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I understand that Stack Overflow is the gem in Stack Exchange's crown, but does anyone else feel that the Stack Exchange community is only used by people who are programmers? There are a lot of great site proposed in Area 51, but it seems that they are held back by lack of interest by programmers.

Pets for example it would seem should be a huge site considering that it is a multi-billion dollar industry and that almost a third of the population in the United States alone owns one or more pets. Yet this proposal has been in the Commitment phase for eight months. I confess myself that I would have had no knowledge of any of the other Stack Exchange sites if I hadn't found answers to programming questions I had during work.

Is it a lack of marketing that non-programming people don't know about Stack Exchange or is it just 'too made' for the programming community? Or perhaps something else? Is there a way that Stack Exchange could grow in a new direction to be known by the rest of the internet surfers in the world?

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For proposals to start the beta phase, they must gather quite a bit of committers that have enough reputation in other stack exchange sites. Because people who already participate in other sites are overwhelmingly programmers, it's hard for sites that are not related to programming to start. Eventually, some of those sites will start (or have already started), and if they are successful enough, they will attrack new users that are not programmers. This will diversify the user base, which will help to feed the sites not related to programming (like pets).

The problem is that diversifying the userbase is a slow process, and stack exchange is still in the early stages. People not knowing about stack exchange can help if there is an already existing site that they are interested in, but that won't help with sites in comminment phase, because before they can really count towards "committers with 200+ rep on any other site" or "commitment score, based on committers' activity on all other sites and how old the commitment is" some time is needed for them to gain reputation.

  • Is it just me, or do others think the requirements in the committment phase are too strict for sites that are non-programming based? Is the overhead of having a site that doesn't get as much traffic as a technology-based site too great to loosen the requirements on this type of site? – dotnetengineer Mar 2 '12 at 15:56

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