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Proposing a Stack Exchange Site for Networking

By stretch | Friday, March 15, 2013 at 12:34 a.m. UTC

If you've spent any time writing code, you've undoubtedly come across Stack Overflow, a question and answer forum dedicated to the discussion of computer programming which has become quite popular in recent years. Its popularity led to the formation of the Stack Exchange network of sites with a similar format focused on various other topics ranging from systems administration to English grammar to LEGO. But nothing for us networkers.

What's particularly interesting about Stack Exchange is that anyone can propose a new site. Poking around, it seems that a networking-oriented site has been suggested at least once in the past but was dismissed as overlapping with the sysadmin-focused Server Fault site (which, with respect to our IT brethren, is simply rubbish). I think a networking-focused Stack Exchange could do quite well, and a lot of folks on Twitter agreed.

I've created a proposal for a networking site and I'd like your help in getting it spun up. The deal is that we need 60 followers and 40 highly-rated (10+) questions to move the proposal from the definition phase to the commitment phase. Considering the size of the community here, I'm sure we can meet these numbers in no time. If you're interested, please sign up as a follower and help make this a reality!

Update: The proposal was briefly closed as a duplicate of Server Fault as describe above, but Robert at Stack Exchange was sympathetic to my pleas and the proposal has been reopened for development. Let's prove that us networkers are too big a deal to share ground with server folk!

Update 2: We've reached the commitment phase in just three days! That has to be some kind of record. Now, we just need people to commit to being active (writing questions and answers) for the beta site to launch, essentially signing a petition. We can really use people who are already active on other Stack Exchange sites, so please spread the word to friends and colleagues in sister fields.

Update 3: Thanks to all your support, the proposal has been accepted and a beta site is in the works! A successful beta trial is the last step in the process of founding a new site, so continued support and involvement is critical.

Update 4: After just nine days the site is now in public beta at networkengineering.stackexchange.com! Everyone is welcome to join and contribute.

Posted in Announcements

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March 15, 2013 at 1:12 a.m. UTC

Good luck. I have all but given up on the StackExchange format. The moderation Nazis do a terrible job.

Case in point, your request has already been marked as closed.

March 15, 2013 at 3:00 a.m. UTC

It's open again and already has over thirty followers! I'm very optimistic.

March 15, 2013 at 4:03 a.m. UTC


March 15, 2013 at 2:44 p.m. UTC

Lots of followers, glad they reopened it after the silly flag.

March 16, 2013 at 9:45 a.m. UTC

Hey Stretch,

This is an awesome idea, thank you so much!

March 18, 2013 at 8:03 p.m. UTC

I signed up and committed. Of course, this being StackExchange, I can't actually contribute until I have contributed more.

Concerning the "Better name for networking", someone please submit "Data Networking" as an answer.

Mike Heywood
March 19, 2013 at 1:01 p.m. UTC

Got closed again as a duplicate of server fault. Clearly some people can't tell the difference between network engineering and IT support. :(

March 19, 2013 at 1:56 p.m. UTC

The proposal was already closed. I flagged this decision and tried to discuss it at http://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/172503/why-can-sysadmins-and-programmers-reject-a-proposal-for-a-network-engineering-si

Apparently I had some success as the proposal is now reopened but we're still lacking support from the 200+ karma fraction.

Please spread the word. I don't know if it would be appropriate to advertise this on NANOG and/or j-nsp/c-nsp etc. What do you think?

March 19, 2013 at 10:05 p.m. UTC

The proposal has been re-opened (again) and is currently in good standing. Hopefully we won't have to deal with any more shenanigans. We're already just 76 committers with 200+ away from the beta stage!

March 20, 2013 at 12:31 p.m. UTC

I'm all for this, but since it keeps getting closed is this really the site to start a community? Is there another one out there that we won't have to "prove" ourselves just to start a forum?

March 20, 2013 at 3:27 p.m. UTC

I too have encountered several problems (including having my proposed community closed unilaterally within 24 hours of proposing it) with SE executives and area51 users too, but I still think the SE system has a great deal to offer any budding community. Congratulations on getting a newly proposed community advanced so far in so little time, Jeremy!

March 21, 2013 at 7:07 p.m. UTC


March 26, 2013 at 7:58 a.m. UTC

Great idea I've always loved Stack Overflow and it would be great if we could build something similar.

March 31, 2013 at 3:58 p.m. UTC

Committed. Looks like your over 300 commits now! No git pun intended.

April 3, 2013 at 6:59 p.m. UTC

Great idea! Committed here as well.

Angry man
May 14, 2013 at 12:29 a.m. UTC

Ugh. I found this whole searching for "networking stack exchange". ServerFault is shit (even for ops-related questions). SO works only because devs are numerous enough to overcome the nazi regime that is SO. Every other SE site is shit. If I were you, I'd create my own forum (search for "django stack exchange"). It'll take no time and you can run it the way you want to. Also, you won't be making Joel Spolsky more money.

May 14, 2013 at 2:56 a.m. UTC

Just want to say thanks for all the great work at network engineering stackexchange. Btw the SSL certificate for the site has expired.

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