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Case in point:

The following proposals are both music related.

http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/6320/guitars

http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/4059/musical-practice-and-performance

Reading through the comments on these proposals you can see that there are a lot of arguments for merging these two proposals together.

Merging them would increase the likelihood of one of them reaching beta and create a larger single user base rather than two smaller ones. The tagging system is more than enough to separate instruments, musical styles, etcetera; so for a question related to an amplified guitar you would have tags [guitar] [electric] and so on.

Is there a process in place for allowing the merging of similar Stack Exchange proposals (including followers, etc.)? Or is there anything like this being planned? If not, why not?

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Is this a discussion about those sites specifically or adding a "merge" feature? –  Gelatin Sep 23 '10 at 23:48
    
This is a discussion about adding a merge feature using the above case as an example. I have committed to both the above proposals on the stack exchange and i believe they narrow down the more general topic of music too much. This is akin to splitting SO down into language specific subsites. –  DRL Oct 13 '10 at 14:33
    
Given that the Guitars Stack Exchange has now entered private beta this specific example appears to be moot. –  moberley Jan 14 '11 at 2:52
    
I don't think so; typing music into the search bar here illustrates the problem. area51.stackexchange.com –  DRL Jan 14 '11 at 6:34
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There are other examples of proposals that would benefit from being merged, area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/14303/… and area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/3431/psychology, possibly even along with area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/2149/cognitive-science although the first two are the most similar. –  Daniel Jan 14 '11 at 12:25
    
According to the following blog post there are changes being planned regarding this problem blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/merging-season –  DRL Jan 15 '11 at 0:06
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Given that the Guitars Stack Exchange has now entered private beta, this specific example is more alarming! The question was asked six months ago, and there seems to have been no effort to actually merge the proposals for musicians. All I've seen are posts like this that point out the problem. Will it be possible to merge beta sites with existing proposals? –  gilly3 Jan 20 '11 at 18:23
    
I think if the SO dev team decide to implement merging; it will have to incorporate the merging of failed beta's with existing compatible sites/proposals. In the case where the topically narrower is more successful, you have a slightly different beast to content with, im not sure how that could be easily approached. –  DRL Jan 24 '11 at 8:37
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5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It appears that the (manual) process of merging is now supported by use of the [change-request] tag at discuss.area51.stackexchange.com. Add this tag to existing merge discussions (or create a merge discussion and tag it).

See this post on meta for details.

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Currently the closest thing to this is voting to close the narrower one as "duplicate" and hoping the followers will also follow the other.

But automatically having them follow another proposal might not be such a good idea since they might have only wanted to follow that specialised proposal and not the general one. There is still the chance that enough people vote to reopen then.

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The problem with this in the above case is that the topically narrower one (guitars) currently has more followers, though many followers of that proposals seem to think merging may be a good idea. Perhaps it may be possible to link the two together then have a vote to merge (vote-able by followers of both) then merge after a period of time if the vote reaches a certain threshold perhaps 75% to merge. Those who abstained or who voted against could simply un-follow after the merge if they wanted to. –  DRL Jul 26 '10 at 13:00
    
Even discussing weather people want to merge or not is not available.. & people can alway vote for/against the merging.. Actually I have the exact same issue here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/59801/… –  Shady M. Najib Aug 5 '10 at 17:38
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My first reaction to this proposal was pretty negative. After thinking about it for awhile I have changed my mind.

Given the mechanics of the Stack Exchange style site it makes perfect sense to merge two such Exchanges. Tags are the key. If you want to read guitar posts then you should favorite the "guitar-related" tags and ignore the rest. If you want to see posts about the virtues of floating bridges or the greater role of the piccolo in the middle of the 20th century then use the appropriate tags. It would be sad if you missed a conversation of theory that would have applied to both, just because it happened on another (overly specialized) Exchange.

I think walling each sub-topic off into its own seperate garden would be a mistake. I would even go so far as to say that logically there should be only two music-related exchanges: Creation and Consumption.

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Here is a perfect example of a cross over topic on on audio.se audio.stackexchange.com/questions/595/doubling-a-track/599#599 –  DRL Jan 14 '11 at 23:52
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I raised more or less the same point (and I guess I'm not the first one doing so) at this post

StackExchance sites proliferation. Some thoughts

The problem exists. I also got referred to this post

Near-duplicate or "subset" proposals on Area 51

It's a hairy issue. In my opinion, one possible solution would have been to force site names to a single word. This would have restricted the choice, and it would have restricted the amount of duplicates due to pigeonhole principle. Of course it does not solve the issue you point out about "guitars" and "music", but it's a start strategy. An additional one would be to have tags for proposals as well, so that similar topics can be referred one another.

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I really look very negative to merge this two. First of all music practice has nothing to do with questions about guitar gear for example, it's a place for people with GUITARS [bass, mandolins, ukuleles and etc]. The questions are so different beginning with guitar construction, standing on the stage, tuning/fixing gear. In Lithuania we have guitar forum in fact, which is really huge, I just can't imagine any other instrument or musical questions in there...

If this guitaroverflow board would go huge as stackoveflow, then it's ok.

my compare would be to merge photographers with filming , or even with designers board... for guitar world it's the same. Because we asking things like music theory from a view of a fretboard (guitar player), not just any other musician view. Tons of ussuless helpers who never played guitar would answer their "psilosophy" [from their heaven] in question like "whats the point of arpeggios?". it's too generic question for musical board anyway, and tags would not help really=)

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The idea would be to merge the two narrow topics of "music practice and performance" and "guitars" under the more general moniker of "Music Creation". The site community wiki could be used in the same way that it is on SO and the tagging system to seperate musical areas and instruments –  DRL Oct 13 '10 at 14:47
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Your viewpoint surprises me. Guitars are rarely a solo instrument, but rather almost always are accompanied by some combination of singers, drummers, or wind instruments. Should there be one site devoted to guitar specific questions, and one for questions involving guitars and another non-guitar instrument, or questions about chord progressions or song structure? In Stack Overflow, questions about pointers in C++ are irrelevant to Java or XML, and yet we all manage to get along just fine. –  gilly3 Jan 20 '11 at 18:38
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