My Love / Hate Relationship with Stack Overflow


I have a kind of love hate relationship with Stack Overflow (SO).

I love that I get answers. I hate that I spend so much time writing answers and then see SO make bank from my work.

I've probably spent over 1000 hours writing answers on SO. Most of that time is spent writing working samples for answers. In fact was started because of answers I wrote on SO where it they seemed too long for SO.

But, now there's this feeling of conflict where for every answer I have on I really just want to paste a link to the article on SO when it's relevent. But, SO frowns on that. So, I have to basically give SO all my content and work for free (or ignore it). I supposedly get some kind of benefit from their gamification rep which I can show on my resume or something but conversely it feels like a treadmill that I must keep running on or lose my rep. It feels like it's become an unpaid responsibility.

To be clear it's not just It's any tech blog post period. I feel like as SO gets more popular they just suck up all tech content. Why write anything tech on my blog when 99% of the people looking for an answer will go to SO first? So it's become a negative influence for me in a way. Because no one is going to look anywhere but SO I feel less compelled to write tech articles. When I do write them people will just copy those answers to SO to raise their rep which means I have to monitor SO and try to be the first to answer.

Sorry for the rant. Maybe there's a solution? Maybe I've just got a bad POV. Like I said I certainly appreciate the other answers. Random brainfart, maybe like Youtube they should pay contributors? Yea, that will never work. But, something just feels wrong to me at moment. Also it isn't about the money really. Or is it. It would certainly feel bad if Youtube didn't pay. People making popular videos are making bank for Youtube and youtube in turn shares at least some of that money back with their users. SO is currently in the top 50 most popular websites on the planet so in some ways they are in a similar category making money off their users' content. And yet it's not really about the money. Even if SO was non−profit I still think I'd feel similar. Maybe the fact that it's for profit just adds to that unease. I can't really put my finger on why it bugs me. Maybe it's the gamification. If that was completely removed I have no idea how it would negatively affect SO but conversely it might have positive benefits. No competition for points. No feeling like I have to defend my rep. What if answers were not even attributed. That might remove incentive for a lot of people. I'm not sure it would remove it for me. I didn't put my name on webglfundamentals for a while. I did add it later because people asked "who made it".

Anyway, just thinking out loud.

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