SE Podcast #01

by Alex Miller

on April 20, 2011

Welcome back to the first episode of the new Stack Exchange Podcast redux!  Jumping right back into the old groove, here's what happens this week:

  • Jeff and Joel discuss missing the openness that the old podcast provided.  Since the podcast is just a recording of their weekly call, it gives listeners an insight into the decision making and vision behind Stack Exchange.

  • Some of the Stack Exchange metas have been having vibrant debates and discussions about the role of the community and moderators in shaping debates - but what are the unseen upsides to having this vibrant meta community?

  • Joel has spent many hours over the last few weeks looking at user trends and patterns between the Stack Exchange sites - what has he found?

    • The percentage of "civilians" (users whose first login was to a site other than StackOverflow, SuperUser or ServerFault) on Stack Exchange sites has grown to 36% since the launch of SE.

* However, the recent stasis of the ratio not changing isn't due to civilian growth stopping, its that programmers are growing just as quickly.

* Most interestingly, some of the "geekiest" sites (like Ubuntu, Math, Stats, Physics, TeX) have the highest percentage of "civilian" users.
  • Launching this week is the beta of the brand new HowThingsWork community.  Jeff and Joel discuss its odds for success, challenges it faces, and lessons learned from the launches of past communities.

  • There have been numerous discussionsover the last few months about the closing of questions for being "too localized" - Joel and Jeff discuss their (strong) feelings on how and when this should be used and why you shouldn't ask about why there's a pothole outside your house but you should ask why cities have so much trouble maintaining their roads in general.

    • Plus, did someone successfully troll Joel on this thread?
  • Coming up in September and October this year: it's Stack Overflow Dev Days 2011!  We'll be doing Dev Days in fewer spots this time (4 instead of 10) but they'll be bigger and better - plus running for two days instead of just one.  Dev Days will be taking place in 4 cities around the world, one each somewhere in the US West Coast, US East Coast, UK and Australia.  Stay tuned at the Stack Overflow blog for more details.

  • Joel and Jeff discuss their backup procedures and why you need to be careful whether using hard drives or SSDs.  Plus, why you really shouldn't be too concerned that Dropbox will decrypt your data if they receive a court order.

  • Finally, we're going to have all kinds of interesting and upcoming changes for the podcast including guests, a live stream, a live chat room and maybe even video.

A special thanks to our friends at SoundCloud for setting us up on their amazing audio sharing platform - you can check out this episode on their site or below (and even leave comments at specific times during the audio).

Also, a big thanks to Friend of George over on audio.stackexchange.com for the recommendation on live recording software that we're using for the podcast now.