It's the second time I'm trying to create an Area 51 proposal for Moodle. As soon as I start promoting it, I get replies from Moodle users like:

"How would that be different than the community at Moodle.org?"

How would you explain the advantages of a Stack Exchange website compared to a more traditional community like the Moodle one?

  • Stack Exchange can be a very useful component to a F/OSS community, but it does not fit the social aspect very well. It's a great place to get answers and be rewarded for providing them, but that's only part of what any given community wants. Are you suggesting it as a replacement, or addition to the existing collection of resources? – Tim Post Jul 22 '11 at 12:56
  • Definitely an addition. – Roberto Aloi Jul 22 '11 at 12:57

A pretty comprehensive discussion of what makes the Stack Overflow model of sites unique is contained on the "About" page for each site.

You can use Stack Overflow's as a model: About Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow is a programming Q & A site that’s free. Free to ask questions, free to answer questions, free to read, free to index, built with plain old HTML, no fake rot13 text on the home page, no scammy google-cloaking tactics, no salespeople, no JavaScript windows dropping down in front of the answer asking for $12.95 to go away. You can register if you want to collect karma and win valuable flair that will appear next to your name, but otherwise, it’s just free. And fast. Very, very fast.

We don’t run Stack Overflow. You do. Stack Overflow is collaboratively built and maintained by your fellow programmers. Once the system learns to trust you, you’ll be able to edit anything, much like Wikipedia. With your help, we can build good answers to every imaginable programming question together. No matter what programming language you use, or what operating system you call home – better programming is our goal.

Stack Overflow is as frictionless and painless to use as we could make it. We believe finding the right answer to your programming questions should be as easy as falling into the pit of success … and maybe even a little fun along the way.

So What? Who cares? Isn't this just like a dozen other websites?

What’s so special about this? Well, nothing, really. The only unusual thing we do is synthesize aspects of Wikis, Blogs, Forums, and Digg/Reddit in a way that we think is original.

Stack Overflow is that tiny asterisk in the middle, there.

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IMO the advantages compared to other sites are as follows:

  1. More button-based, almost no gesture-based interface like old-day webpages make it very accessible, easy to use and simple.

  2. It typically follows on a philosophy similar to as Marie Curie said "be less curious about people and more curious about ideas", You cannot follow a person, but you can follow a topic of interest. Also it avoids feature like friend requests, that makes feel more safe online.

  3. It allows anonymity that helps me not getting personally identified. It provides me comfort and peace of mind.

  4. You are allowed to browse very old questions. Unlike a social media, where reacting on an old post is punished and shamed; stackexchange allows to dig out "hidden gems", and corelate the old "hidden gems" with new concepts.

  5. though you cannot follow a person, you can see statistics of an user if you like the concepts or ideas of an user, and can find "hidden gems" wrote by an user at much past.

  6. There isn't any in private communication. Everything is open. That makes pseudoscience difficult to build up in presence of more scientific community.

  7. They like you to stay on point for individual question or answer, still You are not "pigeonholed" to have a degree in a definite subject. A chemistry expert can answer a history question or a language people can answer a mathematics question. It helps reducing tunnel vision.

The only single disadvantage I noticed is, that some questions are so readily downvoted or closed that the question does not receive the suitable answerer. However it seems there is change in new user policy so this issue is less frequent.

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