As I read about the Monica controversy, part of me feels very disheartened. Clearly this community means something to people, the passion in the words I read affirms that for me. At the same time though, it's hard not be disheartened reading all the negative sentiments. I want to believe that things aren't so bad that they can never be fixed, and that the network can continue to be a valuable resource for the internet as a whole.

I'm still very new. In the spirit of improvement and optimism, could some longer tenure users explain why they stay? Why do you dedicate your time to this site? What do you get out of it, why do you like it? Why do you think it will get better?

  • 34
    "Why do you think it will get better?" Can it get worse? Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 20:59
  • 15
    I'll just point out that this is semi-related to this identically named post from almost half a year ago. The issues weren't quite to the same head as they are now, but they're discussing what's been building for awhile now. Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 21:39
  • 11
    @202324 I'm not sure that this is offtopic, and the latter two reasons are a lot more lax (or outright inapplicable) on Meta. Half the posts here are primarily opinion based. Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 21:42
  • @Carcigenicate I'm so sorry, I missed that one!
    – pfr
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 21:42
  • @pfr No, it's all good. The environment has changed. If you want to get a sense of how the problems today came to be though, the previous post may be of help. Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 21:43
  • That make sense. Thanks!
    – pfr
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 21:44
  • 6
    @AnneDaunted aww. you gone jinxed it :D Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 0:06
  • 4
    @202324 I don't think it's blatently off-topic considering that this is a question regarding Stack Exchange, which is within scope and too broad is arguable. If you really must flag it as anything this would be Primarily Opinion Based since there every answer is equally valid irrespective of corroboration, but even then the nature of meta websites on Stack Exchange is somewhat different than that of the main subjects and knowing our goals is a good way to give us insight on how we should proceed.
    – Tonepoet
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 4:14
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/334278/…
    – dim
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 7:22
  • 1
    "I want to believe that things aren't so bad that they can never be fixed" It can yes, but will it? Nobody knows. Maybe not what you wanted to hear. Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 7:41
  • 18
    @AnneDaunted Yes it certainly can get worse.....
    – Neo
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 15:59
  • I don't think people should leave, but I find it morbidly amusing to see just how much worse it's gotten since @AnneDaunted implied it couldn't get worse. Mostly by the unexpected, if unsurprising in retrospect, incidents of autofootshooting.
    – Solveit
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 2:44
  • I joined in August, really like the SEs I've been involved with (mostly Writing), and have been feeling torn about this whole mess, like I'm crossing the picket line to contribute. I like my (resigned/fired/striking) mods and I support them in this conflict. I would love the community to go back to being a functional, helpful, and friendly oasis of internet learning-- but I wonder whether I should let myself get invested any further.
    – wordsworth
    Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 1:16
  • @AnneDaunted: Oh yes, sure, it can get much worse. SE Inc. can fire more people, or ban certain users, or write even stricter orders about speech is allowed, or make everyone declare pronouns and ask for pronouns. Or they could just delete the entire network if it doesn't make them any money.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 21:33
  • There's no better platform yet. Also, the site I helped create needs some moderators; if we we all quit, who'll do it?
    – Raphael
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 1:41

37 Answers 37


Mi Yodeya.

I stay for this fantastic community, a community of people who care about each other and help each other while we all, together, build an amazing collection of questions and answers about everything from the details of obscure talmudic passages to the practical issues of observing Shabbat on other planets. The community has also come together for several community projects, including publications and (currently) a distributed learning program.

While here I've found other great communities too. Mi Yodeya is the anchor of all that I do here.

I hope that, when all this mess is done one way or the other, I can continue to participate. I hope that daily reminders of the pain and harm done to me will not impede me. I don't know how that will work out yet.

  • 83
    I am continually astounded by your optimism and ability to see through the distractions now on this site.
    – J Crosby
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 21:33
  • 24
    Aren't you interested in moving these great communities to some other venue? Why should SE Inc "own us"? Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 23:55
  • 1
    After all this time? Always! Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 0:18
  • 1
    @sesquipedalias Are you going to provide the necessary servers? Are you going to pay for the legal fees that will ensue after you violate the copyright?
    – pacmaninbw
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 17:25
  • Is the first paragraph intended to mean “Who knows?” or the website of that name?
    – hftf
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 22:49
  • 28
    @sesquipedalias I'd be happy to participate on a relocated site (and bringing the content along is fine, per the license). It's a big project, for which I have neither the knowledge nor resources, but if someone else does it, I'll help. Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 1:34
  • 1
    @hftf the latter; clarified in an edit. Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 1:34
  • 3
    I am genuinely extremely curious as to why anyone would downvote this. Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 19:29
  • 19
    @MonicaCellio Let the records show that I would be more than willing (and capable) to contribute a lot WRT programming of the new site, especially the content cloning (allowed by the license, as you noted). If you ever come across a couple of other highly motivated folks, who can coordinate some crowdfunding campaign to pay for hosting etc., let me know please. For this 'fork' of Stack Exchange we could even adopt pretty much the same Code of Conduct; that would demonstrate very clearly that whatever issues we have with current management, the CoC is not at fault.
    – Marc.2377
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 1:17
  • I mostly lurk on Mi Yodeya but happen to have new questions at the moment. I've been reluctant to post there since your firing because it feels like an insult to you. Do you have a preference regarding this? Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 20:32
  • 13
    @Leopold please don't let SE's obnoxious treatment of me harm Mi Yodeya, which did nothing to deserve this. If you have questions, ask away! Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 20:34
  • 3
    @marc I’ll throw my hat in the ring there. I’m not even sure that a single site (Mi Yodeya doesn’t have the largest traffic volume) would be a huge burden for hosting cost. Potentially as we see what that burden is we could transfer other communities too.
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 15:25
  • 3
    Thanks, Monica. This sounds an awful lot like why I stay on Christianity SE. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 17:29
  • 3
    @Marc.2377 (and Monica) see my profile please if your prior statements are still true. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 19:14
  • @tim, please follow the link on my profile (or GDPR's).
    – Marc.2377
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 19:26

Sharing knowledge is addictive

... at least it is for me, and despite all its shortcomings, Stack Exchange is the best platform for it.[citation not needed]

I should have known about the addictiveness; when I'm at the office, I'm getting all kinds of questions from colleagues asking to explain how X works or how to solve problem Y. That often happens at inconvenient moments, like when I'm fully focused on another complicated problem. Still, being that Person That Knows Everything is tremendously gratifying.

You can be that person on Stack Exchange as well, and most importantly: you can turn it off when it's not convenient for you! I'm aware that this holds true for all online communities (and even some offline ones) but here I feel my contributions have the most value for people around the world. I joined Stack Overflow because I noticed it saved me and my colleagues countless hours of work, more than any of the other programming sites. I wanted to give something back and be part of that awesome community producing high quality solutions.

Then I discovered Meta Stack Overflow (and later Meta Stack Exchange), which helped me become a better Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange citizen, more than any of the other resources. I wanted to give something back and be part of that awesome community producing high quality meta-solutions. The rest is history, I guess ...

  • 3
    Have you tried other platforms? Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 11:06
  • 2
    @Suvitruf other platforms? What is this you speak of???
    – J Crosby
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 15:23
  • 1
    @JCrosby Stack Exchange is the best platform for it. So, I'm just curious, if Glorfindel has tried different platforms (: Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 15:24
  • 9
    I've dabbled in some forums (most before, a few after I joined SO). It might be that there's a better platform nowadays but I don't know about it.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 15:47
  • I tried Quora, but it's not enough and the community is different (obviously). SE hasn't let me down with the knowledgebase yet, unlike with other things. :) Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 15:59
  • At a much smaller scale, there is the little-known (deliberately never turns up in search engine results) help desks on Wikipedia. E.g. Science help desk. Though it effectively is a forum (with full threading), Eternal September has not happened there (and fortunately there is a culture of never RTFM). Sample. Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 16:44

I'm staying to see how this PR disaster will pan out

Pan out
1. End up; conclude.

he's happy with the way the deal panned out


Green, speaking to the Sunday Herald last night, said: ‘We'll just have to wait to see how it pans out this week.
Lexico, formerly Oxford Dictionaries

It's like watching a train (not a car, it's far worse than that) crash in slow motion, you know how it's going to end but you can't do anything to stop it.

My contributions on EL&U and ELL were already dwindling by the time Stack Exchange committed hara-kiri by firing Monica Cellio. The contributions have since halted to a standstill. I've stopped investing energy and passion on these two sites, I've stopped posting quality questions, and answering to them. I am no longer invested in EL&U or ELL. I'm here on Meta for the ride.

The decomposition began last year when the ugly responsive desktop theme was imposed on EL&U (Yes, I continue to dislike it, it has never grown on me, and it never will.) Despite the numerous posts on EL&U meta, the constructive criticisms, and the passion displayed by some of its most veteran users, very few changes were made. The CM, probably shaken by the downvotes–which are risible compared to nowadays on Meta–professed on December 4 2018:

[emphasis mine]

This site was probably the hardest site for me for a variety of reasons. I'm still learning how to accept criticism without being hurt by it and this site design failed you all in a way that I wasn't prepared for. I appreciate and treasure your clear care for this site and wanting it to feel like home - and a place you want to be. I want you to be here, too, and want you to feel welcome and comfortable.


As to the design of the site and wanting its users to feel welcome again, there's been a deafening silence from the Community Manager since December 2018. The last update is dated December 10, 2018, and the EL&U's logo banner was not centred. No compromise was offered either.

enter image description here enter image description here

But the silence worked!! It worked “folks”, users carried on posting, the mods carried on moderating, Google carried on attracting visits to EL&U. So, SE was absolutely right in employing this tactic. One hundred per cent. Ignore the gripes about the responsive theme, ignore the disgruntled veteran users, everyone will eventually forget and get on with it, and the new users will be none the wiser.

When you see how the executives mistreated someone of the calibre of Monica Cellio, and you realize that their letters of apologies were only a Public Relations stunt, when you see through the façade and the tactics, you finally stop caring about the company. We don't work here, they don't help pay our bills or put food on our table.

I participated on EL&U and ELL because I enjoy learning about the English language, and because I learnt so much from reading answers, posted as far back as 2010, by real experts in linguistics, who, incidentally, have also stopped contributing. Today, I can probably count four experts in linguistics, and four English enthusiasts who consistently produce quality contributions. This slump coincides with the low quality of questions (and answers), which on EL&U has been happening since 2016. Don't ask me for proof. Just take my word for it.

However, I will always be grateful to EL&U and ELL, I used to enjoy myself and I used to enjoy helping users understand a little bit more about the English grammar and the etymology of words (I count myself as an enthusiast, not an expert). I am grateful to the remaining mods who run a tight ship, I could never do their job.

  • 12
    I very much agree with the sentiments of this post. Also, to "feel welcome" has lost all meaning these days. Before it was clear-cut, be respectful, be nice etc. Now though, it's subjective therefore it isn't clear what is/is not "welcoming" because of how it might be perceived by a passer by.
    – Script47
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 12:30

I stay for the users. The people who come to ask questions, the people who answer those questions, and the people who seek to make those questions and answers better for those few who search before asking.

That’s what I’m here for.

  • 3
    Thank you! That's a really nice way of putting it
    – pfr
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 21:06
  • 1
    I think you deserve a whole bunch of thank you's.
    – pacmaninbw
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 17:26
  • Hey, you copied the words from my mind! ;) Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 6:53
  • 5
    "That’s what I’m here for." - Not anymore I guess... Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 0:02

Frame challenge:

I'm not staying. Within 24 hours this post will appear to have been written by a deleted account.

Reasons for leaving:

  • 5
    Downvoted not because you're not staying, but because I see no frame challenge at all. It would be educational to share why you're deleting your account Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 0:05
  • 11
    Q: "Why don't you leave despite all these issues" -> A: "Your assumption that these issues isn't sufficient to make me leave is incorrect" -> how is this not a classic frame challenge?
    – user160254
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 0:07
  • 2
    We all have our own reasons we're unhappy. I'm ok with cc 4.0 for example. I'm less so with other things. Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 0:09
  • 13
    Feels like standing at the grave of the unknown soldier. Good for you, whoever you were. Thanks for the battles you fought. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 3:58

When I started out as a system administrator, more than 20 years ago, there was no Stack Exchange. There also wasn't a Google.

What there was was Usenet, IRC, and a thing called LysKOM that only a few people in Sweden used. On all three of those places, perfect strangers helped me figure stuff out, and I returned the favour. I found friends, even lovers, even a husband, there, and many of those relationships are still going strong a couple of decades later, even though Usenet is all but dead and IRC has mainly moved to Slack.

When I found Server Fault, I pretty much immediately started answering questions. I want to help new sysadmins the way that those other people helped me when I was new. I enjoy my work, and I love solving problems, and more than once I've found solutions to my own problems while working on some question there.

For quite a few years now, I've spent at least a little time on Server Fault each day, looking for some question where I can give a good answer that will help others. But during those same years, the community that was there when I started has dwindled. I've still hung around, though.

Until now. At present I am doing nothing on any non-meta site - no voting, no queue checking, no answering or editing. I'm not going to give any more free work to Stack Exchange until they sort this out. I do realize that my flounce is not going to affect their bottom line in any way. But this isn't about their bottom line - it's about my conscience. I don't want to be part of what they're making it.


I'm most active on Code Review. I have been a moderator there on 2 separate occasions - initially as a Pro-Tem moderator as the site was growing rapidly, then again, later, as an elected moderator as the site was more stable.

I firmly believe that Code Review is helping programmers become better programmers, and it's increasing the net value of people in the industry (and school systems). It is a great way for people to share their knowledge, in a positive, mentoring way. It's also a great way for new programmers, or experienced programmers that are new to a language, or a new technique, get peer review in a positive-criticism mechanism.

Bottom line, Code Review offers a lot, it is a site I am passionate about, and have put many years of volunteer hours in to.

I am resigning my moderator position as a result of a number of factors, but I will not be leaving Code Review. It is a good place to be in spite of the turmoil outside of that specific site.

In a sense, Code Review is lucky because people who choose to post questions on the site have to accept that they are making themselves vulnerable... they have to ask: "Here's some code I wrote that I think is OK, but can you tell me what I screwed up?" ... that question puts a lot of trust in us to give feedback without being judgmental. When people come with that vulnerability, and are handled with respect, it essentially automatically ensures that any other discourse is civil, and polite, and it's a nice place to be.

The fact that we are such a successful "second-tier" site on Stack Exchange is a testament to the great community that has chosen to share their time with others to help them to improve themselves.

I like that community, and I want to be a part of it.

That's why I am sticking around (even if I am not a moderator for long).

  • 2
    Thank you for all you have done. I wish I could convince you to stay on as moderator, but you have absolutely valid reasons for resigning.
    – pacmaninbw
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 17:30
  • 3
    Code Review is an awesome website. It is a shining testament to the agility of the platform and the dedication of its incredible communities.
    – user102937
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 16:03

I'll give you as honest an answer as I can, with some context. My reasons for staying have evolved over time. Recent events have sorta been a reality check for me, making me give SE some hard thought I would otherwise not have done.

Until maybe a year ago, I thought SE was the best thing since sliced bread. I became addicted to the place and really enjoyed being here. I became perhaps too invested, both emotionally and in terms of time and effort spent here.

Then SE's focus moved away from content quality. I stuck around because it is satisfying to help people solve problems, and I still felt it important to help curate the sites I spent time on. My participation became more "in spite of" SE corporate than because of it. Over the years, I had invested a ridiculous amount of time and effort, and still felt tied to the sites, but the environment was starting to burn me out.

The recent events disgusted me and were kind of a last straw. I was about to walk away from SE when David Fullerton posted his apology.

It made me take a step back and reflect. If I was so disgusted with SE, why did I spend a week, or whatever the period was, glued to MSE and venting in posts and comments? Why did I care?

I came across a post where somebody observed that anger meant that the person still cared, whereas apathy meant the person no longer did. I thought I had been getting apathetic over the last year, but I realized that I still care about the sites, themselves.

I decided to delay any action to see how things fall out. "Why" I stay is no longer a simple question. The "why" part of it will balance positives and negatives (and won't be easy). For me, if I stay it will be more a question of "how"; the nature of my participation.

I suspect it will be a long time before I feel invested in the place again and would consider volunteering for a moderator position. If SE totally makes things right with Monica, comes up with a reasonable CoC, and starts focusing again on quality, I will stay for the same reason I originally joined -- it's the best platform for building knowledge and helping people solve problems. If I want to continue these activities, it would be hard to find a better venue to do it. I will continue to help curate the sites I use. And because it's addicting.

Short of those changes by SE, I would have to do more soul searching. I would likely participate for less altruistic reasons; at a minimum, I could see using SE for my own questions, maybe answering an occasional interesting question to help someone else. Who knows how that might change over time. If SE continues to treat experienced users as commodities, or continues policies that make quality less important, I probably wouldn't continue to volunteer my time curating sites. But if the terms of the new CoC aren't something I can endorse, remaining will be untenable, regardless of the reasons I might prefer to stay.

  • 4
    Time for an update, the letter of apology by Fullerton was only a PR stunt. The contrition false. The promise to rebuild the trust, meaningless. Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 8:29
  • 1
    My participation became more "in spite of" SE corporate than because of it. Yeah--this. Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 23:52

I stay because of the gamification.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic. {Panel 1} Zeus: Sisyphus! You are cursed to push a stone up a hill, only to see it fall down over and over again! | Sisyphus: Noooo! {Panel 2} Zeus: Okay, okay, _addendum_: Each time the rock rolls back down, a meaningless counter will say you've increased one level. | Sisyphus: WOOHOO!

Virtual scores are the nicotine of the 21st century.


I keep using Stack Exchange as my main question-answering website because, unlike Reddit, Quora, Yahoo Answers, etc.:

  • user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 4.0 (with attribution required)
  • official data dumps are provided
  • noisy contributions are often removed
  • the UI is decent

so I don't see any better, well-frequented alternatives, even though Stack Exchange is far from perfect (data dump is incomplete, roomba has removed well over 100 of my questions, moderation is sometimes arbitrary, some Stack Exchange employees have insulted me and had derogatory comments/actions against me despite me staying respectful all the time to anyone because it is more time efficient anyway, the text editor being subpar, overlapping Stack Exchange websites that fragments the community such as AI vs. DS vs. CV, the UI isn't compact enough, etc.). The numerous issues I had with Stack Exchange over time definitely caused my question-to-answer ratio to increase by a lot.

  • 5
    Should be CC BY-SA 3.0. Though not related to mod-sacking, this is one of the current issues
    – mcalex
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 2:26

I don't.

To be more specific, I have long since left the SE community I was most active in, with no regrets and no looking back.

Although I would have liked things to have been different, I ultimately realised that a situation involving bad behaviour by two moderators, followed by the same close-ranks/circle-the-wagons approach we've seen in more recent events, together with a level of silence effectively amounting to approval of that from the CM team, was not a community I wanted to be a participating member of.

I still remain in some SE communities but my actual participation is a tiny fraction of what it was, and recent events have only served to affirm that I made the right decision years ago. SE is on a trajectory that is actively harmful to it as a community. It doesn't value subject matter experts, it doesn't value people who put in hard work, and it doesn't value the hard work they put in. Nothing I've seen over the past few weeks changes that opinion, although I suppose that one positive outcome is that at least it's all out in the open now.

  • Yupp. I thought this is an utopian idea made flesh, we all help each other in a nice way and make the world a better place. Unfortunately the niceness has taken a serious bash. And I'm left wondering if I've invested all that time just to enhance shareholder value. So I'm sort of on strike till it gets better. Which may not happen.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 12:23
  • Shareholder value? But they are not a public company (at least not yet). Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 16:55

I stay because there is nowhere to go.

I also enjoy the amusing and tragic spectacle around the latest CoC and how people argue about how we should address completely anonymous, unverified and random accounts.

I don't care who is asking questions or writing answers. You might be straight, LGBT, a giraffe or a reptile. The only thing that counts is knowledge.

Luckily, there seem to still be a few people who think the same and find this entire hurly-burly pathetic.

You can address me as he/she/your majesty/friend/brother/whatever - as long as you have good intentions and don't call me names I don't mind.


TL;DR: I stay because there are still good people around, even inside Stack Exchange itself.

It took me a while to realize the above. At first I was just furious, then sad, but I didn't see any hope. It was all black, with SE doing evil things and everyone suffer.

But then, two events in a single day made a change:

  1. I read several awesome posts from awesome people, that I missed before. One was from George (Stocker), who, even though resigning, stayed as an active user to help the community, not SE.

  2. Someone I know popped up on Meta after not being around for long time, and made me realize it's not all dark. We can still do the things we did before, even if trust with the platform owners is damaged or even lost forever. It doesn't matter who runs the place behind the scenes; it matters who is inside the place. And there's still room for fun and for good things.

That was about two weeks ago. Since then, nothing major happened, neither good nor bad. This is bad by itself, but not enough to break my decision.

So I'm here, not happy with SE at all, but putting it aside for the good of the people who are still here too, and the people inside SE who still work hard to make this a better place, even when their voice is not heard.

  • 1
    Nice update/summary. Thanks you!
    – GhostCat
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 12:28

I am strongly tempted to leave. But...Act in haste, Repent at leisure. Often used about marriage and sometimes about tattoos. Big Brother SE might/could do enough to persuade me to stay. Monica has to be made whole. We can't expect dazzling speed now that this has ballooned into a major rebellion. SE understandably needs to consult lawyers.

What has caused me to enjoy my sites (mainly TGO and ELU, but others too) since May 2015 is that I learn fascinating things. For example, singular they came up on ELU several years ago, completely unconnected with the current mess. It has been part of grammar for hundreds of years. Also, I have become acquainted with knowledgable and lovely people.

My advice is not to stay for the Rep points, although they are mildly addictive, but for what you can learn.

  • 3
    I don't see why SE needs to consult lawyers. In fact, reversing the damage they've done ought to help them were it to come to something involving lawyers. Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 1:37
  • 2
    When in trouble, don't say anything and consult your lawyer. is probably the strategy they are following. However, I am not a lawyer and I have never gotten into the sort of fix that SE has gotten itself into, so this may be nonsense. However, it is possible they are afraid of what you will do.
    – user540056
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 2:11
  • ab2, are you speculating, about the consulting with lawyers, or have you come across some information, or hints or vibes? Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 2:28
  • 5
    @aparente001 Speculating only.. No info, hints, or vibes. However, there has been enough talk about damage to Monica's reputation that could affect her job prospects and earning power, and also mental distress (even by Monica herself), and the first and second rounds of this mess were handled so badly by SE employees, that, IF I were the CEO, I'd want my legal team involved before anything worse happened to SE because of SE ignorance or incompetence.
    – user540056
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 12:22
  • Thanks for clarifying. Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 14:36
  • 4
    Re "...major rebellion": Q&A Revolution The Q&A Revolution was a colonial revolt which occurred between 2019 and 2025. The Independents in the Three Colonies defeated the Stack Exchange empire in the Q&A Revolutionary War (2021-2025) with the assistance of Quora, winning independence from Spolsky Knowledge Markets and establishing the United Sites of Q&A. No, not yet. Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 22:01
  • 1
    @Peter Mortensen Brilliant! Vulcan agents, working undercover (e.g. wearing hats to hide their ears) assisted, the object being to advance the date of First Contact.
    – user540056
    Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 22:52

Simple. Such sites have helped me a lot in my time.

So, right now I have experience and knowledge to help others. That's it.


I'm a humanist, and I like helping other people. Even if my contributions are not upvoted or accepted, they are still viewed hundreds if not thousands of times. That's helping mankind along, although cryptography is of course not earth science (something we need more than crypto, if you ask me).

Stack Exchange has a great concept. Although there are many, many issues with it, as a Q/A gaming site it does work, and it works well. The separate concepts of questions, answers, comments, chat and of course the voting and reputation works rather well. There have been many tries to get something similar working, but this still seems to be the best option available.

As for moderation, I guess that grows on you. First you get to Stack Exchange to ask or get answers. Usually you start from a generic Internet search engine and get to find a few questions / answers here. Then you start finding questions that have gone unanswered or you start asking questions yourself. In the beginning you get spurred on by badges, later on by reputation and before you know it you're hooked.

Later on you start editing these questions you answer because well, what's a good answer without a good question? Don't they need good tags to go with them? Before you know it one of your favorite mods quits, you're having a bit more spare time than usual and all your online friends are spurring you to participate. And there you are, you've got a diamond attached to your (nick)name.

My crypto questions and answers have been seen about 5 million times on SO and 2 million times on crypto.SE. I mean, 7 million views for a niche topic such as cryptography? Darn, that must make some kind of impact, right? And that's just in my spare time!

Besides that, I'm just a small time cryptographer compared with some of the aces on the network. Heck, some of our users are university professors. Imagine what I have learned myself!

As for the turmoil, you have to remember that there won't be heated discussions over a platform that users don't care about. Those platforms are simply left behind. Even with the huge mistakes by the Stack Exchange team, most users and mods are still trying to make the site better. Hopefully we will succeed in doing that, or the site will get marginalized in the end.


I stay:

  • to protect my "investment". I am one of the (currently) 275 holders of a legendary badge on stackoverflow.com. Many, many days spent there to get to +200 reputation by the end of the day. Walking away, and leaving that behind? No way.
  • to help. Seriously: I like to answer questions. Tough ones, easy ones. A new user coming back "gosh, you saved my day", or an experienced user coming back "wow, I didn't know one could do that" ... that feels just great.
  • to help, even when people don't want that help. As in: voting on low quality content, giving feedback to new users how to improve their input, so that we actually can help them.

And for some of the real top contributors, SO for example is a place where they interact with the readers who bought their books. So that site directly relates to the "book selling" part of some people's businesses.

Sure, I kinda lost most, if not all my trust towards Stack Exchange Inc, but as written elsewhere: I don't want to give up these other things, so I intend to continue, albeit with slower pace.

Having said that, it really doesn't feel that good. The more Stack Exchange Inc. isn't reacting in meaningful, constructive ways the harder it feels to stay here. It is really like: leaving everything behind OR staying, but knowing to contribute to a place where I have zero trust towards the people running the service.

A small update: the fact that I don't trust the company doesn't mean to reject the chance to work with them. And when giving feedback to "them" results in such a response, then there is still ground for hope.

  • 5
    Part of the first item is the sunk cost fallacy, but what is the return on your existing investment? User privilege level? Job offers? Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 16:17
  • @PeterMortensen My answers are my babies. What are you talking about, leaving them behind, so that John Doe gets to edit them in ways I would not agree with?! So: call it bondage. Not everything in life is strictly rational though.
    – GhostCat
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 16:25
  • 1
    @GhostCatsaysReinstateMonica at some point it's time to let go of babies. They're all grown up now. They're ready to go out in the big world and make their owners some money. It's a company, not a charity. ;p
    – JJJ
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 11:20

I'm mostly active on Interpersonal Skills, and the answers that I've gotten to questions I've asked there have helped me navigate some areas of life that are extremely tricky for me.

Beyond those answers though, to expand on Snow's answer, I stay for the community. The users of IPS are amazing people who I've gotten to know by spending time in the site's chat room. I care about them and what's going on in their lives, and they care about me and what's going on in mine. As a person on the autism spectrum, I sometimes have trouble fitting in. I'm not about to throw away an amazing place where I feel a sense of belonging just because the company that hosts it is having trouble engaging well with its user base.


I am staying because if we leave, they win.

I'm mostly active in Programming Puzzles because I'm learning a lot from other people. I've learned about the current situation from users on that site. The community there (unlike on SO) is very supportive, and has helped me a lot.

I won't give up until the current problem is solved. I support Monica and as a normal user, the only thing I can do is stay, upvote, comment, show that I am still active.

I think the priority at SO now is selling a product to people who want the technology without the community. They are focusing on their software and business, and pushing policies to the moderators in order to avoid interacting with them and trying to solve issues with personal interaction. It's easier to publish a set of rules, say "now RTFM", implement an algorithm and punish some random sample than trying to understand on a case-by-case basis what went wrong, and why, and try to improve in the process.

They are ignoring the community, because it's not important for their strategic vision. Stack Exchange is now just a showcase for their product, they have a lot of user-generated content as a selling point, and don't care (nor do they need to) if people are upset. They just need to show some content in order to sell the container.

  • 2
    It is very difficult to effect change by not doing something (in this case, not leaving Stack Exchange). Though, from now on, you can start each day with exclaiming on Twitter "Today, I did not Stack Exchange.". Perhaps qualified with answering why, which may or may not be the same every day. Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 15:18

I haven't contemplated leaving for several reasons:

  1. I've never had the illusion that Stack Exchange is a friendly organization dedicated to helping its users. In reality, it's just a soulless corporation dedicated to maximizing profits for its shareholders. As long as you approach SE from that angle, it doesn't seem so bad anymore. And hey, as a libertarian I cannot be opposed to soulless corporations :)
  2. SE content is shared with a Share-Alike license, so it could be migrated with ease if it ever turns into a complete mess.
  3. It remains the best platform on the Internet for sharing one's knowledge. Nothing else came close in all these years.
  • Quora came close, but then they moved closer to Yahoo Answers by removing question details (only the title is (effectively) allowed now). Both may produce a few memes, but they will not be missed. Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 17:04
  • The problem with corporations that go full-shareholder is well exemplified by the Boeing 737 Max disgraceful and deadly fiasco. One cannot forgo their core values and not pay the price.
    – brasofilo
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 5:37

I don't actively participate anymore.

I stopped after the "welcoming" blog post. I was worried before it when I saw that IPS was unfairly moderated and only content based on socially progressive ideology was allowed and content based on other worldviews was deleted.

At least back then it was confined to one Stack Exchange site which was problematic and opinion based in any case. After seeing the "welcoming" blog I realized that SO wants to do the same thing everywhere and SO as a whole is no longer a place that welcomes and includes different worldviews and opinions.

SO is not the first place that is ruined by people with socially progressive ideology. I saw it happen over and over again, and I knew what's coming after the welcoming blog. I knew that something like the current debacle is just a matter of time, and it's only going to get worse.

I'm glad that more and more people are finally realizing it and leaving. I still have a very slim hope that if enough people leave, SO will change their ways and it will once again be the great site that it once were. That's one of the reasons I still follow what's going on, but mostly I just stay to watch the train wreck unfold. It's addicting and masochistically enjoyable.


Why do you stay?

Stack Overflow gets 10M visits per day and while the other site's visit count pales by comparison we have a dozen sites with all questions answered and a few dozen more with almost as much success.

It's important to stay and help those people.

If 10% of those people had a complaint we would certainly know. While all can not be perfect I feel that there has been both an improvement and a shortfall over the years.

In addition to helping others you are free to help yourself. You can learn about things you didn't want to know, things you didn't know you wanted to know about, and also what you didn't know about things you profess to know.

Often you can search and find an answer to your question, but if you are unsuccessful you can ask; sometimes an expert in the field will be the one to answer, other times the person answering may not be an expert but the answer is still very useful.

Asking is free, and it's free to read the existing answers.

Sometimes we have improvements and sometimes there are detours - those are free too.

Quitting doesn't get your questions or concerns answered. But you can lurk for free.

Thick skinned and thin skulled or thin skinned and thick skulled - it's your blood pressure.

Sometimes it's very difficult to determine if you've helped anyone on a particular day, particularly if there are few visits to the question and the person asking apparently hasn't returned.

Other times it's clear that you were able to help, and that people are appreciative.

It's sometimes a similar experience for learning, some questions and answers are extremely complicated and require some brushing up on the basics to get up to speed. Sometimes it's difficult to grasp the Q&A but you learn something else instead.

A better question than "why do we stay" could be: "Where is the grass greener?".

Without prejudice or slight (in some ways we fall short but in others we exceed) it's like:

  • The House of Knowledge

    The library's collection was so vast that historian, Ibn Abi Tayyi’ described it as a "Wonder of the world". Historian Ahmed Bin Ali Maqrizi says "The House of Wisdom in Cairo did not open its doors to the public except before the furnishing, decoration and beautification of all the doors and corridors, and many servants were appointed. And the number of shelves in forty cabinets, each one of them could accommodate about eighteen thousand books. And (the shelves) were open, and books accessible to everyone. And one who wants a book, then the book can be easily found by him. If a book cannot be found by oneself, one can seek the help of hired handlers."

  • The Myth of Er

    With many other souls as his companions, Er had come across an awe-inspiring place with four openings – two into and out of the sky and two into and out of the ground. Judges sat between these openings and ordered the souls which path to follow: the good were guided into the path into the sky, the immoral were directed below. But when Er approached the judges, he was told to remain, listening and observing in order to report his experience to humankind.

  • The Chariot Allegory

    Plato paints the picture of a Charioteer (Greek: ἡνίοχος) driving a chariot pulled by two winged horses:

    "First the charioteer of the human soul drives a pair, and secondly one of the horses is noble and of noble breed, but the other quite the opposite in breed and character. Therefore in our case the driving is necessarily difficult and troublesome."

Your account indicates that you are new here. Have a look around.


Very similar to my answer on this question, I stay because I enjoy helping people and contributing to the community.

I'm also horribly addicted. I currently have a 1700 day streak on SO. One does not do something for 1700 days straight then simply walk away because speed bumps begin coming up.

I'm holding on because I love the community (SO was a major part in my development as a programmer), and I don't want to see it go down. Management may be doing sketchy things behind the scenes, but that doesn't mean that the greastest IT resource on the web needs to entirely suffer and burn because of it.

As I said in my other answer, I'll keep contributing until I can no longer continue in good consciousness. We're certainly closer to that point than we were half a year ago, but we haven't reached the arbitrary line that I have in my head yet.


I am here to help people, period.

I help people by sharing what I have learned in the hopes I can either spare people some pain or help them avoid it all together.

Add to it my recent honor to serve as moderator for TWP.

That’s why I am here.

  • 1
    This is an argument for why a beginner's place on Stack Overflow could work. Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 16:06

Because this is the only wiki Q&A website I know of. Quora (besides that annoying log in wall), for example too much on WHO answers the question, but not on the question themselves. You can't edit their answer either.

I find that comments on answers are also helpful when the answers are not complete, and the comment points out something which may in the end help you. I like that you can see duplicate questions.

Do you know any alternatives? Can you link me to one? A place where I can ask questions about anything, and answer them even after they have already been answered, all I want is a wiki-based Q&A site, if you know one, let me know.


Why do you stay?

I suspect the expected answer is "I don't like Stack Exchange, but...". But honestly, I think many people are forgetting that Stack Exchange is truly awesome!

My answer has two parts:

  1. I'm here for a free education. Stack Exchange provides free web hosting for a huge amount of educational material. They provide a professionally maintained Q&A website for free. Compare this to enrolling in a university course (tens of thousands of dollars), or buying textbooks (which are expensive, and there's no interactivity).

  2. I've learned to ignore drama. Every single Internet forum I've ever used has some drama: if you pack your bags and move somewhere else, it'll just be some other drama elsewhere. I've become desensitized.

I do not care if Stack Exchange makes money through ads. In fact, good for them.

  • It can be used in an educational way, but I have found it to not be very effective (compared to blog posts, YouTube, actual tutorials, etc.). How do you use it an effective way? Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 15:51
  • 1
    Also, though my experience is only with SO in this manner so other sites may vary, it tends to "educate" people to use code which doesn't include basic security, basic verification or validation, includes no testing, etc.....I.e. it causes some of the worst habits I have to break when these types of SO educated coders enter my classes or start at my companies. Basically, if this is the case on the sites you use, is it still education? Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 5:07

I am still here so that I can majorly contribute to Movies & TV. I am an ex-moderator from Hinduism and Movies & TV and quit due to personal reasons (nothing to do with Stack Exchange). I also enjoy my time on other sites, but Movies & TV has a golden throne in my heart.

SE sites did help me in my programming issues and acted as an escape for me in the form of non-programming ones. I did plan to quit SE at least twice, but I ended up de-modding myself rather than leaving. I can't abandon the sites which gave me a lot. They acted like my escape, helped me in programming issues, enriched my knowledge, and also to overcame stress up to an extent. It might sound odd since it's not a social network as such, but I did make a few friends from SE.

But I do acknowledge the issues with SE. Ads do irritate me when I am using it from the office as they can be too bright or weird sometimes. I did feel sad for a moderator on Literature who had to resign due to mistreatment. I also feel this whole thing was handled too clumsily. I do understand the reason for the strike and even signed the lavender letter and might sign the other one too.

So, in short, I opted to stay as I didn't even want to leave. I still have hope in SE, and I do feel they can fix things.


I've been here a couple years but I don't have incredibly high reputation and not as much time sunk into SE. In any case -

  • Maybe I'm misreading it, but the mathematics SE seems to not really care about this, in the sense that the activity on the math meta related to this is relatively diminished. I don't go on math.SE to [insert CoC related action], I go there to solve math problems or get help on my own. We'll see how much the CoC can be "weaponised", but I doubt it will affect me in any practical way, as long as I continue to operate with the "Be Nice" policy...
  • The outrage hasn't (yet) pushed away the majority of the great contributors. If they move, I'll probably go wherever they go.
  • as a non-American: I'm taking this (the stuff about pronouns) as some sort of education about what a large number (though notably not all!) Americans (and maybe Europeans?) are thinking.
  • As the outrage and changes don't affect me personally (yet), I'm curious. I'll check again tomorrow because I want to see how the coming events will unfold.
  • The mathematics SE is a special place, happily accepting straight homework dumps without a hitch (unlike most other Stack Exchange sites). Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 15:31
  • 1
    @PeterMortensen alas :) at least the ones that survive are better than the ones that get instantly downvoted Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 1:33

I stay for now because:

  • I want what's best for the global community of people seeking knowledge and betterment of the world. (Once upon a time SE corp. had its goals aligned with mine, but we've clearly diverged, and I don't see them going back on the right track in an acceptable time frame, unfortunately.)

  • I'm waiting on a better Q&A platform (and gathering information about what it should look like, so I could take part in developing it when it launches) which will:

    • As its primary goal have collection of high quality knowledge in the form that the SE user community values and wants to protect;
    • Never again have financial gain as any of its driving goals, so that it could not interfere with its main goal, as it so unfortunately did in this iteration;
    • Not forget the human like a financially-driven organization with faceless corporate management, but instead act kindly and try to rectify any wrongdoings, like any reasonable person, acquaintance or a neighbour would;
    • Take into account feedback of experienced users who have shown understanding of the knowledge base's processes and can act as a medium between common users and developers;
    • Have staff held at a much higher standard than "at least capable of performing basic duties as described in the job description"; actual professionals with good reputation and experience in the area and the specific field, such as community management;
    • Be much more transparent about its inner workings and development progress;
    • Post frequent public updates on its internal technical, social and legal processes, and change notes, as can be expected from the best of the best software companies;
  • By my continued participation I'm trying to bring about a brighter future in form of a better place for myself and others to learn, share and preserve useful knowledge. And I would do the same on the next best platform like this if I can see that a better alternative is not far from coming and in the works.

This might seem like a naive dream to some, but I've seen this site at its better time, and I've seen many great and talented people at their best, so I know this is absolutely achievable. We just have to get there together.


I gained a lot early in life from people freely sharing their knowledge with me. I believe strongly in doing the same for others. I stick around through this in the hope that SE will continue to be an open and free place to share knowledge in a mutually respectful way that trusts community members and moderators to do the right thing.

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