I'd really like to give the good folks who run StackOverflow some more money. But I already have the T-Shirt, coffee mug, and beer stein. What to do...

I keep meaning to go to Vista Print to update and re-order some business cards; but it would be much nicer if I could instead buy some Stack Overflow business cards. You guys already give them to moderators, why not offer them for sale for everyone else?

Replace the part that says "Community Moderator" with community member, or even 10K/20K/30K member and you should be good to go.


Popular Demand brings up a good point (as he usually does). Letting anyone in the world with a Stack Overflow account get a card printed up stating his affiliation with the site might lead to problems. But what about limiting it to 10K+ users? I think that would be a good compromise for everyone.


Based on Charles's answer, what about limiting the cards to people who have a careers profile? Those people have already been screened and invited in. I think that's easily a sufficient bar.

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    Don't forget gold plated ones for Jon Skeet. – Oded Jan 27 '12 at 18:58
  • +1 because these would be cool, but note Jeff's latest comment on the issue: "we can indeed produce business cards for public sites if there is an event opportunity, otherwise they are for community moderators.", in reply to: "Can anyone have such a card, of his account on SO, for personal use or is it just for developers/moderators of SE sites?". – Jeremy Banks Jan 27 '12 at 19:02
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    I don't get it. Unless SO is your business, why would you want a SO business card? Do you have business cards specific to each of your hobbies? – Igby Largeman Jan 27 '12 at 19:06
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    @Oded: Jon Skeet doesn't have a SO business card. SO has a "frequented by Jon Skeet" card. – Igby Largeman Jan 27 '12 at 19:08
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    @Igby - don't take the "business" in "business card" too seriously. Like most software developers I just need a card with my contact info to give out (and put in fishbowls at restaurants, as a commenter previously noted). Having a nice card with StackOverflow on it would be nice. – Adam Rackis Jan 27 '12 at 19:09
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    @Oded - Jon Skeet doesn't need a business card. If you're worthy of Jon Skeet's time, he'll contact you – Adam Rackis Jan 27 '12 at 19:10
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    @AdamRackis: understood, but you're talking about your own identity. Are you "Adam Rackis, software engineer" or are you "Adam Rackis, StackOverflow contributor"? I feel like if you identify yourself as the latter, you're selling yourself short. Even if SO is great. – Igby Largeman Jan 27 '12 at 19:11
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    @Igby - possibly. The way I see it, I'd mostly be giving the card to either other developers, or people looking to hire me. Either way, I see my 20K SO membership as a positive. – Adam Rackis Jan 27 '12 at 19:20
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    The best compromise is obviously to sell MSO business cards. They're unlikely to be taken too seriously. – Jeremy Banks Jan 27 '12 at 19:21
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    @Jeremy - only if the text on the MSO card is drawn freehand – Adam Rackis Jan 27 '12 at 19:27
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    I was under the impression that pretty much everyone gets a careers profile.. is this not the case? I got an invite in my first week on SO and I figured that was the case for other people as well. I don't think the bar should be set that low. – Marvin Pinto Jan 27 '12 at 19:47
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    I'm not sure having a Careers profile is a high enough bar by itself. Perhaps Careers + 10k on a site or 20k network wide? – Matthew Read Jan 27 '12 at 21:00
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    @Matthew - works for me too. That definitely sounds reasonable / intelligent – Adam Rackis Jan 27 '12 at 21:02
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    Limited to 10K users? You sure you want Blankman to have one? =) – Josh Darnell Jan 27 '12 at 22:00
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    @jadarnel27 - WOW. – Adam Rackis Jan 27 '12 at 22:02

This would definitely be cool. Unfortunately, once you open up cards to everyone, well, you've opened up cards to everyone, and some SO users post... not-so-great questions and answers.

There's no way to determine whether a given card requestor is someone who would represent SO/SE positively; reputation is not sufficiently reliable. Until we can make that determination, we should probably continue erring on the side of too few people having the cards, rather than too many.

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    Damn you and your probably correct reasoning.... – Adam Rackis Jan 27 '12 at 19:12
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    What about a card when you hit 10K, would give me something to aspire toward! With maybe a check to see my rep from answers vs question ratio to ensure I've given out good answers? – gideon Jan 27 '12 at 19:16
  • @gideon - I think that could potentially be a good compromise – Adam Rackis Jan 27 '12 at 19:16
  • @gideon Who's gonna be the judge as to whether or not your answers are to be considered good? I agree with the reasoning here, if there's too many of these cards they lose their value. – Charles Sprayberry Jan 27 '12 at 19:20
  • @Charles - this isn't some sort of reward for people who post well. This is just a more attractive option to the bland business cards many of us developers print up on sites like VistaPrint. (and it might make Jeff and Joel some money in the process.) Limiting to 10K users is just an off-the-cuff idea to make sure they don't go to people for whom Jeff might not want to advertise are affiliated with the site. – Adam Rackis Jan 27 '12 at 19:24
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    Limiting to 10k has too many false hits, both positive and negative. There's a 10k SO user out there who has only two positive-score answers, both of which are for old GTKY polls. – Pops Jan 27 '12 at 19:27
  • Usually the limit they put on free swag is for users in the first X user pages... – Won't Jan 27 '12 at 19:30
  • @PopularDemand yea which is why you could look at answer/question ration, tag badges so many other things. I mean even careers works on the principal that your SO rep and profile talk about your programming prowess ;) – gideon Jan 27 '12 at 19:37
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    @gideon It's not even about programming prowess. Some high-rep users have lots of knowledge, but act arrogant/elitist/disdainful when dispensing it. Other users have great programming skill but suck at communicating. I don't think it's possible to build a good metric for "would represent SO/SE positively in the real world" based only on site activity. – Pops Jan 27 '12 at 19:40

I would not like to see just anybody with the ability to get these business cards. If I ran across one of these in the wild I'd want it to be a super cool experience knowing that the person on the other side is actively involved in a community that I care about and likes helping others. If we just let anybody get the business card then that impact won't be there.

In addition, I feel like the business card with the Stack Overflow logo on it indicates that you in some way represent the actual Stack Exchange company. I'm pretty sure that Stack Exchange Inc. doesn't want just anybody to represent themselves in this way. Even limiting it to a high-rep doesn't indicate that the person is suitable for this; I've seen plenty of high-rep users that provide inappropriate information or were just down-right rude and mean. Properly judging whether somebody is worthy of representing the company is already in place; through actual employment by Stack Exchange or becoming a community moderator.

Representing Stack Exchange should be an honor and not something simply bestowed upon you because you show up and use the site.

  • That's a fair point. I added an edit to address that (limit it to people with careers profiles) – Adam Rackis Jan 27 '12 at 19:32
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    Limiting it to users with a careers profile is a good idea and would make this more... palatable :) – Charles Sprayberry Jan 27 '12 at 19:34

I love this idea, but I don't think they should be cards to represent you but cards to represent the site

I have run into a lot of people for whom I want to recommend Stack Overflow, or more often, some other Stack Exchange site, and when I give them the address they say Stack what?

Putting aside the fact that developers don't know what a Stack Overflow is (because when I think about that I want to cry) cards for other Stack Exchange sites would be handy to give out to help direct people to those sites.

Maybe have your global Stack Exchange profile on one side, and on the other side general information about the network, the trilogy sites, and a place on the for you to fill in a specific site URL? like _______.stackexchange.com

Just my $0.02. WHich would probably buy me one of these cards printed on only one side ;-)

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