When I help someone solve a programming problem, they often express their gratitude for the solution (yay!). Generally, this takes the form of one of the following:

  • "Think you!"
  • Sometimes, people offer to hire me for further work. (Generally, stay away from these folks; they've been hiding theirreal problems.)
  • An offer of a glass of beer at some unspecified point in the future.

The latter behavior is something that Stack Overflow should be designed to encourage.

So last night SO user Alex James noted that he had earned a silver badge for the EF tag on SO, and I proposed that we cash them in for pints at the local. This feature has been proposed in the past in a virtual sense, but I think the time has come to make it real.

So, just to be perfectly clear for anyone distracted by all of the references/blather above, I propose the creation of a means of converting Stack Overflow reputation and/or badges into actual beer.

[Before you cry, "But that's impossible!" remember that Pet Holdings, Inc., the network of sites spawned from a few silly cat photos (1) exists at all, and (2) is a viable business. Also, I'm pretty sure rule 34 applies somewhere.]

How might this work?

  • A new category of site sponsorship for microbrewers.
  • Upon accepting a solution, users could be prompted to contribute to a "beer fund" which would be used to fund beer shipments to the authors of up-voted answers.
  • Two words: VC $$$$.

Please post other ideas below.

A gratuitous cat photo:


Yes, it's Friday in Iceland. But I prefer Finnish beer.

  • 12
    This is amazing! How'd you get the [always-friday-in-iceland] tag to stick?! – Pops Nov 12 '10 at 18:18
  • @Popular: I typed "Friday," and it autocompleted. I didn't realize it was an accomplishment. Clearly, I don't spend enough time here. – Craig Stuntz Nov 12 '10 at 18:19
  • @Craig, the last time I checked, it was a synonym for [fun], so new questions couldn't be tagged with it. I guess the association must have been broken. – Pops Nov 12 '10 at 18:21
  • @Popular: Yep. – Craig Stuntz Nov 12 '10 at 18:22
  • I wonder if it's because the question was also tagged [fun]? Maybe the synonym thingamajig doesn't allow duplicate tags? – Aarobot Nov 12 '10 at 18:39
  • @Aarobot Nope. If you try to tag something with [tag1] [tag2] [tag3], and tag2 and tag3 are synonyms of tag1, all you end up with is [tag1]. – Grace Note Nov 12 '10 at 19:07
  • 2
    I think it's because tags like [friday-afternoon] is still only a synonym of [always-friday-in-iceland]? – kennytm Nov 12 '10 at 19:15
  • @KennyTM: You may have something there. My foggy memory (remarkable, since I haven't received any beer yet!) is that I picked the [friday-afternoon] tag. I can't recall if I even selected [always-friday-in-iceland]. – Craig Stuntz Nov 12 '10 at 19:23
  • @KennyTM: Probably that's the reason. Synonyms do only one "rename", even if the result is another synonym. – sth Nov 12 '10 at 21:09
  • wtf, all the old [always-friday-in-iceland] questions have been deleted? – Ether Nov 12 '10 at 21:41
  • @Ether, retagged, more likely. – Craig Stuntz Nov 12 '10 at 21:46
  • 2
    @Craig Stuntz: If this succeeds, you get a beer on me for all the times you've helped. – Alex Nov 13 '10 at 8:03
  • 1
    Now we have 2 [fun] tags here... :| – kennytm Nov 14 '10 at 10:49
  • 6
    Does that cat drink Heineken... poor animal. Just move one country to the south for better beer. – Toon Krijthe Nov 16 '10 at 11:07
  • 3
    I prefer to finish my beer too. – shankapotomus Dec 1 '10 at 20:57

Not a full solution to the thirst problem, but how's about putting all of the answer contents under PHK's beerware license:

 * ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 * "THE BEER-WARE LICENSE" (Revision 42):
 * <phk@FreeBSD.ORG> wrote this file. As long as you retain this notice you
 * can do whatever you want with this stuff. If we meet some day, and you think
 * this stuff is worth it, you can buy me a beer in return Poul-Henning Kamp
 * ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cheers everybody!

  • 4
    I don't think this is compatible with GPLv3 unless you also buy him the means to make more beer – Martin Beckett Mar 23 '11 at 21:30
  • @mgb: Wouldn't promising to make the recipe available via FTP for 3 years suffice? – Fred Foo Mar 24 '11 at 11:16
  • 1
    no, that's Tivoisation. If the recipe only works with one of those big copper things they make beer in! I think it's allowed under GPLv2 – Martin Beckett Mar 24 '11 at 14:06

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