Joel recently wrote a very succinct blog post detailing some of the issues that all of the disparate music sites are currently experiencing.

I would like to organize all of the followers of the various music proposals and promote a discussion on how we would be able to unify all of our efforts. We have a chat room already set up here.

Feel free to e-mail me: attila@stackoverflow.com

The Internet needs a site that is devoted to the practicing musician — let's make it happen!

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Is that e-mail address real? I think this is the first time I've seen a non-mod with an SO e-mail address –  Michael Mrozek Sep 21 '10 at 14:01
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@Michael yes, it's real. stackoverflow.com/about/team –  balpha Sep 21 '10 at 14:19
    
@balpha Ah, handy. Thanks –  Michael Mrozek Sep 21 '10 at 15:34
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3 Answers

Joel pretty well sums up my thoughts in his post:

  1. Almost all X questions are on-topic for site Y
  2. If Y already exists, it already has a tag for X, and nobody is complaining
  3. You’re not creating such a big group that you don’t have enough experts to answer all possible questions
  4. There’s a high probability that users of site Y would enjoy seeing the occasional question about X

I think it will always be better to start with a more encompassing site to start with, and that doesn't just go for this specific merge proposal.

  • A bigger community is better for overall site traffic, which means more questions, more answers, more good answers, more community interaction, etc., etc. I don't think all the benefits of high site traffic need to be fully enumerated here, but I will point out something important -- when a revenue model is developed for the network, it's always going to be easier to make it work with a huge amount of traffic. Law of large numbers and all that.

  • It will always be easier to separate out specific topics from a community than to combine them into a community later on (both non-technically, and, presumably, technically as well).

  • The effect of #1 above cannot be understated. One of the things I dislike about the per-site Metas is that identical topics are fragmented throughout the network. For example, say there's an obvious bug on the user account page. Each per-site Meta will get its own set of questions asked about the same thing, yet those types of posts all belong on Meta SO. The point is that the potential for identical on-topic questions across multiple sites should be avoided. The idea is to have repositories of knowledge on each site, without having the knowledge fragmented across the network.

  • The more general the site, the easier it is to come up with a meaningful and recognizable name/image set (i.e., branding) for the site. This ties into my point about revenue model, certainly.

  • Subtopics can easily be segregated by using the tag system. This is key, as it allows for sharing of knowledge between the sub-communities. For example, if I'm a guitar player and I have a music theory question, with a mega-site (for lack of a better word), the best answer may come from someone who plays the trumpet. With a separate community, my question would be isolated to that community. (I would still probably get a very good answer to that specific question, but the more obscure the question is, the wider the audience you want to see it to be able to get an answer -- sometimes any answer.) Also, as Joel said in #4 above, tags allow people to see on-topic questions from the perspective of other people. Using the same example as before, I might browse the [music-theory] tag, and be able to pick something up or have my question answered by a question also tagged [trumpet], but not [guitar].

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Footnote: I am committed to the Guitar proposal. –  Jon Seigel Sep 21 '10 at 22:33
    
Jon: Thanks for the answer - Your footnote states that you're committed to the Guitar proposal, does this negate any future commitments to a general music site? Feel free to email me.... –  AttilaNYC Sep 22 '10 at 12:39
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@Attila: Not at all. If the proposals are all merged, the worst that will happen is I only involve myself in some specific subtopics. In reality, though, I'm quite excited about the prospects of interacting with a diverse community of musicians. –  Jon Seigel Sep 22 '10 at 17:22
    
Jon: I got your email: Thanks. Are you able to log on to: chat.meta.stackoverflow.com/rooms/263/guitar-proposal If you can I would love to continue our discussion. For me it really boils down to the "Best Buy" concept: 95.5% of the items they sell don't interest me, but I still go in there knowing that I can "filter" out what I don't want to buy. Sometimes I go in when I'm not sure that I want to buy anything, but I've had enough luck in the past to know that the probability of them storing something I like are high...let's move to the chat room :>) –  AttilaNYC Sep 23 '10 at 12:21
    
@Attila: Err.. I didn't send you an e-mail; I only did a comment reply. In any event, I'm on lunch right now, but I'll join the chat room tonight after dinner (7 PM EST or so). –  Jon Seigel Sep 23 '10 at 16:54
    
I totally agree ! As it has been said several times, this model works quite well for Stack Overflow... –  Julien N Nov 29 '10 at 11:21
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I'm not really a musician any more, and won't likely contribute to any music sites. However, I do want to offer my opinion.

I think SE communities should be built around a common community as well as a common topic. Music is a topic, but it comprises some very different communities. For starters, there are musicians vs music listeners. I think we're already narrowed down to musicians, so that's a good start.

But what about genre? Pop, Rock, Jazz, Classical, marching band, etc... These are VERY different communities. Will a serious classical musician want to participate in a site where "How do I clean up a noisy Crybaby Wah Wah pedal" is a typical question? Will a rock guitarist want to participate if the first question he sees is about controlling your breathing while marching with a Sousaphone?

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I'll counter with Gaming. Currently, we get a whole lot of volume from StarCraft 2. But we don't get all that much of other RTS games, while still getting a fair amount of FPS, action, and RPG. In fact, we recently got two questions about the Etrian Odyssey series, which is fairly far off from the more popular and mainstream gaming. There are so many different communities in the circle of gaming, based on taste or genre or even series, yet we are fairly apt at being able to handle them all. Complaints against the volume of SC2 are outweighed by the continual activity we get in all other games. –  Grace Note Sep 21 '10 at 21:56
    
@Grace - does an FPS gamer feel out of place with a bunch of RTS gamers? I think probably no. Board games, pencil-and-paper RPG, and (shudder) LARP, however, would be different communities still under the umbrella of "gaming". –  Jon's Evil Twin Sep 21 '10 at 22:01
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Now, I'm not a musician either, so I don't know how large the segregation between genres is there compared to all the circles of Gaming. But my observation and expectation is that they'll find a more comfortable home together, than separate. –  Grace Note Sep 21 '10 at 22:01
    
@Grace - I am an ex-musician. When I was playing guitar I would have felt uncomfortable asking a question in a room full of serious classical musicians. –  Jon's Evil Twin Sep 21 '10 at 22:06
    
You can also compare with Stack Overflow where you have questions about languages or techniques really different. And there are beginners questions along with expert questions. It seems to work. Separating by style is not a good idea as many players play several styles. The more logical would be by instrument but I'd prefer a general "music practice" topic. I don't think it would harm anything. –  Julien N Nov 29 '10 at 11:13
    
The answer to your question about cross-genre musicians participating together is a resounding "yes"! Some musicians may stick to one instrument or genre, but I suspect there are vastly more who enjoy the creative and artistic expression that comes from practicing several forms of music. I've certainly practiced each of the genres you listed and on different instruments. Our varied experience is exactly what lets us learn from each other. We can use tags to categorize and filter. Rock guitarists can get along with and even learn from classical tuba players. They may even be the same person! –  gilly3 Jan 18 '11 at 23:27
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You have to consider, too, that not all of the proposed music sites are really exclusively for music when you look closely. For example, a question about setting up a home studio for spoken word recording should get completely different answers from those to a question about setting a home studio for music recording. Both are audio related and would fit in the audio production/engineering site, but only one is music. I doubt the voice acting or foley art communities are large enough to support their own niche sites. It would be beneficial to expand music to sound. Perhaps something like "Sound: Production, Practice, and Promotion" would be a sufficient catch all. Then we can just let the tags work the subdivision.

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This confuses the issue though. i think a site for musicians is not the same as a site for musicians and home audio enthusiasts –  griotspeak Oct 24 '10 at 20:33
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