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  • StackExchange: Why Use It?
Technology Articles > Software > Communications > StackExchange: Why Use It?

StackExchange is the latest question and answer site to scoop up thousands of users while also gaining some serious investors. The site is kind of like Quora and kind of like Yahoo Answers, but it’s neither one.

Users responding to StackExchange are often experts in their fields, and most of the questions are of a highly technical sort. Yet, I can’t figure out why StackExchange is quickly blowing up, and Quora seems to be stagnant.

How StackExchange Works

If you have used Quora before, you’ll get the idea here too. You ask a question, and someone from the community answers your questions. The site requires that you ask questions with a definite answer, so don’t ask anything that’s too subjective, or your question will get rejected. Once you’ve asked your question, you’ll get an answer from someone that’s an expert in that field - well, you’ll get a lot of answers, and all should be from experts.

If you see a question that you like, you can vote it to the top of the stack, and you can accept the best answer (see the similarity between this site and Yahoo Answers and Quora?). So, how does StackExchange stand out, and why has it become the new land of all things questions and answered on the Internet? Well, I’ve come up with just a few answers to that question (if you have a better one, feel free to leave a comment on this page or on our Facebook page).

What Might Set StackExchange Apart

After spending some time looking through the StackExchange site, the one differentiator that seems to pop up again and again is that StackExchange seems to be more of a tech-based site. The questions and answers that you’ll find on StackExchange are definitely aimed at programmers and engineers with few questions asked about other topics (though I did come across one person asking about wizard spells).

Is StackExchange better than Quora? Is it better than Yahoo? If I had to rank Yahoo and Quora, I’d put Quora ahead of Yahoo, and I’m not sure where I’d stick StackExchange. If you have a technical question, StackExchange might be the place to go for the right answer by some serious experts. If you have a question about anything else, I’d hit up Quora. Yahoo Answers seems to be the bottom of the rung here.

Done and Done Again?

The odd thing about the Internet is that a company like StackExchange can come along and create a site that kind of already exists. People will migrate to that site if it’s better or different or just unknown in some way. StackExchange seems to have hit such a niche that the site is gaining investors and users by the droves. Is it unique? Kind of. Does it fill a void? Hard to say. Should you use it instead of other Q&A sites?

Like most things online, the trick is to figure out what you really want to know, and then head to the site or service that best fits that description. I wouldn’t use StackExchange to ask a question about home improvement, but I would go there to figure out why it’s hard to find a particle (actual question)!