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Our description says

Ukrainian Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, teachers and students of the Ukrainian language.

This is also the message that pops up when someone inquires about joining the community. When I got this message upon joining up I felt excluded. Those three categories seem very limiting. We could target broader range of users, including:

  • travelers wanting to learn more about Ukrainian language
  • foreign expats living in Ukraine
  • Ukrainians expats/migrants living abroad
  • professionals doing business in Ukraine who need help with technical lingo (IT, legal, finance, etc.). This would be a huge boost, considering SE network pretty much revolves around Stack Overflow.
  • journalists who cover Ukraine and need to translate something they can't google up
  • Ukrainian scientists who struggle with translation of difficult vocabulary into English
  • Readers who have specific questions about books in Ukrainian language
  • Translators, interpreters, and other language specialists

This list is pretty long and would probably exclude some potential users.

Perhaps we could change the description to something simpler that would include all of these categories, like:

Ukrainian Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for everyone interested in the Ukrainian language.

Finally a few thoughts on widening scope.

Wider and more inclusive scope would have the following positive effects:

  • bring in more users
  • increase the quantity of questions/answers
  • increase the quantity of high quality questions
  • bring more traffic from search engines (I think this is critical to graduate from the beta stage)
  • reduce burden on the active "core" users that basically brought this site to life. The site will become self-sustainable quicker.

Here are some negatives of widening the scope:

  • it will require more effort to moderate, edit, review, etc.
  • decrease the density of high quality questions. While there will inevitably be more of these, there will be even more low quality questions that will have to be tolerated
  • Simple, practical questions/answers will get much more votes than deep and complicated questions/answers. It will make the most knowledgeable linguists feel the sense of unfairness. It's much like on Stack Overflow CSS/Javascript questions get flooded with votes, while hard low level language questions are lucky to get a few upvotes. There will be greater disconnect between effort put in and reward received in therms of upvotes. That's pretty much inevitable on SE network. There are quite a few sites on Stack Exchange stuck in a "high quality" trap that don't grow because they resist the flood of simpler questions.

Given all the pros and cons, I would like to see the scope expanded. What do you think?

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Actually, I don't consider that phrase:

Ukrainian Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, teachers and students of the Ukrainian language.

— as something that matters.

The actual scope is defined by two things:

  • Theoretically: By set of example questions that were upvotes during definition phase.
  • Practically: By what the most active community members like and dislike. I mean not that ones are more/less important than others, but that de facto the direction is controlled by the sum of opinions of all members (with each opinion multiplied by activity level of its owner — i.e. opinions of more active members matter more) — not by some formal rules.

When reading that phrase, I understand the word "student" in quite wide sense — for anyone who learns Ukrainian language or improves his knowledge of Ukrainian languages (i.e. well-speaking persons can be "students" too).

Actually, original phrase was:

For those who are learning the Ukrainian language, for those who want to improve their knowledge of the Ukrainian language and for professionals (linguists, etymologists, etc) and enthusiasts who want to discuss Ukrainian language-related questions.

3 months ago Robert Cartaino changed it to the current state — and I don't consider it as good or bad. As de-facto direction is determined by example questions and community opinion, not by that over-laconic phrase.

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  • The original phrase was pretty good! Oh well I guess you are right that it is not as important. I think to effectively broaden the scope we could make a few examples of good questions that push the boundaries and show the community that such questions are indeed useful – Arthur Tarasov Mar 7 '17 at 6:22
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Your question seems to contradict itself.

If you mean changing the title of the site, then I don't really see how:
…for everyone interested in the Ukrainian language
is any better than:
…for linguists, teachers and students of the Ukrainian language

But the rest of the question apparently discusses extending the scope.
If you really mean broadening the scope by adding questions about:
Ukrainians expats/migrants living abroad
or:
struggle with translation of difficult vocabulary into English

…then NO, because there are excellent StackExchange sites for other topics:

  • an Ukrainian expat Economist who lives in 武夷山市 may have totally different problems than an Ukrainian expat Software Developer who lives in กรุงเทพมหานคร, but they both well can find the answers about their expatriate life at Expatriates.SE (like this) or Travel.SE (like this or this)
  • translating difficult terms from Ukrainian to English, one may find great help at sites English.SE and English Language Learners.SE (like I did)

…And so on.


Think from a different perspective. A good StackExchange site can be described by:

  1. A solid user base who spend a considerable amount of their time doing the common thing in their life.
  2. Hence, these people are able to answer each other's questions.
  3. And these questions must be constrained with a 1-2 sentence explanation. Think of it like an elevator pitch
    • "We learn the deeper aspects of the Ukrainian language" is a good elevator pitch which fits a 30-seconds time limit;
    • "This list is pretty long and would probably exclude some potential users" is a bad elevator pitch, nobody would understand what we are doing.
  4. We need the users to come back (or else StackExchange would close us). To make them coming back, we need to constrain the scope so that every given user were interested to read, say, 20% posts here. If we broaden/spread the scope, the ratio would decrease.

P.S. Re-reading your question again to see if I haven't overlooked anything, yet another thought:

Aren't you just confused by the formulation "site for linguists, teachers and students of the Ukrainian language" by thinking that someone who is neither a linguist, teacher, or student would be excluded? Allright, I'm neither a linguist (I'm a programmer), nor a teacher (too lazy) or a student (too late). And not feeling excluded, proof.

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  • Good points. But I don't think English SE sites are any good for translating from/into Ukrainian, especially for technical terminology. Even if it is possible to do it elsewhere, I would love to have a dedicated place for Ukrainian/English translation Q&A. Does SE have some sort of policy that goes against attracting users from one site to the other? There is no harm if the topics of the sites overlap a bit, is there? We could just create more tags for additional categories. Also, what requirements do we need to achieve to get the site out of beta? – Arthur Tarasov Mar 6 '17 at 10:58
  • @ArthurTarasov, I think nobody can tell anything about your proposed site unless you've defined its proposed scope (in more details than here). But think why there's no myriad of specific StackExchange sites for translation between English/Spanish, Chinese/German, Chinese/Spanish etc (hundreds millions of potential audience for each). – bytebuster Mar 6 '17 at 14:49
  • I looked on English.SE description and it is "ELU.SE is a Q&A site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts". I think "enthusiasts" is what we missing in our current scope. – Artemix Mar 11 '17 at 14:36

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