I came across a Tweet by Jon Ericson a few minutes ago, which contained a screenshot of an email sent out to Stack Overflow for Teams customers. The screenshot says:

One enhancement that we're close to releasing is Articles - our first new content type since we launched. Articles is long form content that helps you keep tabs on key knowledge like how-to guides, processes and procedures, onboarding, and policies alongside other bite-size information like questions and answers. Teams is your company's homebase for all knowledge.

So first off... is there any information on how this is going to work? Just like a question workflow, but without the option to answer? Are they tagged? Etc.

Secondly, is this going to be rolled out to public Q&A in any form? If so, on all sites or just Stack Overflow? (And why haven't I seen anything about this on meta?)

  • 1
    wonder if it might end up being more similar to tag wikis than Q&A. Tag wikis are after all intended to collect useful information on a topic, so that would see the more natural comparison point. Doubt it would be rolled out to the public community though, as that would probably result in a flood of articles that we don't have the resources to manage or moderate. – Davis Broda Jul 30 '20 at 18:09
  • 4
    @DavisBroda this sounds like the Documentation project. – VLAZ Jul 31 '20 at 4:05
  • 2
    Twitter is capitalised, but tweet is not (as a noun or a verb). – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Jul 31 '20 at 9:46
  • @P.Mort.-forgotClayShirky_q - If you scroll through Twitter's help - their curation guide, as an example - you'll see that all instances of "Tweet" are capitalized. When referring to the sound a bird makes, it stays uncapitalized; when referring to a post on Twitter, it gets capitalized. – Mithical Jul 31 '20 at 9:49
  • 1
    Details have just been announced on the blog. Encouragingly, "the beauty of designing this new feature was in its simplicity." Really cool idea/implementation. – Jon Ericson Aug 12 '20 at 17:13

Articles was developed specifically for our Teams product in response to customer feedback since its launch.  We have no immediate plans to launch this on any of the public sites at this time.  We are starting to think about if and how we could leverage parts of the capabilities we built for Articles on the public sites in the future.  We will conduct user research and solicit feedback on these use cases and communicate our plans as they progress, since it is vital that an eventual rollout isn't disruptive to the Q&A experience.  You will see a blog post from me specifically about Articles in the coming weeks with more details.

  • 8
    For what it's worth, the email really buried the lede here. The subject line was "Stack Overflow secures Series E funding" and I wouldn't have opened it if I weren't already interested in company goings on. It was also odd the CTAs were to read the press release, a Forbes article and email the sender with feedback. A more customer-focused email would have something concrete to do on the site, like opt in for a beta or some such. I'm personally glad y'all got the investment, but I suspect most customers are more ambivalent. ;-) – Jon Ericson Jul 30 '20 at 19:59
  • 3
    Agree with Jon’s point. My first reaction was, “weird to email customers about a raise- it’s like those ‘our menu has changed’ messages that Joel correctly pointed out assume users care more about the company than they probably do.” But reading the BODY, it’s got real meat: Articles are totally exciting to a customers. Can’t wait to see em. – Jaydles Jul 31 '20 at 2:09
  • 8
    Please make sure to explain in the blog post how "Articles" are different from a self-answered question, and why the end-user would benefit from using an "Article" over the existing tooling. – Cody Gray Jul 31 '20 at 5:53
  • @CodyGray Maybe the difference is the scope. If an Article can be longer it would hint that the scope can be broader. – Trilarion Jul 31 '20 at 20:53
  • 2
    @Trilarion How much longer than 30,000 characters can a person really be expected to read at one sitting, though? I would argue that anything longer than that should be broken up into multiple, smaller chunks anyway, in which case you naturally have multiple questions that can be asked and answered. – Cody Gray Aug 1 '20 at 3:58
  • @CodyGray Policies like the moderator removal and reinstatement might be longer or some FAQs which have been spread over several answers now. Wikipedia pages also are longer often. I guess the users of Teams want to publish larger documents in Wikipedia style: summaries, overviews, policies,... – Trilarion Aug 1 '20 at 14:49

Not an official answer, but I'd heard that customers were interested in this type of content when I was still at the company. In addition, my current company is looking for ways to consolidate knowledge and would potentially find this useful. We've been paying for Confluence, but it hasn't (yet?) reached critical mass. The advantage of moving to Stack Overflow is many developers visit every day. Out of sight (or site?) is out of mind.

I believe Teams is an idea incubator. Having a small space to test features means there's a chance for those changes to come to public Q&A. But there's no guarantee Articles will work the same in public. Personally, I'd like to see how they play out on Teams before getting excited about them on public sites. It's not as if blog platforms don't already exist. That said, articles are a natural fit for content that sits next to Q&A. Fingers crossed it'll come to all sites eventually!

  • 3
    Thanks Jon - you pretty much nailed it. There is an official answer coming shorty from our CPO as well. – Haney Jul 30 '20 at 19:00
  • 5
    @Haney: I still got it! (Sorry if I let the cat out of the bag too soon on Twitter. I really think it's great news!) – Jon Ericson Jul 30 '20 at 19:05
  • 3
    not at all man, no apology needed or expected. I am glad to run into you - hope you are well. – Haney Jul 30 '20 at 19:09
  • 3
    I think Teams and public Q&A have some similarities as well as differences. It would be wrong to blindly apply everything everywhere if it does not fit well. Having said that, something that would bridge gap between what Q&A can cater for and some more organized way of providing concentrated knowledge would be great. I know that Documentation project failed, but it is not the idea of Documentation that was wrong rather some implementation details. – Resistance Is Futile Jul 30 '20 at 19:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .