Just thought I'd throw this one out there, I'd be interested if others have been wondering this too.

Do we need a tighter definition of which topics are acceptable on this forum?

Since the merge it feels like there are more questions which are borderline off-topic than there used to be. I was thinking just now that if there was a Music Production Stack Exchange, quite a lot of questions would be migrated there. I think this stems back to the complex definition of what sound design actually is, so maybe we need to discuss and clarify that.

So does everyone see this as a forum for music production (or other general sound/audio) questions as well as sound design questions?

  • 2
    Just to add to my thoughts on this - It seemed that with SSD there was less need for moderators getting involved on this issue than there is now, being part of SE. The general vibe here (at SE) seems to me a bit more decisive, and perhaps needs to be because of the cross-forum nature here, but it's going to take a bit of getting used to for those of us from SSD. Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 12:04
  • 1
    ^ Wholeheartedly agree @Mark. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 20:23
  • I also completely agree. Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 3:14
  • Another SSD user in agreement here.
    – ErikG
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 23:39
  • utterly in agreement
    – user6513
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 18:31

5 Answers 5


Coming from AVP, there were several questions that were on topic there that don't seem to be on topic here. For instance, questions about repairing/maintaining equipment would have been on topic at AVP because it directly relates to production. Some of these questions were good, and others were borderline off-topic. I leave it up to the community which of these questions if any are on topic here. Some of them such as this one are good and useful questions, but do they belong here?

There are many questions about mic placement and sound proofing that should fit well here.

Since we are merging two communities, I think we need to decide as a new community what the new scope of the site should be. I personally would like to see most of the questions about equipment and software stay since they are relevant to making and recording sound.

  • 1
    Agreed that the examples you give are fine, we're all using equipment along those lines. The direct connection between the two groups is production/post-production sound, so I expect everyone is fine with any questions in that area. How did AVP members respond to music based questions? eg sound.stackexchange.com/questions/26730/… or sound.stackexchange.com/questions/26722/…. For me they're a bit off-topic. I'm conscious that we need to all contribute to this, so it's nice to hear form AVP members also. Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 16:23
  • @MarkDurham I agree that those are probably off topic. Questions about what type of equipment to buy can be on topic, such as which type of microphone would work for a particular situation. We had a couple of questions at AVP about whether or not a mixer was necessary in a certain setup. Those seem to work pretty well as long as they don't turn into shopping questions. Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 16:58
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    I personally like the idea of it being a straight up "sound production" site. Much of that will of course be music, especially as that's been seeing a rise in popularity in the last decade, but I think most of that crosses over with sound design pretty well. Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 22:57
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    Sound design/production/post production is a vastly different world from music/music production/bands/dj - music (unless it related to one of the sound disceplines like post sound) was offtopic on SSD, and should remain so. Comparing the music industry to the sound industry is apples and oranges, not much overlap and it gets in the way of what the userbase focuses on Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 21:00
  • @Stavrosound, I can appreciate the shock of new disciplines being present on what was a relatively focused scope, but this is not SSD. This is SD.SE, which now encompasses a larger scope. The Audio production part of AVP most certainly included the production of music/bands/dj-music, with their accompanying equipment, techniques, software, etc. The userbase here just increased appx 30-40%. I think it will take a bit of time to see what the larger userbase will focus on.
    – JoshP
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 0:33
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    It's not shock, it's fact. To dilute 'sound design' the way you are implying backpedals years that the sound industry has been trying to shake the generalized stigma. Sound design, at its core, is very specific. Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 2:16
  • @Stavrosound, I don't disagree. I did not intend to imply that sound design as an industry ought to broaden its scope, just that the scope of this stackexchange site is now more broad. Also, don't forget to ping with @ when replying so that the person you're replying to gets notified... cheers!
    – JoshP
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 19:59
  • @JoshP, well the scope broadening of what was SSD is really not in the main interest of most old SSD users. We aren't interested in participating in a broad "sound" group. At least I am not. And if that is the final chose decision, then I will have to find another forum for our questions on sound design.
    – ErikG
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 23:43
  • @ErikG, While I certainly can't speak for most of the old SSD users, the decision to merge the two communities was also made by SSD. As far as going elsewhere for questions on sound design, and this is just my personal opinion, I wouldn't think the existence of production type questions should interfere with your ability to ask/answer sound design questions. With only a little bit of work with favorite/ignore tags the front page can be really quite tailored to your interests.
    – JoshP
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 0:13
  • Again, you come back with the filter argument. A filter does not a community make my friend. It's very clear that we look at this from very different viewpoints, and I don't mean to be a douchebag. But mixing the specific niche questions about "film sound design" amongst 3-4 times as many general sound questions and "musical sound design" is not the foundation that recreates the SSD community. I had assumed when the transition was announced on the SSD site that a section called AVP audio and video production, the audio part would be video related, but that was clearly not how it was.
    – ErikG
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 0:24
  • I'm half-hearted about production sound being part of sd.se. I'm a sound recordist and a sound designer but I've always gone to jwsound for production sound discussions. Post production is a totally different beast and even though many things cross pollinate, it seems like a waste posting production sound questions here instead of jwsound.
    – user6513
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 18:39

We're having discussions now about individual questions, and types of questions. In a few days or so, I'm going to open a meta discussion about what we might want to do differently in our help center guidance page. I don't want to do that yet, and here's why.

With very few exceptions, Sound Design has been working admirably well for the last few years since its inception on the SE 1.0 platform. They evolved independently of us and did something that I think many of our sites might have benefited from doing as well - they didn't solve problems that they didn't have.

While the shopping and purely fun questions aren't as narrowly-scoped as most of us would hope for, they didn't do what our chief concern fear they'll do when it comes to these, they didn't overrun the site.

Let's continue to look at individual questions on a case by case basis. There may be an argument here that purely fun questions might be a little too much in the open ended platform, but recommendations for products and such can work, as we've seen, and they've been working here. They may end up working well in a brand new proposal about to launch.

We need to fix problems, and we need to take care of our content and quality. But give it some time before you really start in on these discussions. Additionally, the existing Sound Design community did not have a meta site for three years, and we're actively working to help them discover it and become interested in participating here. Until that happens, perhaps in a month or so, the conversation is likely to be rather one-sided.

I'm not saying don't flag and don't vote to close, of course you should use your privileges. Just please, favor editing, selective pruning and content that could actually help future visitors. This is going to be a bit of a slow process, but I think Sound Design is going to be a shining example of how folks relaxed just a little, and still managed to maintain a site we're proud to put our logo on.


Keep in mind that the choice to name the new site "Sound Design" was not meant to define the scope of the site.

The two communities did have different scopes (with much overlap of course). The combined community will certainly need to redefine those scope boundaries, and make decisions about whether to make this a purely additive and all inclusive merge, or whether there will be pruning on the edges.

Personally, I'll err on the side of caution at this early stage of the merge, as not everyone has found their way here yet (meaning from AVP to SD, or from SSD to the SD.meta).

  • 4
    Seems to be the case. My real concern is that the core of what SSD was, ie a forum for sound designers in the film/game/media sound world (for want of a better way of putting it) could get lost. For many, sound design is making presets on synths, and we already seem to be getting lots of questions like this - solely about music production. There are so many more people out there making/recording music, or tweaking synth presets than there are sound designers, is this going to take over the forum? I'm not saying it's inevitable, but trying to look 2-3 years down the line, it's a possibility. Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 21:34
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    @Mark I completely agree Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 0:17
  • @MarkDurham is absolutely right. At SSD we finally found a home where we could communicate. The merger was agreed on but we weren't expecting to take so many steps backwards to what we already had. The reason why many of us are upset about the way sd.se is running is because we're losing the only platform we had to interact transparently.
    – user6513
    Commented Mar 16, 2014 at 6:25

I think the problem is with "Sound Design" as a term, which is vague and non-specific. People not into the art/craft ask what it is all the time.

The Sound Design forum, as it is/was, seems to be primarily about the aesthetics of, and solutions to problems in, sound post production. This is very different from music production and the two need to be kept separate. Not that a sound editor wouldn't indulge in a discussion about the intricacies of guitar strings, but.. you get the idea.

On the other hand, discussions about how specific sounds are made are just as relevant to the music community as they are to sound post people. But, and that may be important, in my experience far fewer people want to really look under the hood of core sound design, than the ones who just want to plug a mic into an interface, play and record.

For the recent influx of non-SD-specific questions from avp.stackexchange.com it's safe to assume many of them were off-topic in the first place. Maybe someone somewhere just didn't mention it. Not sure migration from music.stackexchange.com has any point other than to separate the technicalities from the composition process, and that's why invading sound design (a sound composition forum) seems to be inappropriate.

music composition <> music production

sound design <> audio-video production

or maybe just

  • music composition
  • sound design
  • sound engineering

I think the migration should be paused or put into a moderation queue and questions examined more closely.


I would suggest that the new site should encompass the portions of both sites that came before it. Perhaps something like Sound Design & Production or Sound Production & Design would lend itself more naturally to this topic base.

  • Some useful background on site naming guidelines... meta.stackexchange.com/a/207408/189958. The gist of it is that the title shouldn't define the scope.
    – JoshP
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 21:55
  • That's fair, though in the example, the title suggested was general enough to include everything that was on topic, even if the actual things on topic was a subset. Sound Design as a site title does not appear to include the production side of things unless you go digging. "Sound" alone might work.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 23:40

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