Space, aliens, freakin' unicorns. Area 51's all a bit geek-centric (making it inherently more male-oriented). However, aren't we supposed to be proposing sites for the internet community at large? Isn't that community pretty much 50/50 male to female and not entirely geeks?

I'm just a little concerned that there'll be very few sites for girls and women coming into existence, when such social knowledge-sharing is just as much a female thing as a male thing.

In short, can we change the theme, please?

Yes, I'm male and the current theme does appeal to me -- and I'm not saying there aren't geek girls out there -- but I still think we're missing an opportunity to engage a wider audience here.

  • 34
    ...unicorns largely appeal to men?
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jun 4, 2010 at 16:29
  • How would these mythical grrlz who think aliens are inherently sexist ever get to a site called Area51? Would they mistake it for a luxury handbag maker or fashion designer label?
    – beggs
    Jun 4, 2010 at 17:10
  • @Olafur actually a cooking site would be a pretty cool way to learn some stuff. I wonder if it's already proposed/exists
    – Earlz
    Jun 4, 2010 at 18:10
  • 2
    @Earlz: as Joel discussed in the "getting the topic/audience/scope right" post, "cooking" is too general and will overlap with the millions of other cooking sites out there. A site targeted to people in the food service industry would be interesting (but over most of our heads, since we've established that that's not our industry) :)
    – Ether
    Jun 5, 2010 at 15:48
  • @Earlz: it does exist (ah, i see you found it) - I have high hopes for it, since many existing cooking sites are slow, ad-heavy, and... all too often I'm afraid... targeted more at people just looking for recipes. You know, the food equivalent of ExpertsExchange. "Cooking for engineers" is/was a good site, but more of a web-magazine with the usual hard-to-search PHPBB forums.
    – Shog9
    Jun 5, 2010 at 20:25
  • @Ether: "industry" sites are a whole 'nother ball game. SO isn't an "industry" site, it's a site about programming (albeit with a sizable minority who love nothing more than to sit around and chew the fat about their "industry").
    – Shog9
    Jun 5, 2010 at 20:28
  • @Shog: I mean "professional" -- while I'm sure some active SO members program just for fun, the vast majority of us do this professionally.
    – Ether
    Jun 6, 2010 at 3:31
  • 1
    I'm guessing the down-votes on this question are because I've given the impression of being sexist. Sorry if that's the case. I really just wanted to raise the issue of the theme being more geek-friendly, and that led me to realise -- via various published stats (e.g. tinyurl.com/femaletech) -- that it would also mean the site's audience was primarily male. I just want to make sure the site reaches as wide an audience as possible, hence me raising the question. Please don't look badly upon me for it.
    – Mal Ross
    Jun 6, 2010 at 17:44
  • Oh, and the unicorns thing... as far as I can tell, that's Jeff's fetish. ;) Hence, it too is likely to be more of a geek thing, given his following. :)
    – Mal Ross
    Jun 6, 2010 at 17:45
  • @Mal Jeff has nothing to do with the unicorns. It's all Meta.
    – waiwai933
    Jun 6, 2010 at 18:01
  • I'm sure a number of the downvotes (including my own) are because they don't agree that the theme is biased, not out of opinion of you. You were quite polite in bringing it up, so I don't think anyone thought that poorly of you. See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/47634/how-does-meta-work
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jun 6, 2010 at 18:02
  • Ah, cheers for the link; first time posting here. I've got no problem with people disagreeing with me either, so that's all good. :)
    – Mal Ross
    Jun 6, 2010 at 20:42

5 Answers 5


@Mal, I'm not sure I agree that the theme is that male-oriented.

I agree that "space stuff" generally skews more male in its audience, but these aren't exactly Ridley Scott / Babylon 5 aliens.

I actually think the whimsical nature of the artwork softens the site relative to say, any of the mainstream ones, which are highly efficient, but pretty cold and computer-y.

  • 3
    Agreed, the design never struck me as all that slanted.
    – Ether
    Jun 4, 2010 at 17:06

"Area 51's all a bit geek-centric (making it inherently more male-oriented)" I'm not even going to begin with that statement....

And I think that a woman would appreciate the art of the theme too. Personally I think it's one of the coolest themes I've seen on a website. If you want it taken down because you think it's sexist then I dare you to make a new theme that is as cool.

  • I'm sorry if that came across as me thinking the theme is sexist. That's absolutely not what I'm saying. And as for the geek-implies-more-male thing, I'm not saying it that's how it should be -- assuming that's why you're taking offence. Instead, I'm merely trying to openly raise the issue of the male-to-female imbalance in the tech sector. Nothing more than that. (ref. tinyurl.com/femaletech)
    – Mal Ross
    Jun 6, 2010 at 17:34

I don't think the visual design is the real problem.

Your question highlights a larger problem, which is: how do you allow new sites to grow organically out of Area51, when the people growing these sites are the same ones that are regular users of The Trilogy?

In other words, are the people currently proposing sites and voting on questions really representative of the general public?

  • 3
    no they're not representative at all. But that route got tried and mostly didn't go that well, because not enough of that more diverse public came in to establish critical mass. I think the (smart) idea here is to take the (non-representative) group that can be relied upon to embrace the medium to establish enough critical mass to sustain a site that can then support the broader (non-tech) public. You'll start with only those sites that have decent techie appeal, but that will get non-geeks in, who will then embrace the system enough to start new sites, etc.
    – Jaydles
    Jun 4, 2010 at 16:38
  • Also, the social networking element has been added (at least minimally) through the "share" selection after Following a proposal. If enough of those get sent out, non-"trilogy" users should start to appear. Jun 4, 2010 at 16:39
  • 3
    No, meta-folk are not representative of the general public. In this really, early stage we want people who are already familiar with the engine to try it out. Diversity comes later. Jun 4, 2010 at 16:41
  • Fair enough. :)
    – Mal Ross
    Jun 6, 2010 at 17:48

It's not a question of male or female oriented, but it is certainly geek oriented, oriented to technie types of either gender. This may make sense to draw in the stackoverflow/superuser/serverfault crowd, but if the the goal of stack exchange is to make question answering better for the whole internet, it is way off the mark, in my opinion.


I don't consider myself a geek (I don't feel I'm smart enough) 😄 but I like the visual design: Greetings Earthlings. 😄

But I was more concerned with learning about what the section had to offer, offering suggestions, etc.

So there's at least one woman who likes the visual design of Area 51. ;)

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