There are a lot of very similar or duplicate proposals on Area 51 and it is bad if a proposal falters because half the people are following "US Civil War History" and the other half are following "US History". There should be some method of combing the two proposals.


5 Answers 5


Here is the official response

I look at proposals and often feel as you do: "ugh, this is just a subset of [other proposal]." So, what do you do? How do you know the 2nd proposal isn't the better option? There's nothing inherently correct about being first. So, I leave it and watch. A proposal is not a site.


But there will be a time where two competing proposals have such a groundswell of support that both have sufficient momentum to sail through. That is the time to look closely at the two proposals. Are they different enough to justify separate sites? Or is the demand so high that, even after accidentally splitting the audience, each side still has sufficient support. In those cases, we'll have to step in and merge the proposals for their own good.

  • One question would be: should the community or the stackoverflow team make those decisions?
    – Shane
    Jun 24, 2010 at 13:35
  • @Shane, when enough users has the reputation to do it, they can vote to close
    – juan
    Jun 24, 2010 at 13:48
  • Woting to close isn't the same thing as merging. The goal would be to end up with a superset of the proposals, not just eliminate one.
    – Shane
    Jun 24, 2010 at 14:00
  • related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/53699/…
    – juan
    Jun 24, 2010 at 14:14

It has to first be determined if a proposal is too broad or too narrow, and I would think that the final deciders of that would be the Team.

  • I agree with that. We are not talking about a simple question here, but about a whole proposal, with several example questions, votes, etc. potentially. It's not something which should be easy to merge or delete.
    – Gnoupi
    Jun 24, 2010 at 12:54
  • It won't be easy, but just imagine a set of really fragmented communities with a lot of overlap. That would be a disaster. It's really important to give the community the ability to merge proposals.
    – Shane
    Jun 24, 2010 at 12:57
  • @Shane - ultimately, these proposals won't go live if communities are that fragmented. They will need to regroup to have an actual site. In "worst" case, if there is one working, potential duplicates will go to the launched site probably, instead of striving on their specific duplicate.
    – Gnoupi
    Jun 24, 2010 at 13:03

That would have a big side effect: high rep users would be able to post more that 5 example questions in 1 proposal:

  • you ask 5 example questions in A
  • you create proposal B
  • you ask 5 example questions in B
  • you merge B with A

Exept for that, merging the proposals give no benefit. You can as well reask your questions in the proposal you finds better and vote to close the second as duplicate.


I'd like to see something like implemented the same way duplicate questions are handled on the current sites where high rep users can "vote to close" and if enough people vote the proposal is closed with a link to the other one.


I agree. One of the great benefits of StackOverflow is being exposed to things outside my specific interest. For instance, I may only be interested in C++, but I'm bound to learn about Haskell in the process of using the site. By having proposals that are subfields of subfields of subfields, we are losing some of the natural interdisciplinary mingling that could be really beneficial to these communities.

IMHO, we now have proposals with a fair amount of overlap that could be merged into a really great site:

These also have a lot of overlap with the Statistical Analysis proposal, although they have slightly more of a computer science focus than mathematics.

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