After reading the interview (alt Glorfindel's post which has the complete text in his answer, for when the link doesn' t work) the new CEO Prashanth Chandrasekar had with Business Insider I got a strong impression that the new CEO has a vision to turn the Stack Exchange Network (or possibly just Stack Overflow as it is the biggest) into a purely commercial product, whose aim it is primarily to generate revenue, over being a knowledge base accessible to everyone.
From the interview (emphasis mine):
What many people don't know is that Stack Overflow also has paid, premium products, like Teams, Talents, or Ads, meant for corporate buyers. Chandrasekar says that it's his immediate ambition to spread the word on that front — taking the success of the main site, and using it to build out its revenue-generating business products.
Does this mean that the direction SE is going to follow under the new CEO's lead is a one-way street down revenue-generating lane?
Also from the interview:
"The exciting part is that I feel like it's a diamond in the rough. We're only scratching the potential of the company,"
Sounds to me as if the current SE network is not what the CEO envisions that it should be, and that it should be refined to a more commercially aimed product.
I appreciate that Stack Overflow (the company) needs to generate revenue from somewhere to keep itself floating (as we're already seeing with more, and more aggressive ads), but does this mean that there is a potential future where certain content gets locked behind a paywall? (e.g limiting the amount of questions a free user can ask, free users not being able to see answers that are above a certain vote threshold, or something along those lines, that would need a subscription to unlock.)
And even if the public Q&A stays free to use, does this mean that in the new corporate focused approach, this (free) portion of the network will get less attention from staff/developers/the company as its primary focus will be on the revenue generating parts of the network (Teams, talents), meaning less frequent updates?
In short: Are there plans to lead Stack Exchange down a corporate path, monetizing the Q&A with paywalls, or push the free Q&A to the backseat?