University of Maryland


Stack Exchange Online Community

The Stack Exchange platform is an infrastructure for creating and operating the Social Q & A (SQA) site. Originally developed to support Stack Overflow, a successful and influential SQA site for programmers. Stack Exchange now supports nearly 100 SQA sites. Each of the Stack Exchange sites utilizes the same underlying platform, but serves unique populations of experts and enthusiasts interested in different content areas, ranging from daily life issue to technical problems. Members of the Stack Exchange community engage in a group knowledge-creation process by asking and answering questions, editing questions and answers posted by others, and voting on the quality of the resulting content. The overwhelming success of Stack Exchange is related to the features of the platform and how the community has developed over time. Affordances such as productive competition through points and badges, and tight interaction with a core expert and developer group, drove productive Q&A norms on the site. The end result is a collectively curated body of information that is useful not only to the original questioner, but also as a reference for all site users, present and future, who are interested in a particular topic.

Materials about the Stack Exchange Online Community

Useful Research Papers

Anderson, A., Huttenlocher, D., Kleinberg, J., and Leskovec, J. (2012) Discovering value from community activity on focused question answering sites: a case study of stack overflow. Proceeding of SIGKDD International conference on Knowledge discovery and data mining, ACM Press, 850–858.

Hanrahan, B. V., Convertino, G., and Nelson, L. (2012) Modeling problem difficulty and expertise in stackoverflow. Proceeding of CSCW ’12 Companion, ACM Press, 91–94.

Logie, J., Weinberg, J., Harper, F. M., and Konstan, J. A. (2011) Asked and answered: On qualities and quantities of answers in online q&a sites. Proceeding of Fifth Int. Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, AAAI Publications, 24-31.

Butler, B. S., and Wang, X. (2012) The cross-purposes of cross-posting: Boundary reshaping behavior in online discussion communities, Information Systems Research, 23(3-Part-2), 993-1010.

Bateman, P. J., Gray, P. H., and Butler, B. S. (2011) The Impact of Community Commitment on Participation in Online Communities, Information Systems Research, 22, 4, 841-854.