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This place is AWESOME!
Why does Stack Overflow work?

I know a few sites where you give a hand to people and get help from other developers, but none of them are a match for Stack Overflow!!!

What is it that makes this very web site so nice to use, where even wandering about is pleasing?

Is it,

  • its clear and sober presentation?

  • its valuable content that saves time to all of us when entering panic-mode ? ;-)

  • its great community, composed mainly of specialists who often know something that you don't?

Maybe a bit of all of this?

  • 7
    Heh, sober. Then there's meta.
    – squillman
    May 18, 2010 at 16:47
  • 2
    Tom, If you have 200 rep on SO, then you can associate accounts here and get 100 rep. May 18, 2010 at 17:45
  • @Renesis: Since you rephrased the question, all the answers have now become irrelevant. :-(
    – user162697
    Jul 28, 2011 at 22:07
  • Possibly related: Why is Stack Overflow so addicting? :) Jul 28, 2011 at 22:20
  • @Siva Actually, I just made the title match the body. Most of the answerers didn't read it, apparently. But oh well.
    – Nicole
    Jul 28, 2011 at 22:27
  • Shouldn't this be closed?
    – M. Tibbits
    Jul 28, 2011 at 22:31
  • 1
    The primary thing that makes it better is that it's strictly moderated, both through human actions, automated scripts, and a precise charter embodying basic expectations. There's a very high signal-to-noise ratio, and crap gets cleaned up very quickly. The focus is on answers, and good quality ones, too. Jul 29, 2011 at 0:43

6 Answers 6


What is it that makes this very web site so nice to use, where even wandering about is pleasing?

The voting. No really, hear me out...

On SO, all of the "thanks!" noise from the old-school forums and mail lists — and much of the flamewarring — is nicely condensed into a vote on the question or answer. The voting on answers also acts as a filter, most people know they can read the first one or two and skim the rest (makes "wandering about" nice). It also encourages decoupling of answers from each other ie. they are not replies in a discussion, which further quashes flamewars and focuses content. The reward of personal recognition attracts people who actually know what they're talking about. It also means that instead of organising information by time, it can be organised by... actual information content!

This all leads to a relatively high signal-to-noise ratio for the whole site. This, in turn, allows for a cleanness of presentation that is absolutely impossible on, say, a threaded email discussion or a forum with posts stapled together one after another.

Using time as the sole dimension for organisation restricts how a site can be presented and used. Voting adds another dimension, which means that strange new interface and design decisions are possible (and even suggest themselves).


I hate it. Meta is so much better.

  • 6
    StackOverflow is like a wannabe meta, except they talk about some boring code.
    – JohnD
    May 18, 2010 at 22:36
  • 1
    @compwhizii Nah, meta is soooo meta.
    – Marcelo
    Jul 28, 2011 at 21:56


  • 11
    You're biased diamond boy :)
    – squillman
    May 18, 2010 at 16:48
  • 1
    @squillman Leave Neil out of this!
    – Sampson
    May 18, 2010 at 19:29
  • Hah! I KNEW it!
    – squillman
    May 18, 2010 at 21:02

Stack Overflow is alright, but I don't think I've ever heard of this SatckOverflow. Is it a clone?

  • 3
    Lol @ the downvotes. Check the question's edit history.
    – Aarobot
    May 20, 2010 at 14:06
  • fixed the down vote ;) my humble +1 ;)
    – b0x0rz
    May 31, 2010 at 17:20

I can't put into words how much I love SO. A bug I've been having for three months just got solved for me in one line of code... beautiful.


The democratic community that based on voting and reputation system make the Stackoverflow so great, I think.

PS: Stackoverflow responds new requriments is so fast. you can find the answer in Jeff's Blog.

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