General proposals

The main problem I see in more general proposals is that each follower is interested in a subset of the proposal and vote for the example questions that deal with the subset. It causes proposals to have many followers, but not enough good example questions. For example:

  • Pets - 63 followers, 1 on-topic, 1 off-topic.
  • Languages - 89 followers, 1 on-topic, 3 off-topic.
  • Biology - 103 followers, 4 on-topic, 3 off-topic.

Specific proposals

Some specific proposals tend to slowly decay. For example:

They both have a worrying visits and questions rate. There are many highly voted merge suggestion discussions that have been open for a while now, but still nothing gets done (this,this,this & this).

Should we fine-tune the rules in order to define proposals and attract followers faster? Should we set rules that state when proposals get merged?

2 Answers 2


I've long thought that one of the biggest problems is that it's too easy to suggest on/off topic questions. A glut of questions causes the votes to spread out too thin, preventing the proposal from moving on.

At the very least, reducing the number of question suggestions you can make would be a start. Adding some sort of cost would be helpful, too (such as charging rep).

I bet if you created a proposal for a programming Q&A site, it would gather hundreds (or thousands) of followers in no time, but never move on because there are simply too many good on/off topic questions that would fit that site.


Another idea would be to limit what questions are displayed for followers to consider. For example, only show the top 20 on and off topic questions, provided there are enough votes to make them meaningful. This way, low ranked suggestions "fall off" the end, rather than distract new followers and dilute votes.

  • That's exactly what I've tried to suggest. I think that rep charge is too harsh, because proposing questions is the main tool for acquiring rep. I think we should provide mechanism for removing non-general question (like flagging). Area 51 FAQ should state that most good example question should look like: "How do I [x] using [y]?" or "What kind of [x] have [y] attributes\features\characteristics?"
    – HuBeZa
    Mar 23, 2011 at 14:11
  • 1
    Considering your edit, I disagree. It will cause the first proposed questions, proposed by the first followers, to bounce to the top. It will minimize the ability of new followers to design the site's definition.
    – HuBeZa
    Mar 23, 2011 at 14:15

It'd be interesting to see how Stackoverflow would turn out if it was an Area51 proposal now. I can imagine bitter fighting where Java programmers refuse to share the same site as C# programmer, etc. etc.

Excuse me. Are you the Judean People's Front?
F!!! off! We're the People's Front of Judea

Sometimes an autocracy is more productive than giving everyone power. In other words, some categories don't need 20 subsites where tagging is fine.

  • So you saying away with democracy, long live mighty moderators? I too think we should strict moderation in order to fix glitches in area51 mechanism.
    – HuBeZa
    Apr 6, 2011 at 16:48
  • 2
    @Hubeza Not entirely, but maybe a stricter wizard at the start to ensure it's not repeated. I don't really mind either way as long as we get a decent music site I can ask a lot of questions on
    – Chris S
    Apr 6, 2011 at 18:08

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