The reason people contribute to Stack Overflow

I have been thinking about why people contribute to websites like Stack Over Flow for free. Today I was rearranging my notes from last year and found this note of mine that I had written but had forgotten to post online. This is what I think is the reason people contribute to forums like stack overflow for no money. I am not an anthropologist nor a doctor and my observation and conclusion might be wrong but let me know what you think.

Robert Sapolsky and an olive baboon (courtesy of PBS)

Robert Sapolsky and an olive baboon (courtesy of PBS)

I watched National Geographic: Stress: Portrait of a Killer tonight. In the documentary professor Robert Sapolsky of Stanford talks about how stress blocks cell regeneration and causses dramatical damage to the human body. He shows in the documentary that Olive Baboon’s have found that by being nice to other baboons they can lower their stress level.  He explains that social affiliation reduces the stress level and in turn it increases tissue repair and makes people more healthy. Baboons who spend longer time grooming and cleaning each other have lower level of stress hormones in their blood.

Perhaps helping others online has the same effect on us. Perhaps this contribution makes us healthier.Perhaps we are subliminally helping others to reduce stress and make ourselves a little more healthy.

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~ by marksalen on January 3, 2011.

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