While we're making a decision about getting some action on changing our name/scope, I'd like to clarify what the latest thinking is on the two types of site name you get on this network, and where we currently stand.

This is mostly a direct question to the "StackExchange Overlords" but it'd be good to see people's thoughts and preferences and reasons.

As I understand it, there's two types of stack exchange site name. Beta sites have descriptive names that are all about clearly setting the scope of the fledgling project, while full sites have unique brand names you can slip into conversation, search on, etc.

E.g. beta site names are all about being descriptive:

...but not exactly catchy. It's hard to imagine a grizzled rock and roll roadie swigging a bourbon and saying "Yeah man, tough question, ask it on Musical Practice And Performance dot stack exchange dot com". A natural followup to "I saw a good question on Art & Design the other day" is "Where did you see that question about art and design posted?" not "Oh, I've never heard of that site but it sounds like something I should join" (this isn't a criticism of the Art & Design suggestion - it's exactly as true if not more so for the current Graphic Design name). But they serve their purpose of being an anchor for a fledgling community.

Full sites usually (with some exceptions) have names that are a bit more unique and memorable, and fit into a sentence like, "I saw something about that on [SITE NAME] the other day..." - more suited for getting the name out there and helping people talk about it in the real world:

  • "There's an answer to that on Ask Different..." vs "There's an answer to that on Apple Products..."
  • "There's an answer to that on Superuser..." vs "There's an answer to that on Software Support..."
  • "There's an answer to that on Travel Answers..." vs "There's an answer to that on Travel..."
  • "There's an answer to that on Mi Yodeya..." vs "There's an answer to that on Judaism..."

There are exceptions (Bicycles, English Language and Usage) but they're mostly distinct enough that they just about work ("There's an answer to that on Bicycles..." works because Bicycles is clearly a proper noun in a way that "There's an answer to that on Bikes..." wouldn't: "Bicycles" just sounds like the name of something).


So as for the question(s):

  • (for SE people) What's the latest thinking on these? Is there a move away from these sort of names? (the latest new sites I've seen have almost all been "[BETA NAME] Answers")
  • (for SE people) Is it too early for us to start thinking about this sort of thing? I get the feeling we're sort of close to some kind of upgrade with a shift in focus to getting the name out there, but I don't know how these things work.
  • (for us) Irrespective of whether it's an option, would we want this sort of name anyway?
  • (for SE people) If it is going to happen, there any point with us coming up with ideas (not that I've got any I like, just wondering) or is it done by SE marketing people?
  • (for us) If it is worthwhile to offer suggestions for a catchier conversational version of the name, any ideas people prefer over what I imagine would be the default ("Art & Design Answers")?
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3 Answers

If we're renaming to Graphic Design & Art, then GDA Stack Exchange or GDA.SE both flow nicely.

Otherwise you have to go cutesy, like Brushstrokes.

ETA When Scott and Alan Gilbertson both reach 25K rep, I vote we rename the site "The Alan and Scott Stack Exchange." Between them they know everything, so we may as well call a spade a spade. :)

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In my opinion, it is not so important, especially for sites being hosted on xyz.stackexchange.com (i.e. not having their own domain), since you can always refer to them as xyz.SE. This is the case with some sites already (the whole LaTeX world know what TeX.SX means, math.SE starts to be known amongst math people etc.).

So I think considering this, a name should be either really unique and fancy (which is difficult) or have a good short variant that people start to recognize quickly: then it doesn't need to be really fancy. And while for judaism.SE this variant with dot and abbreviation looks a bit strange (the combination of the traditional religion and a modern way of naming things I mean) and Mi Yodeya sounds unique, fancy and cool, I would not see any problem to have this site named Art & Design and abbreviate it as design.SE (and possibly change the domain prefix?)

(Remark: All 3 pages I mentioned come as the 1st or 2nd result if you google their abbreviation/name.)

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I was hoping to expand a bit more on this, but there's not much to add other than that I believe it would be very fitting if a resource for art, design and creativity actually have a creative name.

In fact for Graphic Design, it's probably more important than you might realise.

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