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Area 51 allows me to take my great idea, find a community, generate an actionable proposal with demonstrated market relevance and deliver it to stack exchange inc.

What benefit accrues to me for participation in this process?

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You get a community where you can ask questions to experts in the field you're interested in.

If you're an expert, you should also enjoy answering said questions.

As an added bonus, if the site gets really popular and you get lots of reputation, this could serve as a (perhaps somewhat controversial) advertisement of your skills, which you could put on your resume / CV if you're a professional in this domain.


Sure, you're giving your ideas to Stack Exchange and they may make lots of money off of it, but I'm willing to bet that most people making these proposals don't have the know-how and/or time (and/or other stuff) to get such a site off the ground (or even to sell it to someone who does), not to mention that Stack Exchange has a huge community already and is known for its quality - and rather significant problems with starting such a site would be marketing and convincing users that this new site would be better than what they're currently using, not to mention that your idea might just be bad - you could straight-up waste lots of time and money on it in trying to get it off the ground yourself, where-as you could've just taken the no-risk, no-reward option.

If you think you can profit from your site idea, giving it to Stack Exchange for free would obviously not be the way to go.

Well, you don't really have a site idea as such, just a scope definition. Think of it this way - Stack Exchange design and create the site (the question-answer interface, how users interact with each other, the voting mechanism, the commenting system, the reviewing system, the privilege hierarchy, hosting the actual site, etc.), you only provide the scope - while a site may not be able to exist without a good (well-defined, popular) scope, I certainly consider that to be a fairly small part of the whole thing (although some may certainly disagree here).

  • And is there any recognition or documentation whatsoever of the person/persons that have pioneered one of these communities? – William Entriken Mar 3 '14 at 20:55
  • The proposal of any given site says who created it. One seems to exist for all sites I looked at - it obviously won't for Stack Overflow, Super User and Server Fault as these were the initial 3 sites (before Area 51). I don't believe there's a link to a proposal on a site, but it's easy to find by searching Area 51. I'm not aware of the proposer being displayed anywhere else, but I could be wrong (asking this part of your question on Meta Stack Exchange may get you a more definitive answer). – Dukeling Mar 3 '14 at 23:48
  • It's worth noting that I found this answer by no less than a Stack Exchange employee who points to the proposals to refer to the proposer - this tells me that this is likely the most prominent, if not only, display of the proposer. – Dukeling Mar 4 '14 at 0:00

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