I have recently hear talk about users being discouraged by sitting in the vast gap between 3k and 10k rep, and by having nothing left to attain after the 10k barrier.

I was wondering if we could solicit the sponsors of various tags to give product offers to people who are above a certain level and have a lot of points in their sponsored tags?

For example, if could we get Red Gate Software to give away a free personal-use-only copy of their profiler to people who have >15k and have a lot of votes in the [.net] tag?

Could Adobe give away free copies of Flash?

Would Joseph Albahari be willing to give auto-complete to people who have answered in the [linqpad] or [linq] tags?

Just an idea...

  • Isn't flash already free? (not as in beer, as in $0) Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 23:39
  • 2
    Flash, not Flash Player. Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 23:41
  • @Koper - While the flash player that is embedded into browsers is certainly free just like Silverlight... The tools to make that flash content and silverlight content are not!
    – RSolberg
    Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 0:24

5 Answers 5


I don't think it's a good idea:

  • I would bet a lot of money that the sponsors won't ever agree to this. Microsoft giving away free copies of their software to people answering questions on an unofficial website? Just don't see it.
  • It's not fair to, for example, me. I'm very good at C, C++, html, css, javascript, web development, lua, mysql and that's pretty much it. Except for mysql (which doesn't have a sponsored tag), all of them are open technologies. So only some people get "prizes" for their "work"?
  • If someone has a lot of answers in a certain tag, it's reasonable to believe that they already have that software, so what would they do with a second copy?
  • -1: Not one of your points makes any sense. First, Telerik has done it, why wouldn't others consider it? Second, there are products even for open source tools like mySql that are not free and the entire its not fair thing is a joke. Its not like you're owed anything in the first place. Third, not necessarily. I had not ever used Telerik, only saw the ads in magazines for it...
    – RSolberg
    Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 0:14
  • 1) Talerik is a rather unknown (not even a wikipedia page) "vendor of ASP.NET AJAX, Silverlight, WinForms and WPF controls and components" (quoted from their website). Completely different from stackoverflow, I don't see why they are related. 2) Point 2 is subjective, feel free to disagree. 3) What's your counter point exactly? I don't understand what you're saying Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 0:20
  • 1
    @Koper - Who cares if you know about the product or not. It is a advertisement and promotion from a third party. You are right, it has nothing to do with stackoverflow just like the ads for IssueTrak and others. Your second point is completely subjective and I hate the "its not fair" excuse. It is lame, overplayed, and quite frankly pathetic. Your third point was arguing that there is no incentive because people would have the tools already. This is not true. I did not own Telerik...
    – RSolberg
    Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 0:23
  • Well maybe I'll understand what you're trying to say if I knew what Telerik is.. It appears to be a website selling stuff. How can you "own" it? Also there are 213 questions tagged Telerik so how can you possibly be active in such an under used tag?? Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 0:27
  • @Koper - you quoted exactly who they were earlier... I'll paste it for you: "vendor of ASP.NET AJAX, Silverlight, WinForms and WPF controls and components"... You can own a license for their products.
    – RSolberg
    Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 0:29
  • So you can buy a license for all of their products at once? It starts to make sense. Don't you think that's a really edge case? Can you make your counter point using a well known company, such as any of the ones currently having a sponsored tag? Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 0:32
  • 2
    Why does it have to be a well-known company or a sponsor of a tag? Couldn't it be anyone who has a product that their willing to promote to a certain tag?
    – RSolberg
    Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 0:35
  • Please explain how it would work then, should Telerik agree to do this. There have been 50 questions in the last 2 months. On average, there is less than a question a day. How many will they give out? Probably less than 10 people answered more than 1 of those 50 questions. I remind you the goal of the proposal: to keep users contributing after they hit 3k/10k. Do you honestly think this will fix it? Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 0:42
  • Telerik is not giving their product away to people tagging questions with telerik. They are probably targeting asp.net and C# tags...
    – RSolberg
    Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 0:50
  • meta.stackexchange.com/questions/20849/…
    – RSolberg
    Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 0:53
  • I see Chester, now it makes sense and I wouldn't be opposed to stuff like this. It would have been much better if you explained everything from the beginning though, I'm not a mind reader you know.. maybe even only giving that link would have been enough :) Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 1:05
  • @Koper - You don't have to be a mind reader. You made a huge mistake and "assumed" and still don't get it...
    – RSolberg
    Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 1:14

Free stuff is always incentive, but I'm not sure we'd get buy-in from the sponsors.


I think that we'd need a company like Telerik to chime in and discuss the success of their product give away. Not only did the promotion get me from 8K to 10K fairly quickly, it has allowed me to nearly forget about Infragistics and when my license (support) expires in 200 something days, I'll be buying the upgrade.

The reality is that there is some cost involved in giving licenses to products away. You may face increased support costs, etc. However, I'm guessing the number of Telerik questions on SO increased with their promotion and their support costs per license are not nearly as high with the 10K users as the avg. joe customer.

Without knowing how Telerik feels about it, its hard to really measure the success...

However, as a user I think these are great ideas to get folks on the site. Sure, many are there just to help, but sometimes a little incentive here or there doesn't hurt...

  • 1
    What do you mean, the promo got you from 8k to 10k? Apparently I missed this promo entirely; searching the archives to see what happened.
    – Ether
    Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 1:04
  • It motivated me to stay on the site for longer periods of time and answer more questions.
    – RSolberg
    Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 1:14

I still see a lot of 10K+ rep-er contributing immensely. The fact that they reach 10k meant they spent considerably amount of time here and many continue to do so for whatever 'intangible' benefits they get.

If they are only after the rep points and decided to 'fade' out after 10K, then so be it.


Bribing doesn't scale, but sometimes it can be an option to drive attention for a few weeks. For example, the Telerik offer brought a few people over the 10000 mark and now they have access to the Tools to view flags, which could have been intentional to just get some more help there. (or maybe i'm just making this up)

But now, the initial impact is over. People still look at it and take the offer if they want, but it's not that huge drive anymore. If Jeff would pay for those licenses then now it wouldn't be worth it anymore. Of course, this is not the case, but hypothetically it would be.

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