I know Stack Exchange is not interested in setting up public forums specifically for companies to support their own products. But what about private SE's for their employees to use internally?

I work for a (large) company the with lots of internal knowledge that is not for public distribution. I find myself wanting to ask questions on Stack Overflow about this knowledge but, for ready apparent reasons, even if I was allowed to, it would do me very little good.

With the new SE 2.0 is there any plans for addressing this sort of case?


2 Answers 2


Update: Stack Overflow Enterprise is now available for internal use.

original message:

I can't upvote yet, but +1 for the enterprise edition of the Stack Overflow engine. Most companies already have a portal/sharepoint site and they have their own user communities. Any company with more than 2 geographical locations and 100 employees should have its own internal expert community/mailing list IMHO, and most have a formal/informal version anyway.

Rather than everyone reinventing the wheel with Exchange, SharePoint, wiki, etc., etc. a Stack Overflow engine on a 3 year release cycle (SharePoint-like) would be a boon for most companies, and they would be happy to pay for it.

In fact, once you release a stable enterprise edition, where an SE can install and configure it easily on their server and link to it from their portal, you will be surprised at how many other companies will jump on board.

SharePoint is one of the quickest selling products of Micrsoft, not because it's technologically superior or ground breaking, but it solves an easy-to-understand business problem, in an easy to understand/demonstrate way (the front end anyway, the back end maintenance/installation is another story).

And it's not just for programmers either, I can easily imagine this sales pitch to management - "Look, every time we have to make a sales pitch for product/technology X we send emails around asking for slide decks, case studies, customer testimonials, etc. which just clutters up everyones email boxes. SharePoint sites lacks specific solutions and individualised answers. But with this engine, we can easily create a site where I can ask a question like "Has anyone sold product/tech x to company y", "Does anyone have a contact in team a of company b" and we quickly get answers without spamming everyone on the list as well as identify experts/high achievers in our company that we can recognise and reward. And the geeks we have in the basement can ask their own geeky questions as well and we can just ignore them."

  • 1
    I'm thinking that for this to work, the system would have to do a lot better at personalized question. Most companies may have lots of internal knowledge but for SE to be a plus for them, they would need a way for question to get pushed to people who are likely to be able to answer them. Maybe we need a Stack Exchange Prize to drive development of such an engine.
    – BCS
    Commented Jun 29, 2010 at 18:02
  • An automated system would be perfect. But it can still work with recognized experts and word of mouth. We have email group based communities and often questions get forwarded to people who haven't subscribed to those groups by others who do. As in "I know a guy in our city who did a similar stuff, I will forward this post to him" kind of deal.
    – Chaitanya
    Commented Jun 30, 2010 at 6:02

I thought about implementing something like SE internally once. I decided against it.

  1. Its just not geared for most proprietary environments. Most companies have supervisors, project managers or team leads that don't want a community attempting to dictate policy through a juxtaposed democracy (or 'portal' quoting the average project manager). The exception to this is the sites we don't see that go into developing SE, used by SE.
  2. It would be a pain the ass. I'm John Q. Flimflam, MBA and I lead a team of programmers. I just finished my keynote answer on why we're never going to do something and the community just reversed itself. I miss MediaWiki!
  3. Given the fact that most features are added to SO by request of the community, how would you keep up with any kind of 'enterprise' model, anyway? The simple act of merging just what 'enterprise' clients want into their next super stable release would basically alienate the profit made from them in the first place (if support costs didn't eat the socks). Community arguments as to what should be in that build are an entirely different matter.

Its just not a good idea, for you .. or for them.

An example support question:

Jeff, I love, admire and respect you for processing oxygen and coming up with a way to re-invent usenet. We totally two point oh'ed it and rammed our ROI to the next level when it comes to our dev farm. I have this employee, I don't know how to deal with them or their behavior on my enterprise SE site. I've attached a file to let you login to our VPN and see ... I need this ^*#&$^ yesterday dammit!

This e-mail was never answered, but the guy is now wearing a shirt that says:

Ah yes, my head has been ripped off. Worry not, Jeff is finding me another. Has anyone seen Joel lately?

  • John Q. Flimflam, MBA. Nice touch.
    – Kayaman
    Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 15:49

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