This is a follow-up of How can a community know who outsiders think a community is for?.

While it could be argued that people posting "bad" don't read the directions of the Ask Question form among other things, they should have read something. This post focus on users that at least read the site name and site description.

The site name and description (blurb) are shown in https://stackexchange.com/site, the site card shown in the Featured Site box in https://stackexhange.com, the site welcome banner for anonymous users, the site tour and probably in other places.

The 7 Essential Meta Questions of Every Beta and The Real Essential Questions of Every Beta don't make explicit emphasis in the site blurb, but they mention "elevator pitch", tagline, "blurb under the logo", etc. Apparently for sites created before the launch of Discussion Zone, an Area 51 equivalent to per-site meta, in January 2011, Staff proposed the initial site blurb. Some communities discussed the corresponding site name / description on the per-site metas and changed it. Some have posts about site name and description, but never changed the site name, the description or none of them.

Despite the Web Applications site description is

Q&A for power users of web applications

we get a lot of questions from people that clearly don't know what is on-topic in the site. I.e., we got a lot of questions about creating, administering, programming / developing web applications, help requests, not questions, about problems. i.e., with services like Facebook, WhatsApp, and even requests to develop a tailored solution to a certain problem.

I have read that there are people that got banned in Stack Overflow who desperately look for another site where to post their programming questions. In Web Applications Meta someone argued that powers users know programming, so probably the problem comes from the user of "power user", but in such case other sites using "power user" will have similar problems

Site blurbs using power user (from the list of sites on stackexchange.com)

Image Site Blurbs Links
Super User Q&A for computer enthusiasts and power users
Web Applications Q&A for power users of web applications proposal
Ask Different Q&A for power users of Apple hardware and software proposal
Electronic Gadgets N/A proposal
Android Enthusiasts Q&A for enthusiasts and power users of the Android operating system proposal

Lately I have participate frequently in Super User. I have seen programming questions questions that are off-topic. I'm wonder how frequently this happens in Ask Different and Android Enthusiats that use "power user" in their site description.

Most of the traffic to Web Applications, as apparently happens to most Stack Exchange sites, comes from Google. There have being to make the site description more prominent and others assuming that might have an effect on the attracted audience and the quality for first questions.

Is there data somewhere that tell us if, for the kind of people that comes to Stack Exchange sites, the site name and descriptions are helpful? Are there studies that tell us if the site description make a user take the decision to create a site account or desist from creating one? Have we ever have made an A/B experiment hiding the site name / descriptions to see if that have an effect in the quality of first time questions?


Site names

Site blurbs

Per site discussions

Discussions to set or change the site name / description in https://stackexchange.com/sites and other places. The way that the site description is referred on the per-site meta sites varies. Some called it the site tagline, "elevator pitch", site short description, etc.

Artificial Intelligence Meta

Arts and Crafts Meta

Blender Meta

Code Review Meta

Graphic Design Meta

Philosophy Meta

Space Exploration Meta

Software Engineering Meta

Unix and Linux Meta

Web Applications

Workplace Meta, The

"power user" sites timeline

Super User was launched before the Area 51 process.

Area 51 was announced in April 2010.

The first mention of Web Applications site description is Jeff Attwood's answer from July 8, 2010 to a post in Meta Stack Exchange.

The Electronic Devices proposal was split between Ask Different and Android Enthusiasts sites on September 2010. Details.

The Area 51 Discussion Zone was launched in January 2011. Very few sites having 12 years old have discussions there. None of the above had them.

Chat was launched in August 2010.

Web Applications was the first private beta (June 30 - July 7, 2010) and the first graduated site (September 30, 2010). There was no chat room during the private beta and the early days of the public beta.

The oldest capure in archive.org of https://stackexhange.com/sites is https://web.archive.org/web/20100815040625/http://stackexchange.com:80/sites from August 15, 2010.

  • 7
    I don't think it's just the site descriptions that cause confusion among novice users, and I don't think site descriptions are the main cause of confusion. While site descriptions should be discussed, the main source of confusion begins with the text of the tours "Ask questions, get answers, no distractions," which is not entirely true about the network. In my view, there could be more emphasis on popularize the idea that before asking a question, an exhaustive search should be done on the site about the topic of the question..... Apr 17, 2023 at 5:07
  • 3
    ....A methodology for formulating questions needs to be formalized, the search mechanism needs improvement, and so on, but these are other issues. Apr 17, 2023 at 5:07
  • Note that the link in the first line ("This is a follow-up of How can a community know who outsiders think a community is for?", pointing to meta.stackexchange.com/q/388113) is dead as the linked question has been removed.
    – Marijn
    Sep 28, 2023 at 12:30
  • It was automatically "deleted" by Community user. It still could be seen by +10k rep, mods and found on SEDE and other places. P.S. The term deleted here doesn't mean what most people understand. While the page not found explains that, most people apparently don't read it.
    – Rubén
    Sep 28, 2023 at 13:50


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .