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I have noticed recently that in certain communities, anywhere from 10-50% of the questions are about the same thing. (having the same tags) When this happens, should I attempt creating a new community for this topic, or just leave it alone. It can be annoying when I know nothing about that particular thing, and most of the questions are about it, making me have to sort through more questions to find one that I can answer properly.

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    Well, 10% is not a real problem. 10% of the Stack Overflow questions are about Java, and another 10% about JavaScript. I have never heard people complain about the former... – Glorfindel Jul 6 '16 at 20:06
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We don't generally split off subjects simply to give them their own space (sometimes referred to as "vanity sites"). In our site-creation process (Area 51), folks often try to employ this logic — "There are so many questions about [Java] on [Stack Overflow], we really need a new site."

That makes little sense.

When a subject becomes really well-supported on a site, the last thing you want to do is send half the community off to another site to start over again from square one. For one thing, you lose all that momentum from folks who have become accustomed to answering on a successful site. And by splitting that tag off to another site, you end up with a terribly disjointed legacy for everyone left behind.

Stack OverflowQ&A for professional and enthusiast programmers, except Javascript, Java, C#, and Android development.

  • To complete this thought, the times when we do create new communities are when there are no existing communities that are capable of covering that topic. – Servy Jul 6 '16 at 20:53
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    @Servy This is a great post covering that subject — Apparently this is a duplicate – Robert Cartaino Jul 6 '16 at 20:54
  • So does the ELL/ELU split fall under that first bullet point? – Catija Jul 6 '16 at 21:01
  • @Catija Those sites are specifically targeting different kinds of questions. They're designed such that there shouldn't be a large number of questions that would be on topic on both sites. – Servy Jul 6 '16 at 21:21
  • @Servy they could have been the same site... most language sites are combined. – Catija Jul 6 '16 at 21:21
  • @Catija That's a radically different question than what's being asked here. He's asking when a new site is created to cover a topic previously covered by another, broader, site. You're asking why these two sites were both initially created created with narrow scopes, instead of being a single site with a broader scope. It's just a completely different process. – Servy Jul 6 '16 at 21:23
  • @Servy they weren't created at the same time. ELU was first and they decided to get rid of the questions that they didn't like. Sounds like the same process to me. meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/703/… – Catija Jul 6 '16 at 21:29
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    @Catija Yes, both sites weren't created at the same time. Instead, one was created, it's scope specifically excluded questions other people wanted to ask, so a new site was created that based its scope on those questions the other site had specifically excluded, rather than a new site being created to cover questions that were in scope in another site. – Servy Jul 6 '16 at 21:31
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At what point does it become necessary to create a new community for a topic?

Who knows? There isn't a right answer here.

What we do have, though, is a process for suggesting new communities.

If a suggestion gets enough of a following, we here at Stack Exchange will create a site for it to try it out and see how it goes. If the trial period goes well, it will become a new community site.

This all happens on Area51 and is detailed in the Area51 FAQ.

  • Though, admittedly, most A51 proposals that are determined to duplicate an existing site (particularly SO) get closed within a day or two of being suggested. – Catija Jul 6 '16 at 20:15
  • @Catija - probably because they are not seen as... necessary. – Oded Jul 6 '16 at 20:19
  • I don't know enough about programming to make that determination so... shrug... My point was merely to point out that the chance that a sub-site would make it through the A51 process is extremely low. One could argue that it would make sense to have language-specific sites rather than throwing them all on SO, but I'm assuming there's some overlap... or something. I have a feeling that, with SO, it's more a matter of "these questions already have a home here, there's no reason to kick them out to a sub-site". – Catija Jul 6 '16 at 20:25
  • @Catija - that's essentially it. Additionally - languages don't stand by themselves - they need runtimes, libraries and so on - and they interoperate with each other. Having SO as a home to them together makes sense given the bigger context. We do have sites for specific technologies (several content management systems - they have their own sites - even though there is overlap with SO). – Oded Jul 6 '16 at 20:39

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