Turning some of my comments into an answer:
My gut says leave it as
StackExchange.Programmers forever (especially now that it's becoming clearer to me that the main problem is user confusion, in which case, documentation). Is that mapping expensive / risky for future maintenance on SE's end? One problem with changing it is this: If anybody wants to do comparative analysis on multiple archived dumps, they have to be aware of that change. On the other hand that doesn't seem like a common use case. There may be other issues like e.g. rene's question about existing queries.
If that's not possible then my second choice is to bite the bullet and accept the down time and do the rename, no matter how long it takes. Edit: Unless the sole issue here is avoiding user confusion when reading the data dumps, in which case, I doesn't seem like all the effort required to do a rename would really be worth it to avoid a few confused meta posts that could be solved with a readme and a FAQ entry...
I don't think anything in between these two options (do nothing or full, proper conversion and rename) is a good idea. I'm a big fan of all-or-nothing.
Also another thing to consider, which may actually break a lot more than the DB name change itself, is changing SEDE query link URLs from
/programmers/ (which they currently are) to
/softwareengineering/. I suppose you could solve that with some 301 magic on data.stackexchange.com. (Or a mass URL replacement in posts, although that wouldn't account for external links.)
Just out of curiosity: How will you handle the API site name change, if any? It appears both
softwareengineering work right now, as synonyms. That seems acceptable if it's not an issue to keep it, presuming no new site in the future is created with the name "programmers", of course.
In an effort to help address the primary issue and as a follow-through on my comment here I've put together a list of all sites and their various site-specific "meta" data:
For now it's just in a spreadsheet. This table was automatically generated by combining info from Sites.xml in the data dump, the file name list from the torrent, the API, and
sys.databases in SEDE, and contains:
- Various ID numbers.
- Dump filenames.
- Site URLs and aliases.
- Site API keys.
- SEDE database names.
- A couple other things.
I am thinking of how to best present this information in an organized manner e.g. a FAQ entry, given that there's a lot of it and also there is no support for tables in posts.