I posted this question earlier today about the name/brand of specific stack exchange sites, and was asking if it is confusing to new users to have a name/brand based on the target audience instead of the actual content of the site.

I thought this would be the perfect place to ask, since you guys are experts on user experience, and thought most users here have the added benefit of not being closely tied with the sites in question, so would be able to provide objective opinions on the matter. I even checked in chat before posting the question, and was told it would be on-topic here.

The question was closed as too localized, but I am having trouble rephrasing the question in such a way that isn't too localized, but still would get me the answers I am looking for. Many of the site users think this is a problem, and many others do not, so I was hoping for some objective opinions on the matter so I could figure out if this really is a problem worth trying to fix or not.

Would someone be able to help me rephrase the question in such a way I could get answers, without losing the context of the question?

The site specifics which I think affect the answer are:

  • the site is run by users, so new users are important for the site to continue growing
  • the site is strictly about specific content, and this content is not the target audience (although it is very closely related)

I have already made a few attempts at editing it, however nobody is giving me any kind of feedback as to if this is enough to get the question reopened or not, so I am guessing the answer so far is it's not good enough.


I made another attempt at editing the question to make it refer to a broad category of sites rather than specific sites. There is still a reference to the stack exchange sites because I feel they provide a great example of the sort of relationship between topic/audience I am referring to, however if you feel that is stopping the question from getting re-opened, please feel free to remove it.

I don't see how a passive aggressive question about your issues with programmer's scope/name can really be turned into a useful question about UX. – wax eagle Apr 7 '12 at 4:03
@waxeagle This was honestly just an attempt to get expert opinions about something I see as being a user-experience problem for a site I liked. I don't care if the answers I get back me up, or contradict me, but I wanted an answer from user-experience experts to the question. I believe it is a useful, on-topic question for the site, and I'm fairly sure the 4 downvotes it got were all from SE moderators who misunderstood my question (as shown by the now-deleted comment thread) – Rachel Apr 20 '12 at 13:11
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Disregarding any issues at Programmers of which I'm not aware, here's the problem with the question: there's no way to know the answer.

It's one of those questions we get here sometimes where the only way to determine the answer is to test it. There's no point asking a bunch of UX designers who have nothing to do with the community or product in question what to do, because there's nothing we can say that would be informed, useful or based on some kind of objective expertise that would solve your problem.

So in that sense it should be closed. Not because you've already made up your mind, or because you want to prove a point, but because it's just not a very useful question.

Note that I never saw the question in its original form, just the current edited one.

Thanks Rahul. I'm a bit sad that everyone here seems to think I've made up my mind, or want to prove a point. Judging by the amount of SE moderator attention the question got shortly after I posted it, someone posted the question in TL along with their own opinion of it. I was trying to be objective and get opinions from a community whose expertise is user experience, and I wanted to know if this was actually a problem or if it was just something I only perceive as a problem. I asked in chat before posting and was told such a thing would be on-topic here, so thought I was in the right place. – Rachel Apr 7 '12 at 13:26
Some context might be appropriate. – wax eagle Apr 8 '12 at 2:26

There's heavy bias evident in your question:

Is it confusing to have a user-driven site named after its audience instead of its content topic?

Why would it be confusing? Are you asking as or telling us?

Is it a problem to have a user-driven site named after its audience instead of its content topic?

Again, why would it be a problem?

I am specifying that this question is about user-driven sites, because they are unique in the fact they are meant to be run by the users, so rely on new users to continue growing and improving.

And what makes you think there's any relation to the title, and the fact that they user-driven sites, and their growth? Lot's of assumptions there... Furthermore, every content driven site relies on its visitors to continue growing and improving, either directly or indirectly, but some of the most popular content driven sites have weird names. Craigslist, Reddit, Digg come to mind as examples of site names that reveal little, if anything at all, of what their content is about.

So is naming your user-driven site after the audience instead of the topic something to worry about?

Don't worry, be happy! We haven't even determined there's a problem yet.

And if so, would you recommend rebranding the site entirely so the name matches the site's content, or just ignore it?

Hmm, we haven't even decided there's a problem yet, and you're offering solutions? Not a bad idea, but please do it on an answer, not in the question.

In short, you are not asking, you've already made up your mind. That's cool, but not really a question.

I'm honestly trying to help with the question and my point is that since your heavy bias is so evident, this isn't really a question applicable to a wide audience, hence too localized (and equally not constructive). Please don't misunderstand this as a Meta Programmers discussion, if you want to go at it I'm available at Meta Programmers and our chat room, there is absolutely no reason to pollute Meta UX with our issues.

So, my suggestion would be to try and approach this from a completely neutral standpoint. How important is the site name in the overall branding of a community driven site, would be a good start, imho. First determine the actual value of the name, and then explore if a site name that doesn't match the audience is confusing or not.

I know all too well how difficult what I'm suggesting is, my single UX question was equally not constructive, and coincidentally exactly because I was unhappy with something on Programmers. I also failed to see what was wrong with the question initially, and thanks again Patrick for salvaging it.

But difficult or not, de-rantification is the only way to re-open this one.

Some clarifications:

"Why would it be confusing" and "why would it be a problem" are questioning the choice of words, not the motivation, as is the rest of the answer. As a Programmers regular myself, I know Rachel's motivation and I happen to agree with her that the name is confusing (although I don't think it's a major issue). Obviously anyone asking on a Stack Exchange site would need to have a problem first, or something they perceive as a problem, or they shouldn't be asking at all.

But my point is, that for this specific question the UX crowd can help us determine the value of the name first, then a way to evaluate if it's a major issue or not and then a way to fix it (three separate questions), regardless on whether we've already decided it's a problem. I don't know if all three questions would be acceptable for UX, but I think the first one, that I summarized above as "How important is the site name in the overall branding of a community driven site" is an acceptable one, or at least one that albeit very subjective, approaches the problem from a neutral standpoint.

While there is a bias present in Rachel's question, your answer here is also quite defensive. I don't know what's going on over at Programmers, but "why would it be a problem" isn't a constructive way to respond to someone's question. Clearly they think it might be a problem or they wouldn't have asked in the first place, right? – Rahul Apr 7 '12 at 13:12
@Rahul "Why would be a problem" is a response to the sentence above it, I'm trying to brake the question down in parts and help revise it, I'd love a good answer to it. Rachel and I are of the same mind when it comes to our site's name ;). The text starts by stating that it's a problem early on, without much explanation of why Rachel believes that it's a problem. Granted there was some explanation in the original version, but I don't even mention the original version, I'm only concentrating on the text as is. – Yannis Apr 7 '12 at 19:32
@YannisRizos Last time I took your advice about posting to find out if there was a problem, then posting to find out solutions to the problem, then posting to implement a solution to the problem, you started telling me I was simply "beating a dead horse". However I will try and make another attempt at de-localizing the question and keep your suggestions in mind. – Rachel Apr 9 '12 at 12:53

I submitted a complete rewrite of the question; I don't have unilateral edit powers, so it will need to be approved, but I think it may change the question into an acceptable one that may still answer the original request. I have never attempted an edit this drastic, so please let me know if it works or not.

I saw your edit last night, but didn't have time to review it at the time. I went back to it this morning and it's gone, so I am guessing someone denied it. If you can post the changes here I could edit the question myself, although honestly, I don't know if a moderator will be willing to reopen that question (see here). Thank you for the attempt though, and I appreciate it. – Rachel Apr 20 '12 at 12:40
I was gonig to reject that edit and ask you to post a separate question honestly, but I see you've already done so, good work :) – Ben Brocka Apr 20 '12 at 14:16

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