Some of the category "assignments" don't seem to make sense. Why is DIY under Life/Arts but Motor Vehicle Repair under Culture/Recreation? Why is Cooking under Life/Arts vs. Culture/Recreation? Why is Bitcoin under Technology and not Life/Arts (where personal finance is)? Why is Anime under Culture but TV/Movies is under Life/Arts?

Is there some kind of rubric to how these get categorized? Or is there a process for reorganizing them?


  • what information is available for making a determination on category? Is there a definition of what each category means (what is "Life/Arts" defined as?)

Basically, I'm trying to find out if there is already a documented set of criteria that should be used when picking a category (or suggesting a change to an existing site's categorization)

  • The confusion is not new: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/276011/… and there are more calls to have things reorganized: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/304648/… – rene Jan 2 '18 at 17:53
  • The answers in the duplicate explain both how the site gets its category and what the process is if a site needs to switch from category. Worth noting that a site can only be in one category. – rene Jan 2 '18 at 17:58
  • @rene is there something, somewhere, that describes the criteria for a category -- e.g. what makes it "Culture" vs. "Arts", etc.? What is the guidance on what categories should be? That is not covered by the dupe. – Joe Jan 2 '18 at 18:00
  • It is at the mercy of whoever creates the site proposal and you can't leave it blank. – rene Jan 2 '18 at 18:03
  • Still not answering my question: what criteria is there for the categories? Or what do the category names mean? How do we help people choose a category when they create a site? – Joe Jan 2 '18 at 18:05
  • well, I guess people could look at the tagwiki's for each category, ie culture but not all wiki's are that elaborate. I don't mind having this re-opened then. Let's see what we end-up with. – rene Jan 2 '18 at 18:14
  • @RoryAlsop once launched it determines where the site goes in the footer and where you find it in the site list on se.com. Not a deal breaker but a valid concern. – rene Jan 2 '18 at 18:34
  • I removed the feature request tag from this as it's not really a fleshed-out suggested implementation of something, but more discovery on the thinking behind how the current system works. Since it starts at Area 51, I added that tag, even though the answer is more about site lifecycle (and it struck me as odd that we don't yet have a tag for that, at least that I could find). – Tim Post Jan 2 '18 at 18:47
  • Anyway, if you want to propose a more direct way for users to be able to curate that list, feel free to feature-request it, and just link to this post for the context and thinking behind it. – Tim Post Jan 2 '18 at 18:48

Sites tend to grow from their original Area 51 definitions, to the point that we've actually undertaken the non-trivial amount of work required to change their name and URL down the road once they grew into a more permanent identity. This is done in an effort to help passers-by realize the depth and breadth of the site a bit more readily (and usually done in an effort to be more inclusive).

Yet, I don't think we've ever had a site change in scope so abruptly that the category stopped making sense, at least to my knowledge; if that happened we'd want to fix it. It would require a discussion by that community and strong evidence of a consensus on what the category should be, as well as a very clear indication that the current category was misrepresenting the site.

The categories aren't meant for anything more than casually filtering a list of sites by an enormously broad description of interest, which is probably why most sites never change so much that the category loses relevance. It's sort of like that short list of occupations you can choose from when you apply with a financial institution or participate in a survey.

So, they aren't carved in stone, but the impetus to change it once a site passes the commitment phase would need to be more than trivial. On one hand, we don't want sites to feel confined to something that doesn't represent them as well as we'd like .. but on the other hand, we don't want to encourage folks to consider the categories to be any more important than a very trivial means of sorting :)

  • Writers recently changed from Arts to Professional (relevant meta discussion). I think the Professional category didn't yet exist back when the site was created, so maybe this is a corner case. – Monica Cellio Jan 2 '18 at 21:24

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