There sure are a lot of Q&A sites on the Internet, but not all Q&A sites are the same. In the Founder Stories video above, Stack Exchange CEO Joel Spolsky talks about the origins of Q&A sites and his competition. Stack Exchange operates Stack Overflow and other peer-reviewed knowledge sites. Spolsky minces no words in his contempt for the Big Daddy of Q&A sites, Yahoo Answers.
“Yahoo Answers is Teenage chat,” says Spolsky. “Nobody wants to find Yahoo Answers in their search results. It is one-sentence gibberish.” Stack Overflow, in contrast, goes deep. Stack Overflow users gain reputation by giving the best answers, and answers are peer-reviewed. It doesn’t cover every topic under the sun, either, just programming.
Stack Overflow is often compared to Quora, another geeky Q&A site that attracts tons of smart people. With Stack Exchange, Spolsky is broadening to other topics and communities such as cooking and photography, but he will only go where his audience takes him.
Given its roots with programmers, that means that new Stack Exchange verticals may not be as mainstream as those of competing sites, but that’s okay with Spolsky. The Stack Exchange sites are still growing 40 percent to 50 percent per month.
(Watch Part I and Part II of this interview and other episodes of Founder Stories, which is now available on iTunes)