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According to the FAQ: "We like the little aliens." This seems well targeted to appeal to the Stack Overflow / Server Fault / Super User audience, but way off the mark if the goal is to "make the Internet a better place to get expert answers to your questions."

There are experts who aren't interested in or focused on technology oriented topics. Little aliens are unlikely to be something that someone interested in organizing a site on gardening would gravitate too. No, I'm not suggesting that no one interested in gardening would be bother to look at a site with little aliens, but won't it be likely that the sort of mass appeal to to a very broad cross section of the internet will be lacking?

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The worst part about it being called Area 51 is that it will be difficult if not straight out impossible for them to ever get the front page of google –  Earlz Jun 5 '10 at 21:35
    
This question seems to be identical in spirit to this one: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/52536/… –  Jaydles Jun 5 '10 at 22:07
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2 Answers

I don't have any inside insight beyond what's in the FAQ, but to me "Area 51" suggests a place where interesting ideas are developed and tested. I guess I'm thinking more of military rather than alien uses.

I don't know if I'd consider the aliens a problem. Twitter has birds and whales and such, and they're doing ok.

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Well, they had to call it something. Do you have a better suggestion?

Regardless, yes, perhaps, the alien theme is a bit tech-oriented, but as far as I can tell, it's not getting in the way of the site content -- in fact, I think the designer did an excellent job of keeping the design neutral and in the background so users can focus on the content, which is the most important thing.

And who doesn't like cute aliens anyway? Since they are so non-threatening, I can't imagine how they would be considered generally unappealing to a large group of people.

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