A while back, I proposed a books.[so/su/sf].com for books reviews and such. The common suggestion was "make it a hosted version". The general idea in this hosted version was that each "question" would be a book and some metadata (author, title, image of the cover, ISBN number, links to booksellers, etc) and the "answers" would be reviews that could be voted up or down based on helpfulness. Then Stack Exchange came out - it could have been done with SE1.0 when you didn't have the approval process. But now, Area 51 stands between an idea being proposed and actually being given a Stack Exchange.

I'm a bit busy now between work, my own proposal on Area 51, the 2 closed betas I'm involved in, and my 1 commitment that's still waiting for beta. But I wanted to ask the community - how can I actually get this through the initial stage if I (or someone else with more time) were to propose this on Area 51? There aren't enough on-topic/off-topic questions and what is and is not acceptable is very well defined with very little (if any) gray areas.


I'm sure you can come up with 5 on and off topic "questions" (different genres, fiction/non, are audio-books allowed, etc).

You may have some trouble since it's not a Q&A format site - but I think it's a fairly good fit for the SE engine.. compared to some proposals anyway.

The best (and only) way to find out is to try. I'd follow it.

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    The on and off topic questions would be relatively easy to define - it would be the followers and votes that would be harder to come by.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jul 22 '10 at 21:10
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    Yeah, that's the problem with Area 51. If you have an area that is really good but incredible niche, there's no way to bypass Area 51's process and go straight to a closed beta or even open beta for 3 months. I think that perhaps it's a fault with the process - there needs to be ways to bypass it for sites that are very good, but have very small (but dedicated) communities or very niche topic areas. Jul 22 '10 at 22:27
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    @Thomas Owens: It's not a fault with the process. It's the purpose of the process. We're not going to build sites on the assumption of "if you build it, they will come." You could truly have the greatest idea on the Internet, but if you can't get a handful of people to say they will use the site, why would they just start spontaneously showing up after we create it? A good idea does not make a great Q&A site, the ability to draw and develop a community does. Jul 23 '10 at 2:56
  • Robert - The only problem is that is the process not only requires people but also questions that are on-topic and off-topic. There are at least two potential proposals (my books idea and proposal 14571 - Everything) that can get enough people support but it is difficult or impossible to define enough on-topic, off-topic, and/or bad questions. These communities have no options. There should be a way to bypass the "define" stage if (1) the topic area and question expectations are extremely well-defined and (2) the proposal hits a sufficient number of followers. Jul 23 '10 at 9:26
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    If your site proposal is so well defined, why can you not come up with 5 example on-topic and 5 example off-topic questions?
    – Blorgbeard
    Jul 23 '10 at 10:36
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    Blorgbeard: Because they don't exist. Come up with 5 on-topic and off-topic questions for a stack exchange on Everything. How about 5 of each for one where a "question" is a book or CD (or other media) and "answers" are reviews? Jul 23 '10 at 21:10
  • @Thomas Owens: That's a problem. If you can't think of five questions in the entire human existence that you would not let be discussed on an "Everything" site, it should be closed as [content violation] "This proposal has high potential to violate the Stack Exchange Content Policy." Jul 24 '10 at 2:17
  • Obviously there are things against the content policy that can not be discussed, but those shouldn't be posted to the suggestions during the define stage as that boundary has already been clearly defined and doesn't need to be redefined. Jul 24 '10 at 10:37

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