4

There are a number of exchanges that are stepping all over Super User: Web Applications, Electronic Gadgets (although rumor is that one isn't going to survive, but be replaced by more specific exchanges for Android combined with the Apple exchange), TeX, Unix & Linux, Apple are all in beta. There's not that much left for Super User, except for Windows and hardware.

As it stands, in about a week, a lot of questions will have a dedicated community. Unless Super User takes an approach on Windows (which would be good - there's no Windows exchange beyond a handful of follows) or hardware (another good one - again, no exchanges) and seeks out getting both users and experts in these areas involved, there really isn't a reason to use Super User - it'll be a ghost town.

Honestly, I don't want Super User to just fold up and die unless there's a place to discuss both Windows and personal computer hardware (including home accessories, such as routers, keyboards, mice, etc.). It seems the trend, however, is for more focused exchanges. So how is Super User going to reform itself to address these changes?

closed as not constructive by Sathyajith Bhat Jul 5 '12 at 17:02

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10

I thought web applications and gadgets were outside of Super User's mandate in the first place. No?

TeX and LaTeX questions were mostly on topic, but frankly more of them were good SO material than were good SU material, and in any case that is a pretty small fraction of all users.

I think the concern is legitimate, but not pressing just now.

  • Indeed, Super User is about computer hardware/software. WebApps and Gadgets don't fall under that. – Tamara Wijsman Aug 21 '10 at 2:01
  • @TomWij - that's even why such sites opened in the first place. Because they were off-topic on SU. – Gnoupi Aug 21 '10 at 19:05
8

Remember it's not just the topic that matters but the community.

Even where the topic overlaps the community might not. Look at the discussion whether the Ubuntu and the Linux/Unix proposals should merge for a "live" example:
http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/unix-and-ubuntu-why-both/
http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/should-unix-linux-and-ubuntu-be-merged-vote/

They will cover very similar topics, but likely with quite different audiences. There's the potential to have a larger user base in total even if each individual site is smaller, because there is a wider catchment for the audicence.

And does it matter if we end up with a question asked and answered on both? In my opinion - No. It's a positive because means two different types of people on the internet might be able to find that answer (and potentially join & expand the relevant SE site).

7

DMA57361's answer is the closest to describing the situation. (The other answers are right on what is on-topic or not, though. I really suggest you read our FAQ before posting such "let's change everything it doesn't work" topics.)

There are two important sides to keep in mind:


  • The community: the group of people coming regularly, who are running the site, and providing a good half of answers.

They need a common topic, a common "reason" to stick on the site. For Super User, it's the fact to have a good place to ask computer questions, instead of losing hours searching on forums. This is also the reason which caught me, a year ago, and motivated me to help the site, by answering, and helping with moderation. This site is currently the best place, in my opinion, to ask about your computer related issues.

About the new sites, they are indeed playing this community aspect, on a closer way than Super User. There, it's really the feeling of belonging to a place where people use the same thing as you (Ubuntu, Apple, etc.). I guess your point is that since it will gather people more closely, questions related have nothing to do on Super User anymore. And this is where the second side is important to understand the whole picture:


  • The people who just want an answer to their question: the persons who are searching for a particular matter on a search engine, and find a Stack Exchange site. Or they will find an existing question, and the answers with it, or they will find the site, as a place to ask their specific question.

To these persons, it doesn't matter where they find their answer. If they search about a Ubuntu problem, they couldn't care less where they found the solution. They just want a solution. And as long as they find it on the Stack Exchange network, it means we are actually "helping to make the Internet a better place"™.

This is why it doesn't matter if the sites overlap. Just because you have a site dedicated to Ubuntu, or Apple, doesn't mean you can't ask about them on Super User anymore. Super User welcomes all software and hardware questions (as long as they relate to your personal computer), that's the point of the site, that's its reason to be.

So, to answer your question: no, Super User is not dying, and is not even close to dying. It has a purpose, it has a community, and it attracts hundreds of new questions and answers every day.

6

I wouldn't call it dying. It's impossible that there will be enough exchanges in the near future to overlap everything on Super User. Look through the first three pages of tags. It would take quite some exchanges to cover all these, so as for completely dying? Not now.

Intermezzo: Please note that the sites have 90 days to prove that they are worth it.

So, what might really happen to Super User then? We would probably change to a more general than specific focus, questions that overlap multiple exchanges would thus belong on Super User.

Just an example question that has no specific exchange: How many songs will fit in 1 GB?


This leaves us with: "What about the increasing amount of questions that will need migration?"

It looks like a bad idea to migrate and close more questions than usual...

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