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Could/should the Stack Exchange owners/administrators be interested in converting one or more mailing lists to one or more SE sites?

For example I am reading https://lists.webkit.org/pipermail/webkit-dev/2010-December/thread.html and I wondered whether the equivalent SE site might be more usable (for reasons that are obvious when you know the features that make SE usable, and know what mailing lists used for).

This could be true of OSS mailing lists, and of other SIGs like http://www.openecg.net/mailing_list.html

Could you even implement a mirror between the mailing list and the corresponding SE site: so that new mail to the list becomes a new post on the SE site, and vice versa?

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See also meta.stackexchange.com/questions/51229/… ... my question is different because a) Unlike that question I'm thinking of the "dev contributer mailing lists" b) I wondered about a mirroring the mailing list with the SO site, to support both media simultaneously (to work around the problem of needing to get everyone on the list to agree to make the move). –  ChrisW Jan 16 '11 at 23:02

1 Answer 1

First of all, "SO" refers to Stack Overflow. It is one site, not a collection of sites. The network is Stack Exchange (SE) and the staging site is Area 51.

With all of that out of the way: Stack Exchange sites are not created based merely on the possibility/likelihood of being better than some other solution (even if everyone could agree on the definition of "better"). They are created as a result of the Area 51 staging process, which means they need:

  1. A formal definition (scope)
  2. Formal commitments from several users with prior experience on the SE network.
  3. A successful beta phase.

It's as simple as that. If you think that some specific software product is popular enough to warrant its own SE, then start a proposal on Area 51. There are already some in commitment or even beta, like Wordpress and Selenium.

But an SE site is never going to be created simply based on somebody's suggestion. SE sites with low activity or poor quality are a net negative, both for SE itself and for that particular community - and both outcomes are quite likely if the staging process (in particular, the commitment phase) is short-circuited.

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I edited my OP to change SO -> SE. –  ChrisW Jan 16 '11 at 23:10
    
Apart from the current geneses via Area 51, I was thinking that the SE owners could reach out to existing mailing lists, and offer/suggest/facilitate a migration. –  ChrisW Jan 16 '11 at 23:13
    
Existing mailing lists already have a proven purpose and community. –  ChrisW Jan 16 '11 at 23:19
    
And why would they do that, @Chris? There are hundreds of proposals in the queue right now that already have large audiences. Deliberately going after niche communities and recruiting members with no SE experience does not, in my eyes, appear to be a recipe for a successful site. Participation on SE may be free but that does not mean that the business is a charity. –  Aarobot Jan 16 '11 at 23:22
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@Chris: If they already have a proven purpose and community then create a proposal. I don't understand your rationale for pinning this responsibility on the team, who already have their hands full, when it would literally take two minutes for you to create the proposal and post a link to it on the mailing list. –  Aarobot Jan 16 '11 at 23:24
    
"And why would they do that?" - I don't have enough insight (into their business) to make the business case, just the suggestion. –  ChrisW Jan 16 '11 at 23:27
    
"I don't understand your rationale for pinning this responsibility on the team" - the answers meta.stackexchange.com/questions/51229/… and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/51229/… suggest potential problems/resistence which could only be overcome by some coding/promise/compromise by the SE owners. –  ChrisW Jan 16 '11 at 23:32
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@Chris: So you're suggesting that not only should they do all of the scoping/recruiting/training themselves, but they should actually make special concessions and software modifications to support these communities? I'm liking this less and less. Where is the payback for all of this effort? –  Aarobot Jan 16 '11 at 23:35
    
"Where is the payback for all of this effort?" - According to stackoverflow.com/about/management they expect to make their money from advertising and job listings. WebKit for example already has a jobs mailing list with several job advertisements/month. The other mailing list that I suggested (more or less at random, among presumably thousands of other existing mailing lists) is for a subset of doctors, academics, and medical device manufacturers, which sounds lucrative too. It's business-oriented rather than consumer-oriented, and expanding into existing, proven markets/communities. –  ChrisW Jan 17 '11 at 0:18
    
@Chris: That revenue from job listings comes from Stack Overflow Careers. That is only loosely related to Stack Overflow itself and not related at all to Stack Exchange. And trying to convert mailing lists just to pick up "several job advertisements/month" does not sound compelling to me, especially when there's nothing preventing those people from using SO Careers right now. Creating a Stack Exchange for every random mailing list just to get more eyeballs is, at least as far as I know, not what Stack Exchange is about at all. –  Aarobot Jan 17 '11 at 0:30
    
I just don't know how to make this more clear. We have a staging site. Use it. Don't say "somebody should do it". That's like "the government should do it". Just do it. I'm sure that there are lots of great professionals and business people and whatever, but that doesn't mean that the site would be successful. Let's at least see if it can even survive the definition process before asking the team to bend over backwards for a community that posts a whopping 334 messages (that's questions and answers) per month. –  Aarobot Jan 17 '11 at 0:32
    
1) Better to migrate existing mailing lists than to start parallel communities 2) More likely to entice existing mailing lists if migration is suggested/supported by the SE team 3) Any changes that the SE team make to support one mailing list migration might/should be reusable to support any/all mailing lists 4) Acquiring [many] entire mailing lists would be more valuable/worthwhile than simply acquiring new users. –  ChrisW Jan 17 '11 at 1:05
    
"it would literally take two minutes for you to create the proposal and post a link to it on the mailing list" - and if I were to post that on a mailing list, it would be nice to post e.g. a link to even a SE blog entry that said something like "We welcome the migration of existing mailing lists, and having talked with list administrators about their needs we've added this and that (to our code and/or our user license and/or administrative processes) to facilitate that. –  ChrisW Jan 17 '11 at 1:54

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