My first reaction to careers SO was admiration of its cleverness and a general feeling of "this is the way things should be". However I have to confess that I am now more hesitant to answer or ask questions in haste should - God forbid - I get down voted. Before, the whole process of earning reputation or winning badges was a bit like a online strategy game... a website to click-on whenever I got coders-block and needed a break. I could look in awe at the more accomplished players and dream one day of reaching their level (perhaps if I found myself without a real job). But now there could be real-world implications that go beyond my current dev problem or desire to help others if I can. It might help or hinder my ability to provide for my family in the future! In some ways it's made me want to get out of coding altogether and find a position in management so at least I can use CSO from the "buyers" side of the fence!

I've recently felt the urge, but admittedly I haven't done anything about it, to come up with a more robust "SO strategy", whereby I would dedicate more of my precious productivity-time trying to build reputation and research "SO tips and tricks", in the hope one day that it will lead me to a dream job.

This situation reminds me of some of the counter-intuitive examples put forth by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner in their book Freakonomics

Has anyone else changed the way they use SO since the introduction of CSO?

  • 8
    So are you saying you stopped posting poor quality answers after Careers started?
    – random
    Dec 23, 2009 at 8:09
  • haha, both poor quality and good quality ones!
    – rwired
    Dec 23, 2009 at 9:01

4 Answers 4


Has anyone else changed the way they use SO since the introduction of CSO?

Not me. I always saw SO as a place where potential employers might see my posts, and as such see a demonstration of my knowledge and expertise. The creation of an actual sibling site dedicated to employment only makes this demonstration more official.

Even though I post semi-anonymously, things I write can always be tied back to me, and as such I must be able to stand by everything I say. Anonymity is a myth when words live forever and everything, eventually, might be traceable.

  • 4
    Anonymity is a heisenmyth. You have it so long as you aren't important enough for anyone to care what you've said. But the moment people wish to observe you, it ceases to exist. Dec 23, 2009 at 12:38
  • Right, Adam, I'm totally unimportant and therefore you guys cannot figure out who I am :) Dec 23, 2009 at 13:24
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    @John: Technically, we don't care who you are. If we tried to figure it out, we'd care by definition. But I don't care, so you're anonymous to me, Mr. Smithers. If that is your real name. Dec 23, 2009 at 17:07
  • 1
    @ベレアー アダム: You realize this is currently the only item that Google returns for the word "heisenmyth".
    – casperOne
    Jun 4, 2011 at 23:40

Has anyone else changed the way they use SO since the introduction of CSO?

No. I have always used my real name online for a reason. I think it's a good thing that people are accountable for what they say just like in real life. As I don't plan on saying anything rude or offensive I see no reason to hide behind anonymity.

I think Æther's point about anonymity being a myth is a good one too, even those that think that are anonymous now may not be so in the future.


Well, some people have changed their behavior because of Stack Overflow Careers, anyway.

I view this as a positive and completely intentional side effect. You should always behave reasonably professionally online, plus or minus 10 percent. It's just the right thing to do.


As a current employer I am interested in what things interest new potential team members, yet I do not judge candidates and current emplyees by their answers here alone. Does participating at SO raise my interest? Yes, as it speaks to someone's activities to broaden and deepen their knowledge. Do I care if their reputation is 20K+ - nope. Do I care that a potential employee can easily tap into resources such as Jon Skeet, Marc Gravell, etc. as they demonstrate their knowledge "in the wild"? Definitely.

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