Sunday, March 01, 2009


What I'm doing. Part 1

For the past 6 months or so, I have been playing with StackOverflow. I don't know that I've really gotten into it, but I still find it interesting.

Structured Discussion

It's like a discussion board but there are more rules and other forms of structure. Some of it is built into the application but most of it is enforced by the powerful menders of the community (see Badges and Reputation). Duplicate questions can also be closed as duplicate, so the answer is gathered in 1 place (though I would like to see them tighten up the support for this so it is easier to get to the parent question).

The discussion is pretty tightly focused on programming; whenever a non-programming question is asked it will either be voted down or closed by the powerful. It is good thing that the site stays on task, but there are times when "fun" questions are closed and I would have liked to see them live on. But, what is fun for one is noise for someone else; I can find "fun" someplace else.


Users of the system have to power to vote for or against any question or answer on the system. Questions with a lot of votes are considered "hot" and the questions with a lot of down votes end up in some sort of puritory. The users of the site decide what gains capital on SO. Voting also generated (and destroys) reputation.

Badges and Reputation

This is one of the official ways of controlling our behavior are Badges and Reputation.

For the most part, you get (and loose) repuptation through voting. Your reputation is dispalyed next to your profile. You are given more power as you gain repretation. The early powers are basic things like voting, leaving comments, the later powers are the godlike power of an administrator. As you do things to earn reputation, you are invested in site and are more likely to use your powers good.

You can earn badges by doing certain things that the sight owners want you to do. Your badge info is next to your reputation on your profile. Like the Olympics, you they come in bronze, silver and gold. The bronze metals are for firsts (getting through basic training, solder's first parashoot jump, etc.), moderate metrics of your questions and answers. Silver is for bigger first and bigger metrics. Gold for the big stuff.

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