I’ve recently started contributing to stackoverflow.com. For those who are unaware, Stack Overflow is a question and answer site where you earn “karma” for asking and answering programming questions.
Currently my Karma is low (~56) compared to some others on the site (>10k). But I can see how they got up there. They got addicted to answering people’s questions. There is a certain amount of ego polishing that you get enamored with when someone up-votes your answer or otherwise accepts your answer to their question. The system has been engineered from the get go to reward users for providing valuable contributions. It even has XBOX 360 style “achievements” or badges as they are known on Stack Overflow.
The site was put together by a team lead by Jeff Atwood of Coding Horror fame. He and Joel Spolsky of Joel On Software came up with the idea of the site and have been conducting a nice little weekly podcast about its development and subsequent launch.
It even lets you create an RSS feed of your activity on the site so I’ve added that as a side bar to this very blog.
On the whole I’m very impressed.