It's been a while since the merge now, and despite plenty of chat here on meta it still feels like we can't quite decide what's on-topic here. Looking back, now it seems inevitable that this was going to happen. I for one thought the audio side of AVP was really just about post-production, but it's now clear that it is a whole lot more than that - live sound, some music recording etc.

At the moment the site still feels confused. The help center is not that helpful explaining what sound design is, and new users find it difficult to judge if their question is suitable.

The users from AVP want to keep these topics on the site. That's fair enough, and I understand that completely. Similarly, those from sound design want to keep the tighter focus we had before. I don't think this is going to change, so we need to find a solution. We also really need to sort out the help page.


2 Answers 2


This is the general idea behind tags. You can choose to ignore one set of tags and favorite others. They are the means of categorizing content in the StackExchange system. It isn't a perfect solution since it doesn't allow us to force the choice of a "major category", but this might be something we could get adjusted since that functionality already exists on meta. I don't know if SE would go for it or not, but if people like the idea, I'll try pushing for it.

While your idea about trying to do sub-communities isn't a bad one, it isn't one that the SE platform currently supports. The change in design would require site specific development and would be more confusing rather than less confusing to new users.

Additionally, if anything, it would probably make the classification issues even worse for people. There is already enough confusion between the boundaries with Video Production and Music Practice & Performance. If we added yet another site to the fray, then it would be even more unclear which site is appropriate for certain questions and there would be a ton of overlap. For example, where would questions about things like compression, gating or reverb go that are applicable to both the recording and the live sides of things. Practically, I think this would result in more confusion rather than less.

Further, the pool of activity on both sites would likely drop to unsustainable levels. The merger happened in the first place to try to boost the amount of activity on both sites. I don't have access to the pre-merge statistics, so I can't tell for sure if it is better off now overall than it was before on the viewer and asker level, but I know that is one of the concerns.

I do agree that the communities have not really integrated well and there are still distinct communities within the user base that want both a more permissive and a less permissive scope. At the moment, the more permissive group seems to be slightly larger, but in general, we don't even get enough meta discussion to be able to determine which group really is more involved in the community.

I think this lack of involvement in discussing the issues is the primary reason that we've had trouble moving forward because we can't figure out what the community wants or work towards figuring out what the definition of our community is if nobody wants to talk about it. (So thanks for bringing this up again, and hopefully it will generate more dialog.)

  • 1
    The 'major category' tag thing would be better, but people seemed reluctant to use this before. I think completely separate would be better, but yes - I guess it would be work for someone at SE. For overlapping topics we would need to put in some guidelines. I'd suggest that if the end result is sound design/post (including sfx) then it belongs in sound design, if music, live or non-specific then audio production. As for activity on the site, I think we need to do something to draw back the existing users who are now less involved and don't contribute. A big change like I suggest might be it. Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 13:41
  • I sometimes despair at the apparent loss of some really knowledgeable contributors to this community. I'm thinking of the dozen or so high reputation members who we don't see anymore but still have their accounts. Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 13:45
  • @MarkDurham - yeah, I know what you mean.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 13:53
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    As far as the categories, if we did them, I would think "Live Sound", "Recorded Sound" and "Sound Design" would be the most likely choices. It deals with if you are either working in one of our supported mediums or working on the actual design decisions behind what it sounds like. We might need a little bit more granularization in to the types of sound design to make it clear that instrument design is different from sound design.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 13:58
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    Instrument Design could be a name? Or Preset Design? Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 18:08

I think the best way to do this is to sub-divide the forum in two. Although it says sound design at the top, the web address is sound.stackexchange.com. Why don't we have two names at the top of the homepage:

Sound beta

Sound Design --- Questions etc

Audio Production ---- Questions etc

Click on one and it takes you to either sound.stackexchange.com/sounddesign or sound.stackexchange.com/audioproduction

Have the option of clicking just sound and viewing both.

This way everyone gets what they want, we have some text explaining what each one is for, and it's clear for new users. We could easily split the current questions like this, and then have help guidelines for each section.

I realise this is unconventional for SE, but it seems like the obvious and most effective solution.

Would be nice to hear your thoughts.

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    it could work better. I'm tired of the moderators telling us that the previous site was unsustainable and traffic would dwindle. They don't seem to understand that the quality of questions and answers we had were a lot more important that the quantity of questions, which this SE site is currently prides itself in answering quickly. The questions are all so closed ended these days it's stifling to creativity. I say that because the forum fostered more creativity before, for me at least.
    – user6513
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 5:57
  • please stay on topic instead of pointing fingers. let's not get into blaming moderators on the current state of affairs. i joined as a moderator to help fix the problem. we haven't succeeded, but we try to make things better. on topic: getting a distinction between the sound and audio community could be helpful. we need to think about what is best manageable, that's the big question. Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 15:28
  • I would -1 this if I could. The site gets ~4 questions a day. At this rate, it will have difficulties to graduate. I don't think that splitting this site can ever be helpful. I see other problems: the name of the site is yet again very confusing (why in the world got question about microphones closed as off-topic on a sound site?) etc. Many questions are borderline on-topic on both sound.SE and music.SE and keep getting closed on both, etc. Something has to be done, but it's not splitting the site.
    – yo'
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 18:57

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