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Joel on Software

Stack Exchange 2.0

by Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Like the small-town mayor who suddenly finds herself running an entire state, our ambitions for Stack Overflow keep growing. Our original idea of making the Internet a better place to get expert answers to your programming questions suddenly seemed too small. Programming questions? We asked. Why just programming questions? Why not every question under the sun? And who says we can’t run for Vice President of the United States of America?

We tried making our software available as a hosted white label product called Stack Exchange. We thought that other people would create awesome sites on every imaginable topic. Some people did (yay!), but it wasn’t the flood of high quality sites we were hoping for.

So we’re making a few changes. Briefly:

  1. Stack Exchange will now be free.
  2. We’re changing the way that new Stack Exchange sites are created to move to a more democratic, community process.
  3. The content of these new, community-created Stack Exchange sites will be publically owned under a Creative Commons license, instead of being owned by individuals or businesses.

If you’ve already created a Stack Exchange site, be sure to read the announcement in more detail to hear about our transition plan. Don’t be alarmed; we’d never do anything to mess with Stack Exchange sites that are already working.

Read all the details on the StackExchange Blog.


Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

Want to know more?

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About the author.

I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, easy web-based collaboration software, FogBugz, an enlightened bug tracking and software development tool, and Kiln, a distributed source control system that will blow your socks off. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.

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