I tend to worry that some of the proposals on Area 51 have the potential to dilute the Stack Overflow audience. For instance:

  1. Web Applications
  2. Drupal Answers
  3. Regex
  4. IDEs

These are just a few. As one comment stated, these seem more like sub-sets of Stack Overflow.

Note: Re-read the Web Apps proposal...I can see where it is different.

To further distinguish this question from Area51 proposals that overlap StackOverflow : I am concerned that SO will become a group of C# developers who are concerned only with SqlServer in C#, building forms in C#, regex in C#. I like coming to SO for my programming questions. If in a few months, I somehow start using jQuery, or Drupal...I still want to come to SO to get my question(s) answered.

  • 1
    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/52379/…
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jun 8, 2010 at 0:23
  • Sorry, when I searched for [area51], I wasn't looking past 2 pages of results.
    – IAbstract
    Jun 8, 2010 at 0:30
  • That was one of the main reasons why i put forward this proposal about negative voting. If you start splitting things up too much not only does the user have to navigate the sites, it becomes harder to build a reasonable amount of rep on any particular site.
    – slugster
    Jun 8, 2010 at 1:33

4 Answers 4


I wouldn't worry just yet. A Proposal is not a site. There hundreds of people scouring Area 51 just looking for something to do. But, there's a lot more to getting a site created than getting past the straw polls of the Definition Phase.

My guess is that the good-but-not-needed proposals will languish into non-existence once real people are asked to commit real time and real resources into a site idea that is already covered elsewhere. It would be unfortunate if a bunch of mediocre sites are created out of boredom for something to do in Area 51.

Your question applies not only to Stack Overflow, but all sites on the network. There are still some fundamental issues regarding the best way of scoping out each site:

  • Create smaller, niche sites versus creating mega sites with tagging
  • Selecting site topics that optimize the network versus letting every site stand on their own
  • Slicing up the Q&A space into neat little segments versus letting overlapping circles form around expert groups
  • Letting sub-sites splinter off from sites that already cover the subject

It's easy enough to pick out a few, individual proposals that just seem somehow... infringing. Its an entirely different matter to come up with a general policy to rule them all.

My best guidance is to vote with your commitment to the site.

If the site isn't going to make the Internet a seriously better place for you, find something better to do. You don't have to jump into every site proposal that you could ever possibly have interest. If you don't want a site created, don't follow it. If you see a site as redundant—even if you would use it anyway—don't be afraid to ignore it. It's not as if you are banned from using the site if it gets created without you.

Direct your energy and enthusiasm towards those few sites that you truly, really want. Ignore the rest. It's the only way to separating great site ideas from the cruft—by measuring the commitment you put into it.

  • Great advice, @Robert. Voting with commitment is a good way to look at it.
    – IAbstract
    Jun 8, 2010 at 22:33

Web Applications is about using web applications, not programming them, that is still Stack Overflow's domain. Super User no longer allows these types of questions.

I agree with you on Regex, since it's pure programming stuff, but don't know enough about Drupal to comment.


Will these proposals have a potential to dilute what Stack Overflow has going?


Thank goodness! Stackoverflow fields 2 new questions each minute. We could use several laser focused sites that tackle very popular subjects that are very niche to take some of the load off.

Further, they will attract audiences that are not well served by stackoverflow.

Think of Stack Overflow as the Mathoverflow of computers - only the questions/people who actually sit down and code on computers are welcome.

However, there are a lot of tinkerers that simply want their drupal site to do [nifty thing] - it may involve programming, it may not. But they cannot approach the subject on stackoverflow without a flame suit!

We need a bevy of sites that field the questions when the OP doesn't really know where to start. The question may eventually get mograted to Web applications, Server Fault, Stack Overflow, or Super User (or some other site).

But it is important to have a niche, entry level site that says, "All drupal questions are welcome, and we'll sort them out if needed."

  • I agree to some extent, @Polly. SO could use some overlap from other areas that target specific areas of development. It just seems like everyone wants their own version of SO and I don't want to lose it. As Robert C. said, I shouldn't be worrying yet. It is still early.
    – IAbstract
    Jun 8, 2010 at 22:39

What would be the problem?
They will not be competing, it'll be from the same owners

If anything, it'll be better, building communities that could focus best on specific subjects

  • 3
    I disagree with the notion they won't be competing...as an asker I'm picking one to post my question on, not two or more. Jun 8, 2010 at 0:10
  • 4
    But isn't it one of the great things about SO that it brings together all these different programming communities? Jun 8, 2010 at 0:15
  • Does this mean that SO was too broad in scope from the beginning? I don't believe this to be true. Where programming overlaps, I don't believe the proposal should have the potential to dilute any part of SO.
    – IAbstract
    Jun 8, 2010 at 0:15
  • 1
    Even with conveniences like automatic account association, I don't want to have to think about which of the dozen sites to go to for every question I have. I probably wouldn't visit them all as regularly as I visit SO. And the meaning of rep will be changed if you have a dozen 300-rep accounts rather than one 3k account.
    – Pops
    Jun 8, 2010 at 19:48

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