I am starting to get the feeling that traffic has decreased significantly and it might be worth considering to allow more questions through while editing more heavily to encourage users. Specifically I've been Voting To Close "shopping list" and "Prosumer" style questions, but I've also wondering if I'm not effectively curtailing some hobbyist's interest in audio design & engineering as a side-effect.

Personally, I'm a big proponent of clearly defined guidelines and strict adherence helping in the long run, but I also acknowledge that there comes a time to reconsider your strategy and remain agile enough to change it in order to remain relevant.

I, for one, remember my time as a youngster with a budding interest in audio engineering, and in the early days I got along by messing with the gear around me at home. In fact, I would have probably developed better and faster if I had a mentor to tell me not to connect my guitar to my TV and for what reasons.

My question

In order to encourage traffic to this site and maybe get it out of Beta, should we allow more "prosumer" (and even home audio) questions as long as they can be steered into a learning experience on the road to professional audio?


Tim Post and other have touched on such issues in the past (Here for example: Shopping questions?) and I feel like that offers some precedence for tailoring our self-moderation to the amount of problems we actually encounter.

Unless I'm imaging the drop-off in traffic, I think it's a good idea to consider broadening our acceptable questions scope.


I don't necessarily think broadening our scope is going to be a good thing. This site, historically, has been through major scope changes and each one has caused issues (generally as any change alienates some members of any community.)

Prosumer is also a notoriously challenging area - there are very successful established sites that fill that role admirably. SE, with the focus on specific Q and A is unlikely to work as well there - opinion, rapidly changing 'best' hardware and software, etc mean we are not going to compete well.

I'd be far more supportive of activities to generate activity, from editing and positive comments for new members of the community, through to posting links to interesting posts on your social media, or in conversations as relevant elsewhere.


Personally, my feeling is that we need to try to make sure answers are durable to time, otherwise we become less helpful rather than more. A question like "what is the best x?" rapidly becomes outdated unless constantly revisited, but "I'm looking for something that can do x, y, z and I need help comparing between a, b, c." will remain accurate. We could try adding timeframes to answers as well, but that isn't too much more helpful and could result in odd answers as time rolls forward and people give new answers on old questions.

As far as more entry level questions, I generally think that is good. I would specifically NOT move in to non-production questions as that isn't materially related to our subject area and isn't helpful in building up the site, but as far as answering questions about how to get by with basic gear and options, that's something I think we should be supporting and as far as I know, always have. If someone wants to know how to mix on their 7.1 system as their monitors, I think it's on topic and we should help, but if they want to know what kind of center speaker they should get to go with their home theater, that isn't and, in my opinion, really can't ever be on topic here.


I think we lost the 'true' Sound Design badge with the great fallout on the merge - which was way before my time, but I've read back on a lot of it.

What we are left with may from the 'management side' still be Sound Design, but from the new questions asked here it has become "How do I make my PC do 5.1 to my TV" with a side order of "What headphones do I need?"
Case in point - https://sound.stackexchange.com/questions/40732/computer-tv-audio-mixer

We're also getting a fair few 'What codec/how do I code this app?' questions, which are "about audio" in the same way as finding the right bait & hook is about frying haddock & chips... https://sound.stackexchange.com/questions/40733/how-to-programmatically-change-formant-of-wav-file

It's sad, & it's not what I would want either, but that's what we're getting.

I have to admit, I'm not a 'sound designer', I am [was, now retired] a music audio [studio] engineer, with a great interest in SD for film/TV because that's the industry I now work in... though not on sound.

That tilts me towards accepting musical engineering questions as well as foley etc [not that I would be much help in answering the latter] but I just despair of the "Wot speakers duz werk wiv mi puter?" questions.

I am heartily in favour of close-hammering the real home/PC/TV audio stuff, but I would tend towards greater leniency on music engineering/production questions, so long as they aren't "How do I get this synth sound/noise off this record" which are a bad fit for any SE.

tbh, shopping questions would be an improvement, so long as they were "Which mic pre, the Focusrite or the Manley?"
I just saw this in the sidebar - What's a good microphone around $100-$200 that can be both used for recording audio for game development and for streaming?
Compared to "Mi puter dun't werk on mi $10 USB card" it's a dream question :/

  • Sadly, an SE named Sound Design , is doomed to pickup unanswered posts from popular studio and sound forums we all know. While this is a pity cause SE does attract a lot of highly educated and friendly people who are mostly willing to help as opposed to forums where a fight on something irrelevant starts at the 3rd post. For the 99% of the questions next stop after SD is Quora or Yahoo Answers till that guy connects the hi-fi amp to the darn ps4. On the other hand , turning the title to something like "Sound Engineering" could attract some questions like: "How do i record drums" which need
    – frcake
    Mar 13 '17 at 1:46
  • approx. 2 days to answer for someone who will understand the least of it, cause sadly there's no such question as "how do i record drums". I do believe though that a well structured answer which keeps a simple character while still being explanatory enough can pull it through. If the site name does not change you'll be seeing less & less visitors every day. Funny enough , after a small summation of the tags , even with Sound Design as a name , the core sound-design tags have 50 tags less than the more audio-music related subjects. But anyways , there are the good parts too :)
    – frcake
    Mar 13 '17 at 1:50

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