I've been pondering these proposed changes to the site's name and scope for the past few weeks. This was, you'll recall, instigated by Ana's response to Rachel's proposal for a new name for this site..
Why are we changing anything again?
The purpose of that name-change request was explicitly to end the confusion over what this site is about. Ana's request was that y'all do a thorough review of your scope at the same time, for exactly the same reason. Because, let's face it: when you gotta have a chatbot running to catch all the folks who erroneously recommend your site, there's some pretty widespread misunderstandings as to what your site is about... To put a stop to that, we need a clear, succinct definition:
Above all else, the scope needs to be simple. Seriously. No more than four bullets, no multi-line comma-separated lists, no gerrymandering - it needs to be easy for any new visitor who bothers to read and even mildly pays attention to what they're reading to know what they can and cannot ask about here. Eliminate ambiguity for a first time poster once and for all.
...because, remember, that was the whole point of doing anything at all. If we can't do it right, there's no point in doing it.
The proposed changes are not exactly succinct. They're... the sort of laundry-lists that make folks who already know what the site is about feel good, but don't do anything to help or hinder the folks coming here confused. You want to establish a path of least resistance that isn't asking a sketchy question and seeing if it sticks - if I make it past the home page, through the signup process, past the tour, and get to the Ask page, I'm probably going to ask a question regardless of what text you throw at me... Folks tend to build up momentum as they make decisions; you don't want to wait until the last possible moment to tell 'em they're in the wrong place.
What I think you're asking for
That said, there's a lot of good stuff mixed into that proposal, if you take the time to dig a bit. After talking to folks in chat a couple of weeks ago (and then another two hours talking with Ana today while she patiently guided me through it), I came away with this as the structure of the proposal:
Description / tour tagline
question and answer site for people directly involved in the Software Development Lifecycle who care about writing, shipping, and maintaining code responsibly.
- software architecture and design
- algorithms and data structures
- quality assurance and testing
- configuration, build and release management
- troubleshooting or debugging code
- requests for code
- what to read, learn, buy or use.
- legal advice
That's short. I could theoretically paste that entire quote into a comment, and still have room to reply to someone by name and properly cite its source.
More importantly, it's short enough that it might actually get read by the hundreds of folks who clearly aren't reading anything here today. Which was, again, the entire point.
Note that I dropped a few things. That's ok; you don't need to exhaustively document every possible topic that falls under the umbrella "Software Engineering" - the ultimate source of truth is what's actually on the site. If someone comes in from Google because there's a question about Agile they're interested in, it won't matter that it's not explicitly called out in the docs. On the other hand, eliminating requirements and methodologies from that list also lets you avoid having to qualify those topics with a paragraph about where to stick broad, opinionated discussion questions.
What this site is really about
I love the idea of a site about software engineering, especially one created as the evolution of this site: it fits the spirit of what y'all are doing, gives you a name and a topic you can communicate with pride, and even resolves an old, old dispute in a less depressing fashion.
But none of that matters. What's important here is whether y'all actually believe this reflects what you're doing. Remember, the goal was to clear up all those cringe-worthy misconceptions... Not to create a whole pile of new ones. So I ask of you,
- Does anything in the quote above strike you as incorrect?
- Does the quote above reflect the site you know and love?
- Is the quote above something you'd feel comfortable giving to someone unfamiliar with the site, by way of an introduction?
Thank you for your time.