company April 15, 2015

Two new user pages. One new stat. This one’s big.

In the time since we started working on the profile, generations of dinosaurs were born, fell in love, had families, and were killed by a comet. Or climate change, or maybe texting and driving or some nonsense like that. Anyway, as of today, it’s live on SO and about half the network, and we’ll be…
Avatar for Jay Hanlon
EVP of Culture and Experience (former)

In the time since we started working on the profile, generations of dinosaurs were born, fell in love, had families, and were killed by a comet. Or climate change, or maybe texting and driving or some nonsense like that. Anyway, as of today, it’s live on SO and about half the network, and we’ll be rolling out to the rest over the next few weeks. And it was worth the wait:

One user page isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion user pages.

Unfortunately, the designers said I could have… like two, maybe? At most. So, we went with that:

One page for you, one page for them:

2015-03-31_13-58-05

  1. The Profile Page lets you show others a summary of what you’re all about. Share your interests, favorite charities, or your Twitter, Github, and SO Careers activity. Or don’t. And it automatically shows off your most helpful posts and tags from the network.
  2. The Activity Page lets you instantly see just how much good you’ve done here. And it provides new, individual suggestions for specific ways you can contribute next.

How many people have you helped?

  • “People Reached” is a new way to see just how much your efforts here matter. For the first time ever, you can see roughly how many times an actual human being – very likely one looking for help – found your contributions here. Personally, I like to call it the “Saving-the-frigging-world-o-meter”. Which may be why I’m no longer allowed to name stuff. Whatever.

Not big on words? Stop reading this. It’s long. Just go touch it!

  • Already have a profile? Go update it; you can add new Twitter, Github, and Careers links, and you’ll want to check your “People Reached” to see just how many people out there would high-five you if they could.
  • Never filled out a profile? If you’ve ever gotten help here, create one today, and you’ll be ready to pay it forward the next time you run across a question you can answer. And the new layout is designed to make you look pretty great even before you post.

Sticking around for the details? Well, I warned you.

Why?!? Grimlock say NO changies! I LIKED THE OLD CHEESE!

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Why the change? Well, the legacy user page served proudly for many years, but the design team got bored. And they had some long, tedious point about black never really being black, or tortoise-shell glasses or something, so we eventually just gave in. (Okay, not really.)

Because the old page was being asked to do two different things, it was okay at both, but not awesome at either:

  • When you looked at your own profile , the top section was full of stuff that you A) know, B) can’t forget, and C) almost never changes. “What’s my name?” “Where do I live again?” At least “Age” was exciting roughly 0.3% of the time: “Whee – it’s my birthday today!!”
  • When other people looked at your profile, the whole bottom section was full of stuff that you may care about, but others probably didn’t. (“It’s sure been a while since Jay accepted a bounty – I hope he’s doing okay!”)

So, we left all the stuff that was working exactly the way it was, and split the info into two pages. Anyone can see either page, but the default view will be the one with the info that you actually care about.

Your beautiful new Profile Page: Show others what you’re all about.

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What do you want to share? What you do. What you build. Your favorite quote, or least favorite N’Sync member. (Just kidding. They’re all equally awesome.)

Let others see your best work, whether it’s here or on other sites. Not active here yet? Not a problem. The new profile has dedicated fields for links to Github, Twitter, your Rick Schroeder Fan Fiction Tumblr, or wherever you have something to share. If you never felt you needed a profile before, today just may be your day.

Already been helpful? We’ll show off your best work. Your top posts – along with the technologies or tags you’re strongest in – show others what you’re all about. And if you’re active on multiple communities, your best stuff from those sites will show in the sidebar, too.

The new Activity Page: Track your impact and find new ways to contribute.

Not sure what to do next? We’ve got you covered.
“Next Badge” helps you figure out where you can contribute next. If you’re new, it suggests badges that help you learn the ropes. If you’ve been helping for years now, it suggests badges for activities you seem to have enjoyed in the past. And for most of ’em, it links right to a half-decent place to go earn them.

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Wondering what your future holds? The “Next Privilege” bar offers a slightly more realistic goal than “catch Skeet“, tells you what powers are in your immediate future, and shows you just how close you are to earning them.

2015-03-23__18-06-31 Already have mod-like powers? Not a big fan of “other peoples advice”?
Good for you! Don’t let the man tell you what’s up. The next badge picker lets you pick the goals you want to track, and shows you just how close you are to each of ’em.

And the page adapts to serve our most generous users. Once you’ve earned all the privileges, the “next privilege” bar automatically starts tracking your progress toward your closest tag badge (or another one of your choosing).

70 million humans in need land here each month. How many find your posts?

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Long before I worked here, the thing I found most appealing about contributing to Stack Exchange sites was the idea that when I took the time to write something here, my efforts would help more people than they ever could buried on some forum. An answer here doesn’t just help the one original asker, or the five up-voters. The real impact comes from the sixteen thousand searchers who land here looking for help with the exact same problem.

Every time you take five minutes out of your lunch break, or ten that you might have spent watching creepy hands open eggs to post here instead, you’re choosing to donate some of your most most valuable asset to do some good. And holy crap, have you done a lot of it. In the past, we hadn’t given you any way to even estimate just how much, though. Today, we’ve fixed that. So if you’ve contributed even a few up-voted posts, go- take a look. I think you’ll be damn proud of what you find.

Podcast logo The Stack Overflow Podcast is a weekly conversation about working in software development, learning to code, and the art and culture of computer programming.

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