Well, it's time for the final Stack Exchange Podcast featuring Jeff Atwood before he rides off into the sunset.
Tune in to hear Jeff and Joel reminisce about the origins of Stack
Exchange, the journey along the way, and listen to some special
recordings from those who have been around since the beginning.
- Joel was reading the transcript of Stack Overflow Podcast 001.
It's from April 2008. Listen to the awesome excerpt about the birth of
Stack Overflow! (Stack Overflow is not another place to discuss tabs vs.
- What was the biggest thing that surprised you about Stack Overflow/Stack Exchange? Jeff
mentions the Meta Issue. Joel started out with a strong antipathy
toward meta questions, or discussing the site on the site instead of
discussing the topic of the site. It comes down to building the software
to accommodate the direction the community goes in. You can't plan everything.
Overflow originally launched without comments, but that was fixed very
shortly after launch, because it was something the community needed.
Wikipedia hasn't done this for Talk pages, and that's why they're so
- People have recorded nice messages for Jeff in honor of his departure. Geoff Dalgas aka Valued Associate #00003 goes
first, and his clip is full of win. Quantcast says we have 20 million
visitors a month, and together they could populate a city the size of
Seoul, South Korea. We have more people typing on our websites than
- Kyle Cronin sent in our next message. He's an
exemplary Stack Exchange user who contributed heavily to the birth of
Meta Stack Overflow. Kyle was running a site for meta discussion on
UserVoice and then on a phpBB bulletin board until Jeff decided it was a
core business function.
- Next up is Josh Heyer aka Shog9, another Valued Associate who speaks very slowly. Jeff had originally put Josh in the same bucket as the Welbogs -
people who get bored with chess, so they start flinging the chess
pieces everywhere. Stack Overflow and Josh have grown up together. Jeff
and Joel found a way to keep users like Josh interested and entertained
without being detrimental to the core purpose of the sites, through
Meta, Area 51, more sites, and beyond.
- History of the site:
Started with Stack Overflow. Then came Server Fault and Super User,
which topics were deemed off topic for Stack Overflow, but which were
great fits for our audience. Then came Stack Exchange 1.0 and...
- ...Valued Associate David Fullerton!
He came over from Fog Creek and took the reins for Stack Exchange
1.0... which failed. Luckily, it became clear that the asset is not the
software, but the community. Enter Stack Exchange 2.0!
Communities were given the power to create new sites, for better or for
worse. Theirs is the power to decide whether or not things like "identify this x" questions are helpful.
- There is such a thing as sites that harm the internet simply by continuing to exist.
For that reason, sometimes sites need to be closed. Facts of life!
(Askville is an extreme example. It can't even hide its bad content,
like Reddit can.)
- Here's Jon Skeet, the all-time top user on
Stack Overflow with more nice comments for Jeff. Jon Skeet is
legendary. He has answered 20k questions on Stack Overflow thanks to his
long commute to and from work. He exemplifies what makes a great Stack
Overflow user, and has been justly rewarded with internet fame, and a
ton of reputation.
- We're almost at Version 3.0 of the core
engine. Things are pretty polished, from a software perspective! But
software is never really done, especially software that is being built
for (and with) a community that's always changing. So plenty of work
remains to be done on the engine, but Jeff is leaving it in very capable
- Information maintenance is a huge problem, especially in
the realm of software development, and especially because Google tends
to give higher PageRank to older pages. That's a great way to have
outdated information! That's why Stack Exchange questions are always
editable... but the incentive to do so is not always there. (Adding a
new question still makes the page better, though, and you get reps!)
Editing is a good way to earn your first few points of rep when you're
new to a site.
- Eric Lippert has our next message for Jeff. He demands markup that will make the text on our sites turn purple (because he writes his blog in purple).
Eric uses Stack Overflow to interact with his customers and see what
trouble they're having and how they're fixing them. (Eric is the Pope of
- That brings us up to today!
- Stack Overflow is
enabling programmers that aren't located in Silicon Valley-type places
to make the greater programming community better and get recognized for
their great work, even if they're just a rote programmer at a regional
- This is the finaly podcast with Jeff &
Joel! Jeff's last thoughts: the new babies are doing well and existing
ex-baby Henry is doing well adapting to the young ones.
- Jarrod Dixon, Valued Associate #00002, will play us off.
- Jeff's final advice: choose the adventures that scare you a little bit.