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I'm still caught up in Area51 trying to get a proposal together for AI and robotics. Currently this proposal is floundering as there are several small committal phase proposals (Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Robotics, NLP/CL) that would be covered by my proposal and I would imagine many more that are. The problem is that too many subjects overlap causing squabbles over which discipline should own a topic, so they branch out in small numbers. The less fortunate topics are left to live in false hope until eventually the inevitable beta doom hits them and they slide down the snake back to the start.

The original AI proposal was canned because of the honeypot-effect and it's multi-discipline nature. Machine learning would be covered by stats, Robotics by the electrical crowd etc.

It has occurred to me that the [SE] model cannot cope with handling cross-topics and that the real expertise will be lost in corners of unheard of sites or lost altogether.

A perfect example of overlap is illustrated in Why create a Mechatronics Proposal

Is there a fundamental problem with overlapping topics in [SE] that requires everybody to step back and re-think how this whole thing works, or is there a way we can unify topics into an [SO] magnitude site but allow cross-polination of q and a's?

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Area 51 worked very well to create our (let's just call them) "first generation" of SE sites. Those sites were created primarily by our existing vast Stack Overflow audience. Issues of duplicate proposals and mergers were mostly obvious and handled manually. We got many good sites out of that process.

But as our audience expands into new subjects, Area 51 is starting to show its age. It is approaching a point where it as outlived its utility. A next-generation Area 51 is slated for development for 2012. While I don't have any specifics to report, it will address issues like cross-proposal discussions, or maybe a higher-level vetting process to hash these issues out before they become proposals. Everything is open to discussion fir a hypothetical v2.0.

  • I was thinking of a more radical change ... a more personlized exchange which picks from various sites e.g myStackExchange. Something like subscribing to different topics from many canonical groups, that way grouping of small related in-depth topics could work – Merlin Dec 21 '11 at 20:14

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