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Stack Exchange has great features, but does not empower groups of people to set up and host their own Q&A site, quickly or privately.

What other web-based Q&A software options exist that might compete with Stack Exchange, specifically by being free and open source?

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    Do you want self-hosted alternatives? – Undo Apr 1 '15 at 15:22
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    Yes, self-hosted is what I'm most interested in. – Sean Apr 1 '15 at 15:24
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    Although most of us know Stack Exchange ;), you should still list which features you need (you likely don’t need a 100% clone, do you?). See How to ask for an alternative to some software. There are many "clones", see Stack Exchange clones. – unor Apr 1 '15 at 17:30
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    Note that I got initial quotes for SE implementation at my work (I run large internal systems group) and I was quoted in the deep 6 figures. Basically we could pay that much but it would take a complete buy-in from several sectors and tons of CHANGE. It is too bad they don't off a more tiered rollout to get companies going. I know at my company we can't get people to quit making docs, let alone post everything in Q&A... so I can see the need for opensource. SE really doesn't have a good internal business model. – blankip Sep 22 '15 at 23:02
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Here are some free/open-source self hosted alternatives to Stack Exchange,

LampCMS

LampCMS is an full-featured Open Source Question and Answers web program written in PHP with deep integration with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Linked-IN, Tumblr and Blogger APIs. It uses MongoDB as a database to achieve speed and scalability.

LampCMS User Interface

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  • The link doesn't seem to work anymore. – Julia May 2 at 21:47
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You can try Wordpress together with the DW Question & Answer plugin.

The plugin builds a complete Q&A system for your WordPress site, like Quora or Stackoverflow. It supports multi-languages, shortcodes, reCAPTCHA, email notification system and so on.

User interface screen shot:

DW Question & Answer User Interface

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Talkyard is new (year 2018) open source Q&A software, inspired by StackOverflow, and forum software like Discourse.

In addition to Q&A topics and categories, you can have open-ended discussions, and Slack like chat channels. So people can go to your place, not just for Q&A, but also for talking and being social. You can have private staff categories & chat.

Here's an example discussion — copied from StackExchange/StackOverflow: (cc-by-sa license) https://insightful.demo.talkyard.io/-7/how-do-i-get-myself-out-of-bed-in-the-morning

Talkyard is beta software currently (May 2018) and I'm developing it. GitHub repo here, and SaaS hosting here. Screenshot:

Answers to how-to-wake-up-on-time

(The posts are from this StackExchange question, license: cc-by-sa-3.0)

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    Talkyard seems to be a nice approach, however it seems that one of the core features of stackexchange i.e. the vote and reputation system is missing right now. – student Mar 15 at 8:39
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    @student — yes the reputation system is missing. It's a pretty popular feature request, and I'm thinking about implementing it the nearest weeks / months. – KajMagnus Mar 17 at 1:00
  • @student — Votes: Hmm, there're Like votes that work fairly much like StackOverflow upvotes, but are displayed differently, and currently not directly visible on the question list page. I think it'd be nice with config options so one could choose to make the Like vote, and a Disagree vote Talkyard has, behave / look-like StackOverflow's votes. – KajMagnus Mar 17 at 1:03
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One alternative is Askbot, built on Django (Python). The source is located here:

https://github.com/ASKBOT/askbot-devel

From the Readme:

Commercial hosting of Askbot and support are available at https://askbot.com

And the license section:

Askbot software is licensed under GPL, version 3.

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OSQA

OSQA is a free, entry-level Q&A system from the makers of AnswerHub, the market-leading professional Q&A platform. OSQA is a great solution for smaller sites with limited needs.

OSQA User Interface

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  • The project doesn't seem to be active anymore. – student Mar 15 at 8:39
  • @student Link updated, that's unfortunate though – Tom Mar 15 at 19:26
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You could try TopAnswers

TopAnswers is what Stack Overflow should be: focused on communities and knowledge sharing, not profit. We share some of the same aims:

  • Focus on questions and answers. Everything else we do is to help us produce useful questions and answers.
  • Keep the signal:noise ratio high with a voting system that helps good answers float to the top.
  • Build communities of experts across a diverse range of subjects.
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