So far Area 51 has turned out better than my wildest dreams. But there's one big issue I see. Currently, every single Stack Exchange site is pretty much on its own; they can expect very little help from other sites, so each one is stranded on an island many kilometers away from the nearest shore. The only thing they can count on is that they are all Stack Exchange sites and all contained under that web.

Here's the problem:

The site for gaming is just as distant to game development as it is to cooking. There's no way to bring sites closer together that just being Stack Exchange buddies, even if their topics deserve this relationship. Back in the pre-Area 51 days, Stack Overflow, Server Fault, and Super User were buddies and shared links at the bottom of the page. It's great that the other Stack Exchange sites have joined them in that section, but now it seems like SOFU aren't really even related any more so than by that one bond of being Stack Exchange sites.

But they're definitely more strongly related than that. I've been using this Greasemonkey script that shows links between SOFU in the header for so long I forgot that those links aren't actually there. Yes, we can move questions between them, but for the 'average user', it's not immediately apparent that Stack Overflow has a stronger relationship with Server Fault and Super User than it does to the other sites. Adding some links to the other sites in the header of each one would greatly help this.

Can other sites have this relationship too?

It's interesting that SOFU have done this, but the privilege is denied to other sites. Here's the big ones that I could see benefiting from the concept of sister-sites:

  • The different language sites
  • Gaming + Game Development
  • Board and Card Games + More specific sites for Go, Chess, and Magic the Gathering

It seems absurd to me that these sites can't be related any more than they are to all the distant cousins of the Stack Exchange network. Currently there's a massive debate about if it's okay to have a Board and Card Games site along with other more specific sites about nothing but Chess or Go. It's nice to have everything in one place, but a more generic site won't attract true experts who want to talk about nothing but chess. If they could be related as sister sites (as SOFU have been for almost a year now...), we could have the best of both worlds.

The Stack Exchange community has grown to the point where there are too many sites for them to have no special relationships between them. This would solve a lot of organizational problems, boost traffic, and help people find what they need more quickly with just a few header links! :D

Essentially this is almost a duplicate of Allow StackExchange/Area 51 sites to choose “friend” sites, which Joel Coehoorn♦ marked status completed with this message:

Marked completed because there are now migration paths between different sites.

Migration paths is a good start, but it's not enough. Simple migration links was not what the asker of that question wanted IMHO. Sharing links in the headers would make it obvious to the 99.999% of all users that never see a 'Close As Off-Topic' dialogue box that the sites are related. This would help them find things that should only be a click away without having to search through the entire list of Stack Exchange sites just to find one that is incredibly related in the first place.


tl:dr; If you are passionate about having lots of itty bitty sites then you should just downvote me now.

Board and Card Games + More specific sites for Go, Chess, and Magic the Gathering

But therein lies the rub. Is there really enough specific traffic for JUST THOSE SITES that they being independent islands makes them worth it? I think not.

I think what needs to happen is people need to look at the SOFU models more and realize that, like programming, perhaps their target audience needs to be more than "ASP.NET C# developers who don't use javascript except what's provided by the toolkit" (ahem some of my coworkers ahem). The Stack Overflow is for all programmers. Same for Server Fault not being just for Dell PowerEdge servers. Etc.

So it should be for B&CG: All chess, go, MTG players should unite under that one banner.

So what if they don't all have the same focus. Guess what, a lot of MTG players like chess. Or Pokemon. Or bodysurfing. Or watching SpikeTV. They're going to be one big happy family of users, so they don't need to shut each other out.

Could you imagine if every game you played required you going to a different place to play it?

Back to your arguments:

but a more generic site won't attract true experts who want to talk about nothing but chess.

How on this huge earth can anybody know that right now? There's no possible way. I think that they need to show that the site would be absolutely dominated by chess players to show that they need a chess specific site. I think that the top chess players in the world would need to come out and say publicly that they are multi-passion-phobic, and that they only will contribute to a site that has Chess as it's only focus. Capital-c Chess.

I doubt that will happen.

tl:dr; Alas, you've already tuned me out.

  • ±0 because while I agree against the specific example of specific chess and go sites, the general point is valid: Gaming is closer to Game Dev than to Cooking, Ubuntu is closer to Unix than to Scifi, etc. Jun 7 '11 at 0:05
  • 2
    2 tl:dr, AmbiguousMethodException, can't compute
    – Nicole
    Jun 7 '11 at 0:06
  • @jcole I was recently of that exact same opinion, but the extensive discussion here changed my mind: discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/questions/1423/… Jun 7 '11 at 0:54
  • @jcole Many of the best chess players in the world are multi-passion phobic! Its kind of difficult to describe if you've never played chess to that level (disclaimer: I haven't). Many players practice several hours a day without fail. Do you really think they would be interested in going on a site where a question about the game they've devoted their life too is sitting next to a question about Fluxx (again if you aren't a hardcore board-gamer this will be hard to grasp)? I'm not trying to say that there should be tons of more specific sites, just that there are audiences for them. :D Jun 7 '11 at 1:07
  • @jcole Say you find this site that's about computers. Hardware, software, screen repair, networking, laptop consumer advice, web-cam resolutions, how to bold text in Word, etc. Are you really going to take the programming part of the site seriously when it's less than 4% of their total traffic and mixed in with all those other things you have don't care about? (think yahoo answers) SO's specificity helps people really see that's its serious about programming. Again, I'm not trying to draw hasty conclusions, I'm just trying to provide some examples that may help us learn about the problem. :D Jun 7 '11 at 1:12
  • 1
    But still, the real debate here is about the sister site capability. Obviously the creation of new sites should be taken very seriously and should not be done hastily; this would only help certain sites become better organized. Jun 7 '11 at 1:18
  • 1
    This answer is only vaguely related to the question.
    – user157130
    Jun 7 '11 at 14:13
  • @Tim in hindsight yes, but the Question is kind of vague in that regard. Hence I got offtrack.
    – jcolebrand
    Jun 7 '11 at 14:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .