Stack Exchange Network
Stack Exchange Network
Stack Exchange logo and wordmark.svg
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Question and answer
HeadquartersNew York City
OwnerStack Exchange Inc.[1]
Created byJeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky
Alexa rankNegative increase 144 (April 1, 2017)[2]
LaunchedSeptember 2009; 9 years ago (2009-09)[3]
(relaunched in January 2011)[4]
Content license
User contributions under CC BY-SA 3.0[5]

Stack Exchange is a network of question-and-answer (Q&A) websites on topics in diverse fields, each site covering a specific topic, where questions, answers, and users are subject to a reputation award process. The reputation system allows the sites to be self-moderating.[6] As of September 2018, the three most actively-viewed sites in the network are: Stack Overflow, Super User, and Ask Ubuntu.[7]

All sites in the network are modelled after the initial site Stack Overflow, a Q&A site for computer programming questions created by Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky. Further Q&A sites in the network are established, defined and eventually – if found relevant – brought to creation by registered users through a special site named Area51.[7][8] User contributions are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.[5]


In 2008, Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky created Stack Overflow, a question-and-answer Web site for computer programming questions, which they described as an alternative to the programmer forum Experts-Exchange.[9] In 2009, they started additional sites based on the Stack Overflow model: Server Fault for questions related to system administration and Super User for questions from computer "power users".[10]

In September 2009, Spolsky's company, Fog Creek Software, released a beta version of the Stack Exchange 1.0 platform[3] as a way for third parties to create their own communities based on the software behind Stack Overflow, with monthly fees.[11] This white label service was not successful, with few customers and slowly growing communities.[12]

In May 2010, Stack Overflow (as its own new company) raised US$6 million in venture capital from Union Square Ventures and other investors, and it switched its focus to developing new sites for answering questions on specific subjects,[12] Stack Exchange 2.0. Users vote on new site topics in a staging area called "Area 51", where algorithms determine which suggested site topics have critical mass and should be created.[9] In November 2010, Stack Exchange site topics in "beta testing" included physics, mathematics, and writing.[13] Stack Exchange publicly launched in January 2011 with 33 Web sites; it had 27 employees[14] and 1.5 million users at the time, and it included advertising.[4] At that time, it was compared to Quora, founded in 2009, which similarly specializes in expert answers.[4] Other competing sites include WikiAnswers and Yahoo! Answers.[15]

In February 2011, Stack Overflow released an associated job board called Careers 2.0, charging fees to recruiters for access, which later re-branded to Stack Overflow Careers.[16] In March 2011, Stack Overflow raised US$12 million in additional venture funding, and the company renamed itself to Stack Exchange, Inc.[17] It is based in Manhattan, New York City.[18] In February 2012, Atwood left the company.[19]

On 18 April 2013 CipherCloud issued Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices in an attempt to block discussion of possible weaknesses of their encryption algorithm.[20][21] The Stack Exchange Crypto group discussion on the algorithm was censored, but it was later restored without pictures.[22]

As of September 2015, "Stack Exchange" no longer refers to the company, only the network of question-and-answer websites. Instead, the company is now referred to as Stack Overflow.[23]

In 2016 Stack Exchange added a variety of new sites which pushed the boundaries of the typical question-and-answer site.[24] For example, Puzzling offers a platform for users who already know the answer questions to challenge their peers to solve the problems unlike traditional Q-A sites where the poster does not know the answer.[24]

Site features

The primary purpose of each Stack Exchange site is to enable users to post questions and answer them.[13] Users can vote on both answers and questions, and through this process users earn reputation points, a form of gamification.[19][25] This voting system was compared to Digg when the Stack Exchange platform was first released.[11] Users receive privileges by collecting reputation points, ranging from the ability to vote and comment on questions and answers to the ability to moderate many aspects of the site.[25] Due to the prominence of Stack Exchange profiles in web search results and the Stack Overflow Careers job board, users may have reason to game the system.[16] Along with posting questions and answers, users can add comments to them and edit text written by others.[26] Each Stack Exchange site has a "meta" section where users can settle disputes, in the style of MetaFilter's "MetaTalk" forum, because the self-moderation system for questions and answers can lead to significant arguments.[27]

Notable parts of Stack Exchange include sites focused on physics,[28]video games,[29] and patents.[30]

All user-generated content (questions and answers) posted on the Stack Exchange Network is copyright by the contributor and licensed to Stack Exchange under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike (CC-BY-SA) license.[19][31]

Technologies used

Stack Exchange uses IIS, SQL Server,[32] and the ASP.NET framework,[32] all from a single code base for every Stack Exchange site (except Area 51, which runs off a fork of the Stack Overflow code base[33]). Blogs formerly used WordPress, but they have been discontinued.[34] The team also uses Redis, HAProxy and Elasticsearch.[32]

Stack Exchange tries to stay up to date with the newest technologies from Microsoft, usually using the latest releases of any given framework. The code is primarily written in C# ASP.NET MVC using the Razor View Engine. The preferred IDE is Visual Studio and the data layers uses Dapper for data access.[35]

As of 2016, Stack Exchange utilizes Fortigate 800c Firewalls, which replaced Cisco 5525-X ASAs.[36] Routers were upgraded from CISCO 3945 routers to CISCO ASR-1001 and AST-1001-x routers.[36]

Stack Exchange maintains open-source .NET libraries for the public.[36] The names of the libraries are Dapper, StackExchange.Redis, MiniProfiler, Exceptional, Jil, Sigil, NetGain, Opserver, and Bosun.[36] Stack Exchange believes the open sourced content will benefit the developer community.[36]

Site creation process

Every new site created in the Stack Exchange network goes through a detailed review process consisting of six steps:[37][38][8]

  1. Discussion: The Stack Exchange meta site should provide a forum for discussing potential new ideas labeled a future Stack Exchange site.
  2. Proposal: A public proposal must be drafted and posted so that any member of the community can discuss the proposal and vote on it. This allows a collaborative proposal to emerge over time. The proposal must address these four key issues:
    1. the topic of the site
    2. the targeted audience
    3. forty exemplary questions, upvoted at least 10 times from the community
    4. sixty followers from the community
  3. Commitment: 200 users interested in the new site are asked to formally commit and support the site by actively participating and contributing to it.
  4. Private Beta: If the concept receives 100% commitment, the site enters the private beta phase, where committed members begin actively using the site and publicizing it.
  5. Public Beta: The site is open to the public for a long period. This allows the creators to ensure that the site reaches critical mass before it is fully launched.
  6. Graduation: The site is evaluated on multiple criteria such as the number of answered questions, new questions per day, and registered users. If it meets these criteria and is deemed "sustainable", it is granted a "graduation" and fully launched.

See also


  1. ^ " Site Overview". Alexa. 2015-03-03. Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b Mager, Andrew (September 27, 2009). "Find the answer to anything with StackExchange". The Web Life. ZDNet. Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Swartz, Jon (January 24, 2011). "Q&A websites like Quora and Stack Exchange take off". USA Today. Retrieved 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Attribution Required « Blog - Stack Exchange". Retrieved .
  5. ^ Atwood, Jeff (May 17, 2009). "A Theory of Moderation". Stack Exchange Blog. Retrieved 2012.
  6. ^ a b "All Sites - Stack Exchange". Retrieved .
  7. ^ a b "FAQ - Area 51 - Stack Exchange". Stack Exchange, inc. 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ a b Perez, Sarah (July 8, 2010). "With Debut of Web Apps Q&A Site, Stack Exchange Perfects Automated Site Launch Process". ReadWriteWeb. Retrieved 2012.
  9. ^ Clarke, Jason (August 20, 2009). "Super User - question and answer site for power users". DownloadSquad. AOL. Archived from the original on 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ a b Oshiro, Dana (October 12, 2009). "StackOverflow Shares its Mojo: White Label Q&A for All". ReadWriteWeb. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ a b Kirkpatrick, Marshall (May 4, 2010). "All-Star Team Backs StackOverflow to Go Beyond Programming Questions". ReadWriteWeb. Retrieved 2012.
  12. ^ a b Keller, Jared (November 18, 2010). "Stack Overflow's Crowdsourcing Model Guarantees Success". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2012.
  13. ^ Jeffries, Adrienne (January 25, 2011). "Forget Quora, New York's Stack Overflow Is Killing It". BetaBeat. Retrieved 2012.
  14. ^ Jenna Wortham (February 6, 2011). "The Answers Are Out There, and New Q. and A. Sites Dig Them Up". New York Times. Retrieved 2012.
  15. ^ a b Needleman, Rafe (February 23, 2011). "Stack Exchange launches programmer recruiting site". CNet. Retrieved 2012.
  16. ^ Ha, Anthony (March 9, 2011). "Q&A startup Stack Overflow gets new name, more funding". VentureBeat. Reuters. Retrieved 2012.
  17. ^ Kim, Ryan (February 16, 2011). "Stack Overflow Rides Experts & Order to Q&A Success". GigaOM. Retrieved 2012.
  18. ^ a b c Finley, Klint (July 5, 2012). "Stack Overflow Man Remakes Net One Answer at a Time". Enterprise. Wired. Retrieved 2012.
  19. ^ "CipherCloud used DMCA Takedown on StackExchange discussion of the cryptography".
  20. ^ "CipherCloud Invokes DMCA To Block Discussions of Its Crypto System".
  21. ^ "How is CipherCloud doing homomorphic encryption".
  22. ^ Hanlon, Jay (2015-09-15). "We're Changing Our Name (Back) to Stack Overflow". Stack Overflow Blog. Retrieved .
  23. ^ a b Ericson, Jon (2017-01-26). "Stack Exchange Year in Review 2016". Stack Overflow Blog. Retrieved .
  24. ^ a b "FAQ: What is Reputation?". Stack Overflow. Retrieved 2010.
  25. ^ Ha, Anthony (May 4, 2010). "Stack Overflow raises $6M to take its Q&A model beyond programming". Deals. VentureBeat. Retrieved 2012.
  26. ^ Popper, Ben (December 7, 2011). "Conquering the CHAOS of Online Community at Stack Exchange". BetaBeat. Retrieved 2012.
  27. ^ Carroll, Sean (January 13, 2011). "Physics Stack Exchange". Cosmic Variance. Discover Magazine. Retrieved 2012.
  28. ^ Popper, Ben (December 9, 2011). "Stack Exchange Growing 40 Percent a Month, Gaming Vertical Up 250 Percent". BetaBeat. Retrieved 2012.
  29. ^ Singel, Ryan (September 20, 2012). "Open Season on Patents Starts Thursday, Thanks to Crowdsourced Platform". Threat Level. Wired. Retrieved 2012.
  30. ^ "Legal -- Terms of Service". Stack Exchange. December 11, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  31. ^ a b c Craver, Nick (22 November 2013). "What it takes to run Stack Overflow". Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ "Does StackExchange 2.0 Share the Same CodeBase with SO?". Stack Meta. Retrieved 2017.
  33. ^ Grace Note (1 March 2017). "We will no longer be hosting Blog Overflow". Retrieved 2017.
  34. ^ "Stack Meta". Stack Meta.
  35. ^ a b c d e "Nick Craver - Stack Overflow: The Architecture - 2016 Edition". Retrieved .
  36. ^ Sewak, M.; et al. (18 May 2010). "Finding a Growth Business Model at Stack Overflow, Inc" (PDF). Stanford CasePublisher. Stanford University School of Engineering. Rev. July 20, 2010 (2010-204-1): 31. 204-2010-1. Retrieved 2014.
  37. ^ "Changes to Stack Exchange - Stack Overflow Blog". Retrieved 2016.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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