I've just noticed the similarity in the Audience strings of Stack Overflow and Programmers.

It was particularly apparent when a question had been migrated from Stack Overflow, and the following was displayed below the question:

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

To my mind, given that we now have Programmers as well, this string is no longer the best description for uniquely identifying the audience of Stack Overflow. The converse description is displayed when a question is migrated from Programmers:

This question came from our site for expert programmers interested in professional discussions on software development.

Whilst I think this describes perfectly what Programmers is about and how it is different to Stack Overflow, I think the first message, particularly when viewed on Programmers, doesn't do enough to show the differences between Stack Overflow and Programmers.

Now that we have both Programmers and Stack Overflow, does that audience string need re-wording to show that Stack Overflow is a site for questions related to programs, whereas Programmers is for questions related to the programmer, and if so, does anyone have any suggestions? I'd suggest something like

This question came from our site for expert programmers wishing to ask technical questions

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    @Edd: Mind updating that in your answer? To avoid comment noise. :) – Josh K May 11 '11 at 13:22
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    Related issue that ultimately comes down to the same "problem" (confusion due to similar taglines used in auto-populated text): Sketchy Advice in the FAQ – user149432 May 11 '11 at 13:51
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    I don't think your reformulation is an improvement.. I dare say it's a bit worse – Jeff Atwood May 16 '11 at 9:52
  • @Jeff I didn't originally include a reformulation, as I initially just posted on Programmers.SE to discuss whether other people considered this an issue too. My reformulation was just a suggestion, and I'd certainly hope any change made would be better than it. :) – Edd May 16 '11 at 9:56
  • It's not particularly clear what you think is wrong with the tagline for Stack Overflow, and thus I'm not sure why you think we should change it. – Cody Gray May 16 '11 at 10:14
  • @Cody the issue is the tagline for Stack Overflow is so similar to Programmers.SE's tagline that in places where the tagline from one site is auto-populated on the other (like in migration messages and the FAQ), it's confusing. The example I pointed to is especially odd: Programmers.SE's FAQ directs people to ask questions relating to software development on Stack Overflow even though Programmers.SE's domain is questions relating to software development. The reverse is true for Stack Overflow's FAQ. – user149432 May 16 '11 at 10:52
  • @Mark: Yes, it's similar. The sites are similar. They target a similar audience. You and Edd seem to be complaining that they both use the word "programmers". I'm not sure what other word we should use. That tagline adequately describes the focus of Stack Overflow. – Cody Gray May 16 '11 at 10:56
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    @Cody You don't see any problem with Stack Overflow and Programmers.SE's FAQs first telling people to ask questions of interest to programmers then telling people to ask the same questions elsewhere? The use of the word programmers is not in dispute, and I don't think anyone is seriously disputing that Stack Overflow's tagline doesn't adequately capture what the site is about. It's just that it also adequately captures what Programmers.SE is about as well and, with the various places where taglines are used, this causes a bit of confusion. The taglines should differentiate the two sites. – user149432 May 16 '11 at 11:02
  • @Cody: It's not the fact that they both contain "programmers" that I have issue with, and I included that in my (admittedly very poor) suggested possible alteration. Whilst both sites are for very similar audiences, they exist for different types of question, with most questions clearly belonging on one site or the other. At present I don't think the SO description makes it clear when a question would belong on SO rather than Programmers.SE. – Edd May 16 '11 at 11:11

The two messages come automatically from each site's taglines. I'm not sure what we could do to differentiate between then, since they are both sites for programmers, just with a different scope.

I don't have any suggestions at the moment, but I do think this post may be best asked on Meta.SO, but it will get seen by the dev team here too, and we might see if they're open to a change like that or not in the first place.

I don't think the taglines need changing. StackOverflow's tagline is still accurate and trying to quantify everything it's about in a short sentence would be, in my mind, difficult.

  • Based on this answer and Jeff's response to the question linked to by Mark Trapp's comment, should this be migrated to Meta.SO? I've modified the question a bit to try and reflect the info you and Jeff have provided. – Edd May 12 '11 at 16:50
  • @Edd: It'd be more productive if y'all discussed, here on programmers, potential alternatives for the Programmers audience description / tagline... Take the discussion to Meta once that's happened, if you also see a need for changes to the SO tagline and/or want input from a larger audience (keeping in mind that the Meta audience won't necessarily have the same opinion or understanding of this site's goals and focus). – Shog9 May 12 '11 at 19:13
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    @Mr. CRT I think the friendly/smaller/more understanding nature of the programmers community is why I posted here. As I see it, the Programmers.SE tagline makes sense, but the SO one is no longer precise enough. – Edd May 12 '11 at 20:16

I certainly consider this a confusion that should be fixed. I think that the way StackOverflow's tagline is currently worded, it seems to include all of the questions that are on-topic for Programmers SE, but off topic for StackOverflow. I think that the tagline should focus on the content, rather than the audience.

I suggest the following reformulation for StackOverflow:

This question came from our site for asking technical programming questions.

"Technical" rules out subjective workflow style questions that are better on Programmers SE, and "programming" rules out system administration questions that are better on SuperUser.

Programmers SE looks mostly fine to my eye, but if you wanted to improve it, you might say

This question came from our site for questions about the interpersonal aspects of software development.

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    This might require adjusting the templates in lots of places across the SE network, so that instead of focusing on the audience for a site, we can focus on the subject of a site. Even though it's lots of work, it's probably the right thing to do. – Ken Bloom Jun 12 '11 at 15:54

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