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The links at the bottom of all Stack Exchange sites look like this:

ummmm

I understand that the great Stack Overflow goes first in all accounts. But what is the theory behind the ordering of the rest of the sites?

I know that SciFi and Fantasy was just upgraded out of beta status, it seems it was just appended to the end of the list of sites.

What I am suggesting is that we make some sort of direct ordering of the links (maybe alphabetical?) as opposed to just appending all new sites to the end of the list.

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The ordering is by age of site (apart from api/apps and careers) –  ChrisF Dec 21 '11 at 16:19
    
@Scrooge I realize that as stated in the OP. I changed the title to better say what I mean. –  amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 21 '11 at 16:20
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+1 The current order is just a mess. It's never a good idea to have a list in an order that's not immediately apparent. –  Toomai Dec 21 '11 at 16:22
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It seems that Stack Exchange's ongoing growth would render even an alphabetical list as a bit of a mess. Maybe some kind of logical grouping? (Core sites, meta sites like meta/careers/area-51/etc., product-specific sites, hobby sites, academic sites, and so on.) It might be good to organize this discussion across the metas for other sites to allow each community to determine where it would fit. –  David Dec 21 '11 at 16:30
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@David yea, it is getting quite cluttered! –  amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 21 '11 at 16:33
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I tend to agree with David, I would simply have the trilogy first, meta, careers, and area 51, then just have the rest in alphabetical order starting on a new line. The "home row" would be the core sites, everything else to follow. –  Anthony Pegram Dec 21 '11 at 16:36
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This was suggested a while back, but the image appears to be broken. –  gnostradamus Dec 21 '11 at 16:46
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@gnostradamus it is there in the history: meta.stackoverflow.com/posts/69025/revisions –  amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 21 '11 at 16:49
    
Duplicate: Can we clean up the footer? –  user149432 Jan 24 '12 at 23:40
    
@MarkTrapp see gnostradamus's comment. –  amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Jan 25 '12 at 14:58

4 Answers 4

I am pretty much 100% for organizing it in any way at all besides chronologically—even if the admins decide the best way would be to sort them by vowel to consonant ratio. That would still be better than this.

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I'll go ahead and offer up a potential set of categories...

Core sites:

  • stackoverflow.com
  • serverfault.com
  • superuser.com

SE-meta sites:

  • meta
  • api/apps
  • careers
  • area 51

Technical sites:

  • programmers
  • security
  • webmasters
  • dba
  • game development

Product sites:

  • webapps
  • sharepoint
  • wordpress
  • drupal
  • ubuntu
  • tex
  • unix
  • apple
  • gis
  • android

Academic sites:

  • english
  • physics
  • math
  • stats
  • theoretical cs

Hobby sites:

  • gaming
  • photography
  • cooking
  • home improvement
  • electronics
  • bicycles
  • scifi & fantasy

There's definitely some overlap, so I find myself wondering if there's a way to many-to-many this and have sites be in different categories. I'm not a UI/UX guy by any means, but would be interested to see what SE's team could come up with.

As I mentioned in a comment on the question, we'd probably want to open this topic to all of the affected sites and allow each community to define their category and contribute to the overall categorization. (For example, Electronics might say "we're not hobby, we're technical!" and they definitely have that right, as well as the right to change it in the future. We wouldn't want something as simple as the heading under which it falls in the universal page footer to be in any way contrary to the site's self-identity defined by their community and in their FAQ, potentially confusing new users as to the site's purpose.)

With the ongoing addition of more and more sites, scalability of such a solution would be important. Categories will grow large, we might want sub-categories, how to handle overlap, etc.

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Your categorization makes no sense. Unix, GIS and Webapps aren't product sites even by a thin stretch, and the others only anecdotically. Electronics and Home Improvement aren't really catering to hobbyists, and Photography, Cooking and Bicycles only somewhat. Only Cstheory is specifically academic. The list goes on… There's a viable categorization on Area 51. –  Gilles Jan 24 '12 at 23:45
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nooooooooooooooo.com <- Go press the button on that site. Listen. That's how I feel when I see sites like Electrical Engineering, Photography, Home Improvement, and Seasoned Advice grouped in a "Hobbyist" category. These topics may be hobbies for the Stack Overflow crowd, but they're not hobbyist sites. They're for experts in these fields, and they allow hobbyists as well. The tide of hobbyists who currently visit is almost overwhelming, placing these sites in a category labeled "Hobbies" could be deadly. –  Kevin Vermeer Jan 24 '12 at 23:53
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@Gilles - That categorization is better, but there is a lot of overlap around "Professional." Also, "technology" has 17 launched sites, while science has 4, recreation, life, and arts have 2, culture has 1, and the business and professional categories have 0. The tech section would barely be helped by this grouping. –  Kevin Vermeer Jan 25 '12 at 0:10
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@KevinVermeer I know, I'm not really in favor of using the Area 51 breakdown either, more because the non-technological categories would look tiny. It's still better than David's proposal, which makes it look like the world revolves around computer programmers. –  Gilles Jan 25 '12 at 0:22
    
@Gilles: All very good points. This was just something I quickly threw together. Edits are both welcome and encouraged. The main point wasn't the proposed categories, but rather the notion of opening this notion to the sites themselves. As Kevin points out, the sites I see as "hobbyist" don't see themselves that way. So it's more important that they have a voice in such a definition rather than just us hanging out on SO Meta. Kevin also makes a good point about how the Area 51 categories don't have a relatively even distribution, which I think would be important in the UI. –  David Jan 25 '12 at 1:41

I agree with @David. Even breaking the list into only 2 categories (technical / computing VS. other) would help.

I realize that most of them are of a rather technical nature, but some are much more "hardcore" than others. For example, Math, Photography, English, and Bicycles are quite different from Stack Overflow, Sever Fault, DBA, and Webmasters

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And give me a way to hide/collapse/remove sites/sections that aren't of interest to me.

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