I'm just curious. Has anyone noticed changes everywhere since SO became huge? For instance, one change I've seen that straightly reminds me of SO is Youtube's comment upvoting system. Has anyone else seen such changes to big websites that make it more closely resemble Stack Overflow?

  • 5
    Stack Overflow did not invent voting. In fact, they (no offense to Jeff) mostly copied the idea from /. and made a few changes.
    – Aarobot
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 13:03
  • @Aarobot: SO and /. have substantially different voting systems. On /., users will get moderation points (votes) from time to time, in lumps of 5 to 15, and you may not vote on the discussion of any article you post in. In addition, /. moderation (voting) includes a dropdown menu of reasons, and posts are limited to the range of -1 to +5. There's lots of differences. Commented May 3, 2010 at 13:57
  • @David: Sorry, I wasn't clear; I was referring to the comment voting system that Earlz made reference to, not the question/answer voting system. Yes, /. requires a "reason" but I consider that a fairly minor deviation.
    – Aarobot
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 13:58
  • 1
    How do you pronounce /.?
    – juan
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 14:08
  • 4
    @Downvoter: slanted line full stop, obviously. Commented May 3, 2010 at 14:17
  • 3
    @James: huh, I always thought it was reverse-backslash period. Just goes to show the difference between American and British English, I suppose.
    – Pops
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 17:03

5 Answers 5


The "Internet" as a whole, no. I don't think it had much of an influence on other sites. Voting is not really a thing the SO family invented.

What it did change though, is by giving the Internet a welcoming place for people to ask programming/server/user/unicorns questions, and get fast answers.

These questions are more and more populating search results from regular search engines, which means that it's becoming easier to find solutions to problems, without having to spend yet another hour scrolling countless useless forums to find what someone already found, in some hidden corner of the Internet (or having to take your credit card because people are telling you that "experts" found the solution, but you can't see it yet).

  • or worse, plain text mailing list archives! I find that probably 50% of the time I do a programming google search my answer(or something close) ends up being on SO..
    – Earlz
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 6:17
  • @Earlz - exactly, what more do you need to see the change? :]
    – Gnoupi
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 6:18
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    @Earlz: logout on Google and clean your Google cookies or use a different and clean webbrowser. Do you now still see the same search result patterns? ;)
    – user138231
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 13:39

Yes, but not in the way you mean. I think it's changed it by providing a better resource for web developers, such that a lot of mistakes and security issues that would have gone to production were instead avoided.

There are ~650,000 questions on StackOverflow. At least a third of those relate to web developement; probably more. Of those, maybe another third could not have been solved as well by older forums or resources. So by my pull-it-out-of-the-air estimate that's at least 72,000 places and counting where the internet was made better, not to mention all the questions that were never asked in the first place because you learned something reading stackoverflow earlier.


Yes, I definitely think so, and the YouTube example is very good. It's changed the way I want things, I can't handle pages and pages of forum quotes with no way to find the answer easily. I'm just a lot more frustrated with forums, and just want to see the answers immediately.

One of the big problems is the default skins of forums, there's too much fluff and no-one took the time to redesign the standard forum look and feel. Stackoverflow did and they are being rewarded for that.


yes - the internet now has 47% more ponies, 32% more unicorns, and 78% more waffles.

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    s'true. There really weren't all that many waffles before.
    – devinb
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 11:56
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    Not sure about ponies or unicorns, but the waffles were certainly already there at /. and xkcd. It goes back up to the 2000's. Sopedians just shamelessly copied it. Unicorns in turn, I haven't encountered them as enthusiastic somewhere else.
    – user138231
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 13:22

It has made a change in search engine results, for sure. I've done various searches in recent times on various tech-related topics, and the SOFU sites have been coming up in the results. They now seem to have eclipsed the annoying ExpertsExchange results.

  • Yeah, ExpertsExchange results are pretty annoying
    – Bob
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 19:35
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    "Sign up to see the answer now!"
    – Earlz
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 20:38
  • +1. Kill ExpertsExchange. Kill it with fire!
    – Randolpho
    Commented May 20, 2010 at 19:08

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