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Too many SE sites causes confusion

First thing, I see that Stack Overflow has been remodeled into a number of other sites like Super User, Server Fault, and a lot, lot more. I think this Stack Overflow design is excellent. The UI is awesome. But do we actually need so many sites.

For example Super User, Server Fault, Unix, AskUbuntu are not much different in the purpose they serve. They might be targeted towards a different audience, but in reality we don't have so much of a strict boundary between these. I think if we have a lesser number of sites then we can have a better overall user experience. Since the post will find the answer in just one site, and no need to think which one these is the best one to put the question. I feel that reducing the number of sites will have a positive impact on the quality of the site in terms of the content.

Second thing, I wanted to know if I can get the Stack Overflow software for hosting it internally in my private LAN.

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marked as duplicate by ChrisF, jzd, Bill the Lizard Jun 22 '11 at 14:48

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Clever. With two questions in one, this can't be closed as a possible duplicate. –  user157130 Jun 22 '11 at 14:16
Possibly a duplicate of Stack Overflow clones (re the 2nd question) –  Pëkka Jun 22 '11 at 14:22
@Tim: It can be closed as a duplicate of two different questions :) –  Lorem Ipsum Jun 22 '11 at 14:22
@Tim, you're right, but it may fit the newly implemented close reason "This question is not a good fit to our Q&A format." –  Pops Jun 22 '11 at 14:24
So you think we're making too many Stack Exchange sites... but you'd like to make one more??? ;) –  Bill the Lizard Jun 22 '11 at 14:48

2 Answers 2

Short answer - yes we do need more sites than just one, to cover the IT profession (the fact that sites like cooking and english language don't belong on a programming site is hopefully obvious) as it is a very large area of professional expertise and specialisation. You mention the ease of being able to just post a question without worrying about where to post it - the flip side of that is that on a site that's too large and broadly defined the people with the answers to your questions may never see your question as it scrolls off the front page of the site too quickly. Probably not the effect you were hoping for.

The precise amount of sites we need is open for debate. I personally think there's a little too much fragmentation already (the classic example being "Unix and Linux" and "AskUbuntu", where the latter is not only arguably a subset of the former, but where questions on both those sites are arguably covered well enough by SO/SU/SF) but that's simply my opinion. Others disagree that there are too many sites, and yet others feel much like you.

And IIRC the Stack Overflow software isn't available for private use, though I think people have mentioned there are a few open source attempts out there which are similar. Perhaps you could look at some of these?

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As @Robert Moir said, have a look at OSQA or have a look at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2267/stack-overflow-clones. –  tombull89 Jun 22 '11 at 14:23
maybe we can send people who ask terribly phrased questions over to English.SE and let them back on SO only when they gain 1000 rep there :) –  Lorem Ipsum Jun 22 '11 at 14:23

Regarding availability of the SE engine, the most recent info I know of is this comment by Stack Exchange CFO Michael Pryor:

@popular Fixed link. It is offered. It is for internal private use only. It's also expensive. – Michael Pryor♦ May 25 at 15:26

There are also three existing questions on the topic. The oldest one erroneously says yes at the time of this writing.

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