In a post earlier I showed a couple of sites that are held back by a community that doesn't exist, and thus can't prosper. The
tldr there is even though some want to provide more value, they can't because value is given with reputation and many sites aren't producing reputation. There seems to be two technical solutions at hand,
- Rules: change the network rules so a site is more hospitable to forming a community organically. I've suggested this over in another qestion.
- Community: change the network rules so the site actually grows a community.
The problem is the latter isn't politically acceptable, but it seems very obvious to me. Some sites never form because they can't compete with Stack Overflow. Let's review,
- This is a real material problem where I can not provide more value on a site.
- Fixing the limits such that I can provide more value by lowering the rep limits to edit/tag as I put forward on the other post isn't popular.
- But, everyone agrees with the numbers, that for those sites in their current state the limits are unrealistic.
How can we make those limits more realistic without changing them? We can grow one community at the expense of another with technology. This isn't a bad thing: why should communities compete with each other anyway? The network's content is a gigantic zero-sum game, for one site to get a contribution other sites must lack it.
Here is my suggestion, given a site like DevOps Stack Exchange which is really suffering, I think we should push
[terraform] questions over to it. Terraform is a DevOps technology.
HashiCorp Terraform provides infrastructure automation with workflows to build composition, collaboration, and reuse of infrastructure as code while providing standardization for security, compliance, and management. The extensibility allows for integration with workflows to drive innovation with self-service workflows.
If a question is just tagged
[terraform] there is no conceivable way for it to be more on topic on Stack Overflow than Devops.SE. Why not just help the users out, and the community which is struggling,
- Make the users aware of the DevOps community which is likely where it belongs based on the presence of one tag which can infer with great accuracy a better fit on the network.
- Better yet, offer the user the ability to migrate the question
- Better yet, just move it. Stop sites from competing when the material is clearly better homed on another site.
We can even operate with all of these based on certainty. This doesn't just go for DevOps either. There are a lot of cases for this,
If ALL of your tags are exclusive to the same site, force the migration,
[sql-server]→ Database Administrators
[pulseaudio]→ Unix and Linux Stack Exchange
[ubuntu]→ Ubuntu Stack Exchange
[syntastic]→ Vim Stack Exchange
[emacs]→ Emacs Stack Exchange
[tex]→ TeX Stack Exchange
[android]→ Android Stack Exchange
[arcgis]→ GIS Stack Exchange
[gimp]→ Super User
[ghidra]→ Reverse Engineering Stack Exchange
[commodore]→ Retro Computing Stack Exchange
And if you have MORE than just one the above tags tags, and another tag which isn't an exclusive tag, we can OFFER the migration without forcing it.
[perl]→ offer, but don't force Vim Stack Exchange ... etc
I think this would,
- Clean up Stack Overflow by making it more topical
- Make the rest of Stack Exchange far more successful and popular
- Give the space for communities to evolve cooperatively
- Encourage people to do a better job tagging
Lastly, if you don't solve this problem then every community will be competing with Stack Overflow. Many will lose. We'll have more duplicate content. The experience on the network outside of a few very large inclusive sites will struggle. It's also a problem for the brand. If I was just a DevOps person and I knew Stack Exchange from that site, I would not be interested in ever participating with another community here.