Who remembers how they found Stack Overflow?

Because for the life of me I can't and it's really bugging me.

Maybe one of you found it the same way I did and can remind me...

  • Sorry. Sorry to you Specer as well. Can anybody undo his CW?
    – Sampson
    Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 21:21
  • Bah. Now I can't turn it off... oh well. No one was upvoting it anyway. Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 21:24
  • 1
    fun? I hate fun! Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 22:18
  • I don't see how this is closed while other discussion questions aren't...
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 15:12
  • @ColeJohnson the Many Memes of Meta is actually a valuable resource as there are a lot of inside jokes that are easier to point to that question for answers than explaining over and over again. But I won't argue on the others as they don't have the same value. Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 15:22
  • You mean how i met SO ? Sure, when my code failed and i could not figure out why - public static void mian(Strings[]arg){System.out.println("Goodbye cruel world");}
    – Time
    Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 11:32

26 Answers 26


I was an avid reader of Jeff's Atwood blog. He first started talking about it, and the rest was history.

(I actually found Jeff Atwood's blog through StumbleUpon.)

  • 9
    Who the hell is Jeff?
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 21:35
  • 5
    ... and why do we keep talking about him? Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 21:45
  • Same here, but I thought Jeff's blog was a joke site at first because of its confusing title (as much in vein as in TheDailyWTF). This was wa-a-a-ay back…
    – Spoike
    Commented Nov 4, 2009 at 7:32

Joel Spolsky's blog.

  • Same here. Found out about it when Joel kicked off the podcast.
    – romandas
    Commented Oct 7, 2009 at 14:01

I believe it was GirlDeveloper's blog (aka Sara Chipps) that first put me onto it, although I didn't join until it came out of private beta. Thanks to that blog post I'd heard of it, and Douglas Leeder (a close friend) probably mentioned it too.

I started writing a blog post about the possibility of getting addicted to SO on the evening of the day I joined (September 26th 2008) although the actual post didn't go out until the Sunday evening.

  • I've run across her blog in the past... though I can't remember if it was before or after I got here. Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 21:05
  • I first saw her blog because it mentioned C# in Depth (on my birthday, in fact).
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 21:09
  • "I'll readily admit that the reputation side of things appeals to my ego." haha nice. Hows that ego feeling? ;) Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 21:12
  • @Jon Skeet and that's when you left microsoft.public.dotnet.languages.csharp
    – Sasha
    Commented Jul 18, 2009 at 13:40
  • 1
    @Sasha: Very soon after, yes. For a while I tried to do both, but I don't have the time and I was forever wishing I had WMD when writing newsgroup posts. I do miss detailed discussions though...
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Jul 18, 2009 at 19:41
  • 8
    Why the downvote?
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Jul 20, 2009 at 21:59
  • Why downvote? I'd say envious people... ;) Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 9:06

I believe I found it by searching a question on Google. A Stack Overflow question was the first result. I pretty much just joined to get rid of that annoying "First time here? Check out the FAQ" thing that kept popping up. I never believed I would get more than 100 rep, let alone 7,000.

  • 1
    Same here. I notices I keep finding SO on google. At first I thought it was a blog, but it didn't seem quite right (something like "this Stack Overflow guy is good"). When I read the FAQ I imminently wanted to join - it just seemed awesome.
    – Kobi
    Commented Jun 29, 2010 at 16:03

I think Stack Overflow gradually entered my consciousness. It would come up fairly often when googling programming questions, and I think one day, it just sort of hit me that there was something special about Stack Overflow.

It was probably the aesthetics I noticed first--the site has a really clean, inviting look, and code blocks are formatted just how you'd like them to be. So, I bookmarked it and started going there first when I needed help. Soon after that, I started to notice the reputation score and badges. I had seen reputation ratings on other sites, but it seemed to stand out more on Stack Overflow. I could see the power of it. It's like a competition to see who can be the most cooperative. It was then that I joined.


Rich B made me. Seriously.

  • 7
    @TheTXI: That sound you just heard was the sonic boom Jeff made as he rushed to remove your mod powers. Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 21:27

I think it was through some arbitrary blog post saying "Stack Overflow out of private beta" or something along those lines. I had never heard of it before, so I decided to check it out. It did not disappoint.


Haackoverflow from PDC.


I follow both Jeff and Joel on their blogs, so I started listening to the podcast from episode 1.


I saw it first on Jon Skeet's blog. At the time, like Jon Skeet, I was a Usenet frequenter, and I remember thinking two things:

  • Pah! Yet another web site; can't beat good ol' NNTP
  • But if Jon Skeet is busy there... ;-p

I didn't join for another week or so, when I finally decided to give it a whirl. I was hopelessly hooked soon after.

I kept trying to convince myself that Jon Skeet's lead was just that fortnight's headstart... but that excuse simply isn't cutting it any more ;-p


I googled some Java question or another and a Stack Overflow post was the most useful result. That single experience wasn't enough to hook me, but the top Google result for the very next question I had was also a Stack Overflow post. So I took a closer look, signed up, and started answering questions...


I don't remember the exact timeline, but Scott Hanselman mentioned it either on Hanselminutes or in his blog. This would have been approximately when Preview 5 was out, and I had just started an ASP.NET MVC project so was mainly interested from that perspective. ("Hey, here's a really cool site that is built in ASP.NET MVC!")


I saw it mentioned on comp.lang.c where someone linked to an answer on Stack Overflow to ask if it was 'best practice'.

I'm pretty sure it was someone getting help working through the K&R exercises, if memory serves. My first thought was:

The good folks at Experts-Exchange are just going to love this!

Naturally, I realized that participating in Stack Overflow was the best way to exact revenge for every time I hit a pay wall in search of a good answer.

There weren't many people answering questions on Linux / POSIX / Linux-kernel, and not nearly as many people answering in the C tag, so I found my home there and have been there ever since :)


Jon Galloway asked me to see if I could create mischief (nicely, reporting how) after some beta testers had already been naughty hackers.


Wow, I've been here for 6 months already!? Well, according to my account, Jan. 13 was the day of my first question. Correlating that to my Google History, on Jan 13 I was looking up a friend by his screenname. It rendered a stackoverflow account - I viewed it, and two other search results. Signed up thereafter.

How's that for MacGyver?


I can't remember, I joined a while ago. I can remember being a big fan of it almost right away though. The clear interface, and the quality and speed of the answers impressed me! When you're used to asking on a forum and then coming back a day later to someone who has a equal misunderstanding of the issue then Stack Overflow was light years ahead.

My first question was Getting the ID of an embedded ASP Object using JavaScript and jQuery.

Look at the quality of the answers.

  • 1
    Yeah. I was a big contributor on Experts-Exchange and I definitely felt this was much better right away. EEs interface feels so cluttered. Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 21:03
  • @Spencer <aol>Me too</aol> Even if EE's T-shirts are free. 8-) Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 21:23
  • They're so uncomfortable though! The big ass prints should be on the back. I have 5 and I never wear any of them. Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 21:25

I somehow managed to find Coding Horror, at about the same time that Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky started talking about Stack Overflow. I honestly don't remember how I found out about Coding Horror.

  • It had to have been around mid April 2008, because I remember hearing the first podcast. I also think that the post about the podcast was the first entry I read on Coding Horror. codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001101.html Commented Jul 28, 2009 at 22:14

A link to Joel Spolsky's blog from use.perl.org. It was kind of like "Get over there before and support Perl!" So here I am. The Perl expert category wasn't quite as glutted as it is now.


In the Programming Symposium subforum on Ars Technica.


I think I first saw it in the Google Tech Talk Learning from StackOverflow.com by Joel Spolsky (2009-04-24).


Someone linked to the programmer joke 'question' that was closed/deleted some time ago on a gaming forum. For a while, I had thought of SO as a sort of joke forum for programmers. Having forgot the name of the site but distinctively remembering the design of the site, I managed to find it again several months later when I signed up as I was getting into web design.

Since then, I discovered the SE network and have participated in many sites (with varying degrees of activity).


I saw it mentioned on http://reddit.com/r/programming several times while it was being developed. When Stack Overflow Private Beta Begins was finally announced, I didn't immediately join because Jeff Atwood made me feel "eww... Microsoft".

However, my repeated feelings of "eww... Experts-Exchange" were much stronger, and I quickly conceded since that this was likely to become the primary programming resource, I wouldn't be avoiding it forever and may as well get on board as soon as possible.


I needed help with my OpenCL project. That's when I searched and found this site :)


I was searching for answers to simple programming questions, and 9 times out of 10, the first link (and most helpful) was to Stack Overflow. I used these for a while, and then I had a few questions that I wanted to ask, so I made an account.


I was introduced to Stack Overflow by a colleague. (Who is also the chief architect in our R&D team, and my direct superior.)

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