Episode 8: Area 51 Discuss Stack Exchange Challenge

In the previous episode I discussed Area 51, the staging area for new Stack Exchange sites. This episode is about Area 51’s meta site: “Discuss“.

What is “Discuss” Area 51?

The site shares its FAQ with Area 51 itself. The relevant bit of that page describes “Discuss” as:

For more extensive deliberations and discussions regarding the proposal as a whole, we have a separate Discussion Zone.

So where the proposals themselves should have the small and detailed discussions, “Discuss” is the place to discuss bigger issues.

Current Statistics

As I see it there are three different types of tags on the “Discuss” site:

  1. Category tags (“technology”, “culture”, “science”, etc)
  2. Typical meta tags (“status-completed”, “status-declined”, etc)
  3. Actual “discuss” tags (“area51-meta”, “proposal-scope”, etc)

The first one isn’t very interesting, because the popularity mirrors last episode’s statistics. The second one is really straightforward, and not really interesting either. What is interesting, is the last tag. Here are the stats for the top tags:

Tag Number of Questions
Area51-meta 381 questions
Discussion 197 questions
Proposal-Scope 128 questions
Merge-request 104 questions
Feature-request 68 questions

It may also be interesting to dig up statistics in the format I’ve used in earlier episodes on “normal” Stack Exchange sites, even though it’s comparing apples and oranges to some degree. Here goes:

Fact Discuss.Area51.SE
Questions 2,042
Questions with no upvoted answers 392
FAQ (questions with most links) 313
Top 3 questions 111 votes, 106 votes, 90 votes
Questions active last hour 1
All-time rep for top 3 users 14.5k, 13.9k, 13.4k
Meta questions n/a

Not a very active site, compared to other “normal” Stack Exchange sites.

My Questions

There’s a rather old question I asked in 2011, but that’s not all too interesting. What is interessting is something I can’t link to: I’ve asked two moderately controversial questions (as in: they got mixed and animated responses), but both of them are completely gone from the site. No waybackmachine, no Google cache, nothing. Probably intentional, and probably part of the Area51 process, but completely obscure to me.

Interesting Questions

By and large the most interesting question on Area51 Discuss:

The above is a list of one item, and that’s on purpose, because the above is a list of all interesting questions on “Discuss”…


It’s great that Stack Exchange tries to have an “open” process for creating new communities. However, the process and rules are obscure, and the “Discuss” site doesn’t help all that much. I guess that if you dive deep into Area 51 the “Discuss” site is great, but it’s not well suited for “light use”. Don’t think I’ll spend a lot of time there.