Having separate domains for Server Fault and Super User from that of Stack Overflow's, yet keeping Meta as Stack Overflow's subdomain seems arbitrary and unintuitive as opposed to the very intuitive way the URLs of the questions on Stack Overflow match the titles of that webpage's question itself.

For instance wouldn't the following be more intuitive at a glance?

Stack Overflow  http://so.stackoverflow.com/   (dev.stackoverflow.com)
Server Fault    http://sf.stackoverflow.com/   (svr.stackoverflow.com)
Super User      http://su.stackoverflow.com/   (usr.stackoverflow.com)
Meta            http://meta.stackoverflow.com/ (alt.stackoverflow.com)

The advantages of having short 2-3 letter subdomains would mean fewer words to type to jump between boards.

Also, links to the sister sites will take less space on a page, leaving plenty of room to include additional links to as-yet-unthought-of subdomains. It'll fit better in a small box or on one line at the bottom/side/top of the page even if there are like 10-20 of these 2-3 letter subdomains.

Coming back to my question, are there logical, technical or just reasons of convenience that I am overlooking to have a whole domain as opposed to having just a subdomain at Stack Overflow itself?

The only thing I could think of was separate login profiles. That is until I found Meta asked for one too! Do we really need separate login profiles for what is essentially a sister site running the same software with the only difference being the audience or a subset thereof? Seems to be an unnecessary extra step for new users who are just looking to expand their horizons.

Any indications (blog or an already asked question) that Server Fault and Super User may someday redirect to x.stackoverflow just like uservoice now directs to meta.stackoverflow?

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6 Answers

"stack overflow" is meaningful to the code-geeks that frequent the original SO.

But not really to "regular" users (even techno-savvy ones) on SU. And not necessarily to network/system admins on SF.

Let each set of users have domains that means something to them, I say. Especially as I assume superuser.com wasn't cheap ;-p

Re meta... frankly, it doesn't matter; it isn't really about marketing MSO; the people who come to MSO are generally in two camps:

  • new users on any of the other sites with a problem, clicking on the link at the bottom of the page
  • addicts enthusiasts of the other sites

In neither case does it matter how memorable or searchable the site is; they'll go straight to it either from the link or a bookmark.

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Yes, but each think of themselves as geeks, and a lot of the time you'll find interest intersects (at least at this stage of audience reach). –  facepalmd Jul 16 '09 at 19:22
    
clarified...... –  Marc Gravell Jul 16 '09 at 20:11
    
I agree (but can't upvote yet) –  The Unhandled Exception Jul 17 '09 at 14:54
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I don't type, I use bookmarks.

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For instance wouldn't the following be more intuitive at a glance? [...]

Good grief... No! Why? What would ever make you think that?!!

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For one thing it indicates hierarchy in the URL without taking too much space. As in subdivision of audience catered to on Stackoverflow, where audience could be dev, svr, usr, what-have-you –  facepalmd Jul 16 '09 at 19:25
    
Yeah, but that requires us to view them all as "subsets" of StackOverflow. Which they aren't. So it makes no sense. –  Shog9 Jul 16 '09 at 19:30
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Meta has it's own domain name! (kinda)

http://stackoverflowoverflow.com

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hahahaha That was way funnier than it should have been –  facepalmd Jul 17 '09 at 2:57
    
Ok. That's great. I love it! –  The Unhandled Exception Jul 17 '09 at 14:55
    
It now points to programmers.SE. It’s funny when you think of it. –  kinokijuf Jan 13 '12 at 15:55
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I don't know about you, but I set my local DNS Server to redirect stupiduser.com to superuser.com. :) ( Ok not really)

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Thoughts:

Do you not bookmark so you don't have to type?

Why would links take less space? All you see is "StackOverflow" as the link text

I assume different profiles for different target audiences: Code monkeys, BOFHs, whatever

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Ah I could have been more clearer. I meant the links could be like: dev | svr | usr instead of: stackoverflow.com | serverfault.com | superuser.com This way if years from now there are many more sub-divisions and god-forbid further subdivisions of those subdivisions it'll fit more compactly on the page –  facepalmd Jul 16 '09 at 19:29
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