Is Ubuntu perhaps a too narrow topic?
I don't thinks so. The reason why you don't see "CentOS" StackExchange but an Ubuntu one is because most people using CentOS or other flavors have already forged through the basics. They're using it as server setups and typically will have questions regarding specific software setups or error messages.
Ubuntu is more unique in that is takes an approach to Linux Desktop that other flavors really haven't hit on yet: Linux for everyone. which will receive a host more of questions from people actually using Ubuntu that will likely be Ubuntu setup specific and not specific to Linux.
I've committed myself to that proposal also - and look forward to the beta.
I found this blog entry from the SE team that seems to answer the question quite well.
There are different communities :
- As of today (2011/01/10) it only represents 7,3% of all questions so it makes sense to have an Unix StackExchange site.
- On the other hand, a real Ubuntu community exists making sense for an Ubuntu specific StackExchange site.
So let's keep with two different websites.
With two different kind of users :
I understand and partly agree with the Ubuntu-for-newbies / Unix.SE-for-experts argument but I found it biased.
Why ? Although Ubuntu is nowadays more recommended for end-users with no technical background we have all kind of users. Moreover telling what is an easy or difficult question is highly subjective and should be avoided.
The current situation seems fine :
The current situation seems almost fine once we redefine what Unix and Ubuntu means in terms of StackEchange communities. As I understand :
- Unix.stackexchange means asking (difficult ?) questions about Unix-like OS, including Ubuntu. Expect non distribution-specific answers.
- Askubuntu means asking the Ubuntu community (not-too-difficult ?) questions about Ubuntu or Linux related topics.
This seems clever as most traffic will eventually come from search engines and that I personally uses the ubuntu word in my queries : I'm not sure if all online ubuntu-content is always also tagged as linux, asking for ubuntu generally gives good results.
So, I agree we have good reasons to keep different websites BUT there is a clear overlap on some questions.
But we still have issues :
What could have been forgotten : the bigger the community, the better the content.
This is well explained in this blog post with the StackOverflow example : many languages, one site (thanks @Jorge Castro for the link).
Splitting the Unix-like-OS users community is a real drawback : many (all ?) ubuntu-tagged questions could have been answered on AskUbuntu and many AskUbuntu questions aren't Ubuntu specific.
Is merging websites the solution ? Then forget this post ! AskUbuntu users already said no. Merging seems too radical.
Problem is : we currently only have 2 classification levels : website name and tags.
This can't be fully satisfying with regards to the real classification : Computing -> Software -> OS -> Unix-like OS -> Ubuntu -> tag1/tag2/tag3 -> my question.
Maybe Ubuntu users like this : more than that : . I do.
Current solutions are :
- Only move very oriented question.
- Don't move anything at all assuming the user had a good reason to post on a specific website (and tell users who do not have a good reason that there are others SE sites).
One possible solution for overlapping questions :
Another solution ? As @A Student at a University pointed out, there is one possibility (maybe should I ask a new question and move this part) :
Shared or cross-site Q&A.
- Someone ask something non-Ubuntu specific on AskUbuntu
- He has the possibility to post the same question on different StackExchange sites (assuming he is already registered). (Maybe) minimal reputation required.
- Like close/transfer votes, enough users vote to open this question on unix.se or any other relevant site. Enough reputation on both sites is required.
- The question stays open on askubuntu
- The question appears on unix.se and is transparently kept in sync with askubuntu.
- Users get reputation on different sites depending where votes come from.
- Closing on only one or all sites should be different options
- A bigger community answers questions while keeping specific websites for specific users community without merging all topics.
- Makes communities more open and dynamic
- Different point of views for "out of the box" answers.
- Involves a lot of work ?
- Maybe too complicated, we're good with the current situation ?
Sorry for the long answer. I just wanted to post some lines and ended up writing a lot (too much? vote it down and leave a comment).
This was put to a vote, with the following results:
- Ubuntu membership against
- Linux/Unix membership for
- end result: no merge
I don't see why there should be a Unix/Linux OR an Ubuntu SE site. The serverfault and superuser sites serve this function just fine. Just click "Ubuntu" in the tags.
It WOULD be nice, though, if clicking Ubuntu also included Ubuntu-10.04, etc, or if there were a special-tag sort of section on those sites (something like the admin tags) where the distro/OS can be specified without namespace issues.
It would also be nice to be able to post a question simultaneously to multiple SOI sites when it crosses domains, and have the answers, etc all be merged. It's not real clear sometimes whether a question is a server or client question. Ubu servers can have the same issues as Ubu desktops.
This is a question of FIXING SU and SF, not making more sites.
I think the real question should be whether to merge SU and SF, and how to make it easier to pick out the questions in the domain YOU desire to see, without having to fight with the Tag interface as described above.
There's a separate proposal for that already.
Being all clotted brings more frustration when navigating, unless good tags are provided. Separated is better.
I think it's plenty broad. There are huge differences between the communities around different Linux distros and it would help keep filter out some of the newbie questions from a more general Unix-Linux stack exchange that would focus more around the lower level parts of the operating system. The Ubuntu stack exchange is perfect for desktop users, but likely won't have as rich of a community who want to talk about the nitty gritty internals.
I suggest to merge both sections. Let's vote somewhere, and beat those "Ubuntu patriots" liking big logos instead of clear tags.
It's great that you can't close an answer. So I think it is impossible that everybody don't like to discuss merging. So I suggest those ones who wish to discuss the topic to upvote me and vote my question to be reopened: Where to vote about merging Ubuntu and Linux AGAIN? 2 years passed?