AI news
May 8, 2024

Stack Overflow And OpenAI Are Joining Forces

If you can't beat them, join them.

Jim Clyde Monge
Jim Clyde Monge

Today, the developer and AI communities were shocked by the announcement that the biggest programming Q&A platform Stack Overflow is partnering with the biggest LLM developer, OpenAI.

Stack Overflow announced it on X (formerly Twitter) and published a blog post on their website, saying:

“We’re thrilled to announce we’re partnering with OpenAI to bring best-in-class technical knowledge and the world’s most popular LLM models for AI development together! This groundbreaking partnership with OpenAI will drive our mission to empower the world to develop technology through collective knowledge.”

So what exactly does this partnership entail? Let’s break it down.

Key Points of the Partnership

The key points of the Stack Overflow and OpenAI collaboration are:

  1. OpenAI will use Stack Overflow’s OverflowAPI and community feedback to enhance its AI models for developers. Attribution to the Stack Overflow community will be provided within ChatGPT to encourage engagement with the content.
  2. Stack Overflow will integrate OpenAI models into their OverflowAI product and share insights from internal testing to help optimize OpenAI’s models.

The first set of tools and integrations from this partnership is scheduled for release in the first half of 2024. So developers can expect to see the fruits of this collaboration within the next year or so.

OverflowAPI vs OverflowAI

Before diving into the implications of this partnership, let’s clarify the difference between OverflowAPI and OverflowAI— what’s the difference?


OverflowAPI is Stack Overflow’s new subscription-based API service that provides continuous access to Stack Overflow’s public dataset to train and fine-tune large language models.


According to the company’s internal tests, fine-tuning Stack Overflow data results in substantial model performance improvements.

This service is currently not available to the general public but you can apply to become a partner here.


OverflowAI is aimed at enhancing the search experience on the Stack Overflow platform itself. The goal is to provide developers with instant solutions to their problems using conversational search powered by generative AI.

Image by Jim Clyde Monge

After you ask a question, instead of showing you answers from the community, you’ll be shown an answer generated by AI — which will soon be powered by OpenAI’s state-of-the-art language models.

Here’s the problem…

While this partnership may seem exciting on the surface, it raises some concerning questions and potential issues for the Stack Overflow community.

The problem with this model is people are not going to contribute anymore.

The social interaction and gamified elements like reputation points are a big part of what makes Stack Overflow engaging. If AI chatbots can instantly serve up the information without needing to visit the site, will that human element be lost?

I feel that it’s unfair that I voluntarily provided answers that will now help train and improve a commercial AI product, while I receive no acknowledgment for this. Is it ethical for OpenAI to profit off of content that was intended to altruistically help other developers?

Some even speculate that by integrating with Stack Overflow, ChatGPT will start exhibiting negative behaviors like calling questions duplicates, refusing to answer, or closing conversations prematurely, rather than providing useful information.

Meme by X user Vlad UI Bakery

Obviously, that’s meant in jest, but it does highlight the importance of the human interaction aspect.

Is Stock Overflow being acquired?

I used to love Stack Overflow, but I don’t remember using it for the past couple of years.

Many other developers are embracing generative AI tools too. In a Stack Overflow poll from June 2023, 44% of developers said that they use AI tools in their development process now while 26% plan to soon.


The adoption is even higher among those learning to code, with 55% currently using AI tools.

ChatGPT and other AI chatbots seem to have largely replaced Stack Overflow for a decent portion of their users. The declining number of users must’ve had a huge impact on Stack Overflow’s business and now they need some ways to save the company.

And oh… in case you didn’t know, Stack Overflow made a similar deal with Google in February, where Gemini for Google Cloud users can get coding suggestions directly from Stack Overflow.

Final Thoughts

As a developer who relied heavily on Stack Overflow before the rise of AI coding assistants, this news doesn’t come as a complete shock. I suspect many large language model developers were already training on Stack Overflow’s public data, and this licensing partnership is just to get ahead of any legal issues.

But I could be wrong…

After all, the site isn’t just a Q&A platform; it’s a social hub where users compete for points, answer each other’s questions, and even engage in some good old-fashioned chastising. No AI can replace this kind of human interaction anytime soon.