Whatever We're Doing Together, Apparently It's Working

by Jeff Atwood

on February 10, 2010

We are in the enviable position of getting some very nice emails, as I might have mentioned before. But sometimes we get emails so positive that I feel compelled to share them with the community.

Just wanted to commend you on the fantastic site. I have heard a little of the behind-the-scenes so I know a lot of thought has gone into it, and I really like the result-- the community feels both professional and neighborly, with folks just helping out folks. And the really nice bit is that it's a one-stop-shop for many platforms/environments, completely obsoleting my need to be on random closed mailing lists and plunge through badly threaded forum archive viewers for the stuff I care about.

You've really moved the vanguard forward for tech resources. Keep up the great work.

And also:

Just wanted to drop a note to the team and say thanks for building this site! It's very nearly free from a lot of things that forum/community solutions are plagued with, namely:

  • Folks who take "religious" positions on particular aspects of coding design, style, etc.

  • Folks who open pointless topics such as "Is [language A] better than [language B]?"

  • Community politics don't seem to exist

  • You can ask a question as a n00b and people don't feel the need to call you a dolt!

I've only been using it for a few weeks, but it feels like pure, unfiltered coding question satisfaction without the baggage. I've been coding for over a decade, decided I was going to learn Ruby on Rails last month, and when I get stuck on those little questions that make me want to pull my hair out, because I know the only thing I'm missing is understanding on one or two facets of some concept, I come to the site, write a question in 5 minutes, take the dog for a walk, and by the time I come back I've either got the right answer, or something that is damn close.

It's a breath of fresh air that encourages this really positive feeling in me - which makes me stop and take the time to answer others' questions, just because I find the site so damn helpful.

I for one am proud to be associated with the Stack Overflow, Server Fault, and Super User communities. You guys rock. And not just because I said so, but because every week we get emails like these in our inbox!

As I've said before on the podcast, my favorite thing to do on any Trilogy site -- my absolute favorite thing to do -- is to upvote a great post by a brand new user. The "pay it forward" model of peers helping peers get better at what they do is exactly what we were shooting for.

Whatever this thing is we're doing together, apparently it's working.