On Nov 4, 2014, at 9:12 AM, Schulkins, Joe wrote:
> Presumably I'm not alone in this, but I find Stack Overflow a valuable resource for various bits of web development and I was wondering whether anyone has given any thought about proposing a Library Technology site to Stack Exchange's Area 51 (http://area51.stackexchange.com/)? Doing a search of the proposals shows there was one for 'Libraries and Information Science' but this closed 2 years ago as it didn't reach the required levels during the beta phase.
Some history on the Stack Exchange site:
1. Before 'Stack Exchange 2.0', they used to let other sites pay them to host Q&A sites. There had been a library-focused site on Unshelved:
2. We got *hundreds* of people from Unshelved Answers to sign up on Area 51 ... but they wouldn't start up the site unless enough people with high enough reputation on existing 'Stack Exchange 2.0' sites expressed interest, claiming that they needed sufficient people with knowledge of the system. I tried lobbying for them to count people w/ experience from Unshelved Answers, but they wouldn't do it.
3. It took over a year for the 'Libraries' proposal to get enough support to be accepted; by then, I assume most library folks had moved on.
4. They then named the site 'Library and Information Science', not 'Libraries'.
After my complaining, they changed it to 'Libraries and Information Science', but there was still a major problem:
5. As if all of the rest wasn't bad enough, we then had a bunch of non-library people closing answers because there wasn't a single definite answer, which was a large number of the questions on Unshelved Answers ... and most of the 'example' questions were in that category as well:
> The reason I think this might be useful is that instead of individual places to go for help or raise questions (i.e. various mailing lists) there could be a 'one-stop' shop approach from which we could get help with LMSs, discovery layers, repository software etc. I appreciate though that certain vendors aren't particularly open (yes, Innovative I'm looking at you here) and might not like these things being discussed on an open forum.
> Does anybody else think this might be useful? Would such a forum be shot down by all the vendors legalese wrapped up in their Terms and Conditions? Or are you happy with the way you go about getting help?
I think that the Stack Exchange culture & policies make it a bad fit for our community. I think that yes, there is a need for such a site, but that the issues with immediately closing questions without a clear answer are a *huge* problem. If questions were easily answered, we'd have done the research and answered it outselves (most of us have LIS degrees and know how to research things!).
You might also be able to get support from Unshelved again, and if we the community can put together a site, have them brand it as 'Unshelved Answers' again.
ps. I'm currently the moderator of OpenData.StackExchange.com; I was previously the moderator of Seasoned Advice (aka. cooking.stackexchange.com)
pps. I also objected when they changed the name of the 'databases' proposal to 'database administrators', which many of us felt narrowed the scope dramatically ( http://meta.dba.stackexchange.com/q/1/51 ; http://meta.dba.stackexchange.com/q/11/51 ). I don't even bother with the site these days.