I recently answered a question on this forum about the possible merging of Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair and some proposal with fewer followers / committed.

In my view, merging the following proposals under the name of "Motor Vehicles Exchange" or similar, would make a lot of sense:

Out of these, the first one is the closest to go into beta mode, but I can't stop believing that the site would get a tremendously larger support if it would not refuse questions not specifically related to maintenance or repair.

My question is: How is the process of merging conducted? Would I help this process or would it just confuse even more if I proposed the above site?


4 Answers 4


Merge them into two different sites

Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair:

  • regular auto maintenance
  • repair
  • general-info and upkeep
  • tag 'preventative-maintenance'
  • tag 'off-road-mods'
  • tag 'towing-trailers'
  • tag 'winter-preparation'
  • tag 'batteries'
  • tag 'oil'
  • tag 'tuning'
  • tag 'biofuel'
  • tag 'hydrogen' (they do exist, they're just very uncommon or still in the prototyping stage)
  • tag 'electric'
  • tag 'motorcycles'

Motor Sports

  • performance-auto maintenance
  • performance-tuning
  • aftermarket-mods
  • tag 'electric-car-racing' (see the National Electric Drag Racing Association (NHDRA))
  • tag 'motorcycle-racing'
  • tag 'snowmobile-racing'
  • tag 'rally-racing'
  • tag 'NHRA' (top fuel drag racing)
  • tag 'air-racing'
  • tag 'kart-racing' (meaning go kart racing. I have seen one of these tracks in person, it's like mini NASCAR with little cars flying by at 90+ MPH).
  • tag 'motocross'
  • tag 'lawnmower-racing'
  • tag 'formula-1'
  • tag 'stock-racing'
  • tag 'nascar'
  • tag 'turbo-chargers'
  • tag 'super-chargers'
  • tag 'gear-ratio'
  • tag 'regenerative-braking'

As you can see, motorsports covers a lot more ground than the standard daily-use Motor-Vehicles. Motorsports even has its own Hall of Fame that covers many of the different categories of motorsports.

The Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair users are concerned with fixing issues, maintaining their vehicles without running into issues that cost them money.

Motor Sports users are willing to spend the extra money if they can get that extra ounce of boost out of their engines. I'd see this group as doing maintenance in the same manner as the other group but in a much more specialized manner. For instance, normal car owners don't really think too much about the oil they put in their cars, performance engines OTOH often times require certain types/grades of oil because they're running at high RPMs under high stress.

The motorsports category ranges from Kart and Street Racing (which is much lower tech/less specialized) all the way to Top Fuel Drag Ragicing and Air Racing (which are both very highly specialized categories).

I'd even suggest making motorcycles its own site too because motorcycles are their own culture. If you own a bike like I do, you already know what I mean.

Electric Vehicles OTOH, will most likely just become the next generation of general purpose and racing vehicles and questions about maintaining electric vehicles will be as ubiquitous as questions about gasoline engines are today (except electric vehicles are much simpler to fix compared to internal combustion engines).

Edit: I've changed tuning to go under both proposals because it's a topic that isn't specific to motorsports. I also updated the description of both topics to better represent the spread.

  • @Evan - I see your point, but I still thinks this leaves out a lot of potentially interesting questions related to driving and owning a car etc.
    – Theodor
    Feb 8, 2011 at 10:58
  • @Theodor I guess... questions about racing a car would fit under motorsports since that's what motorsports is all about. I'm not sure what you mean by "questions related to owning a car". Feb 8, 2011 at 11:08
  • @Evan - I agree that car racing fits under motor sport. But is car tuning really motor sport as such? I mean it could be but it does not have to be. With "owning a car" I mean that there is a lot that goes into owning a car besides tinkering with it. Its good that we have these discussions. =)
    – Theodor
    Feb 8, 2011 at 12:25
  • 1
    @Theodor: As stated in the Area 51 FAQ: "Remember, the pro sites WILL attract the enthusiasts, but not the other way around!" It's fine if Joe Sixpack wants to ask a basic question about car ownership on either the Motor Sports or MVM sites; they'll probably be able to answer his question. But the definition of the site should only include topics of special interest to the experts.
    – Aaronaught
    Feb 9, 2011 at 20:08
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    That said, I think that what you've done here (Evan) is to basically carve out separate "expert" and "beginner" sites (the expert one being motor sports). I don't think that's a good idea. I think it will be more likely to succeed if you simply define one site, stick to expert-level questions in the definition phase, and simply permit beginner questions to be asked (which the hardcore racers will usually ignore).
    – Aaronaught
    Feb 9, 2011 at 20:13
  • @Aaronaught I disagree. You can be a expert professional mechanic who maintains nothing but stock vehicles (in fact most experts for maintenance will fall under this category). Plus, motorsports doesn't just apply to cars (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorsport). To quote wikipedia directly "motorsports is the group of sports which primarily involve the use of motorized vehicles". That includes Snowmoblies, Motocross (not freestyle), Boat Racing, Air Racing, Drag Ragcing (NHRA) etc... I wouldn't lump the two categories together because they represent two completely different cultures. Feb 9, 2011 at 23:13
  • 1
    @Aaronaught (cont) Having Joe Mechanic trying to give advice on tuning a 20,000 HP dragster engine because he once put a stage two turbo in his Honda Civic would be a bad mix. It's the equivalent of a SuperUser user asking how to fix their virus infected computer on StackOverflow. I think these topics should be split into two topics because they represent two different cultures of people who drive vehicles. Feb 9, 2011 at 23:21
  • @Theodor After thinking about your comment... I see your point. General maintenance requires tuning the engine too. Ie, it should be included in both proposals. I'll update the answer to reflect. Feb 9, 2011 at 23:22
  • 1
    Evan, I don't think "Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair" implies just cars either - it includes all motorized vehicles. Yes, they are two different cultures, with (IMO) highly overlapping skill sets. I don't buy the virus analogy. You're right, having Joe Mechanic trying to give that advice would be bad, but Joe Mechanic isn't going to give that advice; he's not going to answer those questions. This seems to me to be something that's quite easy to draw tag lines, as opposed to site lines, around.
    – Aaronaught
    Feb 10, 2011 at 0:02
  • Not only that, if Joe Mechanic gives a bad, bad answer, you downvote him! If that happens a couple of times, Joe Mechanic wouldn't even dare answering questions he doesn't know a thing about. That's how the system is supposed to work. You can create a separate site, but if Joe Mechanic likes it, he can come over to yours and start answering anyway. So what would separation accomplish?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Feb 10, 2011 at 1:16
  • @Ivo Ok, so 'Joe the Mechanic' example wasn't very good. The point I'm trying to make is, this isn't a beginner/expert model. The two sites have distinct cultures with different drives/motivations. Sure, an every day mechanic/car guy may have a desire to test their car on a quarter mile but that doesn't put him in the same category as guys who get into a fireproof suit and do it for a living. Feb 10, 2011 at 17:14
  • @Ivo (cont) Sure, it may be a good idea to lump them all together into one proposal to start (just to gain inertia) but I still see the motorsports part diverging into its own site at some point (for the same reason that SuperUser and ServerFault aren't lumped together into the same site). Feb 10, 2011 at 17:17
  • But is the latter group large enough to warrant themselves a whole site? And is it even needed? I still think that with downvotes and moderation these two can perfectly coexist in one site...
    – Ivo Flipse
    Feb 10, 2011 at 17:17
  • 1
    Perhaps @Evan, but I think it would be better to take that decision when it's becoming problematic, not before the site even exists
    – Ivo Flipse
    Feb 10, 2011 at 17:18
  • 1
    @Ivo I would say yes but the issue (as is an issue with a lot of other SE proposals) is getting that group to come join a pre-beta proposal. Ie, that's no easy feat. I'm not saying this answer is the end-all solution to the problem, it's just a suggested angle that might work. Ie, this consolidates 6 proposals into two. Where the Motor Vehicle and Maintenance will most likely have a successful initial release, if it attracts the pro motorsports crowd (and the motorsports doesn't find a need for their own site) the motorsports proposal will die off. Feb 10, 2011 at 17:25

I think an Automotive SE would be a good idea. And I agree that @Theodor's list of sites should all be combined at the start. I'd like also to suggest the following be merged:

  • Small Engine Maintenance
  • Diesel Engines

The idea is that there would be enough support to get this SE started.

The title might be one of these:

  • Automotive and Engine Technology
  • Automobiles and Engines
  • Automotive and Engine Mechanics

I realize that people who are rebuilding a vintage car might not want lawnmower engine questions in the mix, but I think it is similar to being a C+ programmer having to ignore the PHP questions on StackOverflow. You just add/ignore tags appropriately and enjoy the site's success.

(I agree with others that Motorsports/Racing should probably be separate.)

  • @JYelton - You and I are on the same track. The StackOverflow comparison is excellent.
    – Theodor
    Feb 13, 2011 at 21:28

I think the off-topic list is the most telling. Here are the top examples of the questions that the Motor Vehicles and Repair people do not want (as of 13 Feb 2011):

How do I power slide? 28 votes

How much is my car worth? 25 votes

HEMI: Awesome, or what? 23 votes

How do I protect myself from overzealous mechanics? 23 votes

Do I really need roadside assistance? 22 votes

Those are the questions that would introduce noise - ala, "which of these cars is the coolest?" vs. "How do I fix a rattle near my windshield in my 2004 WRX?"


It may make a lot of sense to you but I see the end result being a pointless place where the dross would greatly overwhelm the worthwhile content. i.e. It would bring quantity at the expense of quality, with the end result being just one more failed automotive site.

  • @John - Well, I disagree. I still believe that most questions would be about maintenance and repair, since its the topic most answerable. What I disagree to is to dismiss the last few, say 25 procent, as being off topic.
    – Theodor
    Feb 8, 2011 at 9:36
  • This could be said of any proposal. That's why SE sites have downvotes, off-topic votes, and moderators. The definition phase should highlight which questions are desirable, which are blatantly off-topic, and which are simply poor.
    – Aaronaught
    Feb 9, 2011 at 20:15

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