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This post by Sara Chipps says that "Area 51 lifecycle" is one of the things that SE plans to work on in the next month (June 2021), but it's not clear what exactly is going to happen.

Cryptocurrency / Blockchain proposals have found it unusually easy to get through the A51 process, despite not being very successful sites, as the evidence shows below, starting with Monero in 2016:

Site # of committers/day # of questions/day
Monero 9.2 1.7
Iota 4.4 0.3
eosio 9.1 0.9
Tezos 2.4 1.1
NEO Blockchain (failed during Private Beta) 2.4 1.3
Stellar 52 (not a typo!) 1.4
Aguir (failed during Public Beta) 1.8 0.1
AVERAGE 11.6 0.97

Let's compare to the 4 science sites that entered Beta since Monero did in 2016:

Site # of committers/day # of questions/day
Matter Modeling 2.3 2.4
Operations Research 7 1.8
Bioinformatics 11 2.8
Quantum Computing 1.3 5.3
AVERAGE 5.4 3.1

Comparing the last rows in each table suggests that:

Cryptocurrency sites have on average about double the amount of "commitment" but less than 1/3 the amount of actual activity.

We could have used "total # of committers" instead of "committers/day", we could have used "answers/day" or "# of avid users" or many other possible metrics instead of "questions/day" but the results would look the same.

It seems very easy for cryptocurrency proposals to pass the (current) requirements to have a site made, and all of the crypto sites made after Bitcoin.SE and Etherium.SE have had a disappointingly low amount of activity.

I wonder what the broader SE community thinks about raising the bar for crypto sites to be made (for example requiring 200 committers with at least 200 rep network-wide, instead of only requiring 100)? I'm not trying to discourage SE from launching crypto sites, I am just trying to help them succeed, because sites have been entering Beta without actually having sufficient SE enthusiasts involved, which is quite apparent in many ways, for example when you look at the chat rooms of the above sites like this one.

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    You could probably count Augur in that first list too, though it was more blockchain and less currency.
    – zcoop98
    May 10, 2021 at 21:58
  • How this situation with the Area51 proposals for new cryptocurrencies sites affects the existing sites / communities? Are there any proposals that are being affected by this situation?
    – Rubén
    May 10, 2021 at 21:58
  • @Rubén That's a very interesting point, and probably enough for a separate question of its own, as my answer would be a few paragraphs long. May 10, 2021 at 22:01
  • @zcoop98 Good point. I've added it! It reduced the average committers/day from 13 to 11 but also decreased the average questions/day from 1.1 to 0.97. May 10, 2021 at 22:07
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    I didn't "miss" Cardano, I just don't think it's fair to say the site is a failure when it's only been in Private Beta for 13 days. It's true that other sites aren't doing well, but we've taken care of that by reducing the time-limit for Definition and Commitment in A51 from "unlimited" to "1-year" to "4 months". The problem with the listed crypto sites is that the commitment/day ratio is high enough to get through A51 commitment despite the reduced time limit, but the communities aren't actually demonstrating worthiness of having a full site to themselves. May 10, 2021 at 23:23
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    But Coffee.SE would not have survived the new reduced time limits in A51. A lot of what you're saying is correct, but you say scientists are busy writing papers and that on these sites it's difficult to compose a great question, yet all these science sites have more questions/day than the listed cryptocurrency site with the most questions/day, indicating that the cryptocurrency sites aren't doing very well compared to the science sites. It's true that Coffee.SE isn't doing well either, but I think we've already taken care of that problem by reducing the time limit for getting through A51. May 11, 2021 at 0:03
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    It would seem more in line with current practice to divide (merge) Cryptocurrency sites based on their underlying algorithm rather than to containerize (prejudice) one subject compared to the perceived usefulness of other subject areas. Not only would that reduce potential new sites but it would group similar expertise, and provide an active community for most new currencies. - Each site has several dozen passionate core members with a huge investment in effort (and many less so), and new sites have that potential for good; given the chance.
    – Rob
    May 11, 2021 at 0:36
  • A highly relevant Area 51 Discussions announcement from this past March: Area 51 is no longer allowing individual blockchain, cryptocurrency, or web3 proposals
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    May 4 at 19:20

2 Answers 2

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I'd just prohibit new cryptocurrency proposals entirely.

There is no way to predict which ones will stay for the long run, if even any of them will. And the topic is inherently problematic in many ways for a Q&A site. Area 51 can't handle communities that can easily redirect a burst of short-term attention like many new cryptocurrency communities are able to, it's simply not designed to distinguish this kind of semi-artificial interest from organically grown interest in the topic.

If we want to have Q&A about new cryptocurrencies, there should be a single cryptocurrency site. That is the only way that works within the current SE framework, anything else is doomed to fail.

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    This actually used to be the case years ago: other cryptocurrencies used to also be on-topic on the Bitcoin site. However, that site's community didn't want that, so they decided to narrow its scope to just Bitcoin. May 10, 2021 at 22:00
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    I think it's less that they didn't want it and more that we didn't support them being the one site by changing their site name and making several specific cryptocurrency sites.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 10, 2021 at 22:03
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    There must be a better way than to just ban all cryptocurrency communities from having the opportunity to submit a proposal that goes through a fair evaluation. Bitcoin (a 1st generation cryptocurrency) and Etherium (a 2nd generation cryptocurrency) are two of the most successful sites to have entered Beta in recent years, and Cardano (a 3rd generation cryptocurrency) is doing fairly well in Private Beta so far. Perhaps the cryptocurrency needs to have been established a minimum of X years ago, and needs to have at least Y% of the total crypto market share for us to consider a proposal. May 10, 2021 at 22:14
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    @user1271772 Is there any reason those couldn't live happily together on a single cryptocurrency site? Apart from the difficulties of actually organizing such a merger. May 10, 2021 at 22:15
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    I think it's fair for Bitcoin and Etherium to have separate sites, but perhaps a "Cryptocurrencies.SE" site that covers all of them, would also be appropriate, just like there's a Unix/Linux.SE despite there also being a more specific AskUbuntu.SE. May 10, 2021 at 22:21
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    I think Crypto by itself may not be enough. I generally feel like "cryptocurrency and blockchain" is more broad for blockchain products that don't specifically consider themselves crypto. .
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 10, 2021 at 22:25
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    @Catija That's an interesting point, but I don't think people that (for example), use blockchain technology to host their websites that have nothing to do with cryptocurrencies, would have their questions fit in with the questions about crypto "wallets" and "stake pools" and "mining", etc. I think "cryptocurrencies" would be a good title for the site, and non-cryptocurrency questions about, for example, hosting a website on a blockchain, could go to Webmasters.SE (for example). May 10, 2021 at 22:36
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    @Catija I do wonder where the line could reasonably be drawn, it seems hard to cleanly separate the two. Should a cryptocurrency site also be home to questions about blockchain platforms that are only tangentially related? I suppose that's the sort of question that'd need to be hashed out during the definition stage of a generalist crypto site.
    – zcoop98
    May 10, 2021 at 22:40
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    @zcoop98 I don't see it as any different than python, Java, C and VBA all being in scope on SO. There's a common thread but not everything is closely tied.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 11, 2021 at 0:56
  • @Catija A lot of people think SO is a bit too big and unmanageable though. The review queues are horrendously long too! However maybe this is an opportunity to try the "supersite" idea of Rebecca Stones: i.postimg.cc/bNKpwhgy/mockup-languages-annotated.png which was proposed here: area51.meta.stackexchange.com/q/29986/190792 May 11, 2021 at 3:25
  • @Catija Should meta discussions on the current different cryptocurrency sites be started as to whether the community objects to merging those sites? May 11, 2021 at 17:46
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog - we don't really have the bandwidth to support that right now. The communities are welcome to discuss whether they think it's a good idea, sure - and that'd be really useful for us to know how the communities feel... but I'm guessing we're at least a year away from even discussing it seriously, not to mention working with engineering/dev to know how we'd go about it if we did merge the sites.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 11, 2021 at 17:52
  • @Catija Sorry if I was unclear, but I didn't mean in terms of actually completing the merge. I meant, would it be a good idea for a community member (e.g. me) to start such discussions on all sites in the table to see if the site's community would object to a potential future merging of the sites? May 11, 2021 at 17:53
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog ... I mean, you can if you want. It's hard to know how the communities would feel about someone coming in and asking that unless they're already a member of that community (not sure how much you use the various crypto sites)... it might be better to sound things out with their users/mods in chat and see if you can get them discussing it on their own without you being seen as some sort of ... invader trying to take their space away or something.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 11, 2021 at 17:56
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    Looks like this may become a reality. Dec 16, 2021 at 16:40
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Cryptocurrencies are a bit like Linux distributions...

There are a lot of them, the smaller ones come and go frequently, and the larger ones have long-lasting, strong communities.

Much in the way that we have Ask Ubuntu and elementary OS as their own sites while most distros are handled by Unix & Linux and Super User, it might make sense to have separate sites for the "big names" like Bitcoin and Ethereum that are likely going to stick around for the long haul (and have plenty of question activity) and combine the rest under one general cryptocurrency site (that might, itself, allow questions about Bitcoin and Ethereum). There would always be the option to propose a new site later based on evidence of a large volume of lasting question activity on that general site if it seems like having a separate community would be useful.


Disclaimer: there may be other cryptocurrencies that fall into the "big names" category that I haven't heard of; these are mainly intended as examples.

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  • Perhaps you would consider to include Cardano (a 3rd generation cryptocurrency) along with Etherium (a 2nd generation cryptocurrency) and Bitcoin (a 1st generation cryptocurrency). Also, perhaps the supersite idea of Rebecca Stones could work with your proposal to have an umbrella Cryptocurrency site, considering that so many existing sites would have to be combined. May 11, 2021 at 7:28
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    Currently, Bitcoin and Ethereum are notable standouts by virtually any metric. Going beyond those two starts to wade into more ambiguous waters. At any rate, if this idea ends up being used, the Community Managers would be able to look at the existing communities to see which make sense as standalone communities.
    – Ryan M
    May 11, 2021 at 7:35
  • I do like the supersite idea, but I don't anticipate that development happening anytime soon, given Stack Exchange's current roadmap. So I'm focusing on what would work best in the existing system.
    – Ryan M
    May 11, 2021 at 7:36
  • But I don't suppose you expect the combining of several existing sites that have already chosen their moderators (among other things), to happen soon either. May 11, 2021 at 8:22
  • That is, at least, possible with the current platform, and it could be proposed to the communities on their meta sites (who could benefit from more users viewing and voting on their questions, as well as keeping their current reputation). Moderators could be moved to the new site (maybe as pro tem) on a case-by-case basis: some, for example, appear to be inactive (a quick glance through the lower activity sites shows at least two that have not even visited their site in over a month).
    – Ryan M
    May 11, 2021 at 8:36
  • I don't think merging existing sites is as easy as you seem to be making it sound. Someone already mentioned also that the ID numbers for each post are in chronological order and it wouldn't be easy to merge them. That's just one obstacle for which the "current platform" doesn't yet have precedent for dealing with, as far as I know. May 11, 2021 at 8:38
  • This has been done several times previously.
    – Ryan M
    May 11, 2021 at 8:41
  • 26 questions from Game of Go were merged into Board & Card Games, a few dozen questions from Guitars were merged into Music Theory & Practice, and the external site SSD was merged into AVP ... I don't think there's a precedent for merging 7 sites into 1 which is what would be the case if all cryptocurrency sites apart from Bitcoin and Etherium were to be merged! May 11, 2021 at 8:49

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