Sorry, just to go off topic for a moment, I have to quote your meta thread to make a coherent point:
I just want to bring up this site specifically, as it's an interesting case example of a site that shows how the Area 51 process doesn't work now.
The SmugMug proposal is (potentially) a great site, but it is not quite ready to be something created by our community. I was never quite sure about the Area 51 requirement that a significant percentage of users have previous Stack Exchange reputation, but this experience convinced me about the need for that requirement. Here's why:
I am a huge SmugMug fan and, for purely selfish reasons, I'd love to see their services and their millions of users on the Stack Exchange Network. Yet, even I had to eventually admit that Stack Exchange was not built for this type of site — a private, proprietary, commercial for-pay system looking to provide technical support specifically for their users using the Stack Exchange Network.
There's a large component to the Area 51 Commitment equation that requires a substantial percentage of users to have Stack Exchange experience. That's where the SmugMug proposal is faltering: people who "get" Stack Exchange see something inherently wrong with this proposal. But I felt like, "Screw that guff, I want my site!" So...
The "must have previous experience with Stack Exchange" requirement prevents exactly this type of situation: Something I've been calling (tongue in cheek) "The Oprah effect." Someone wielding a lot of popular support directs their army to a product and, poof, the tidal wave (for good or for bad) becomes an unstoppable force. If Oprah Winfrey went on her show and said that we need a Stack Exchange site for taxicab drivers using the iPad in the LA area, it would be through commitment by 4:59 PM ET. Obviously, that's not what Stack Exchange is about.
At the risk of over-exaggerating "The Oprah Effect", let me bring this back around to SmugMug. We've talked to Don MacAskill extensively. We've thanked him profusely for his support of our Network. He's a big fan, and we're a huge fan of his work. To that end, we've extensively discussed alternatives to see how we could shoehorn his site proposal into our network — maybe we could augment our standard process — but ultimately we decided that we really need to stick to the philosophy of what makes these Stack Exchange sites work:
If ALL the pieces are not in place — if you do not have the the right people with the right knowledge in the right place at the right time — the process falls apart. The process should fall apart.
Believe me, Don would love nothing more than to write us a check to just launch a Stack Exchange site. But the driving philosophy wasn't quite a fit. Stack Exchange sites are built from a grass-roots movement by a large group of users who come together and build a site out of love and passion for the subject; Not an individual rallying his supporters to add value for his product.
Don't get me wrong. I still really want to see SmugMug support in the Stack Exchange network. But the way we are going to do that is through your option #2: To have SmugMug users join SE communities (Photo-SE, Graphics-SE, Android, Ask Different, and others). Integrate them into the sites and see if they still feel there is need for a SmugMug-specific site. If that grass-roots movement re-emerges, Don will get his site. But in an ideal world where bigger sites are better, the SmugMug folks would integrate their passions into sites like Photo-SE and bring their questions to that site to the benefit of the larger community.