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Welcome to Codidact Meta!

Codidact Meta is the meta-discussion site for the Codidact community network and the Codidact software. Whether you have bug reports or feature requests, support questions or rule discussions that touch the whole network – this is the site for you.

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How to propose a community on the codidact.com network

Our network of communities is growing but is still small. If the community you're looking for isn't here, you can propose adding it.

Proposing with a pre-existing group of active contributors

To help us grow, we're looking to build active, thriving communities that start with a group of people who are already interested in building it. We don't require a lot of people and there's no hard-and-fast rule; we're looking for enough activity to help your new community succeed.

If you have a community (anywhere from a handful of users up) looking for a Codidact site, we can host it for you. Post in the Site Proposals category describing the site you need, tag your post with [proposal], and we'll talk details.

Proposing an idea - no pre-existing community

If you don't have a community, but you have suggestions for sites we could create, you can post in Site Proposals using the [idea] tag to gauge if others are interested in helping you build that site. We're not currently creating sites without the support of a group or community, but with luck your [idea] post here will help you find that community, and then we can convert your post to a [proposal] and discuss the details.

What makes a good proposal?

A good proposal addresses the following topics:

  • Name and high-level description. What's the one-sentence description of what your community is about? If you were filling out the tag line on the list of communities, what might you put there?

  • A little more about scope. You'll work out many of the details later (on your own meta), but please give us an idea of what topics are and are not included in your proposed community.

  • Address overlap with pre-existing communities. If your proposed community is about a topic that overlaps with others already on our network, how should that be handled? It's ok for communities to have overlapping scope, but if it's a large overlap we'll need to discuss that more, involving the other community. If you've already had some of those discussions, please include that.

  • Where/who is your community now? Are you a group of active users from another online community, are you colleagues working in the same research area, are you members of a mailing list that wants more out of life?

  • Additional features. If you have initial ideas about how you'll use Codidact's features beyond Q&A, please include them. For example, if building a set of canonical reference material (like a wiki) or hosting a shared blog or supporting critiques or reviews is important, please let us know.

You don't have to have worked out all the details for your new community yet; you can continue that on your own site's meta when it exists. But please plan to share enough that the broader Codidact community can understand and help you refine your proposal.

What happens next?

After you post your proposal, members of the broader Codidact community will probably respond with comments and suggestions. People might have questions or raise concerns. Q&A isn't always the best format for this, but you or other members of your planned community should participate -- answer questions, adjust the proposal in response to feedback, and so on.

Ask your community members to join Codidact (if they aren't here already) and indicate their support. Somebody will add (or you can add yourself) an answer to collect these expressions of interest. We ask for this because votes alone don't tell us much, but people commenting to say "I am interested and expect to participate in these ways" is helpful. If, for example, there are a lot of people who want to ask advanced questions but nobody prepared to answer them, that would be a frustrating experience for all involved and suggests that more recruiting is needed.

During the early stages of discussion your proposal will be tagged "status-definition". As the discussion proceeds and people express interest in participating, the proposal should (we all hope) reach a point where it seems clear that the community has support and should advance. We don't have exact metrics for this; it's a judgement call, informed by discussion. If you don't understand why a proposal is where it is, ask! We're all working together and want our communities to succeed.

When a proposal advances to the "status-planned" stage, expect discussion of initial setup. Does your community need Mathjax? Some non-standard font? Something else? What name and URL should we give it (if not already settled)? If you're importing data (more about that below), what exactly do you want to bring in?

When these details have been worked out, the proposal will be marked "status-pending". This usually means we're waiting on DNS, someone with direct database access for certain operations, Cloudflare stuff, logo design, and other details. This tag means "we plan to launch this soon".

Can we import questions from Stack Exchange?

You can, and some communities have done it, but consider these points first:

  • We've found that communities that start "fresh", while empty on day 1, have been more successful in building their communities here. Everyone's new questions are visible, not hidden behind years-old imported questions. Everybody starts on the same footing. (It took us a while to learn this.)

  • Focused imports might serve you better than bulk imports. Do you need all of the questions from another site, or do you want to cherry-pick specific ones?

  • The import process is a little finicky. The path from SE's Markdown to the HTML they export to the imported copy here can have issues along the way. On Scientific Speculation we found that imported Mathjax sometimes needed to be cleaned up, and on Judaism imported Hebrew got weirdly corrupted. We've logged these issues and will try to improve the import process, but we don't know when.

We now think the best approach is to start your community fresh, build your initial questions and answers and blog posts and wikis and whatever else, and then revisit the data-import question later, after your community has taken root here.