Today marks the beginning of a new and exciting era for Stack Overflow. We are announcing our roadmap for the integration of generative AI into our public platform, Stack Overflow for Teams, and brand new product areas, like an IDE integration that brings the vast knowledge of 58 million questions and answers from our community right into the area where developers find focus and get work done. We’re putting all this work under the umbrella of OverflowAI.
As I promised when we announced our goal of investing in AI, our approach is unique. Our aim is to stay true to the original promise of Stack Overflow, keeping our developer community at the center, ensuring that trust and attribution are at the core of what we build, and that the people who contribute their knowledge are recognized for their efforts.
Let’s highlight the new features and products we announced today from the stage of WeAreDevelopers. After that, I’ll provide more detail on the guiding principles we’re putting in place to align our use of AI with the core values of Stack Overflow and our community.
First, we are working to introduce some powerful new capabilities for searching on our public site. Until now we’ve relied on lexical search, trying to match users with questions and answers based on the keywords they supplied. But as I announced today, we’ll be adding semantic search in a private Alpha, built on top of a vector database, so that the responses generated from a search query can more intelligently align with the topics the user is researching.
Our goal here is to create a conversational, human-centered search. We want to make it possible for public platform users to receive instant, trust-worthy, and accurate solutions to problems using conversational search powered by GenAI. We’re looking at ways where responses generated can be attributed and cited, using the highly trusted knowledge from the more than 58 million questions and answers in Stack Overflow, with the ability to query the knowledge base for more personalized results. And unlike other AI solutions, if you’re not finding what you’re looking for among our public platform’s large corpus of data, the Stack Overflow community is there to fill in the gaps that AI is unable to address.
Enhanced search for Stack Overflow for Teams
The same enhancements to search will also be coming to Stack Overflow for Teams. Customers will be able to quickly find the most relevant answers and discover related knowledge, leveraging trustworthy sources such as Stack Overflow for Teams, Stack Overflow’s public platform, and other places a customer stores knowledge, such as Confluence and GitHub, with more to be added over time.
Enterprise knowledge ingestion
OverflowAI will also add a new capability to Stack Overflow for Teams: enterprise knowledge ingestion. When creating a new instance or bringing on new teammates, users can curate and build a knowledge base in minutes by leveraging existing accurate and trusted content. AI/ML will create the first drafts of a tagging structure and recommend questions and answers by identifying the areas where your team is most frequently asking for good documentation or solutions. In essence, the AI efficiently bootstraps your Stack Overflow community, allowing you to take advantage of key documents in repositories that are not being discovered and reused. This frees up developers to focus on adding value by curating and refining the content to validate accuracy. All knowledge will be discoverable and reusable by the internal community—and it’ll include the quality/accuracy indicators to make sure it stays relevant and accurate (votes, edits, comments, views, etc.). As your organization and tools evolve, this capability allows users to easily integrate new documents in the future.
To make this information easily accessible, we integrate your Stack Overflow for Teams knowledge base with Stack Overflow’s new StackPlusOne chatbot. The integration gathers generated solutions to the most technical challenges instantly—and responds to queries directly in your Slack. This new GenAI integration will provide answers to questions using not just data from your Teams instance, but all Stack Overflow community-validated sources, like the millions of questions and answers on our public platform. The power of GenAI will also allow these answers to arrive in a conversational format, a natural language engagement that will make it easy for even less technical members of your organization to understand.
Visual Studio Code extension
Meeting users in Slack is helpful, but we wanted to do more. Developers spend a lot of their time in an IDE and Stack Overflow wants to help coders find solutions without breaking their flow. To do that, we’re working on an IDE extension for Visual Studio Code powered by OverflowAI. This extension pulls in validated content from both the public platform and your private Stack Overflow for Teams instance to provide your developers with a personalized summary of how to solve their problems efficiently and effectively, allow them to dig deeper where needed, and then document new learnings and solutions.
AI community discussions
GenAI Stack Exchange will serve as a place for a community that is centered around knowledge sharing: posting questions and answers about things like prompt engineering, getting the most out of AI, and staying on top the rapidly evolving ecosystem of GenAI tools.
Additionally, Stack Overflow’s Natural Language Processing (NLP) Collective will include a new feature called Discussions that will provide a focused space to debate technical approaches, explore implementation strategies, and share different perspectives, so that users can make more informed technical decisions.
Alright, now that we’ve covered the news from today’s roadmap announcement, I want to dive into the guiding principles we are putting in place for our continuing work in the area of AI.
Over 90,000 of you participated in our Developer Survey this year. What we learned is that many of you are beginning to use AI tools in your work, but there is still a lack of trust in the output of these technologies. That’s why we’re working to ground our responses in the knowledge base of over 58 million asked and answered questions on Stack Overflow (and proprietary knowledge within Stack Overflow for Teams).
When it comes to Stack Overflow in your IDE, we want to help coders stay in the flow state, find info they need, but also proceed with confidence that they will be able to document and trust the code and output in their IDE because it's sourced from a trusted technical community on our public platform and their company's experts on Stack Overflow for Teams.
If you’re a developer interested in helping us test the new AI powered features we’re bringing to our public platform search, you can head over to our Stack Overflow Labs page and register to keep up with us as we explore ways to bring these features to Stack Overflow, or if you want to be part of an alpha or beta test. If you’re a Stack Overflow for Teams customer hoping to learn more about how AI will enhance your existing knowledge base, you can head over to our Stack Overflow Labs page and register your interest if you want to keep up with us as we explore ways to bring these features to Stack Overflow for Teams, or if you want to be part of an alpha or beta test.
Getting to this point required an incredible effort from so many dedicated Stackers. We have run back-to-back-to-back sprints, pushing ourselves to our limits. With the news of our roadmap now out in public, it’s time to begin the marathon of bringing these exciting new AI powered tools to users and customers, listening to feedback, iterating, and improving. We’re excited to learn from our community and customers as we evolve Stack Overflow for the next era of technology.