I am Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror), co-founder of Stack Overflow and Discourse. Ask me anything! 4/8 @ Noon PST

Do you believe humans will peacefully collaborate with artificial life forms in the twenty-first century?


Are there any important lessons that have been lost to the detriment of younger developers? That is things that were common knowledge 10-20+ years ago that would benefit developers today if they understood them?


Hi Jeff, what are your favorite fiction/non-fiction books?


Hey @codinghorror thanks for doing this! Your insights and experience will be incredibly valuable.

My Question: Both StackOverflow/StackExchange and Discourse are great examples of social software done well. For those of us who are dreaming up of building social software as well, do you have any tips? What is worth keeping in mind (especially technically and from a product point of view)? And are there any good resources that you would suggest that we look at to help guide us along the way?



Hi Jeff

I resigned my role as CEO in a related field because I became disillusioned that my vision for what we were trying to achieve was compromised by decisions we’d made earlier in our business’ lifetime.

What are you disillusioned about? If you could do it all again, despite being so successful with what you’ve done, what would you do differently? What did you ‘take for granted’ back then that you’ve completely rejected since?




Hi Jeff :slight_smile:

Stack Overflow now runs off of several data centers, but at first it was launched as third party hosted.

What factors led to switching to private hardware, and what advice can you offer to startups who are trying to decide between staying hosted versus using their own hardware?



What do you think is the outlook for code marketplaces and other methods for introducing monetization into code repositories? Thanks!


With Discourse innovating on traditional community forums and chat programs like Discord/Slack replacing things like community IRCs/Jabber, what do you see as next on the chopping block?


Hey Jeff! How do you think the programming blogosphere has changed, for the better or worse, since you started writing Coding Horror in 2004?


Have you any ideas for utilizing artificial intelligence algorithms?


Hey @codinghorror - so fucking honored to have you here! really.

As you know, we are building Hacker Noon 2.0 comment system on Discourse (@Dane is championing that). From your experience doing that with your own blog, what do you think we should be realistic about in terms of the challenges that come with it?


Hey Jeff, will Windows ever die?


Hi Jeff,
how do you decide what is your priority?


Please share some thoughts and tips on starting really big projects!
Thanks :slight_smile:

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One argument to convince a community to use discourse vs slack

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Hey Jeff! Thanks for taking the time today, and thanks for building things that changed the internet. Very excited to be working with Discourse for this community forum and for our commenting system on Hacker Noon 2.0.

My question: when you think about the future of the internet, how should software design evolve so that people can gain more long-term benefit and relevant amplification of their words online?


I saw the movie First Man recently and someone on Twitter recommended the book Rocket Men – about the Apollo 11 and Apollo 8 missions to reach the moon, respectively. The amount of work and effort to reach that milestone was immense, and so inspiring. It makes me wonder what today’s “moonshot” is… or should be. :new_moon:

As far as recent books goes, I found Sapiens to be very interesting reading.

I am also required by law to recommend these books for programmers :wink:


My main advice is that no software plan survives contact with users :wink:

With Discourse some things we thought would work well, did not, and some things we thought were unimportant (presence and other chat-like features) turned out to be far more important than we realized. We had no way of knowing that until the software got in the hands of active users.

Thus the goal should be to get an early working version of your software in the hands of users, and have a tight and fast feedback loop to iterate on:

  1. deploy software
  2. gather feedback
  3. improve software based on that feedback
  4. repeat

Don’t optimize for getting everything right, that’s impossible, optimize for speed of improvement.


Hi Jeff, thanks for creating what saved many coders lives aha! My question is: did you do a big marketing push to grow the community? If yes, what worked? thanks :slight_smile:


That is unfortunate – sorry to hear that :frowning:

As an industry we didn’t think enough about user safety and designing for evil. Part of it is that a lot of us are men, and people don’t bother us in the way that women and underrepresented groups tend to get bothered online – so we didn’t consider the many ways our software could be abused to make other people’s lives miserable.

But the good news is that I believe software can be designed to encourage people to be their better selves online.