So, this is an attempt to give some helpful feedback about Stack Overflow for Teams, and explain a bit of why I think it's falling behind lately.

I was also very upset and mildly drunk at the time I wrote this. Apologies in advance for the rambling.

First things first: Teams does its job just fine. It isn't bad by any means.

It just can't beat other tools that are already in the wild with more features - some of them not even designed for the workplace.

Case in point - Discord.

Discord has improved leaps and bounds over the last few years. Besides being a free chat tool with voice and video, it has built in Forums, that can serve quite well as wikis, Threads, that allow for very fast collaboration around a topic when a need arises, Events, that allow you to schedule and set up meetings as needed, a robust role-based system, and the possibility to automate things via bots with ease.

The pricing is far more lenient - If you want the premium features, they scale not the number of users you have, but the features you want. A 7-boost server costs the same, no matter if it is 10 or 100 users.

It does everything. It replaced Microsoft Teams and Stack Overflow for Teams out of the box, with just the basic features. With some minor prodding and botting, we managed to hook it up to GitLab and to TeamCity.

It has a feature-complete mobile app.

I can get a release version of our software by typing "/build release" and letting our bot do its thing.

I can get reports on my phone every time a build breaks, or a customer notifies us of a bug.

And it is just Discord. It wasn't made for this. We aren't professional Discord Bot developers or anything. We cobbled together in the span of a week a pretty good development process that blew everything we had before out of the water just by re-purposing the funny game chat app. And it didn't cost us a dime.

Oh, and, by the way - it has screen-sharing features too- because why not...

Why would I use Teams? What does it do for my software process that I can't get from another tool with far more features? As is, Stack Overflow for teams is a very difficult sell. It is very expensive when we take into account what it does for our team, and it doesn't come close to having the complete suite of features other services offer. Sure, it is very good at what it does, but it isn't doing anything special anymore. Everything it does can be replicated by someone else, with less money and with less hassle, and often by getting more features on the deal.

Stack Overflow for Teams had a big selling point, which was the fact that the community loved the company Stack Overflow. You were the good guys! If our boss came to us a few years back and said "Let's use that Stack Overflow thing", we wouldn't bat an eye and would be quite hyped for it.

Now, though?

Stack Overflow isn't a name of respect, it isn't a brand that entices us, as a dev team. It is that place that does weird stuff and just had a bunch of layoffs and stuff. It is the place that fired well-liked CMs and did some very horrible things to some of its users in the community in the past.

The power that the brand had is no more. It lost its best selling point.

It's like Twitter - back then it was a force. Now it is a joke - it even lost its name!

Would you buy software from "X"? Do you still trust that brand?

You lost the trust of the community, so we're looking for tooling somewhere else.

And we're finding it. Teams isn't special, it isn't unique. Not anymore, at least.

If you guys want to sell Teams, you need to make the community endorse you as a provider of good products. We'll then say to our bosses "Yeah, that's legit", instead of "Eeehs, they're doing a lot of layoffs, I'm not sure if we can trust them..."

It's not rocket science.

The community and your clients aren't two separate groups - we are your clients, or the employees of your clients, and if we are upset with the "free" part of the site, why would we will pay for your tools? Why are we going to ask for tooling that we don't trust?

The same goes for OverflowAI. We're not entirely sure how useful or polished the tool will end up being in the future, but things got to the point that we as a community don't care. The tool is already dead on arrival for the largest part of the community because of what it symbolizes, and because of what was sacrificed to make it happen. We, as a community, won't vouch for it when it comes for our employers asking if it is useful or not, because we don't trust the company selling it. We'll either tell our employers that we can find the same results for free with other AI's in the market, or that AI results need human verification and aren't that useful to begin with, since they just mask low-skilled colleagues instead of helping them actually develop as professionals.

Bing chat is incredibly powerful as of now - and I don't believe for a second you guys will be able to restrict Microsoft's access to Stack Overflow's data, when they are one of your SofT's biggest clients. Right now it can already spot answers on Stack Overflow, give back code samples, and offer insight about documentation - all properly sourced. Will OverflowAI ever be able to compete with it? Not just in features, but in acceptance - I for one would prefer to use Microsoft's tooling that the one provided by Stack Overflow, just because I'm quite unhappy with the company at the moment. And I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels that way.

Don't underestimate the amount of spite developers can hold. Our buffers are quite large.

Please rethink your routing, your priorities, and what you want from your business. As of now, endorsing SO's products is very difficult, and it will only get worse if the community keeps getting more and more upset with you guys.

Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated in any way with Discord. I just think it is a great tool and a great example of something that helped us far more than a lot of other SaaS tools out there.

  • 7
    I believe I get your point, and I assume you are addressing the SO staff, but... are you actually saying SO Teams was used out of sheer goodwill and brand recognition, even if it was an inferior solution both in terms of available features and pricing? Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 21:33
  • 13
    @FrédéricHamidi absolutely. It's the iPhone logic. People buy iPhones because they are iPhones, not because they are the best phones. Apple had been lagging behind in innovation for a while now, yet it sells phones like water - just out of sheer brand force they acquired over the years.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 21:36
  • 9
    A lot of dev teams pressured their bosses to get SO for teams not because it was necessary or useful, but because it was a new toy from the site we loved.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 21:39
  • 22
    I know sheer goodwill is the only reason I ever promoted Stack Overflow for Teams. It's slightly jankier than the network, which is itself jankier than it was ten years ago: technically, there's little to praise it for. Its only benefit is "hey we've got our own Stack Overflow: I'm going to actually document stuff" – which tbf was a real benefit, back in the day. I stopped promoting SOfT ≈four years ago. But they listened to us yesterday, they're tagging some long-standing feature requests status-review, so… maybe I'll start again.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 21:44
  • 10
    @Nij I just checked. The current meta is that questions that deal with things about the relationship between teams and the network are still on topic, and are the one exception on the "don't ask about teams" rule.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 22:21
  • 22
    As a former MSE mod - in this case, considering the knock on effects of their commercial/revenue generating products not doing well being public Q&A suffering, I'd say this is on topic and needed. Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 0:16
  • 8
    Here's another example of people moving off - from SO from enterprise apparently, which feels like a bigger revenue loss Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 0:34
  • 6
    @AndreasmovedtoCodidact Indeed there's no reason for using OverflowAI, but if you advertise (in the title) that you're going to explain why, it would be good to deliver what was promised ;) Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 12:13
  • 2
    Re "it has built in Forums, that can serve quite well as wikis": Please educate us. How can forums serve as wikis? Isn't Discord just a chat tool without any (practical) permanent record and/or is not searchable (or practically unsearchable)? At least from a public standpoint, it seems like important information becomes locked up behind Discord's closed walls (not visible from the outside; you have to know where the information is, a Catch-22 in terms of finding information). Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 15:21
  • 2
    @This_is_NOT_a_forum Discord's logs are both permanent and have search functions. Plus, the forums have local hyperlinking, so you can link articles together in a similar manner that can be done with wikis. Discord (and several other tools) are far more powerful than people give credit for them.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 15:24
  • 2
    @This_is_NOT_a_forum and, mind - I'm not saying to that Discord is a full replacement for Stack Overflow's public side. I'm talking specifically about Stack Overflow for Teams, which are already walled gardens to begin with.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 15:31
  • 5
    @This_is_NOT_a_forum Also, I'm also not saying that Discord is the best tool for the job, by any means. I'm sure someone can make a better process using Slack or some other tooling. What I am saying is that for our use case, it was good enough, and it was good enough to the point it made more economical sense than keeping SofT around for what we needed. The "funny game chat app" was better for us than the enterprise knowledge solution, 'cause it offered more in the features we needed/actually used.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 15:43
  • 1
    So Discord is better than Teams? Or what should I take away from this answer? Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 22:38
  • 3
    @NoDataDumpNoContribution this post isn't to hype up discord, it is to point out that teams isn't as feature complete as the other apps.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 0:02
  • 3
    I fully agree with this post, we are looking to move to discourse. Teams is lagging in features and it clearly shows it, mind you we only use the free version for now but I had gotten approval for the paid version that included discussions and articles. However, I am holding off on the purchase due to exactly what you mentioned @T.Sar, I have a bad feeling about the entire company and the new CEO.
    – JonH
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 19:03


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