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Many Alumni associations are looking for a nice web application that enables alumni and students to share questions, expertises, mentoring, projects, supports and other things relative to the school domain and specialty.

The Stack-Overflow solution is so close to what is needed: The Q&A principles are nice, the gamification is well tuned and makes the community alive and interested by other questions. The featured question is a smart way to make the focus on some projects.

The only thing is that Alumni should not be opened to all user. It must be restricted to a group of users manager by an Alumni administrator.

So the feature request is to enable an association to open a Stack-Overflow site restricted to a group of users. This groups of users should be managed by authorized users.

What do you think?

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There are many Stack Exchange clones now, some are even open source. You could install one of those. – ChrisF Nov 2 '12 at 11:36
Why close it off for the general public? If the topic is limited to alumni, most likely they will be the only interested audience anyway. This would allow you to go the standard Area 51 route. But if it's not of benefit to the internet at large, I don't see why SE should get involved. You might indeed be better off with your own SO clone install. – Bart Nov 2 '12 at 11:51
@Bart: It's just like forums: some public forums are goods, some private forums are good too. See Google Groups or Yahoo Groups. Why Stack-Overflow could not be a new way of doing forums/groups... ? – Skrol29 Nov 2 '12 at 13:18
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Stack Exchange lists on its about page "The sites are free and open to everyone".

Having this so clearly stated must indicate that it's a very core principle. Does that mean you can't have your Alumni site? No, not necessarily. Go to Area 51 and make your proposal. A site on a particular topic most likely will only be of interest to people who are interested in that particular topic. Barring the occasional weird off-topic content any site within the network has to deal with.

If you do go that route, keep in mind that the about page also states "We don't open a site until we're sure there's a critical mass of experts ready to participate". You might want to ask your self whether or not you could get an audience together that is large enough to make the site (and the effort it requires) viable.

If you still want things to be closed off (for which you provide no reason whatsoever), then you might be much better off installing one of the open source clones. Would that require you to put in some effort? Sure. But then again you would have to put in a significant amount of effort as well to get your own SE site off the ground.

And then there is apparently a paid option, the rare mention of which seems to make it unlikely to be feasible for you. So I won't go there.

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Convincing, thanks. – Skrol29 Nov 2 '12 at 13:47

The Stack Exchange sites are there, ultimately, to make money for the owners of the site. They earn that through advertisement revenue. A private site would severely limit such revenue, so I very much doubt we'll ever see such a feature to be made available, ever.

There is a huge list of Stack Overflow clones that you could use to implement such a site on your own hardware, your own costs.

Moreover, the SE set of sites derive their popularity by their open nature; by pulling in enough experts, a site gains value over other sites on the same subject. It's on SE sites you find the quality answers to questions, not somewhere else. By deliberately limiting the audience to a (very) small audience, you remove the chance for such a site to gain enough momentum.

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"A private site would severely limit such revenue": the economic model is not the subject, however on the contrary, Alumnis are privilege targets for advertising. – Skrol29 Nov 2 '12 at 11:40
@Skrol29: Advertisement is a numbers game; yes, they'd be more valuable targets per-view, but the number of views is probably going to be way too low. – Martijn Pieters Nov 2 '12 at 11:42
only StackOverflow can tell what is economically interesting for them. The feature should be judged as a benefit for users. – Skrol29 Nov 2 '12 at 11:47
@Skrol29 And as a user, I see no benefit in Stack Exchange endorsing closed Q&A sites. I wouldn't be interested in contributing content and volunteering my time if the company took that route. – Yannis Nov 2 '12 at 11:52
@Skrol29 If you truly insist on having this you can always look at the private option mentioned by Michael here in comments. However the price tag is huge from my understanding. – BinaryMisfit Nov 2 '12 at 12:11
@Diago: that is the most relevent answer, why don't you post a reply? – Skrol29 Nov 2 '12 at 13:11
@Martijn: The answer with clones is good, but is firstly given with an economic consideration that I cannot validate. – Skrol29 Nov 2 '12 at 13:13
@Skrol29: Neither can I, not with 100% certainty. Only the company backing the SE network can. But I think I am not far off. – Martijn Pieters Nov 2 '12 at 13:15
@Martijn: so too bad that this point is major in your reply. – Skrol29 Nov 2 '12 at 13:20
It's fine, on Meta one doesn't expect answers to be accepted anyway. – Martijn Pieters Nov 2 '12 at 13:24

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