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Today we all learned that, after tomorrow (also known as "today" in UTC+ parts of the world), Sklivvz will no longer be a Stack Overflow employee. This marks the end of a nearly four-year run as a software engineer here, so I think it's worth taking a moment to look back on his time here with the company, as punishment for his sins as a way of bidding fond farewell...

Sklivvz joined us here after a solid tenure as both a long-time Stack Overflow user and founding moderator on Skeptics (he'll retain that status after leaving). His primary focus was on work that affected the Q&A sites.

Sklivvz was active in many different areas during his time here: continuing to moderate Skeptics, helping to guide new users and moderators, traveling the world to share what he'd learned with others face-to-face, occasionally reminding us that there are other countries besides the USA... Among the hundreds of bugs and features that Sklivvz worked on here (including many things most of us probably use daily, like the Help Center and mobile web theme), there are two that I think deserve special recognition:

  1. New Navigation: based on the idea that, as these sites grow, they reach a point where it becomes difficult if not impossible to find questions that interest you as an answerer, this is intended to provide a solid foundation for a more intelligent site navigation UI, one that is customized to each individual user's interests and preferences. Shelved in 2016 so that we could spend more time shipping (and unshipping) other features, the release candidate version remains available on Stack Overflow for those who wish to try it.

  2. Continuous voting fraud detection: This has actually been running and collecting data for several years now, but we haven't yet put the data to good use beyond verifying its results against other methods of detecting fraud (and, occasionally, ad-hoc investigation of reported anomalies). The big advantage of this as compared to the more familiar voting anomaly scripts is that it takes multiple factors into consideration, compiling a "fraud signal strength" for each vote in the system, which can then be used to automatically nullify votes when sufficiently suspicious, or highlight individual users for further investigation by moderators or staff.

I want to highlight the work on both of these, not just because neither will come to fruition until long after Sklivvz is gone, but also because of how the work itself was done: careful analysis of the problem, followed by discussion of possible solutions. Even when the project was something I fully intended to hate (new nav...), the attention to detail that Sklivvz put into researching the problem and defining the goals before venturing to suggest a solution invariably won me over; his work - whether contributing his own ideas or critiquing others' - invariably held to an uncommon sort of persistent honesty that I'll deeply miss.

Please join me in thanking Sklivvz for the work he's done here, and wishing him well in his future endeavors!

  • 1
    Will help. How should I help? – haykam Feb 17 '17 at 3:23
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    Thanks for your work, and good luck in the future! May the unicorns guide your hand. – Seth Feb 17 '17 at 6:26
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    Thank you for all your contributions, not in the least the excellent talks on SO/SE behind the scenes. – Bart Feb 17 '17 at 10:50
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    All the best in the future, too bad I never managed to get a "Not a robot" badge, – Alex Feb 17 '17 at 14:34
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    ...for once, I do not know what to say. Thanks Shog and Tim! <3 – Sklivvz Feb 17 '17 at 19:06
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    @Sklivvz: Good night, and good luck. – ale Feb 18 '17 at 14:50
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Thanks, Josh and Tim, and the community whole. These have been four fantastic years!

I've written a little something to explain my thoughts more fully, but TLDR: thanks, you have made me a better person.

<3

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Fun fact, Sklivvz is the second Stack Overflow employee to give a talk to many very curious and inquisitive developers in The Philippines :) Here's a great shot of him doing it:

Marco Talking

The talk was all about performance, and how Stack Overflow manages to load in an amazingly short amount of time, and he completely captivated the room of 100 something people during the entirety of a talk that went over time for about 40 minutes. There were no less than 30 really good questions after he wrapped up. If you've ever given talks like that, you probably realize that's rather uncommon.

We love pictures in The Philippines, I'm not sure if he was ready to be in over 100 of them before heading out.

Here he is with one of our top users from Manila, Jon, along with me:

Hello, World

Something that he and I both love to do is actually get out there and spend time in the real world with the people that use and care about what you build. While I'm sure that I'll run into Sklivvz 'on the road', I'm going to make sure that we keep that tradition going in hopes that we one day actually meet a robot.

Sklivvz also has quite the appetite for S.E. Asian cuisine, so we hung out at my place the day he was flying back and cooked some Philippine comfort food known as crispy pata - a pork leg and trotter braised until it falls off the bone, with the cap made nice and crispy:

Yummy

Fun fact: Sklivvz can drink 10 shots of espresso in the space of approximately three hours. I know this because that's how many I made for him so he could fight jet lag long enough to get on his flight out.

Gonna miss you Marco, but I'm sure I'll see you around :)

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    Whatever he is going to do in his next endeavor I wish he can still wear flip flops and shorts ... be cool ... – rene Feb 17 '17 at 15:33
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    @rene if Mark can do it, Marco can too! :-D – Shadow The Princess Wizard Feb 20 '17 at 20:54
  • That looks delicious. – Seth Feb 21 '17 at 7:13

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