The basic concept was to do a 100% community driven Q&A that had elements of:
- Wikipedia (all the articles are always up to date and not dead tombstones from six years ago).
- Reddit (voting up the good information and voting down the bad information).
- Blogs (ownership, curation, and responsibility for content that has your name on it).
- Videogames (the Xbox 360 Achievements system, points, and ways of encouraging and incentivizing positive community behavior that are fun).
Even knowing what I already knew, which is that putting a number next to someone's name will cause them to do whatever it takes to make that number go up -- I didn't anticipate how strong this effect would be. But ultimately I agree with it, and I think systems should trend to slightly increasing strictness over time as they grow bigger. Big cities have different problems than small cities, and they need more structure.
Mostly, C# is what I knew and what I was skilled in -- and I'm a great fan of its primary architect Anders Hejsberg who also created Turbo Pascal and Delphi. Performance was a goal, too, and since C# is a compiled language it's *extremely* fast. I think you can see for yourself that Stack Overflow is absurdly fast.
The only downside of the .NET environment is, honestly, the SQL Server licensing costs which can be quite extreme at scale. There is movement to make .NET more open source.
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