Sites for experts

Since announcing the new plans for Stack Exchange, there’s been a lot of discussion about what kind of new Q&A sites will work best on this platform.

So far there are 32 informal proposals on We’re weeks away from opening a site where these proposals can become real.

From my answer to the Firearms proposal: “The power of the Stack Exchange platform is detailed, expert answers to extremely rare, ‘long-tail,’ highly technical questions. To get expert answers, you need experts. To attract experts, you need a site where people are asking very interesting and hard questions, not the basic questions, so that it’s clear that this is a PRO site, not a consumer/enthusiast site…. and remember, the pro sites WILL attract the enthusiasts, but not the other way around.”

From my answer to the Law proposal: “There are only 200 easy law questions, and they’ve all been asked 100 times on Mahalo and Yahoo!Answers. But there are 20,000,000 detailed, difficult, long-tail questions that only professionals can answer, and we’d be doing a REAL service to the Internet by creating a place where you can find answers to the 20,000,000 hard questions, not the 200 easy ones.”

Our core mission at Stack Overflow is:

Make the Internet a better place to get expert answers to your questions.

The “expert” part of that mission is important, otherwise we’re just building another place for the same questions that every other Q&A site has. We want the law Stack Exchange to attract lawyers, the movie Stack Exchange to attract filmmakers, and the aviation Stack Exchange to attract pilots. What makes a community great is great people… that is, real experts. And the experts want to hang out with other experts.

Stack Exchange 2.0

Like the small-town mayor who suddenly finds herself running an entire state, our ambitions for Stack Overflow keep growing. Our original idea of making the Internet a better place to get expert answers to your programming questions suddenly seemed too small. Programming questions? We asked. Why just programming questions? Why not every question under the sun? And who says we can’t run for Vice President of the United States of America?

We tried making our software available as a hosted white label product called Stack Exchange. We thought that other people would create awesome sites on every imaginable topic. Some people did (yay!), but it wasn’t the flood of high quality sites we were hoping for.

So we’re making a few changes. Briefly:

  1. Stack Exchange will now be free.
  2. We’re changing the way that new Stack Exchange sites are created to move to a more democratic, community process.
  3. The content of these new, community-created Stack Exchange sites will be publically owned under a Creative Commons license, instead of being owned by individuals or businesses.

If you’ve already created a Stack Exchange site, be sure to read the announcement in more detail to hear about our transition plan. Don’t be alarmed; we’d never do anything to mess with Stack Exchange sites that are already working.

Read all the details on the StackExchange Blog.