on-topicness. –  razlebe Feb 8 '12 at 9:07
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@Shog9 Agreed, I think we can let this live for now, maybe close it in six to eight weeks (depending on the answers). Please refrain from adding answers that just say 'thanks' or duplicate another. If this is Jeff's going away card, lets try to make it not suck. –  Tim Post Feb 8 '12 at 13:40
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Are we sure we don't want a system banner for this or something? I mean like really sure? Because system banners are for deifying people (alive or dead), trying to promote new SE sites, or for showing support for positions in the political arena, right? –  casperOne Feb 8 '12 at 13:44
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@casperOne Yes, we are. –  Tim Post Feb 8 '12 at 20:46
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I say we all chip in some rep and buy something for Jeff –  Adam Rackis Feb 9 '12 at 2:00
    
as long as Jon Skeet is still around.. –  prusswan Feb 9 '12 at 3:49
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@adam I only accept Unicorn Dollars. And I always brake for unicorns. –  Jeff Atwood Mar 1 '12 at 0:18
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@JeffAtwood You're my hero!!! –  Austin Henley Apr 5 '12 at 15:08
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12 Answers

up vote 113 down vote accepted

Jeff is the evil overlord we love to hate.
The nay-saying parent who wakes the raging teen in all of us.
Even when we knew he was wrong, he knew he was right.
But you gotta hand it to him: he had a clear idea of where he wanted to go,
and he went there,
and took us with him.
Now he wants to go some place else, but this time without us.

The most amazing tribute to his achievement will be if this network of sites can continue to evolve and maintain a life of its own; without falling into slavish "what would Jeff do?", nor imploding in a fit of .

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I think I'm going to accept this as the answer, because I think this describes most what Jeff has given to us as a community. Every other post here is also a great tribute to his work, this is just my own personal opinion on what I've seen as his contributions to making SE awesome =) –  blahman Feb 13 '12 at 14:11
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Aww shucks! blushes –  Benjol Feb 13 '12 at 14:40
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+1 for the last phrase –  Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 14 '12 at 19:50
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A Meta farewell without freehand circles? What's the world coming to?

enter image description here

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Ya know, I liked your name better when it was the rep mining company. –  Tim Post Feb 8 '12 at 22:35
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@Tim I know, but this was necessary - it's a trilogy. (Rep mining / farming / ...) –  Pëkka Feb 8 '12 at 22:36
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Is that a waffle machine in Jeff's hands? –  xiaohouzi79 Feb 8 '12 at 22:39
    
The only way that could be better would be if the unicorn was bowing its head to Jeff –  Adam Rackis Feb 8 '12 at 22:40
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And this is the best name / profile yet, btw –  Adam Rackis Feb 8 '12 at 22:41
    
@Adam the Unicorn is sad :( Gnarly in the background isn't completely sure what the hubbub is about. (And thanks!) –  Pëkka Feb 8 '12 at 22:41
    
:( –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Feb 9 '12 at 3:35
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@Pekka'sReputationBordello Oooh... I see the tip of my head in the back of the crowd, there! Seriously cool, though! –  Andrew's a Unitato Feb 9 '12 at 16:06
    
Ooops. This wasn't really intended to become the top answer... :) I vote for Benjol's answer to become the accepted one. @Andrew thanks! And yeah, I think I can spot you there, too. Although I forgot somebody very important - Trogdor. Maybe I'll add him in later. –  Pëkka Feb 9 '12 at 16:06
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No. This is the correct answer. –  Adam Rackis Feb 9 '12 at 16:20
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That suitcase is full of money right? –  jmfsg Feb 9 '12 at 19:25
    
@Juan yeah! Sweet, sweet VC money. At least I hope so! –  Pëkka Feb 9 '12 at 19:26
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It's missing Jon Skeet... there's nearly nothing more Meta than that. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Feb 12 '12 at 6:16
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I just looked at this after not looking at it for a while, and the fact that this unicorn is a boy is .. kind of .. umm ... obvious :) –  Tim Post Feb 20 '12 at 13:31
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You are quite welcome.

But I am the one who should be thanking all of you.

This is the scary part, the great leap of faith that Stack Overflow is predicated on: trusting your fellow programmers. The programmers who choose to participate in Stack Overflow are the “secret sauce” that makes it work. You are the reason I continue to believe in developer community as the greatest source of learning and growth. You are the reason I continue to get so many positive emails and testimonials about Stack Overflow. I can’t take credit for that. But you can.

I learned the collective power of my fellow programmers long ago writing on Coding Horror. The community is far, far smarter than I will ever be. All I can ask — all any of us can ask — is to help each other along the path.

This part of my journey may be over, but our collective journey never ends.

that which we are, we are —
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Thank you for contributing your time and effort to this community and helping us get a little further down the path together.

... now keep going!

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I wish I could favorite an answer! ^_^ –  amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Feb 29 '12 at 21:45
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I imagine you jumping out, giving us one last push, then watching until you can't see us anymore, only to sneak off to the side and play superhero with your little kids. Of course Rockhardawesome is going to make you the villain while he saves his sisters from your treachery. Better practice twirling your mustache... –  Adam Davis Mar 1 '12 at 2:16
    
Is there an ETA for the final podcast? –  Pëkka Mar 1 '12 at 14:45
    
Thank You So Much! –  Adel Mar 4 '12 at 18:40
    
Thanks Jeff for this site. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw you were leaving :( –  Benny Mar 17 '12 at 10:24
    
So, @Jeff couldn't refrain from signing his own farewell card?? ;) –  bPratik Jul 7 '12 at 22:12
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@amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA You can't, precisely because Jeff didn't want that feature to be implemented. –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 4 '12 at 21:19
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Thanks, Jeff, for this:

But seriously, thank you for Stack Exchange. When I first joined Stack Overflow, I wasn't very active because I didn't know how into programming I really was. But then I began participating, and little did I imagine that I would:

So again, thank you for being behind one of the greatest sites that I'm proud to be part of. Jeff, you've been an awesome founding father for Stack Exchange; I wish you all the best for your family and your future endeavors.

Now, go be an awesome father for your three kids (and counting?)!

Oh and as per the comments we should totally band together and buy him and his kids some swag. (Do kids love swag? Hell yeah you bet they do.)

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I think buying swag would be nice. Adam Davis said something about sacrificing rep for swag, which would definitely be cool, but being an ignorant newbie to SE and meta, I actually have no idea what he means/how this wondrous swag for rep shall work. –  blahman Feb 9 '12 at 5:59
    
He retires, you get an old mouse pad turned moderator card -- sounds like a fair exchange. Trickle down economics at its best. –  Evan Carroll Mar 3 '12 at 21:44
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Heck yeah kids love swag!! –  jrg Mar 4 '12 at 23:37
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Thanks, Jeff for the following:

  • Making me a better writer.
  • Demonstrating that opinions are like browsers (everyone has one) even though I disagree that hunches should be dismissed without data.
  • Demonstrating that you can take something that sucks and turn it into something awesome.
  • Encouraging me to stop sucking and start being awesome.
  • Not coddling me as I learned the ways of moderating one of the largest MMORPG available.
  • Putting me in touch with some of the best minds that this industry has to offer.

Almost every interaction I had with you left me wanting to destroy something, barring the semi-frequent "we have a serial spammer" e-mail. You didn't just make a web site that encourages critical thinking, you made the critical thinkers that help make it run more critical.

You will be missed, and I can't wait to hear about the next adventure you undertake. I think I can say, factually, all 200+ of us have things well in hand. You hired the right people, you made (many) good decisions and now we have a thriving network that people really love and it actually makes the Internet a better place. Programmer, parent, DIY enthusiast or gamer, we've got you if you know how to articulate yourself reasonably.

That's how it should be.

I'm quite convinced that successful web apps should be measured in dog years. Stack Overflow is now 28 by that measure and taking care of itself. Shoo, shoo, go enjoy your family. I'll see you in a few years when you scratch another itch. If it's something I know something about, you can count on my help.

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I think I can confirm pretty much every item here, well done. ...and I still marvel at Almost every interaction I had with you left me wanting to destroy something and the many ways it can be read the wrong way. :) –  Pëkka Feb 8 '12 at 21:47
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@Pekka'sReputationBordello Jeff is, well, Jeff :) Ultimately, most interactions with him leave you with a plan to improve yourself in some way. Not all, but many. Improving is kind of like dying, the last step is acceptance, the first one is denial. As you get better at whatever you do, the 'old' you needs to die. –  Tim Post Feb 8 '12 at 21:58
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@Pekka'sReputationBordello Anyway, I'm 10x the programmer and 20x the communicator that I was a few years ago. That's mostly because I crawled into Jeff's head, found quite a bit of sense there and then adapted it to fit 'me'. NB: I'll still argue head to head with him at any (sensible) opportunity. –  Tim Post Feb 8 '12 at 22:03
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yeah, I totally see what you mean. I can confirm what you say, especially about "10x the programmer and 20x the communicator". Being exposed to this site shows you how little you know - and that's great. At least, that's what it did to me. –  Pëkka Feb 8 '12 at 22:05
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It's going to feel pretty weird around here without Jeff for a while. No offense to the other CC's that got hired, but I have no doubt that @Shog9 will step up and tolerate my constant whining. As far as SO goes, all is well, IMHO. –  Tim Post Feb 8 '12 at 22:30
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"All is well, IMHO" Agreed, Tim. I don't know the whole team intimately, but it seems obvious that Jeff isn't just an island here. There are so many in the company, on the mod team, and in the community who all love what's been built because we share a very similar vision about what Q/A can and should be. –  Andrew's a Unitato Feb 9 '12 at 16:04
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A Jeff Atwood Haiku:

Made Stack Overflow
Most successful Q and A
Kills Pekka's requests

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One of the biggest reasons for my loyalty to the SE network has always been knowing that Jeff was serious about quality first, and traffic second. From previous experience on various forums, I've come to hate lazy, site-polluting "I hv problem plz help" questions - help vampires can destroy any place, no matter how cool it is and how big it is.

It was always an incredibly good feeling to know "The Management" is on your side on that essential issue, doing its utmost to keep them out. That doesn't mean there wasn't occasional disagreement and dissatisfaction, but the basic formula always worked.

That said, I have every reason to trust that the new powers that be will continue on the same course. Huzzah!

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Absolutely agreed. Before Stack Overflow, finding worthwhile information when having a specific problem was... well, painful at best. Creating and maintaining something of quality is never easy, and I'm so glad to be a part of something like that, here! –  Andrew's a Unitato Feb 9 '12 at 15:59
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Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya. You suck the life blood out of this community, prepare to die! I really need to put that in pro-forma comments. –  Tim Post Feb 9 '12 at 16:14
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I'd like to add that I appreciate how Jeff, as part of a great team, has taken a sometimes difficult road to accomplish the task of creating a unique and high-quality Q/A network.

The default of Conventional Wisdom on Q/A sites is to let everything in. It's so ingrained in people, that many people violently oppose the very idea of narrowing things down for something so idealistic as "quality". I see the exact same thing on many levels in my work as a director for a business networking organization;

Isn't it better to err on the side of letting something in that isn't "harmful", because maybe someone will be helped!

There are thousands of places where that opinion reigns. The fact that this isn't one of them is the reason Stack Exchange is the first and only place I ever think of coming to find answers.

Many people have pejorative descriptions they attach to Jeff because of his care in protecting that, and many other closely-related principles. Among his other duties, of which I am not all that aware since I'm really only relatively recently active here on Meta, he has been the face and voice of these decisions.

I can imagine the stress of such a position. I deeply appreciate it.

New stuff comes. Sometimes we love it, sometime we hate it. But we always know that some really smart people who really care expended some real effort thinking about them.

So, thank you so much for that, Jeff!


Some nostalgic reading to show my answer-appreciation:

Why is Jeff Atwood's reputation so high on meta?

Does Jeff Atwood sleep?

Now that Jeff Atwood is moving on, who will be "in charge"?

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The fact that you co-founded StackExchange is awesome and I congratulate you for its success.

But more importantly you've gotten to a place where you can now afford to spend as much time as you want with your family while your children are still young. And more to the point, you acknowledge the importance of taking advantage of that success. That's the real achievement I want to congratulate you for.

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We'll miss you, Jeff. You've proven that your family is the highest priority. My respect for you has only grown. Hopefully your wife, and some day, your kids, will see how fortunate they are to have you for a husband and father.

Thank you for your countless hours devoted to the Stack Exchange - editing, voting, asking, answering, and creating something so awesome that we just keep coming back. Thank you especially for your work with Super User; the time and energy devoted, and even generously donating hardware to Super Users.

Wishing you and your family all the best.

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I know that whatever you touch will turn to gold! Best of luck to you and your family as you start a new chapter in your lives.

In other news, I'd like to personally thank you for Hanzo's guitar, which he totally digs!

This site is awesome! I'm glad Hanzo poked and prodded at me relentlessly to try it out. You should be proud of your enormous accomplishments and of your quality product!

(FWIW, I'm incognito here, but you can put two and two together! Hanzo + guitar = Hanzo's wife)

Thank you for all you've done for Stack Exchange :)

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If it is to thank the founder, Sir you have taught me Android, Java, C, C++, without any tutor, just self taught, all because and with stackoverflow and now a job. Thanks a lot

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