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Hello AVP and SSD veterans! Hello new users! How's it going? Take the survey and let us know!


As you might recall, this site is the result of a merge of two separate communities. We've had a post-mortem, but it seems a bit premature. Recently a user asked:

Does anyone see a way of getting more people with real "sound design" questions to come and create a dynamic around it? By sound design I mean precise tips for specific sound creation or reproduction, mixing techniques and more Max MSP coding for sound design. Am I completely dreaming or do you feel a bit the same?

So while I do think there's a lot to like about the new site, it seems to have lost the magic of Social Sound Design. A "sound design" site without many sound design questions is an oddity. Truthfully we probably wouldn't have merged the communities if we'd known then what we know now:

Past experience had led us to believe that “small” and “unhealthy” would mean the same thing: we took it as a given that quiet sites would develop spam and obvious broken windows, while high quality sites would always grow big and graduate. But you proved us wrong! Five years later, we have lots of tiny sites which have been in public beta for months or years, each consistently producing excellent Q&A which helps people with real problems. Small, consistently active sites are great!

Bad data and bad assumptions led to the merge decision. In order to avoid making the same mistake, we're running a survey to gather some demographic data. This post will be featured in the Community Bulletin for a while. Feel free to individually contact people you know who are no longer active.


Just for fun:

  • If you read this far and took the survey, upvote the question.
  • If you read this far and think it will be more exciting for us to not know your opinion, downvote.
  • If you are off taking the survey and aren't reading this, don't vote at all.

I'll report the results of the survey as an answer in a few weeks.

  • 1
    Have you seen this discussion about name and scope? meta.sound.stackexchange.com/questions/1302/… As a "post-mergial" user I have never experienced the "good ol sound design forum" days, but I encounter the topics from time to time - many impossible to give an exact answer for due to the loose non-SE style that ruled back then. I joined the game "as is" and would be sad to see another drastic change ruin things. I would much rather see an alignment of the name to how it is used. Sound Production can be about sound design, not visa versa. – Michael Hansen Buur Feb 9 '16 at 14:33
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    There isn't an option on the survey [other than 'what merge?'] to say, 'I wasn't here before the merge, but I've read a lot about it since' ;) – Tetsujin Aug 21 '16 at 9:37
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The aggregate results of the survey will continue to be updated as long as the survey is live. Today I'm taking snapshot to report some breakdowns and summarize the comments so far. 15 respondents had accounts on Social Sound Design (including one who had accounts on both sites). They rated the current site at 1.7 out of 5 for both quality and enjoyment. With a single exception1 these users felt the merge was a change for the worse. The most common reasons they cited for their dissatisfaction were:

  • The topic has changed (11)
  • Other users have left the site (9)
  • Stack Exchange policies (4)
  • Shared account with other Stack Exchange sites (4)
  • Moderation changes (3)
  • Other users have joined the site (3)

The comments were pretty unanimous—sound design is inherently subjective to a degree not allowed by the current site. Merging Social Sound Design with a broad "sound" site was a mistake.2 From the perspective of that community, it wasn't a merge, but at a dismantling.

Now what?

I talked with the rest of the community team and we agreed it really isn't possible to reverse the damage by unmerging the two sites again. Too many people from the original Social Sound Design community have left and there's no way to ensure they will ever come back. Unfortunately experience shows that building sites on spec does not work out.

However, I think there are two other options:

  1. Build a subcommunity on the tag.
  2. Propose a new site on Area 51.

These options are not mutually exclusive. I think it will be difficult to get a Sound Design proposal through the Area 51 process. It will be especially challenging to to satisfy the commitment score requirement. We've learned from hard experience that waiving that requirement inevitably results in sites that fail to emerge from private beta. So it's going to take some time to gather support.

In the meantime, something like subgenre tags might be of use. Many sites have distinct rules for handling special tags. For instance, Science Fiction & Fantasy has 29 meta questions to handle questions. Its entirely possible users of this site could agree to moderate questions differently than other questions on the site.

I'm going to continue collecting survey responses and watch meta to gather more information in the next few weeks. Other than not being able to resplit the site, nothing is decided yet. Feel free to contact me via the options listed in my profile if you have any private concerns. Or consider posting on meta if people other than me would benefit.


  1. The odd response out selected "Seriously, what merge?", which I interpret as meaning they didn't really follow the details of the merge. But that's a guess.

  2. Needless to say, this is a milder phrasing than what I read in the survey comments. I'm not trying to blunt anyone's frustration; it's perfectly understandable and valid to be angry about the situation and with us. We screwed up.

  • "Seriously, what merge?" - or a sarcastic reference to the perception of a one-sided 'merge'? But that's a guess :) – JoshP Feb 24 '16 at 16:31

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