There has been some disquiet and discussion recently about the number of poor inbound migrations to Serverfault.

One suggestion is that our subtitle

Q&A for system administrators and desktop support professionals

doesn't convey the scope of serverfault well.

How can we improve the subtitle that is seen on the close->Off Topic dialogue to better convey the scope of Serverfault ?

Current site subtitle

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The problem is not the wording of the subtitle but the way it's being interpreted. We can do nothing about the latter. –  John Gardeniers Oct 29 '12 at 8:28
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@JohnGardeniers: I agree entirely that our problem is interpretation of scope, in particular the definitions of professional, server and IT, really are so broad that we could be considered helpdesk to the internet. The powers that be seem to feel that our current subtitle doesn't help so changing it and seeing if it makes a difference is the only way to move on. –  Iain Oct 29 '12 at 11:13
    
This has been implemented - August's suggested was used. Well, some of it. –  Shog9 Nov 12 '12 at 20:59
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@Shog9, for the benefit of those of us who don't see the voting options on SO but have an interest in the matter, can you please tell us what wording was used? I'm guessing it wasn't option 2. –  John Gardeniers Nov 13 '12 at 4:34
    
"Q&A for professional system & network administrators", @John –  Shog9 Nov 13 '12 at 4:35
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8 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Serious answer:

Q&A for professional system & network administrators

Not as serious, but gets the point across:

...not a dumping ground for SO questions

After reading more on the background of where this question came from, I don't think any amount of subtitle change is going to prevent bad questions from landing on SF. Using this bad question as an example (referenced in this meta question), a user on SO would identify this as something someone on SF would do, but not knowing how to do it themselves on SO, they throw it to us to help the poster out. We close it because it is missing a ton of critical info and is far too generic a question for us to answer.

How would we help the SO user identify this as a bad question? The short answer is we can't. Since they don't have the same knowledgebase as us, they will never be able to fully evaluate a question before migrating it to us. Since they don't know how to answer the question themselves, they know that somebody on SF would be able to do this general task, and they don't know exactly what info is missing from the question (in this case almost everything), they would kick it to us to work with the user and figure it out.

In a normal workplace setting this would work since we could talk directly to the user and figure out the missing info in a relatively short amount of time. In a SF format this does not work due to the fact that the amount of missing info far surpasses the amount of time/effort involved in extracting it from the user in the SF format of comment, response comment, edit question, repeat.

Possible resolutions:

  1. I have seen it mentioned and shot down that we should have a review queue on our side for final acceptance of questions that are to be migrated to us. Since that doesn't seem to be an option (presumably because it delays the poster from getting an answer even longer), what about a split vote for migrations where for a question to be migrated you need 2 users from the original site and 2 users from the receiving site for it to be migrated to the receiving site?
  2. This is kind of hard to describe, but is it possible for a question that SO wants to migrate to us be posted on our site with a slightly different look (like the question is italicized, has the SO site's logo on it, or says "pending migration") while keeping the original post on SO to see if it gets any attention on our site or not? If our users ignore it for a set amount of time or even vote it to be closed then the post gets removed from our site and stays on SO. If it does get attention on SF, then the migration gets completed to SF and closed on SO. This would allow the question to get more exposure in different sites without the punt and close process that seems to be happening now.
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I like that first one. While not really accurate, as it's too exclusionist, it should at least convey the correct message. I like the second one as well but unfortunately we all know that's never going to happen. –  John Gardeniers Nov 1 '12 at 3:31
    
Short of being able to vote not to change it at all, as Iain has deleted his "not worth changing" answer, I like this one the most. It describes what SF essentially is and it does not have the shortcoming of letting me feel like I just swallowed a rubber duck after reading which is what I feel like with most of the other suggestions. As the tagline is not only displayed in the migration options dialog, but also in the site list from the drop-down, a significantly longer version would look awkward and out-of-place given other sites' short taglines. –  syneticon-dj Nov 6 '12 at 8:15
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A shorter one

Expert answers for professionals managing IT systems in the workplace

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To me that's even more vague than what we currently have and is likely to result in even more crap from SO. Remember, devs and admins generally don't share the same definition of "IT". –  John Gardeniers Oct 29 '12 at 8:27
    
I like the length, but share John's concern about Devs' interpretations. –  Chris S Oct 29 '12 at 14:10
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Slight tweak

Expert Q&A for IT Professionals on managing computer systems and networks in a professional setting.

Frankly, I still prefer the suggestion that we're just removed from the migration options at stack overflow.

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I like the "Expert Q&A", but adding professional (twice!) on top of that is redundant. –  Tobu Nov 6 '12 at 10:24
    
@Tobu a fair point, though in my mind its extra emphasis that this is for IT professionals asking questions about professional use of computers. (e.g. questions I have about my mac mini at home are still off topic here even though I'm a sysadmin) –  RobM Nov 6 '12 at 13:28
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A slight revision that I believe comes closer to where we want it to be:

Q&A for Information Technology Professionals needing expert answers related to managing computer systems in a professional setting.

Substitute "setting" for "capacity", which I believe helps convey the not in the home caveat we have in the FAQ.

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-1 Sorry, way too many words, users will never read all those. –  Chris S Oct 28 '12 at 14:38
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I like this one, but I share Chris's concern about too many words. –  pauska Oct 29 '12 at 9:09
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If we're going to change it (and I kind of have to agree with @Iain here; it's not going to make a difference because they'd have to read it in the first place), I think we ought to change it to the line in the FAQ we keep directing people to:

for Information Technology Professionals needing expert answers related to managing computer systems in a professional capacity.

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The current subtitle reads,

Q&A for system administrators and desktop support professionals

It should read,

Answers for system administrators and desktop support professionals

Very little modification. A removal not an addition. Fulminates what is already inside the current subtitle.

This wouldn't be a change for sake of change alone, as 'Q&A', though very topical to the site and community, is not a regular word.

Compare:

Stack Exchange

expert answers to your questions (on site)

Free, Community-Powered Q&A (in Google search results)

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A little behind on my meta reading..

Q&A for professional workplace system administration

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I find this to be fairly vague and exclusionary, even more so than August's. –  Scott Pack Nov 6 '12 at 0:24
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"From IT experts to IT experts".

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Are programmers "IT Experts"? What about Power Users, Web Masters, and hobbyists? –  Chris S Nov 2 '12 at 13:26
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sounds like a tagline for an Anonymous Admins self-help group meeting –  syneticon-dj Nov 6 '12 at 8:09
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