Does the software that runs the Stack Overflow sites have a name? I've always thought that, just as Slashdot's software is named "Slash," Stack Overflow's software should be named "Stack" or "The Stack."

2 Answers 2


While brainstorming with some colleagues about StackExchange sites, I started calling them, collectively, "Stacks."

I wasn't thinking about the metaphor "stacks" when I coined it but it seemed like an effective buzzword.

Note: I am trying precariously to write this without using the word "paradigm."

The metaphor describes "a virtual exchange of ideas which is organized, not in linear time, but by the perceived merit of its content; a communication stream which forms through on-going contribution and is organized through a voting process where the most widely accepted ideas are presented first. Status and responsibility in the community of contributors rises in proportion of the abundance and popularity of their contributions."

Of course "stack overflow" is a programming term but there is the fortunate, but indeliberate, parallel meaning of "stack" as in:

  • an extensive arrangement of books and other information resources
  • a large number or amount; an orderly pile
  • to arrange the order of so as to increase one's chance of winning

I believe that the StackExchange framework will make enough of an impact on online collaboration to merrit a coined term. Where someone might say "Google it," they may also say "Check the Stacks."


Robert C. Cartaino


If StackExchange manages to avoid forking, it would make sense to just call it that. That's the new "generic" name, really. It's a bit revisionist admittedly, but if StackOverflow is basically just one site using the StackExchange software, I don't see much reason to differentiate.

Of course, if the hosted version has a bunch of other things which aren't then in the SO branch, that's a bit different.

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