If I go to the main Stack Exchange website and look at the most popular sites, here are some of the names that pop up (not necessarily in order):
- Stack Exchange - This is unique and everyone recognizes it.
- Ask Ubuntu - This is fairly different -- at least it's not just Ubuntu.
- Super User - This is also unique and widely recognized.
- Server Fault - Ditto.
- Cross Validated - Same.
- Ask Different - This one as well.
All of these sites are more than 3 years old and very successful. However, if I look at the newest sites, there is a different trend:
- Hinduism - Boring; there is no way to distinguish it except by calling it the Hinduism Stack Exchange.
- Buddhism - Same.
- Puzzling - Same.
- Arduino - Same.
- Beer - Same.
- Aviation - Same.
If I said any of these on their own, I would be talking about a field, not a site.
I understand that using simple, descriptive names helps the site get through the beta phase because new users actually can understand what the site is about. Once it has a defined user and question base, however, I feel that a more unique name gives the site a brand identity. I'd be much more likely to mention Stack Overflow, which is simple and easy to say as well as widely recognized, with my coworkers than I would the Beer Stack Exchange, which is as ambiguous as any other beer forum out there.
I propose that when the new sites are moved out of beta, they get to vote on a new name that is both unique and relevant, especially to experts in the field.