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Apologies if this question has already been covered somewhere in the plethora of information released in the last couple of days.

While we can vote yes/no for the defining questions of any Area 51 proposal, I also want to be able to effectively downvote an Area 51 proposal. It seems the only way to disapprove of a site is to either:

  • post a comment at the top (above the question list)
  • cast a positive vote for a negative comment
  • just generally ignore it

I don't like the 'just ignore it' approach as that is like bitching about the result of an election when you couldn't be bothered even voting, and lack of a vote is not the same as voting against it. A site should not get to beta because 5% of the participants voted or reacted positively but the other 95% of participants could not do anything about it even if they wanted to.

Mostly the reasons I want to cast negative votes is because I feel the proposal is too broad, too narrowly defined, or is already adequately covered by an existing site.

I saw this post talking about close votes, but despite a 6K+ combined reputation I don't have an option to cast a close vote, and nor do I want to as a close vote should be distinct from a negative vote.

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Your combined rep is not the same as your AFO rep. – Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 9:04
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Actually, negative voting is foreign to the entire purpose of area 51.

The purpose of "Following" on Area 51 is so that the StackExchange team can have an approximate measure of interest. Every person who follows is (in some small way) expressing that they would be willing to visit and contribute to such a site. This is because StackExchange sites must achieve critical mass in order to succeed.

Consider what a negative vote would entail. Obviously, in "not following" you are saying that you would not visit or participate in such a site, which is fine, but it has no effect on those who would participate. Now, what would a negative vote mean? It would mean that not only are you not interested in visiting such a site, but you want it banished from the internet. You are attempting to remove other people's chance to participate in something. Which doesn't really make sense.

As someone who wouldn't visit the site you have no effect on it, and therefore, your "no follow" vote really wouldn't mean anything.

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I understand the whole point measuring potential participation, but what about sites that may actively take participation away from existing sites. Take for example the RegEx proposal. It's interesting for sure, but I think it's a subset of SO that in my opinion should remain on SO as a tag. I'm not saying everyone has to agree with me, I'm sure plenty don't, but currently it only takes 60 people to form the site - shouldn't there be some way to register my opposition to the creation of a new site that could damage an existing one. – Simon P Stevens Jun 3 '10 at 9:10
@Simon: I had that one in mind too, but it won't take away from SO in reality, so it's not a good example. However, on the off chance it does, is there any possibility that could be an improvement over the current state of affairs? This is saying that it would "steal" all the regex traffic from SO, but the sites are in the same network, so nothing is really lost. -- You register your opposition by leaving a comment on the proposal and/or upvoting an existing comment. – Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 9:12
@Simon, that one would simply move all the RegEx related stuff to a different site, which is fine, because the RegEx gurus could check both, and the people uninterested in RegEx would stay on SO. It simply categorizes. – devinb Jun 3 '10 at 9:23
@The Cat: I think it may take away from SO. People who are RegEx experts will move over to the new RegEx site and stop using SO. But these guys are also likely to be good perl programmers, so they stop answering perl questions on SO and SO suffers. It's not just stealing RegEx questions, it's stealing users who could answer other questions too. At the very least just in the early stage while they expend time/energy on seeding the new RegEx site and forming the community. – Simon P Stevens Jun 3 '10 at 9:26
@Simon, I see no reason for them to stop answering perl questions on SO. They will go to RegEx to answer some regex questions when/if they have them, and they will go to SO for their programming questions. The fact that I answer C# questions does not stop me from answering SharePoint questions. – devinb Jun 3 '10 at 9:28
@devinb: Perhaps just during the beta phase, these hypothetical RegEx & Perl experts will expend time seeding the new site and discussing the community standards. This will be time lost from answering Perl questions on SO. (I'm slightly playing devils advocate, I see your point, and I kind of agree that the RegEx site probably isn't going to do any major damage I'm just raising the risk as something to watch out for.) – Simon P Stevens Jun 3 '10 at 9:47
Also, what about migrations. Will there be a way for RegEx questions to be closed on SO and migrated to the new site, because if you can't migrate then the community will end up splitting in half. – Simon P Stevens Jun 3 '10 at 9:47

I understand your POV on ignoring proposals, but it makes sense. The whole evaluation period (discuss-commit-beta) is to judge participation, and if enough people will participate to make the site viable, who cares about the people that will eventually ignore the finished site anyway?

For example, your average professional Joe Schmoe on the street wouldn't care about Stack Overflow, would call it too localized, idiotic, or various other pleasantries. Yet the site still barely gets enough attention to survive, somehow. We just don't care about those other people.

You can leave a comment on a bad proposal, or upvote a comment pointing out problems.

Incidentally, I proposed an Aliens site that may be.. a little too humorous and not worthwhile. But who knows what it'll turn into? Maybe some serious professional will find a link to it somewhere and run with it? Maybe it will turn into an astounding success! But if you know any ways to improve the proposal let me know by commenting. Part of my reasoning to create this proposal was that I couldn't see any drawbacks for a "failed" proposal, and that's the way it should be.

If you don't see any way to improve it, and it doesn't take off, then let's just let it die in a periodic culling of the herd. (In the mean time, only post good, serious questions. Joke questions will only get deleted or marked as spam, and that does cost you rep.)

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Yep, sites about Aliens don't bother me, i'm happy to let that stand on its own merit. I was wanting to be a bit more vocal at the proposed Regex site, i feel that it is already well covered by SO, and it would be a waste to let a spin-off like that suck traffic from SO. Obviously i would have to just suck it up if the majority drowned out my negative opinion, but its almost like watching a car wreck happen and not being able to do anything about it (apologies to @Phil H, its the simplest analogy i could come up with in limited space). – slugster Jun 3 '10 at 9:18

Closing would be enough, I think, but the close vote total seems to be zeroed out rather frequently.

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There are, what, only 33 users out of 8648 who are eligible for closing proposals. And to close one successfully you need to have 5 people to vote within 4 days. And Area51 isn't really very active... – kennytm Jul 22 '10 at 11:51
@KennyTM: 4 days? Yes, I'd like to see that increased. – Charles Stewart Jul 22 '10 at 13:06

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