Community website for everything CAD/CAM/CAE/BIM
StackOverflow is an amazing knowledge exchange website for programmers. It is great for a few reasons.
The best (in my opinion) thing about it is the voting/reputation system. Every user can award 1 positive or negative point to every question or answer . Those votes build the reputation of people who ask questions as well as those answering questions. If you just ask good questions they will be voted up and your reputation will grow. Naturally if you provide a good, comprehensive answer it will be also voted up and reward you with lots of reputation points. This causes the best answers to quickly “bubble up” to the top of the list, so if you found this question through Google, you don’t have to dig through the whole discussion on the forum to find what you are possibly looking for. Additionally the person who asked the question can mark one answer as the one they find most helpful for them. This way the best answers get the most attention. It is brilliant in its simplicity and works beautifully.
The next thing about this system is how it accumulates huge amounts of knowledge and makes it easily accessible to anyone. No login is required to explore the website in search for an answer to your problem. The website is also build to be friendly for search engine robots so good questions are easy to find through Google search.
A very important aspect of the StackExchange based systems is that they are vendor agnostic. No company decides which products can or cannot be discussed. There is no marketing beyond real users opinions about a given product. Popular products are popular because they there is a lot of people discussing them not because someone decided that other products are “off topic”.
This is what I think makes StackOverflow work as well as it does and I always thought that the wide CAD community could benefit immensely from having such a website. Now an opportunity emerged to make that reality. Please, support the idea by voting for it here. No matter if you’re using AutoCAD or Microstation, ProE or SolidWorks, Revit or Archicad. A community like that will be a great benefit to everyone.
StackExchange 2.0 announcement: http://blog.stackexchange.com/post/518474918/stack-exchange-2-0
StackExchange for CAD proposal: http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5692/proposal-for-engineering-software-se-cad-cam-cae-bim