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This question already has an answer here:

Is it just the regular give and take knowledge site or is there much more to it? I have personally started liking this site a little too much!..I mean I downloaded the app to stay updated(never really did this before). What is that ultimate point which makes this site so special? Isn't it too social,friendly and yet we find competition all around?? What is it that drives people so close to this site? And what do I as a person gain?Is it just materialistic or is there something deep within?

marked as duplicate by random discussion Dec 18 '15 at 22:57

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I found myself wondering pretty much the same thing about 2 weeks ago. Everyone's motivation is going to be a little different, but here goes:

1. Community

Some SE sites attract a more transient crowd as portals to ask for quality suggestions (Workplace for ex.), while others allow users to discuss issues which they are passionate about in a constructive way. It's nice to have like minded people to share your ideas with, and to get their feedback.

2. Well Managed

Unlike most other sites SE is very well policed, and the content is kept on-topic. It's nice to see that trolls or idiots are dealt with, and not allowed to run amok. The community events (such as Hats) are also pretty nifty.

3. Insightful

Mostly due to the above I find that SE offers very high quality answers, unlike the 1 word replies you'll get on some forums. People actually take the time to answer your question in detail, and the traffic is high enough that you rarely have to wait too long for one.

4. Impact

Because the SE sites are better structured not just anyone joins. A troll, or someone who doesn't put any effort in their posts is going to get discouraged and leave. That means that the users who are actually interested in replying will get their message across, and not simply drown in childish BS, and spam. It's satisfying to know that your answer is reaching people.

5. Reputation and Badges

SE has a good participation and quality reward system implemented. It's thrilling to watch that reputation count go up, and the notifications that you've earned another star are simply the best. It's a good system to reward people who get involved, and to encourage more of the same.

6. Trust

SE demonstrates a lot of trust in its users by allowing us to vote on closing/opening questions, giving us access to some site statistics, allowing - and indeed encouraging - the editing of tags and posts, etc. It's a good feeling to know that your opinion counts, and that your actions are shaping the community. It makes you feel you've got a stake in it.

I hope I've helped you answer that nagging question!

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