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As SE is a Q&A network with different websites for different fields of expertise, is it possible that some of the more 'obscure' websites that cover a narrow field slowly die out? There is only a limited amount of questions to be asked and with the "mark-as-duplicate" feature growing and with the fact that duplicates don't have to be exactly the same, it is possible that some sites could 'die out'?

As tchrist states on EL&U:

... By now pretty much ALL frequently asked English questions like this one have been answered already, including this one. I’d familiarize myself with those top ones in the first page there.

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    It's possible, but probably not because folks aren't asking enough duplicate questions. – Shog9 Feb 20 at 14:24
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    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/87743/… (SO only, so not a dupe) – Shadow Wizard Feb 20 at 14:28
  • English evolves. Some of these words might last and then someone is bound to want to know how to use it. – Robert Longson Feb 20 at 19:05
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    Since the beginning of 2019, there are 156 dupes on EL&U and 1,582 unclosed questions, 507 closed non-dupes. This doesn't seem like only duplicates remain. – ben is uǝq backwards Feb 20 at 20:07
  • I had to make a comment that if you have questions A, B, and C, and they are duplicates of original questions X, Y, and Z, then it's not the case that you only have duplicate questions remaining. Original questions also remain. What you mean to say is that only duplicate questions are being asked. – Jason Bassford Feb 21 at 14:58
  • @JasonBassford You are correct. Not my edit, but feel free to yourself. – Lordology Feb 21 at 18:46
  • @RobertLongson Obviously we are not at such a stage yet, but the number of dupes seems to be increasing at a faster rate. – Lordology Feb 23 at 13:21
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No, it is not dying.

Let me re-iterate the goal of SE sites: be a canonical collection of questions and answers.

For areas of expertise that don't evolve it could well be that in the future all question have been asked and all that is left to do is curating of the current content.

That doesn't mean the site dies, it means it reached its goal and will carry-on being useful for future visitors. That a site doesn't accept all questions thrown at it is very much by design but it is an aspect that is often overlooked and that causes sometimes a difference in expectations.

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    Similar questions were asked about Wikipedia when "growth" slowed and people realized that most articles that fit their criteria for inclusion that didn't require highly-specialized knowledge had already been pretty well established. – Tim Post Feb 20 at 18:46
  • @rene But then it would be more of an archive, and would only need few patrollers. – Lordology Feb 24 at 19:54
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There are also sites which have a set of Version tags that can be used for version specific questions, such as:

  • Drupal Answers, with tags like 5, 6, 7, 8, ...
  • Ask Ubuntu, with tags like 12.04, 14.04, 16.04, 18.04, ...
  • Ask Different, with tags for different versions of macOS like Yosemite, El Capitam, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, ...
  • ... (incomplete list).

For those sites where something similar to such Version makes sense, it helps preventing those sites dying out (or staying alive), whereas the amount of questions using older version tags typically reduces over time. Though such older version questions may still make a lot of sense for somebody still using such versions.

Note: these version tags also reduces the amount of duplicates quite a lot. Because a question (and its related answers) like "How do I do X in version V1?", might be quite different from "How do I do X in version V2?".

  • I think you mean "preventing those sites dying out. – Lordology Feb 20 at 18:26
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    I'm ready to upgrade to English 2.0! Where are the release notes? ;) – Josh Caswell Feb 20 at 18:46

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