site title

Two new user pages. One new stat. This one’s big.

posted under by on 04-15-15 71

In the time since we started working on the profile, generations of dinosaurs were born, fell in love, had families, and were killed by a comet. Or climate change, or maybe texting and driving or some nonsense like that. Anyway, as of today, it’s live on SO and about half the network, and we’ll be rolling out to the rest over the next few weeks. And it was worth the wait:

One user page isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion user pages.

Unfortunately, the designers said I could have… like two, maybe? At most. So, we went with that:

One page for you, one page for them:


  1. The Profile Page lets you show others a summary of what you’re all about. Share your interests, favorite charities, or your Twitter, Github, and SO Careers activity. Or don’t. And it automatically shows off your most helpful posts and tags from the network.
  2. The Activity Page lets you instantly see just how much good you’ve done here. And it provides new, individual suggestions for specific ways you can contribute next.

How many people have you helped?

  • “People Reached” is a new way to see just how much your efforts here matter. For the first time ever, you can see roughly how many times an actual human being – very likely one looking for help – found your contributions here. Personally, I like to call it the “Saving-the-frigging-world-o-meter”. Which may be why I’m no longer allowed to name stuff. Whatever.

Not big on words? Stop reading this. It’s long. Just go touch it!

  • Already have a profile? Go update it; you can add new Twitter, Github, and Careers links, and you’ll want to check your “People Reached” to see just how many people out there would high-five you if they could.
  • Never filled out a profile? If you’ve ever gotten help here, create one today, and you’ll be ready to pay it forward the next time you run across a question you can answer. And the new layout is designed to make you look pretty great even before you post.

Sticking around for the details? Well, I warned you.

Why?!? Grimlock say NO changies! I LIKED THE OLD CHEESE!


Why the change? Well, the legacy user page served proudly for many years, but the design team got bored. And they had some long, tedious point about black never really being black, or tortoise-shell glasses or something, so we eventually just gave in. (Okay, not really.)

Because the old page was being asked to do two different things, it was okay at both, but not awesome at either:

  • When you looked at your own profile , the top section was full of stuff that you A) know, B) can’t forget, and C) almost never changes. “What’s my name?” “Where do I live again?” At least “Age” was exciting roughly 0.3% of the time: “Whee – it’s my birthday today!!”
  • When other people looked at your profile, the whole bottom section was full of stuff that you may care about, but others probably didn’t. (“It’s sure been a while since Jay accepted a bounty – I hope he’s doing okay!”)

So, we left all the stuff that was working exactly the way it was, and split the info into two pages. Anyone can see either page, but the default view will be the one with the info that you actually care about.

Your beautiful new Profile Page: Show others what you’re all about.

What do you want to share? What you do. What you build. Your favorite quote, or least favorite N’Sync member. (Just kidding. They’re all equally awesome.)

Let others see your best work, whether it’s here or on other sites. Not active here yet? Not a problem. The new profile has dedicated fields for links to Github, Twitter, your Rick Schroeder Fan Fiction Tumblr, or wherever you have something to share. If you never felt you needed a profile before, today just may be your day.

Already been helpful? We’ll show off your best work. Your top posts - along with the technologies or tags you’re strongest in - show others what you’re all about. And if you’re active on multiple communities, your best stuff from those sites will show in the sidebar, too.

The new Activity Page: Track your impact and find new ways to contribute.

Not sure what to do next? We’ve got you covered. 2015-03-23_17-49-25
“Next Badge” helps you figure out where you can contribute next. If you’re new, it suggests badges that help you learn the ropes. If you’ve been helping for years now, it suggests badges for activities you seem to have enjoyed in the past. And for most of ‘em, it links right to a half-decent place to go earn them.

Wondering what your future holds? The “Next Privilege” bar offers a slightly more realistic goal than “catch Skeet“, tells you what powers are in your immediate future, and shows you just how close you are to earning them.

2015-03-23__18-06-31 Already have mod-like powers?
Not a big fan of “other peoples advice”?

Good for you! Don’t let the man tell you what’s up. The next badge picker lets you pick the goals you want to track, and shows you just how close you are to each of ‘em.

And the page adapts to serve our most generous users. Once you’ve earned all the privileges, the “next privilege” bar automatically starts tracking your progress toward your closest tag badge (or another one of your choosing).

70 million humans in need land here each month. How many find your posts?

Long before I worked here, the thing I found most appealing about 2015-03-27_15-48-52contributing to Stack Exchange sites was the idea that when I took the time to write something here, my efforts would help more people than they ever could buried on some forum.  An answer here doesn’t just help the one original asker, or the five up-voters. The real impact comes from the sixteen thousand searchers who land here looking for help with the exact same problem.

Every time you take five minutes out of your lunch break, or ten that you might have spent watching creepy hands open eggs to post here instead, you’re choosing to donate some of your most most valuable asset to do some good. And holy crap, have you done a lot of it. In the past, we hadn’t given you any way to even estimate just how much, though. Today, we’ve fixed that. So if you’ve contributed even a few up-voted posts, go- take a look.  I think you’ll be damn proud of what you find.


Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2015: The Results

posted under by on 04-07-15 56

Every year we ask our users to tell us a little about themselves. This year we asked our users to tell us a lot.

For 2 weeks in February 2015, we ran a 45 question survey. We asked where you live, what programming languages & frameworks you use, how much money you make, how much coffee you drink, and whether you prefer tabs or spaces when writing code. More than 26,000 of you responded, making this year’s survey quite possibly the most authoritative developer survey ever conducted.

A few findings:

This is just a start. Check out the full results.


Massive thanks to everyone who shared information about themselves. There’s a huge benefit in being able to see who your peers are and what they’re interested in, and we hope this survey is as interesting to all of you as it is to us.

For those of you who want to dive into the data yourselves, we’ll be releasing a full dump of all line-by-line responses within the next couple weeks.

And if you took the survey and counted M&Ms, or if you’re just curious about how well devs can estimate packing density (spoiler: not very well), see how many M&Ms were in the jar.

Have ideas for what we should ask next year? Let us know in the comments.


Podcast #63 – The Plumber’s Up To 67 Coins

posted under by on 03-25-15 10

Welcome to the Stack Exchange Podcast Episode #63, recorded March 6, 2015 in front of a live-ish audience. Today’s podcast is brought to you by Cool Whip by Kraft Foods. A description for this result is not available because of this site’s robots.txt — learn more! Our hosts today are Joel Spolsky, David Fullerton, and Jay Hanlon… as usual.

So what’s new? David went to London. (We have an office there. It’s awesome and it has graffiti on the walls.) David flew out to meet the London marketing team, spend time with some of our European developers, and get knighted. Probably.

This story didn’t really go anywhere, so we’ll take an audience question and then move on to talking about review queues. Specifically: the Help & Improvement queue. (Let the record show that Joel asked for this feature approximately 700 years ago. [So did Jon Skeet. -Ed.])

The Help & Improvement queue (aka the helpers queue, aka the huggy queue) contains questions that were deemed “Should Be Improved” in the triage queue. The triage queue is working very well so far. (There are numbers with percentages and two decimals of accuracy, so they are obviously really good.) Instead of talking about it more, let’s just go check it out! Here’s the question Joel was working with.

Joel discusses some questions that got as much help as they deserved (if not more), including an example that got some helpful edits comments. But without better information from the askers, these questions were still never going to get good answers. User Lynn Crumbling has a new badge idea: Almost Famous — had a question closed by Joel.

After many tangents, here are the takeaways from our experience so far with the helpers queue: we need to think about how to better control what’s going into the queue, and we need to give the reviewers more ways to deal with questions that shouldn’t be in there.

Right! Let’s talk about closing. But first we get sidetracked and talk about moving datacenters and blogging about it. It’s a great post, especially if you’re into this kind of thing:

On top of NY-VM01&02 was 1 of the 1Gb FEXes and 1U of cable management. Luckily for us, everything is plugged into both FEXes and we could rip one out early. This means we could spin up the new VM infrastructure faster than we had planned. Yep, we’re already changing THE PLAN™. That’s how it goes.

(Oh, and the SRE team got snowed in and had to sleep in the datacenter. There’s that, too.)

But here’s the blog post we actually meant to talk about: My Love-Hate Relationship with Stack Overflow by Jason S. It inspired David to come back from vacation to rant about it in chat for an hour. He helpfully re-creates this rant (with help from Joel and Jay) live on the podcast!

So what came out of this discussion? We changed close vote aging, for one thing. Community Manager Jon Ericson‘s meta post thought experiment about close voting was another.

Thanks for listening to the Stack Exchange Podcast, brought to you by Cool Whip — a whipped topping, NOT whipped cream.


Education begins at home: Improving developer training in NYC

posted under by on 02-12-15 20

The core goal of Stack Exchange is education. Everything we build is geared toward helping people learn from one another — not just the nuts and bolts of their profession or passion, but the universal skills of how to better communicate and learn. As we’ve grown as a company, we’ve benefited from many resources to assist in educating developers out of our office space, including hosting local meetups and partnering with the Flatiron School and Fog Creek for a mentorship program.

Today, we’re excited to announce our partnership with the New York City Tech Talent Pipeline, Mayor de Blasio’s new initiative designed to increase the number of qualified candidates for open tech positions in New York City.

That’s nice. But how?

The city has brought together a number of major companies that hire developers in NYC and asked us to do two things:

  1. Join a committee designed to help the city identify ways it can use its resources to attack the problem more broadly (through the education system, etc.), and
  2. Implement programs we can run, possibly with the help and support of other awesome like-minded tech companies in the city.

On the first point, we’re excited that our VP of Engineering, David Fullerton, will be sitting in on quarterly meetings with other tech industry leaders convened by Mayor de Blasio, where we hope we can help to represent the developer voice and to share what skills and technologies we know are most in-demand.

For the second, we’ve already brought in a bunch of (awesome) NYC companies — including Trello, Kickstarter, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Control Group — who will build and teach a new curriculum of programmer “soft skills” to graduates of public computer science programs in New York (starting with the CUNY system) that will better equip them as professional developers.

The goal is to make sure that anyone in this city with a passion for technology, no matter who they are or what neighborhood they grew up in, can get the mentoring, training, and support they need to succeed as a developer.

Why are we doing this?

As you probably know, there’s a vast disparity between open tech jobs and qualified developers in today’s market. At last count, there are nearly 5 job openings for every one job-seeking developer. With New York City’s current tech job count teetering at around 300,000 job openings, we need to increase the number of good candidates or a lot of  websites aren’t going to get built. The city needs developers. And this happens to be an area that we know a thing or two about. Our goal is to support and empower developers, no matter where they may be in their programming careers. Despite our well-known belief in remote work, our founder has always been a particular proponent of building great places in New  York for those developers who do want to work in a more communal space. Like many tech companies, we’ve been giving a lot of thought to how we can promote inclusion, both internally and in the tech community as a whole. We don’t pretend to have figured it all out, but this is just one thing we’re excited to share. As always, we welcome any ideas you may have.


Podcast #62 – Delete This Whole Episode

posted under by on 02-04-15 17

Welcome to Stack Exchange Podcast #62, recorded live on January 20th–with a live studio audience (kinda)!. Today’s podcast was brought to you by the American Venture Capital Association. With you today are our hosts Jay Hanlon, David Fullerton, and Joel Spolsky.

Let’s jump right in: we made a big announcement! Andreessen Horowitz has invested a pile of money in our little company so we can improve our ‘programmer forums’. Precisely none of the pile of money is going into Jay’s raise, but one of those dollars is going to SomeKittens.

So, the (forty) million dollar question: how are we going to use this money?

(not on supporting ancient browsers.)

We intend to (continue) spending money on Stack Overflow Careers. Our goal is to get every programmer a better job, and we want to do that without selling crazy-takeover-animated-bonzaibuddy-ads that feel like reading a newspaper on the subway (according to Joel), so we’re getting money from investors instead.

How are we going to make this happen? We plan to revisit the developer side of the Careers equation and figure out how to make that better. More features to let programmers search and filter for interesting jobs, update the way profiles work, etc. – more of the stuff we were going to work on anyway. Careers is already a very developer-focused product: we limit the things our employers can do heavily based on what drives programmers nuts. For example, we only let employers contact a limited number of candidates unless those candidates actually respond, and we disallow contingency recruiters. (A pox on all of their houses.)

You can get a Careers profile here. We filter the applications to make sure only real programmers end up with profiles on Careers.

Time to take some questions from the peanut gallery!

And we’re out of questions. So what else is going on these days? Hats! And some new sites. How about new features? We’re experimenting with a new triage queue to help sort questions into “hopeless and needs to be burninated” and “could be passable with some editing” buckets. Things in the triage queue won’t show up on the homepage until they’ve been approved. Here are the details.

Joel wants to sign off, but first make sure you check out Expression Engine SE’s new design. (Since this podcast was recorded, Movies SE has also graduated with a slick new theme.)

Thanks for wasting an hour on the Stack Exchange Podcast Episode #62, brought to you by the American Venture Capital Association.