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Can the current process of launching a new Stack Exchange site be done the other way around?

What if we had giant Stack Exchange sites for every major category defined in Area 51? One for Art related proposals, one for Business and so on?

Area 51 proposals will be much easier then because the proposal will actually be to convert a tag (or a group of related tags) to an independent site and all the data needed to accept/close the proposal will be there already (questions per day, answer ratio, etc.).

In this case we have a pool of eight parent sites where every new Stack Exchange site gets born into the collective and it will be much less likely to close a site in beta because of a lack of activity. Also, everyone will be happy to still have a place to ask questions and get answers and help others.

In case the combined traffic for all eight websites is expected or turned out to be low (personally I think it's impossible) they may be combined into one off-topic site.

What is the problem with this scenario?

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+1 because the only real way to generate interest from newcomers is to get them asking questions. Not generating potential interest in a potential site to be launched from scratch. Getting people to sign up for area51 is like pulling teeth. I don't understand why so many people -1'd this proposal. It makes sense. –  Jason S Sep 1 '11 at 13:48

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

From a comment on the question Ask on SO/SU first, move to Area51 when live?:

Question:

I have some questions which I could really use answers to now, that the best place to ask would be area51 Stack GIS, which is not yet live. Is it okay to ask them now on Stack Overflow or Super User in the hopes they might generate an early answer I can use now, and then tag them for moving when GIS does open up?


Answer:

IMO the best recourse of action is to continue to ask them at Stack Overflow until the site is live. While the site is fully committed, Area51 is still in Beta, and it might be a little while before Stack GIS becomes a live site.

Besides, as you said, you could really use answers now. So, ask away! (On StackOverflow)


Comment:

This sounds like a reasonable guideline. You have to use the network as it exists now. Not as someone proposes it to be in the future. Otherwise, we'll never get anything done. – Robert Cartaino

This whole system is biased towards sites that are closely related to StackOverflow + computer-savvy people. (That's been acknowledged, the justification being that people on existing sites bring success to future sites If I can find the post/comment, I'll link to it.)

But I don't think you SE folks realize the negative consequences of that bias. I personally know dozens of people that could benefit from a new site I'm trying to create, with a whole lot more people out there that I don't know. But getting them to commit/support an unfamiliar system that may or may not exist in the future, with no clear way for them to do anything with it, is like pulling teeth.

Please give people interested in a topic within the broader categories of area51 a place to ask questions now, so that the community can be built within an existing system and spun off, rather than expecting it to burst spontaneously into a successful launch.

Otherwise, we'll never get anything done.

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We'd probably end up with what happened with the ill-fated Gadgets site: The topic will be too broad and there will be no critical mass of experts to make any part of it information-rich and compelling, so thus no parts to spin off.

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how can you make that prediction without testing it? –  Jason S Sep 1 '11 at 13:49
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They did test it with Gadgets. –  Rosinante Sep 1 '11 at 15:42
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and therefore you can extrapolate to the rest of the scope of StackExchange? I don't think so. –  Jason S Sep 2 '11 at 13:03

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