Alright, so the past couple of months have been driving me crazy. My roommate, no my hallmates, no all my floormates are driving me crazy.

Everyday, as they work on questions ranging from Physics, to Mathematics, to Computer Science, I can't help but watch in dismay as they look to one source: Yahoo! Answers. Sure, some may find Yahoo! Answers an easy to way to solve some problems. In my opinion however, it is a site I am completely disgusted by. In my mind, I hold StackExchange dear to my heart, and I can't help but cry a little on the inside every time I see a Yahoo! Answers page. The more I see the likes of Yahoo! Answers, the more I cringe inside, trying to see something good in it (there's nothing). However, my friends have yet to acknowledge the existence of this site, let alone visit it.

I've been trying unsuccessfully to recruit them to join the SE community. They seem reluctant to leave the miserable harsh world within other sites besides Stack Exchange. I really want my friends to join Stack Exchange. I think there's a great community here, SE consistently delivers quality answers and questions, as well as tight moderation (to get rid of the bad, bring in the good), and a great place to learn as well. My friends however, don't seem to find any reason to join.

Basically, TL;DR, I can't get my friends to join SE, I would like some advice on how to recruit them into our site.

In what ways can I persuade them to join Stack Exchange that doesn't involve violence, extortion, or blackmail?

  • 4
    +1 Some areas, but not all, of SE are a very harsh world for newcomers, I believe. Feb 7, 2013 at 5:03
  • 3
    I've been casually subtly saying the word "stackexchange" whenever I enter conversation with them. Believe me, it gets pretty awkward.
    – yuritsuki
    Feb 7, 2013 at 5:05
  • One must discover the community that is Stack Exchange by one's self in order to truly appreciate it's many wonders.
    – Krazer
    Feb 7, 2013 at 6:15
  • If they need assistance in coding, they will automatically reach here! No need of advertisement...
    – DD_
    Feb 7, 2013 at 6:18
  • 3
    Patience, eventually, the search engines will point them to SE. And remember, they have the right to be ignorant if they chose so. Feb 7, 2013 at 6:26
  • 1
    if they love programming they are either using so or will using so since when you search programming related topic 8/10 time stackoverflow result are top5 in google Feb 7, 2013 at 6:26
  • It's not just programming though, that makes SE what it's all about. It's about the other sites/communities that SE has, all in different categories. Some of my friends are studying to become Electrical Engineers. Some are studying to be programmers. Some are learning how to cook for others.
    – yuritsuki
    Feb 7, 2013 at 6:33
  • 2
    Why exactly do you want them to join here ? If they google a solution to a problem, they'll end up on SE fast enough. If they think you promote SE just because you have a good score here and so they would join a competition where you have the lead, they might not be encouraged to come. So I'd recommend the soft approach : just give them links when they really apply to their questions. And let Google do the rest of the work. Feb 7, 2013 at 7:34
  • 1
    Not all answers you can get from YA can be elicited on SE. For example, "Here's my homework, do it for me" fits the bill on Yahoo Answers, but isn't a good idea here. They're good for different things.
    – user200500
    Mar 9, 2013 at 22:51

3 Answers 3


Listen dutifully to their latest question before sneaking quietly off to your room and posting the problem on an appropriate StackExchange site (after checking it conforms with the FAQ, of course).

Over breakfast a few days later, remark that you posted the question and have received several insightful answers. Would your friend kindly join you in reviewing these and selecting a correct one?

Finally, bask in the glory of having converted another muggle. At this point, you may wish to probe their thoughts on freehand circles. No, wait. Don't push that one too early.


Top tip: don't persuade them. Just use Stack Exchange yourself. Show it to them when relevant. And then see if they pick it up. If they discover on their own that Yahoo! Answers has several shortcomings that SE might address, they'll come on over.

But truth be told, if Yahoo! Answers fits the bill for them, Stack Exchange most likely won't. Stack Exchange is not a better Yahoo! Answers. It's a different beast altogether. As George pointed out, a significant portion of the questions asked over there, would simply not be welcome here. So why do people still stay on a site with questions like those? Because they have questions like those.

Asking good questions is hard. Asking questions on SO/SE is hard. And the scope of questions you're "allowed" to ask is narrow. I wouldn't want to have it any other way, and I'm guessing you don't either. But it's not for everyone. So participate, get good results and share them with your friends/roommates/hall-mates. If they discover you are getting the more valuable responses, they will hop over. And if Yahoo! Answers is sufficient for them, please don't forcibly drag them over.


I seriously can't believe that anyone can look at the list of "recently resolved questions" and still want to use Yahoo! Answers.

Nearly every question falls into one of three categories:

  1. Duplicates (and also not constructive):
  2. Totally off-topic:
  3. Questionable:

Stack Exchange is designed to avoid each of those problems. Duplicates are flagged and closed almost immediately, keeping all of the relevant answers with a single question. Off-topic questions are closed or migrated to other sites on the network.

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