Recent years increasing
attention has been paid to collaborative question and answering (CQA). The
arrival of Web 2.0 technologies provided the possibility that collaborative
knowledge and problem solving could be realized with large-scale human
From the medium 2000s,
“user-generated content” as a new concept (or social media) deeply rooted since
CQA sites in which community users can interact with content on all kinds of
topics have emerged. According to the research, in general, Questioning and answering
(QA) site is built by three basic services: a mechanism for a user to post the
content in natural language, a place where other users can interact with the
content, and a community built based on these services. CQA sites were built on
the principle that everyone knows something. CQA can be considered as the
method of choice for offering crowd-sourced support by online communities,
because they are low cost and have been proved to be business-like (Piccardi,
Convertino, Zancanaro, Wang, & Archambeau, 2014). In real life, CQA site is
an information exchange platform where users can response content posted by
other users, and obtain more detailed information at the same time. With the
rapid increase of popularity of CQA, more and more CQA sites entered the
spotlight, such as Stack Exchange platform, Zhihu, Quora, and Yahoo! Answers
Stack Overflow, one of the
biggest programming QA sites in the world, is selected as the research CQA case
of this thesis. In recent years, Stack Overflow has gained increasing
attention, not only developers who communicate with it, but also academic
researchers are focusing on it.
Launched at the year of
2008 by Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky (Atwood, 2008), Stack Overflow is a programming
information exchange platform for people all over the world via English. The
name for the website was chosen by voting in April 2008 by readers of Coding
Horror, Atwood’s popular programming blog.
Stack Overflow allows
registered users track the questions posted by themselves or other users, then
it can support the possibility that registered users can response posted
Users can input content for
the posted question, other people could also rate either the questions or the
answers with positive or negative vote. The owner of the posted question can
then add comments or choose candidate from answers as the best answer in time.
For a specific question, the user who posted the question can describe the
question in two different ways: textual description and code snippets. Any
registered user can mark a question as a favorite via clicking the star, which
refers to bookmark for future usage.
Users unlock new privileges
with an increase in reputation like the ability to vote, comment, and even edit
other people’s posts. All user-generated content is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribute-Share Alike license.
Jeff Atwood stated in 2010
that duplicate questions are not seen as a problem but rather they constitute
an advantage if such additional questions drive extra traffic to the site by
multiplying relevant keyword hits in search engines.
As of April 2014 Stack
Overflow has over 4,000,000 registered users and it exceeded 10,000,000
questions in late August 2015 Based on the type of tags assigned to questions,
Android, jQuery, Python and HTML.
Stack Overflow also has a
Jobs section to assist developers in finding their next opportunity. For
employers, Stack Overflow provides tools to brand their business, advertise
their openings on the site, and source candidates from Stack Overflow’s
database of developers who are open to being contacted.