StackExchange is a network of Question & Answer (Q&A) sites that support collaborative knowledge exchange on a variety of topics. Prior research found a significant imbalance between those who contribute content to Q&A sites (predominantly people from Western countries) and those who passively use the site (the so-called “lurkers”). One possible explanation for such participation differences between countries could be a mismatch between culturally related preferences of some users and the values ingrained in the design of the site. To examine this hypothesis, we conducted a value-sensitive analysis of the design of the StackExchange site Stack Overflow and contrasted our findings with those of participants from societies with varying cultural backgrounds using a series of focus groups and interviews. Our results reveal tensions between collectivist values, such as the openness for social interactions, and the performance-oriented, individualist values embedded in Stack Overflow’s design and community guidelines. This finding confirms that socio-technical sites like Stack Overflow reflect the inherent values of their designers, knowledge that can be leveraged to foster participation equity.