I love stackoverflow.com.

I love stackoverflow.com. To the unfamiliar: it’s simply a programming Q&A site where you post your problem and strangers solve it for you. There are hundreds of other Q&A sites, but Stack Overflow has hit a home run with fantastic implementation and an addictive game-like feel where you earn “reputation” points and achievements for good questions or answers. It has become as profoundly useful in my day-to-day work as Wikipedia.

Today I achieved a trivial little milestone of 3000 reputation which grants me the power to close/reopen questions. I probably won’t use that privilege, but it’s an example of a site feature that sucks you in and makes you want to use it more – positive reinforcement.

I briefly considered whether Wikipedia would benefit from similar gamification, but I think it would not. Stack Overflow incentivizes quick but thoughtful answers to individual, specific question while Wikipedia tries to build a coherent representation of a broad base of knowledge. Quick incentives would be a negative in Wikipedia, I think.


3 replies on “I love stackoverflow.com.”

  1. That’s pretty boss! There was this service a while ago where people would post questions and then “experts” would bid to answer it, and then the person who posed the question would pick who to answer it and pay them (small payments). I think it did not reach critical mass though, which is too bad.

    I like this mode though, this might have some traction 🙂

  2. The RPG site sounds like fun, we sometimes have questions that come up in the game that we usually come to some consensus over, but would still be interesting to see how others deal with it.

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