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There are too many (similar) stackexchange sites! Reasons why this is bad:

  1. Waste of resources (it would be easier to manage and maintain to have fewer)
  2. Difficult to choose which one question is best suited for (example1, example2). For a non-tech example, is Why is bench pressing your bodyweight harder than doing a pushup? really a physics question or more about Physical Fitness? There is a lot of overlap, for example there is computerscience, theoretical computer science, and computational science. Furthermore stackoverflow has tags that would make many of the questions on this site be suitable for it.
  3. Question may get migrated to a site you don't have an account for (example) and may accumulate down and close votes.
  4. Smaller community base means fewer people are reading the questions and as such the chance of quality answers goes down
  5. Diffusion of responsibility (example)
  6. Sometime questions may be asked with the hope of getting different perspectives and since posting the same question to multiple stackexchange sites is not allowed, this could be a problem. Say for example you want to design something that is user friendly and secure. Different answers we be given on http://security.stackexchange.com vs http://ux.stackexchange.com
  7. problems with migration, such as rejected migrations.
  8. more difficult to search for questions/answers. Now each possible site must be checked to see if the question was asked. (for example you wouldn't normally think to check both health.se and skeptics.se for the same question)

I'm not saying there should only be one site, I am saying there should be fewer and beta sites shouldn't be created so liberally and that the boundaries between sites should be more clearly defined. I've heard a counter argument to this is that subsites were created as a response to new rules being made giving a smaller scope to Stack Overflow. This is not properly addressing the issues, those rules should be changed.

Another example is, if someone is trying to setup and IDE on a Mac, should it go on super user, apple exchange, stackoverflow or programmers? It may not be known to the individual if the problem is specific to Mac or the IDE in general. Furthermore, we're now starting to split sites into various languages.

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    1/2) Where's the evidence? 3) Just create one 4) quantity!=quality 5) Huh? 6) Such questions are almost always way too broad. *) In what way could a decent question be asked on both Security and UX? Jul 2 '14 at 0:23
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    @Andrew'saUnitato what kind of evidence are you looking for?
    – Celeritas
    Jul 2 '14 at 0:26
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    I'll sort of buy #2. It can be difficult to pick a site. However, how do you figure it's a waste of resources?
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jul 2 '14 at 0:26
  • You pick UX and Security as examples? Those are vastly different subjects that require very different expertise to conquer. That's like saying asking how to build an airport is similar to asking how to set up the security systems inside the airport.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jul 2 '14 at 0:26
  • @AnnaLear on the servers it must be more overhead, waste of resources in the sense of considering which site it should belong to, moderators must consider which site it belongs to, and change it if it's not a good fit or could be a better fit somewhere else. I guess it's kind of like saying if there's no reason to have something might as well not have it as it creates confusion.
    – Celeritas
    Jul 2 '14 at 0:29
  • @animuson I disagree. In building an airport BOTH security and usability are important. The sites were to illustrate a point, perhaps you could find a better example and make the edit.
    – Celeritas
    Jul 2 '14 at 0:31
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    "4. Smaller community base means fewer people are reading the questions and as such the chance of quality answers goes down " - Sorting the global list of sites by percent answered, the sites sitting at 100% and 99% are some of the smallest sites. I use one of the sites, Role-Playing Games. At 8.1k questions split among a few hundred active users, we have only 22 unanswered. The answer quality there is amazing. If anything, smaller community size correlates to higher quality answers - though correlation != causation. Jul 2 '14 at 0:44
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    Oh, I get that absolutely. I just wanted to make the counter-case that smaller communities don't hurt the chance of getting quality answers. RPG.SE has quality answers because it has the right people - some of them experts with years or a decade in their systems of choice who still find each new question stimulating - and our small size just helps our community communicate, stay on the same page, moderate well, and so on. Having a small size might hurt the chance of finding experts among them, but it hasn't in RPG.SE's case. Jul 2 '14 at 0:50
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    The problem I have is following the sites I'm interested in. I follow SO, math, and (less so) this. I should also follow LaTeX, mathoverflow, and maybe Ask Different (Apple), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and Christianity. But I barely have time to follow 2.5, let alone 5 more. But if they were all together, I could select the tags I want, and get everything together. This would also remove the problem of (for example) questions on SO[math] that should be on math, or vice versa.
    – Teepeemm
    Jul 2 '14 at 1:07
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    @Teepeemm You mean like stackexchange.com/filters ? Select the tags (and sites) you want, and you get everything together. Jul 2 '14 at 1:39
  • Computational Science and Computer Science are not even remotely the same thing. Likewise, there's no overlap between Programmers and Apple.SE or SU.
    – jscs
    Aug 12 '14 at 19:25
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    @JoshCaswell can you explain what makes you say that? For example if I have problem with a program, such as MS Word, should I put it on Super User or Apple.SE (just because it happens to be running on OS X, but it's a question that probably pertains to the none OS X version of Word).
    – Celeritas
    Aug 12 '14 at 19:55
  • @gnat thanks, I agree that question is essentially a duplicate. Though the problem has gotten worse since that was asked. I mean what do sites like computational sciences cover that other SE sites don't?
    – Celeritas
    Jan 24 '17 at 8:04
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Sometime questions may be asked with the hope of getting different perspectives and since posting the same question to multiple stackexchange sites is not allowed, this could be a problem. Say for example you want to design something that is user friendly and secure. Different answers we be given on http://security.stackexchange.com vs http://ux.stackexchange.com

This isn't strictly speaking true. Cross-posting the exact same wording of a question to multiple sites isn't ideal (although I personally feel like it's not a huge problem in and of itself). But I would expect a usability question to be quite different from a security question for the same system. Assuming we aren't talking about a generic "how do I build a system that is secure, usable, and that everyone loves?" kind of question, which is universally ill-suited to our system on account of being way too broad. If you want someone to spec out the whole thing, you should likely hire a contractor or several instead.


Sites aren't created as liberally as you might expect. There is quite a bit of work right now (although it may change in the future) that goes into creating a new site. First a community must rally around a topic on Area 51. Then the site proposal must pass a review by the community team who keep a good handle on what goes on within the network as a whole and are less prone to subject myopia that sometimes presents itself in single-site users. This review includes several sanity checks against drawing the audience away from an existing site, coherent topic definition, etc.

The physical load on the servers is ... well, we can't ignore it entirely in the long term, but right now it is rather negligible compared to, say, the traffic and use Stack Overflow gets already all on its own. Setting up a brand new site is maybe 20-30 minutes of a developer's time -- not exactly scalable in the long term as a mostly-manual process, but also not dire at this stage.

We find most of our communities thriving or at the very least sustaining themselves in practice. The ones that don't quite get there generally don't suffer from a subject overlap with other sites but instead have other issues - lack of a community, lack of questions, etc.


All in all, our model is working so far. Unless you have specific examples where it's failing, it's hard to start addressing any issues or come up with potential solutions. We are currently reviewing our site creation process, so this is a good opportunity for you (and anyone else who is interested) to propose new ideas. If you think we are creating too many sites, how would you go about it instead? We are listening. Be specific.

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    Here's an example superuser.com/questions/770978/… I thought it was a good fit for webapps, maybe super user. A mod thought it was a good fit for software recommendations, and it turned out to be answered on programmers.
    – Celeritas
    Jul 2 '14 at 0:42
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    @Celeritas That's a pretty good example, yeah. With the caveat that I've been around a while... Webapps seems like an odd choice since you're not dealing with a web application. I'd probably go Programmers because Super User is more, well, user-oriented as opposed to having an audience of developers. I can see how it could be confusing, though. We are open to suggestions, but unfortunately your question here doesn't have any. What criteria would you use when evaluating new site proposals?
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jul 2 '14 at 0:45
  • I admit I don't yet have any solutions but that doesn't mean this isn't a problem. Maybe after a year everyone on stackexchange votes whether to keep the site (obviously those who are members would be biased to say yes).
    – Celeritas
    Jul 2 '14 at 7:01
  • Has a stackexchange site ever been shutdown? Having the option may help.
    – Celeritas
    Jul 3 '14 at 17:24
  • @Celeritas Yes. Not counting sites closed down in private beta and off the top of my head, we have probably closed about 10 or so that have been running publicly for a while.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jul 3 '14 at 17:34
  • Is there a way to vote against an idea on area51 or to vote against a stackexchange site leaving beta and becoming full?
    – Celeritas
    Jul 30 '14 at 21:28
  • @Celeritas You can raise your concerns on Area 51 or on a site meta. However, if a site is doing well and not actively harming another site, the odds of it not getting launched are slim to none.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jul 30 '14 at 21:30

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