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What models for expanding the scope of Area 51 sites (during public beta) have been the most successful?

On Atheism we have a good community in public beta pulling itself together, but some of us are talking about the idea of loosening the reins on content and expanding the topical base to be more inclusive (not just to spur questions, but to allow flexibility and encourage a focus in responding as well). Specifically, we don't want to encumber ourselves by adding just some other discipline, but an actual, practical focus.

  • Have any other Area 51s come out of private beta and done such an intellectual landgrab, as it were? (Have things like this just been organic, community driven?)
  • If so, what model did you take for expanding the scope of your proposal?
  • What problems did you face?

I presume the success of this is based on what is grabbed, and for the sake of commentary it could be one of pragmatic secularism and atheism(*). (Obviously, not all on the site would use this example, it is just for the sake of an example.)

*Many answers refer to the semantic meaninglessness, nonsensical usage of atheism among atheists (ie. if atheists deny god, then (to an atheist) atheism is a statement that denies nothing - this inhibits question-answering)

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Would you count the shifting planes of Programmers.SX a success? – random Jan 10 '11 at 16:43
@Rand I assume you're talking about the movements of not-prog-related and programmers and all the other Area 1.0 fallout sites on Area51? I'm sorry that I'm not familiar enough to be able to draw from those, but in what I have read about where prog-golf should go, etc, it seems like the 1.0s are a bad example since they weren't fixed (from the start, they dynamically evolved) the way 51s are. If you explain the 'shifting planes', though, I might understand what you mean better though. – mfg Jan 10 '11 at 16:49
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Many sites have expanded and contracted their scope after launch. Simply redefining what is meant by "Atheism" is within the purview of that community. There are no technical issues involved; simply coming to a consensus about policy, promotion, and enforcement of the issues with the community.

But, if you are talking about wholesale changes to the definition of a site, I would first raise the issues in meta and build a strong consensus within the community. Chat rooms and scheduled brainstorming sessions can be a big help here. As a well-thought-out plan emerges, contact me or Rebecca. There may be some tactical or technical issues that may need to be considered.

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Thanks for everything over at, we haven't gotten much traction in terms of a merger or scope-change. I'm not asking about any kind of intervention or whatever, but I thought I would ask you or Rebecca to to weigh in after few days on a proposed merger I put up on Area 51. It doesn't necessarily need to be the prop I started yesterday (, I am just interested in tweaking the concept of scope for these. I think that Philosophy/Religion/Atheism are too narrow in scope. – mfg Feb 11 '11 at 17:11

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