Every developer has a tab open to Stack Overflow
Image taken from Stack Overflow website 2021

Learning platforms: developer satisfaction by race

An analysis of the Stack Overflow annual survey results from 2020


Stack Overflow is one of the most popular platforms used by developers all over the world to learn, share knowledge and collaborate in solving challenges.

One of the core values of this platform is to “be flexible and inclusive” which includes creating an environment of respect and trust where diverse voices can be heard. As a black African female, I was naturally curious to understand the experience of diverse respondents on the platform which inspired the short analysis in the exposition below.

The analysis explores Stack Overflow satisfaction by race and answers the following questions:

  1. Overall, how satisfied are the users of the Stack Overflow platform?
  2. How does satisfaction vary by the race of the respondent?
  3. What are some of the factors that impact satisfaction in different races?


  1. Overall, respondents were highly satisfied with the platform.

This is shown by the right skewed distribution of satisfaction in all races in the chart below. The race category was assigned based on whether the free form text describing one’s race contained the words ‘Black’ or ‘White’. This was done for simplicity because I wanted to choose buckets with as little overlap as possible.

2. The black race category had a lower percentage of respondents with a high satisfaction rating, 5% less than the other race categories. The percentage of black respondents with a low satisfaction was also 0.7% higher than other race groups.

The bounds for satisfaction category were: Low:<5, High>7 and Average 5–7.

3. In the white race category, the respondents who felt that the moderation on the platform was unfair had a low satisfaction average, while in the black race category, the lowest satisfaction averages were seen amongst respondents who cited communication difficulty, distraction from ads and not feeling like a member of the Stack Overflow community.

Feeling excluded from the Stack Overflow community was mostly reported by black respondents from the United States and United Kingdom which probably implies that this problem is not necessarily linked to a language barrier issue but could be deeper than this.


Overall, Stack Overflow users were highly satisfied with the platform regardless of their race. However, there are improvements to be considered in regards to factors that tend to lower satisfaction of respondents from certain races such as unfair moderation, difficult communication, not feeling like a member of the community and ad distraction.




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Tina Akiiki

Tina Akiiki

Always learning :-)

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