How about letting users flattr Stack Overflow (or other Stack Exchange sites)?

I am not talking about flattring individual users, question, comments or answers. I am suggesting that the whole site could be flattred.

My reasoning: I like to block ads, even on Stack Overflow. I realize that ads are economically important to Stack Overflow. I would personally prefer to micropay for Stack Overflow instead. Letting me flattr Stack Overflow would let me block ads with a clean conscience.

  • 9
    Republic credits? Republic credits are no good out here. Aug 12, 2010 at 20:03
  • 2
    I usually block ads but made an exception for Stack Overflow (et al) because I didn't want to deprive them of any ad revenue. The ads you get with > 200 rep are hardly obtrusive.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Aug 12, 2010 at 21:20
  • 1
    Ugh. Where do they come up with these site names?
    – Ether
    Aug 12, 2010 at 23:11
  • 1
    My hope around ads is that we can make them so useful you won't even want to block them.
    – waffles
    Aug 13, 2010 at 1:03
  • Cough. ExpertsExchange. Cough. Jul 23, 2011 at 17:41
  • @wafles: How could an ad ever be "useful"?
    – endolith
    Apr 30, 2012 at 21:50

4 Answers 4


For the life of me, I've never understood Jeff's position on this. It makes no sense.

If someone really wants to give you money without further expectations, why on Earth would you say no?

"Oh, I'm sorry, I don't like money. No... no. Really. It's not my thing. Thanks for the offer, though." **

If I PayPal $100 to [email protected] will it be accepted or rejected?

** Jeff seems to talk about dogfood a lot, so maybe he doesn't like money. I dunno.

  • 2
    In some culture's it's considered the height of rudeness to pay someone for a service that they provide out of love. I tried to pay my brother-in-law for doing 8 hours of plumbing in my new bathroom and my wife stopped me saying that he would get offended if I did. Also, it can create a negative culture, or a culture of "I've donated, I should be priveliged" etc. Maybe not from you, but others... Aug 12, 2010 at 23:15
  • 1
    @Farseekr: Re the first part: Donations are, by definition, optional, so I don't see the issue there. If a user thinks it's rude to donate, then don't donate. Re the second part: That's just a byproduct of a business. Let's say SO, Inc. publishes a book of some kind. There will still be people saying "I bought the book and supported the company, now implement my feature request." It's inescapable. Heck there are people now saying "I've answered lots of questions, now implement my feature request" without any money being involved.
    – Jon Seigel
    Aug 12, 2010 at 23:57

Other requests to allow donations to SO have been politely declined.

Here is Jeff's response to a similar request:

As for donations, we appreciate the sentiment, for sure, but you guys and gals are already contributing the most valuable thing of all — your time!

We will never ask you for more than that, you’ve already been extremely generous!

  • 4
    So if I contribute my time, I am morally justified in blocking SO ads? Aug 12, 2010 at 20:02
  • 5
    @Klas - no one can tell you if you are "morally justified". That's entirely up to you. I would only go so far as to suggest that if you feel justified to block ads elsewhere, you shouldn't feel any differently about doing so here.
    – user27414
    Aug 12, 2010 at 20:05
  • 2
    This is what makes the SO family far superior to that "other" experts site.
    – squillman
    Aug 12, 2010 at 20:25

I support Jeff's decision on this.

  1. it takes resources and time to set up payment methods. It's not free -- it's taking time away from implementing (and supporting) other things.

  2. it promotes the idea that if you've paid, you aren't obligated to do other things. It alters the equation that we use in using the site. "I've paid my $0.50 this month; I'm not bound by that normal rule that I have to do ..." (where these things include everything regular participants gladly do on the site for free -- not just contribute content, but also janitorial duties etc).

I think there was a joelonsoftware.com article at some point discussing how once one incentivizes an activity with a cold hard metric, people stop doing it for free and start expecting payment, but I can't find it right now.

  • 2
    I've paid my $0.50 this month; I'm not bound by that normal rule that I have to do - spot on. That's the attitude that some people take about church offerings too. Aug 12, 2010 at 23:16

Looking at your associated accounts, you've already reached the point (200 rep) on a couple of sites where most ads are hidden anyway. What more do you want?

  • 4
    Klas doesn't want to see any ads. That's what's more. Aug 12, 2010 at 22:23

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