7

Joel and Jeff think this site needs an expansion in scope to survive as discussed in:

Is the scope of this site too narrow?

They have proposed that merging it with Video and Film Production would make the site more general:

Proposal to add video to this site

I do not believe that this will achieve the desired result of enlivening this community and creating a community for Film and Video Production. I believe that mixing a community of Audio Producers from the Music Industry with a group of Video and Film Producers from the Movie Industry will result in a divided community.

A divided community is a problem for two reasons: (1) Film and Video questions will be irrelevant to the Audio community and vice versa and (2) the Audio community will be split between "Audio for Music" and "Audio for Film" – therefore, for instance, questions about mastering will always need to be qualified as "mastering for film" or "mastering for music".

Then what should we do about the apparent failing of this website? I think that we should be patient. Audio Recording and Production is a huge field with a very rich and diverse set of online communities. TapeOp, DIYAudio, Electro-music, EM411, SOS, etc. – there are tens if not hundreds of highly active, long-standing audio production forums. It will take time for people to gravitate to a site like this when there are so many well-established alternatives.

If the site must be expanded, I would propose expanding it to encompass a broader range of topics related to audio production. The current title implies: Recording, Mixing, Editing, Mastering for music, but you could also attract people interested in Synthesis, DIY Audio, Sound Design, Field Recording, Electroacoustic ("Experimental") Music, etc.

However, instead of expanding it, I would suggest putting more effort into making it attractive to potential users. Advertise on other websites, allow users to create reviews of gear, partner with industry to do giveaways or organize group-buys, etc. Then be patient.

6

We divide up the Stack Exchange universe into three kinds of sites:

  1. Stack Overflow is in a class by itself - huge, huge amounts of participation
  2. Most Stack Exchange sites are big enough that when someone posts an question, they get a great answer.
  3. Some Stack Exchange sites are just too small. Posting questions doesn't really get a great answer. You might get a weak answer, or no answer at all.

Three or four of the Stack Exchange betas right now are flitting between 2 and 3. There's a real risk that they are actually making the internet a worse place by serving as an "attractive nuisance," tricking people into asking questions which won't get answered, or providing low-quality answers that aren't the best information out there.

I'm only bringing this up as a way of saying that we can't keep every site open waiting for an audience. If a site in state 3 stays open for too long, every odd visitor that passes by is going to learn that that site sucks and they'll never go back. There's a limit to how open a restaurant can stay open serving crappy food to 2 people a day just waiting for the crowds to arrive so that there's enough money to hire a good chef...

There are a bunch of people right now just waiting for a video production site to get created. If we can convert audio to A/V, they'll have a place to talk, without "audio" being off-topic. To extend the restaurant metaphor, that's like taking a weak restaurant and converting it to a food court in hopes that with two choices of food, the population will grow...

3

I agree. StackOverflow was a great success in part because Jeff and Joel already had the ear of a large proportion of the programming community. There were enough of us willing to give it a try to attract a critical mass. But what plan is there in place to attract subject matter experts to join the community at audio.stackexchange?

Audio recording and production is a field made up largely of self-taught hobbyists who all run into similar issues sooner or later. There is therefore a huge market for a site like this. We just need to raise awareness and they will come.

Maybe we need to take an approach like was taken with the R language on stack overflow and deliberately attempt to seed the site with good questions and answers to common questions that will raise its profile in google searches.

1

I think this sites lack of visitors comes from a fundamental problem in scope. The site as it is now makes no sense. The scope is simultaneously too narrow and too wide.

From one perspective it's too narrow. For musicians, it should include everything that has to do with musical instruments to do, as recording music encompasses that. For audio engineers, it should encompass everything including broadcasting and acoustics and stuff.

On the other hand, it's too wide. Musicians don't care about podcasters, and the other way around. I, as a hobby musician, notice that the musician perspective and my arguments of merging this side with a musician proposal seems to be incomprehensible to some people, while others (especially other home recordists) do see the point.

So non-musician guys come here and see questions about synthesizers and they go "Oh that kind of audio", and musicians go here and see questions about making gun sounds and podcasting and go "oh that kind of audio".

I don't think it stands a chance. The questions should be merged into other topics somehow. It's the only way it can survive.

1

I think Audio.SE doesn't need more time, it needs a new plan. We've had several months to build it up, and it hasn't worked. I think Lennart is right - we need to fix our scope.

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