That's the question. Short and simple.

Having spent time on each lately, I am left wondering if this would help build overall numbers and participation rates.

Clearly both sites are not generally driven by professional driven questions, but rather public curiosity questions, with more informed serious amateurs or enthusiasts providing the answer side of things.

Currently public participation gets split across the two groups. When questions are migrated, the original poster needs to join and sign up to the other group just to follow up on their question if they want to post comments etc and get involved in the process.

Signing up to a new group with ones current account is not that clear on SE - or it was not to me - you put in the same details, and the connection as same account happens automatically. I found I had to reload the page for it to take hold for some reason. It took a few explorations to find out how, and have it sorted. A few hours of time.

The time and 'work out how' barriers to sign up to another group to add more to a question you've asked and had migrated may seem trivial to the experienced users, but I think they are significant barriers to complete new comers. (It is one of the reasons why I think new comers questions should not be migrated unless they really need to be.) The difference for new comers is post, and find following up on the response to your question a bit difficult and don't come back, or post, enjoy the answers where they posted (they took the time to learn to post the question and bookmarked it to come back), no need to work out how the site works, and with a few more questions and positive outcomes, are then likely to become more involved.

I am not sure if there are stats available to test this perception. Stats like, how many people post once and don't return, vs post and become involved.

Merging the two groups means both groups, Astronomy and Space Exploration, and the public that come along for the first time, are regularly seeing the questions of both groups. I wonder if the synergy of interest may be significant in this regard, and increased participation a possible consequence.

Counter to all this is: Does it matter? Sure groups participation is currently where it is, ticking along, but is there really a problem? Possibly not! Some seem to hold a degree of concern, while others do not.

I raise the question to learn in more succinct form if it has been considered more recently, what the pros and cons would be, and if a merger of the two groups would be seen as a positive from both sites.

"Astronomy and Space Exploration" Acronym, ASE Site! I can see it working.

If I had been working on one of these groups, and someone new came along to suggest this (as I do now) I would feel pretty annoyed. The work involved, time to debate, etc .. . I get that. So apologies there. Its just that it strongly presents to me that the question does need asking. Not suggesting it be done now, or at all, but asked all the same, possibly this not being the first time.

If it has been discussed, possibly once again in the current state of things and context, then its on the shelf so to speak should it prove a necessary consideration at a future time.

  • $\begingroup$ Please review: meta.astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/97/… and meta.space.stackexchange.com/questions/89/… $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not saying there isn't discussion to be had here, but in the past when it has come up the answer has been no. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I will say this: the site is experiencing growth. It is slow, but tangible. The best solution may really be to just wait and let it grow naturally. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ I am thinking delete the question. I'll leave it till tomorrow though. $\endgroup$
    – Cam_Aust
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ Also, if you want to explore statistics: data.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think it would be a bad idea, anyways thinking on to make the things better is surely positive. But if a voting would happen (no, it won't be ever), I would vote to the current state, but it wouldn't be an easy decision. My reason is behind it the "look and feel" of the sites. "Astronomy SE" looks to me now as a "high science", as a very deep thing. Also Space SE looks as a hardcore engineering site. But "Astronomy and Space" looks (and thus, probably, will become) a below average enthusiast site. To me, only this argument is against the merge, but it is stronger as all the other. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 2:41
  • $\begingroup$ As a poster of this question I am happy for it to be deleted in retrospect unless someone has strong objection. Thanks call2voyage and @peterh $\endgroup$
    – Cam_Aust
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 4:14
  • $\begingroup$ It would make perfect sense to me. There is a difference but the amount traffic in questions being migrated from astronomy to space and the other way that it shows that those asking the questions don't understand the difference. Merging would simplify things. $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ The overlaps between physics.SE and astronomy.SE are a bit problematic, as are the overlaps between space exploration.SE and engineering.SE. The overlaps between space exploration.SE and astronomy.SE are (or should be) rare. Yes, there are people who are frequent contributors to at least three of these four parts of the SE network. We generally know where the lines are. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Cam_Aust If you want to, you should be able to delete your own post by clicking the "delete" link next to the "share" and "edit" links at the bottom of your question. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 12:44
  • $\begingroup$ @called2voyage Thanks, yes. I have not deleted the question yet in view of a few comments being added. It seems its awhile since this possibility was discussed, and I am thinking its better left to show the recurrent thought has been revisited in 2016. Comments reflecting the consensus view that I would interpret as: Yes, merging has some merit, however in practice not the way to go at this time. $\endgroup$
    – Cam_Aust
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 0:11


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