I am just watching this very interesting video on YouTube called "Learning from StackOverflow.com" featuring Joel Spolsky from SO. (Very inspiring webcast - everyone should see it)

While watching that video I came across thinking where SO will be in five years?

It is soon going to have it's first year on the back but what will be in five or more years on SO?

My assumption/expectations for now are that the SO team will rapidly grow and start to create more Q&A websites for all different topics based on the SO engine.

What do you think about the future of these amazing pages that enhance our daily internet experience?


5 Answers 5


I see SO in five years struggling to figure out how to display Jon Skeet's 8 digit reputation score.

Seriously though, one of the issues Joel raised with searching for programming problems on the net is that search engines get it wrong by giving preference to older answers. You'll also get a lot of outdated answers (his example was that if you searched for "iphone app" pretty much every result will tell you theres no such thing).

SO doesn't currently have that problem because it's so new but there are tens of thousands of questions tagged c#. What happens in 5 years when you're covering 5 versions (2.0, 3.5, 4.0, 5.0, 6.0 for example). 2.0 to 3.5 had a lot of changes. 3.5 to 4.0 has a few too. What will 6.0 look like? How well will SO handle answers across that many different versions?

  • +1 for the John Skeet reputation. Well, it would be +1 if I had the rep to do so.
    – LRE
    Commented Aug 23, 2009 at 1:45
  • this really seems like an interesting point of view. what if they start adding versions to the tags? wouldn't that just solve the issue? - as more important answers get updated and reviewed from time to time, there could be a possibility to change tags to the preferred version. basically: versioned tags now would help A LOT in five years..
    – Shaharyar
    Commented Aug 23, 2009 at 1:52
  • @Shaharyar: i think that's probably how it'll go, with newer questions tagged with versions to differentiate them from existing questions. Of course, there's always that "No longer relevant" close option to consider...
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 23, 2009 at 2:42
  • "no longer relevant" in my estimation is going to be hardly ever applicable. Consider: .Net 2.0 is getting long in the tooth. By .Net 4.0/5.0 I guarantee you there will still be people stuck on .Net 2.0. So questions specific to that version (or were correct as of that version) will still be relevant to them.
    – cletus
    Commented Aug 23, 2009 at 3:09

On a boat.

  • 2
    As long as @Jeff is youtube.com/watch?v=NisCkxU544c :p
    – waffles
    Commented Aug 23, 2009 at 0:53
  • I watch that video 3-5 times every time it's posted. Commented Aug 28, 2009 at 0:06
  • Oh my god, that's some funny catchy song
    – juan
    Commented Feb 23, 2010 at 13:19

Hopefully it will be the same as now, at least in spirit.

However, I fear it will be similar, with more elitism and accepted mockery of beginners.


Jeff explicitly mentioned in a podcast that he doesn't work this way. The longest time frame he can predict is 6-8 weeks :)


I have no idea, but we are in this for the long haul -- and I agree with TM that we want to preserve the community spirit of SO above all else.

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