A little birdie told me that the formal launch of Stack Exchange, the hosted version of the Stack Overflow platform, is imminent.
I noticed the Stack Exchange homepage has been totally redesigned with a snazzy new logo, as well. Looking good!
There's also a brand new Stack Exchange blog, which I am sure will be updated the very second that the service exits beta and goes live -- so it's probably worth subscribing to.
Short of open sourcing our software, which isn't in the cards right now, Stack Exchange is the best way to get your hands on the Q&A; engine technology powering Stack Overflow, Server Fault, and Super User.
Although the Stack Overflow engine was always designed with a technical audience in mind, I'm intrigued to see how far we can push the boundaries of that audience. We've pushed a little bit when going from programmers, to sysadmins, to power computer users -- and we may try pushing a tad further this year with yet another site. Stack Exchange pushes far beyond that into totally unexplored territory. I'm eager to learn what tweaks to the core engine will be necessary to support these newer, less technical audiences. And presumably the Stack Exchange team at Fog Creek is eager to implement these tweaks.
Anyway, whether it's a hosted Stack Exchange site, or a clone, the sooner we can get people off the archaic, busted phpBB style of discussion on the internet, the better off we'll all be. If we have a corporate mission, it is that: to raise the level of discourse on the internet, and to collaboratively put faster, more relevant search results in front of our fellow internet travellers. All through better software!