SharePoint Overflow started as one of the first Stack Exchange sites (running version 1.0). It’s also been one of the most successful. We’ve been able to attract some fantastic contributors including several MVPs and our traffic stats have continuously increased.
When the discontinuation of the original Stack Exchange business model was announced, I felt plunged into the wilderness and lost motivation in the site for a little while. Suddenly, calling this community our own while running it on the awesome platform that powered sites such as Stack Overflow appeared impossible come April 13 2011. Stack Exchange 2.0 would be owned by the Stack Overflow team with input from the community (instead of owned by members of the community) and the closest alternative platform was (and still is) a long way behind in functionality and general awesomeness.
But in the interests of the fantastic community and content I wanted to see continue, I got over myself! I arranged with Nick Swan, the original SharePoint Overflow mastermind that we look at moving the platform to Stack Exchange 2.0. After eventually being able to contact the very busy Stack Exchange team, things were put into motion and here we are (87% committed at time of writing).
So what’s going to make SharePoint Overflow 2.0 so exciting?
Our site started using a copy of how Stack Overflow functioned back in mid-late 2009. Now, if you’ve ever read the Stack Exchange team blog, you’ll know they’ve added many new features since then. Some of these will be great for us! Here are my picks.
We’ll be exposed to a greater audience
Stack Exchange sites are promoted across the network. You can see this in ads for questions on other sites, Twitter feeds, the listings of Stack Exchange sites, they’re everywhere! One of the great things is that a single login to the Stack Exchange network associates accounts across sites. This boils down to it being easy for people to come and join us.
We could be the keepers of all existing SharePoint questions from the trilogy sites
As a community in association with Stack Exchange, we may decide that SharePoint Overflow is where all SharePoint questions should live. That means many questions from across the trilogy sites will be migrated, as well as any new questions. It also gives those questions about SharePoint that don’t seem to quite “fit” in one of the existing trilogy sites a home (great explanation by Stuart Pegg). This should make us the largest SharePoint community Q&A site outside of MSDN and TechNet!
We’ll have more encouragement to accept answers
Something that’s always been a problem in our site has been encouraging people to accept answers (and vote generally). Complete speculation from me is that this isn’t a nice experience or have any obvious benefits on MSDN/TechNet, which is the platform most of our users are previously familiar with.
Reason aside, users will have an “accept rate” shown underneath their reputation on questions they ask, just like on my Stack Overflow question here. This feature made a big difference when it was introduced on the trilogy sites! Sadly we just missed out on it with Stack Exchange 1.0.
We’ll have our own meta site to discuss how the site should be run
I’ve really felt a bit in the dark with how to administer the site, and haven’t wanted to clutter it up with a lot of meta questions. (We used the sharepoint-overflow tag for this.) With our own meta site (example), it will be much easier for us all to discuss the future and do the best thing in the interests of our community.
We’ll have several interesting possibilities of support
The Stack Exchange team really actually care about supporting communities and making the Internet a better place. For example, they’ve recently announced community conference sponsorships to help people share knowledge and experiences. If they can do that, I think we might at least be able to get some stickers?!
The future is bright
So that’s my feelings on the exciting future of our site! These are exciting times, so please, come and join us! Here’s how to spread the word. (As explained by Tom Resing we most need committers to have at least 200 reputation on other Stack Exchange sites.)