Today is the first day of the 2021 Stack Exchange Community-a-thon event (the event will continue for the next four weeks).
The Community-a-thon is an event for staff of Stack Overflow where employees are encouraged to participate on sites in the Stack Exchange network, in order to increase their familiarity with our core product and their empathy with our users. This is the second time that we are running this event (you can see intro and recap posts from last year’s event here).
The general goals of the event remain very similar to last year:
- Improve Empathy between all Stack Overflow employees and our sites and communities.
- Achieve a high degree of participation during the event, that can hopefully carry on afterwards as well.
- Increase our collective familiarity with our core product and elicit useful feedback on actionable ways to improve our functionality and user experience.
Like last year, the event will include a competition in which participants can receive points based on engagement and activities done on network sites during the contest. The point system will be very close to what we did last year, with the difference of giving greater incentives for feedback, encouraging more repeat engagement on individual sites, and removing points for participation in chat rooms. We also gave the option for participants to be paired up with a more/less experienced coworker to help give advice on using the network.
All active participants in the event will receive some nice swag (t-shirt featuring our event logo), with leaders in each bracket (all users, fresh users, seasoned users, and teams) getting an additional prize as well.
We have had an excellent degree of commitment thus far, including good representation from every department in the company (as well as all members of the Senior Leadership Team). Over 55% of employees have signed up for the event this year (compared to 32% at the outset of the 2020 event), and nearly 50% of employees who signed up have joined the company since the end of last year’s event. The vast majority of accounts participating in this count will not have diamonds, and will be either regular staff accounts (you can see the staff tag in their profile) or will be personal accounts that will not be identifiable as staff in any way).
As the company has grown and evolved over time, we (on the Community and Community Leadership Teams) continue to look for ways to encourage all employees to increase their participation on the SE network. In addition to the goals mentioned above, this can also serve as a good opportunity to get feedback on the new user experience from both new users and more experienced users (who are encouraged to participate in the event using new accounts and to then submit feedback based on their observations and experiences).
We are sharing this here to keep the community informed of our ongoing efforts related to improving familiarity and empathy with the Stack Exchange network for all employees.
We are happy to answer any questions below related to the event, its execution, and its goals.