Stack Exchange has brought together a large network of free question and answer websites. Each site is driven by its community and covers a diverse collection of topics. The site claims to include everything from gaming to photography, cooking and software development. The current top network websites listed on Stack Exchange include Stack Overflow, Super User, Server Fault, Programmers, Ask Ubuntu, Gaming, Mathematics and On Startups. The user can see top question askers as well as a list of popular questions. Questions can be voted on and are given a ‘hotness’ rating. Clicking on the question takes the user to the site it is found on. A search tool bar is available to find questions about specific topics. Users can also toggle the homepage to present hot questions, tagged questions, all sites and top Stack Exchange users.
Stack Exchange was founded in July of 2008 by the same team that created Stack Overflow. The company is based in New York City and currently consists of around 25 individuals, including CEO Joel Spolsky, Chief of Staff Alex Miller, CTO Jeff Atwood, Vice President of Products Jeffrey Szczepanski, CFO Michael Pryor and advisors Clay Shirky, Rich Skrenta and Miguel de Icaza.
Many question and answer websites have emerged in recent years. Some are themed while others offer general advice and information on anything. Stack Exchange is appealing because it gives users a centralized place to discover questions and answers posted across many of these popular sites. Rather than visit each site individually, the user can search Stack Exchange to see what’s been posted.
The Stack Exchange website invites users with a soft blue color scheme and white background. The homepage features a list of questions, with hot questions presented. The user can click one of the other three links at the top, right hand side of the page to view tagged questions, questions from all websites or top users. Along the right hand side, the user can see top network site and top question askers within the Stack Exchange community.
New users can join the Stack Exchange community by clicking the small “Log In” button found in the dark header at the top of the page. Doing so takes the user to the log in area, which asks the user to provide credentials for their Google, Yahoo, My OpenID or Facebook accounts. Users who prefer to create a new profile for Stack Exchange can click the maroon “Click Here to Sign Up” link found below the login buttons. The short registration form appears on the next page and asks the user to provide an email address, optional name and password. The user must also enter a Captcha code before submitting the form.
Stack Exchange is available to all users for free. This is definitely a good choice considering the important role community plays on sites like Stack Exchange. Without the users, there would be no questions or answers to draw more users in.
Stack Exchange is a great resource for almost anyone. Users with questions can get answers while others can share their knowledge and help others out within the Stack Exchange community. The application covers many websites, whose users might find even more variety by turning to Stack Exchange first.