Is Stack Overflow going to be the first big community to fail due to AI?

Boo to Twitter embeds not working atm…or forever.

Igor said on Twitter:

One of the biggest losers of the ChatGPT wave is StackOverflow. My dev productivity has grown exponentially and GPT4 is smart enough to debug 99.9% of the things that I used to go to SO for.

It’s too bad, SO is a great product and an awesome community, but the value prop is close to 0 for me now that I’ve really integrated AI in my dev flow.

This partly makes me wonder if the reason they sold was because they predicted this would happen.

But could you imagine if the community failed because of AI? Or are there enough things needing help with that AI couldn’t handle?

People must be wondering about this as they wrote a post on the topic of community and AI:

Allowing AI models to train on the data developers have created over the years, but not sharing the data and learnings from those models with the public in return, would lead to a tragedy of the commons. It might be in the self-interest of each developer to simply turn to the AI for a quick answer, but unless we all continue contributing knowledge back to a shared, public platform, we risk a world in which knowledge is centralized inside the black box of AI models that require users to pay in order to access their services.

What do you think? Is Stack Overflow doomed? :boom:

Do I think SO is on a downward trend? Yes. Is it because of AI? No, not solely at least.

From what I’ve been hearing rumbling around the tech world, SO is out of favor with engineers because their leadership has created an environment that lets toxicity run rampant.

It feels like SO was on the decline prior to AI, but it’s very possible AI will accelerate that trend.


I agree with the SO blog post. Specifically this bit:

“It is precisely this symbiotic relationship between humans and AI that ensures the ongoing relevance of community-driven platforms like Stack Overflow.”

These AI models are mining open knowledge, processing it, and repackaging it for easier consumption - but they still need the source material to draw their answers from.