The Stack Exchange API allows users to programmatically query and connect to the Stack Exchange Network of sites.

The API is currently in version 2.3. We’re collecting feedback from users of the API, using a survey, to guide what we need to improve in future versions. We’re also interested in hearing from people who have used other APIs so we understand what they prefer.

For the current users of the API, the survey asks about:

  • Satisfaction with the existing API
  • Comparison of the Stack Exchange API to other APIs you may use
  • Problems you have experienced with the API
  • The architecture and format of APIs that you prefer to work with
  • Changes you’d recommend (open-ended question)
  • Other suggestions on how we can improve the API (open-ended question)

For non-users of the API, the survey only asks about preferred architecture and formats and other suggestions for improving the API.

We are sharing this survey on Meta Stack Exchange, on Stack Apps, and on our LinkedIn and Twitter accounts in order to reach people who currently use or might be interested in using the API. We investigated sending an email to users who have registered on Stack Apps or who have requested an API key, but we weren’t confident it was going to reach all of them for a variety of reasons, like if they didn’t opt-in to email communications, we had outdated email addresses, etc.

You can take the survey here.

Other details:

  • The survey is completely anonymous. We aren’t collecting any personal information; we are not collecting IP addresses.
  • We are using Qualtrics for the survey.
  • We will leave the survey up for at least a week. We may extend it if we feel we need more responses. While collecting a statistically significant sample size would be nice, we’re not doing any analyses that require statistical precision. This survey is intended as a feedback tool to guide our development.
  • We may share our findings from this survey in future Meta posts when we post about the next release of the API. We don’t have an estimated timeline for this yet.
  • Learn more about our commitment to supporting the API.

We will be monitoring this post for at least the next week and will update this when the survey is closed.

UPDATE - The survey is closed as of August 10, 2023 at ~9am CT.

Thank you to everyone who shared their feedback.

Here's the gist of what we learned:

  • Our existing API isn't terrible. Folks are relatively satisfied, will continue to use it, and find the documentation and functionality good/average (note that this was on a scale of Excellent, Good, Average, Poor, and Terrible).
  • The problems you've encountered are across the board, but no single problem stands out as something everyone has experienced.
  • REST and Websockets are the preferred architecture; JSON is the preferred output
  • We received a good number of open-ended suggestions for us. We are also reading through the items that starball provided.

Next steps for our team are to review the data and comments and then start working on a plan. As we have more details or opportunities for feedback, we'll post a new question.

  • 49
    I'm not sure how to answer the “How likely are you to recommend the Stack Exchange API to other developers?” question. Recommend it over what? (Scraping? The database dump? SEDE? Userscripts?) I'd recommend the API if somebody were doing something for which using the API would be appropriate, but that doesn't happen very often; is that what it's asking?
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 15:24
  • 1
    @wizzwizz4 yes, it's asking if you would recommend the API if using the API would be appropriate.
    – J007B
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 15:38
  • 4
    "We aren’t collecting any personal information; we are not collecting IP addresses."... sure, but Qualtrics does collect personal information, right? So our information ends up at a less trustworthy company than if the survey was hosted on stackexchange, right?
    – user1049685
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 20:05
  • 8
    @Gantendo - I can't speak to what Qualtrics collects on their side. We have turned off any personal information data collection in this survey.
    – J007B
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 20:09
  • 2
    @J007B Do you agree that this was a bad idea? If you simply hosted a survey on stackexchange there was the same risk of manipulation of the results (Qualtrics gives you the option to delete responses) but the risk to personal information would've been reduced.
    – user1049685
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 20:14
  • 24
    Please see also related, highly-scoring feature-requests: is:q [feature-request] [api] -[status-completed]
    – starball
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 20:31
  • 13
    @J007B If you need to do something, and the API is appropriate, why ever not use the API? There's not really much choice. You're not asking if we'd wear red or blue clothes if it's cold outside; you're pretty much asking if we'd wear clothes at all, or rather freeze to death. Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 0:51
  • 7
    Even a bad API can be better than scraping, or, parsing HTML output. Not just that; you can combine them too, so I'm not sure what the point in specifically avoiding the API must be. Of course, I'd avoid the API if each call required sending you 100 of my private pictures, or giving you all my passwords, but that's not realistic would ever be the case. Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 0:53
  • 21
    @wizzwizz4 the only proper response to such questions is choosing the least likely option, when possible followed up with “I need you to understand that people don’t have conversations where they randomly recommend operating systems to one another.” Replace "operating systems" with the subject of the survey.
    – CodeCaster
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 5:58
  • 2
    so following the latest trend how many millions do you charge, $20 millions? Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 15:02
  • 13
    @Gantendo To expand on my previous comment: we have enabled an anonymized setting for this survey - meaning we are not collecting any personal information from it. No personal data is being processed as part of the survey. Qualtrics themselves are also not processing personal information other than what's strictly required to provide the survey (your IP address once assessing the page, for example), and this data is not processed any further. We don't have the ability to host a survey like this in stack exchange.
    – J007B
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 18:40
  • 11
    I feel like an extended conversation about whether the third party tools used by SE in comments is... not productive. I'm cleaning up the comments, and recommend this get taken up as its own question. Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 10:40
  • 1
    @AndreasdetestsAIhype I take it as asking whether or not the clothes are good enough to go outside given the weather, or whether you should stay indoors. "Would you recommend using the StackExchange API [or is it so useless they should just not even bother]" Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 0:14
  • 2
    @J007B I realize I'm more than a bit late, but also consider looking at API-related feature requests on Stack Apps SE
    – cocomac
    Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 3:36


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .