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Which is the right and official way to refer to all the three sites stackoverflow.com, superuser.com, serverfault.com?

Reading posts, I saw too many versions:

  • Stack Overflow trilogy
  • stack overflow trilogy
  • Stack Overflow trilogy sites
  • Stackoverflow trilogy
  • StackOverflow trilogy
  • SO trilogy
  • SO Trilogy
  • trilogy
  • Trilogy
  • Trilogy Sites
  • Trilogy sites
  • trilogy sites
  • trilogy websites
  • SOFU

Which are the "official"?

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2  
I think this should be a FAQ; retagged as a proposal. –  Randolpho May 24 '10 at 14:27
    
Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9024/… –  Pops Oct 8 '10 at 13:02
    
I thought that the official way to abbreviate Super User was [} –  kinokijuf Dec 3 '11 at 20:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 24 down vote accepted

None of the above.

Looking at the list, take out your pencils and emphatically draw some arrows, free-hand circles, and other official-looking doodles as we work our way through a brief history of Stack Overflow.
(this would be so much more entertaining as an animated video)

  • Stack Overflow is always written "Stack Overflow" (two words, capital letters) - Cross off all entries not written as such.
    • stack overflow trilogy
    • Stackoverflow trilogy
    • StackOverflow trilogy
  • SOFU would suggest that the Trilogy names form an initialism, which they do not. SOFU is based on all the Trilogy sites starting with the letter "S" followed by either "O", "F", or "U". Software heads recognized this as a regular expression which would be properly written S[OFU].
    • SOFU
  • The term "trilogy" refers to the original three sites in the series. Super User became the fourth site of the "trilogy in four parts," in the tradition of the five books of the Hitchhiker's Trilogy. So "The Trilogy" is a name affectionately applied to the group of sites, making it a proper noun--capitalized.
    • Stack Overflow trilogy
    • Stack Overflow trilogy sites
    • SO trilogy
    • trilogy
  • Stack Overflow is not nearly ubiquitous enough to usurp the exclusive use of a noun as a pronoun or a deity. One would not refer to "New Coke" as simply "New." The term must be applied in context to take on its full meaning.
    • Trilogy
    • Trilogy Sites
    • Trilogy sites
    • trilogy sites
    • trilogy websites
  • About "SO Trilogy": this is wrong but I'm getting tried of writing so let's just cross that off and hope nobody bothered reading this far.
    • SO Trilogy

The most official looking label is The Stack Overflow Trilogy™. And by "official," I mean Really Cool Looking™. Unfortunately in legal circles, use of the (™) symbol means—I appologise in advance for subjecting you to very technical Lawyer Talk™—everyone can write "The Stack Overflow Trilogy™" except Stack Overflow, Inc.

That leaves us with the proper phrasing: The Stack Overflow Trilogy.

Is it official? Yes, at least in the sense that if you told me "You are totally making this up," you would be correct. But the the little ♦ thing next to my name makes it at least appear authoritative (at least until ♦♦ comes along and says otherwise).

Now put down your pencils or you'll poke someone's eye out.

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The Stack Overflow Trilogy - just repeating :) –  YOU May 23 '10 at 16:22
2  
Hahahahhahhahaha! Best answer I've seen on Meta in a long time - and with solid deductive groundwork to go with it. +100. –  Pëkka May 23 '10 at 16:28
1  
The ♦ doesn't make it authoritative, the fact that you work for the company does –  Kyle Cronin May 23 '10 at 16:48
9  
Otherwise. – ♦♦ 1 minute ago                                                                                                                               :p –  KennyTM May 23 '10 at 17:57
2  
Wooow what a lesson Prof. Cartaino, thanks :). Reading Stack Overflow Glossary meta.stackexchange.com/questions/40353/…, i thought the right answer would be "Trilogy" or "SOFU". –  systempuntoout May 23 '10 at 19:49
5  
Then one has to wonder why "Stack Overflow" it is written incorrectly in its own logo... –  sth Jun 7 '10 at 21:48
    
You could see this naming confusion on StackApps where people are naming their apps with "StackOverflow ..." when actually they supports all of the sites. –  systempuntoout Jun 9 '10 at 9:09

The OP asks about SO, SF and SU by name. But he's also asking about "all" the sites, and there are more now. I suppose you could still use The Stack Overflow Trilogy, but it's kinda ambiguous now. Are you referring to SO/SF/MSO? SO/SF/SU? SO/SF/SU/MSO? The entire network?

We've moved on. We're in the Stack Exchange era now. The SE 2.0 era, at that. Most of Robert's rules — heh heh — still apply; it would still be wrong to ignore basic grammar and write "stackexchange." So it seems to me that the answer should now actually be:

The Stack Exchange Network

EDIT: Hey, there's a whole tab about this stuff on the legal page.

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I asked "all the three sites" –  systempuntoout Oct 8 '10 at 19:15

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