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One of my big concerns about SO is how sustainable it will be in the long run. We've all been part of other communities that compete with SO in the past and present and I'm curious why we think that SO "has that thing...". Some people say that Apple "has that thing..." or Google "has that thing...", but does SO "have that thing..."?

Why will SO succeed while others will not? Will SO outlast the ASP.NET forums?

"has that thing" = positive buzz, perception of cool, will not fail, etcetera......

Will new users continue to come to SO? Will advertisers continue to contribute money (of late I've notice quite a few "your ad here" messages, not good?)?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The critical mass gives it the initial thrust, and the community-wiki aspect of being able to sanitize other people's data gives it the sustainability. I mean, let's face it, we all love to clean up after other people - it makes us look smart.

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Did you really mean clean up or did you mean use your madz editizing skillz to continually tick folks off for pointless edits? I'm not sure that simply being able to edit the content is sustainable... Others can do that... –  RSolberg Jul 10 '09 at 16:26
    
others can do that? where? examples? –  Jeff Atwood Jul 10 '09 at 16:42
    
@Jeff - just a bit of an inside joke/humor, Jonathan and I have been on quite a few of the same threads lately... –  RSolberg Jul 10 '09 at 16:50
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@Jonathan makes a good point: i've given up on other forums due to the sad state of even the best questions. Poor grammar, spelling, formatting... all become very tiring to read. That editors on SO are able to go in and correct these, and occasionally even more severe issues (missing crucial details, poor titles, tagging) is a huge part of what keeps me around. Some do argue that it takes little effort to interpret a badly-written question, or read multiple answers to mentally compile one good one... but that's still unnecessary effort, a problem that could be solved once and corrected. –  Shog9 Jul 10 '09 at 17:09

Printer drivers...

Oh, right. Well, i'll keep showing up so long as there are plenty of good questions, and plenty of good answers to those questions. If it devolves into 90% "plz send codez" and the linked results of Bing searches, then so long...

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+1: just for the "plz send codez"... love it... –  RSolberg Jul 10 '09 at 16:10

I think as long as the turn around time on answers stays as low as it is, the site will be fine. It's rare to find a question here that is old without something resembling a good answer in it. Compare that to any other forums where someone will have a question and there are 0 responses.

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