I noticed that we've got some planned maintenance coming up.

It just got me thinking: has anyone ever tried to estimate the global economic impact of SO downtime?

We're all very aware of how much more difficult it is to do our jobs without SO, so I would imagine the impact (although small on the grand scheme of things) is non-negligible.

  • Its been down unplanned before. That recent fastly outage... mostly Jun 29, 2021 at 12:41
  • 7
    Think of the poor SO devs unable to search SO to help them diagnose the problem!
    – Jamiec
    Jun 29, 2021 at 13:07
  • 3
    Well the site will go into read-only mode during regular maintenance. That only prohibits you from voting, or posting. You can still read all questions and answers. I think that would account for a lot of traffic already that is not impacted.
    – Luuklag
    Jun 29, 2021 at 13:11
  • Everyone will just have to rely on the myriads of scraper sites for their answers. Jun 29, 2021 at 13:19
  • 5
    Probably the most productive period in global economy: no devs getting distracted by answering SO posts :) Jun 29, 2021 at 13:33
  • 1
    I can't help but question the downvotes when this question has clearly garnered some interest and a fairly sensible answer Jun 29, 2021 at 16:26
  • You can still access a cached page of SO answers, which is good enough most of the time. Jun 29, 2021 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


Under these assumptions:

With 269,000,000 visits per month and 720 hours in a month, 373,611 visitors look at a Q/A page each hour. If 10% of those visitors are blocked by an issue they had hoped to solve by using an Q/A from Stack Overflow 37,361 visitors can't spend useful developer time. At an hourly rate of $30 the economic impact is roughly:

$ 1,120,833.00

I would say: the economic impact is minute, the mental impact is catastrophic.

  • 3
    That's only true if the downtime lasts exactly one hour, and all of those developers are frantically refreshing their browsers so they all can continue as soon as SO resumes, instead of compiling. :P What is the average duration of downtime, and when do developers start working again after one?
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jun 29, 2021 at 13:51
  • 1
    I assume they start working after 6 to 8
    – rene
    Jun 29, 2021 at 13:52

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