For those who aren't aware, the Web Apps beta graduated the other day and became Nothing to Install. Well, until it was reverted <24 hours later. There's lots of detail over on this Meta Web Apps question.

In various comments there, people claim that the name Nothing To Install isn't very good, and not-very-good names are a common SE theme. "Seasoned Advice" is singled out as the example of the good name that proves the bad name rule. It's been mentioned in an MSO comment by random♦, too.

So, is Food and Cooking beta going to turn into Seasoned Advice? If so, will there be a Food and Cooking [non-beta] intermediate phase?


closed as too localized by Aaronut Jul 26 '11 at 16:27

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So is the site getting ~38k visitors/day yet? –  Danny Beckett Jun 29 '13 at 11:17
@DannyBeckett: Even if we were, that promise was withdrawn a very long time ago. I seriously doubt that we'll ever have a unique domain name regardless of traffic. Only a handful of sites are even getting branding. It's a long-dead issue which is why this is closed. –  Aaronut Jun 30 '13 at 1:32

3 Answers 3

up vote -2 down vote accepted

It is unfortunate, because cooking was the only site to produce a name that wasn't beyond unspeakably horrible was decent.

This isn't the community's fault, it's our fault. Naming isn't merely difficult, it is INSANELY OMGWTFBBQ HEAD-ASPLODINGLY difficult. Far, far harder than we predicted ... and I honestly don't think we considered just how many sites there would be. Sure, name 3 sites.. but naming TWENTY? FORTY? It's beyond broken to the point of mind-rending madness.

Thus, the new policy is this: all sites will stick with their names until such time as they reach traffic levels roughly around what Server Fault currently has (~38k visitors/day).

This reduces the naming insanity -- we have 25 sites and could have 50 within the next 12 months -- to a tolerable level.

So, feel free to pick a name, and if it's good (yours is) we'll try to use it in..

  • site redirects (so will redirect to
  • site visuals (graphic logo tagline)
  • site tagline text

Then eventually, as per above, it could morph into the actual (reserved) domain.

I assume, based on the strike through that 'wasn't' should have changed to 'was'? –  yossarian Oct 4 '10 at 12:08
I have two issues with the name. Short term, I find it very hard to refer non-technical users to the site. I've been thinking about trying to get the site a mention on the NPR program splendid table, but I haven't because I can't imagine them saying the name on the radio and it generating any hits. Or the number of misses you'd get from a non-technical audience that would still put the www, which doesn't resolve to the site. Even linking a url is ugly with the current name, because there's a lot of "noise" in the name to a non technical user. –  yossarian Oct 4 '10 at 12:10
Long term, there's a serious issue if you try and rebrand after you're getting 35k+ visits a day. However, it sounds like you're saying that we do get the name in the site design and we do get a redirect URL. I think that would solve both of my issues with the naming schema. But does it solve your long term issue? Isn't webapps still going to be branded as and if it reaches mass get the url Nothing To Install? Or are you just assuming that if it gets 40k views a day, the name no longer matters? –  yossarian Oct 4 '10 at 12:13
@yossarian: Good point on the www thing. I forgot that people still did that. –  hobodave Oct 4 '10 at 16:16
It's entirely possible that I'm wrong, @Kevin, but I've had the same experience as Aaronut: when I try and tell people about the site, I have trouble explaining it. When I tell people the url, they have that look that they've decided to stop listening because it's too complicated. I've started refering to it as "that cooking site I'm on" because that seems less awkward than cooking.stackexchange and the one I use has NO information about where the site actually is. It's weird to me, that there isn't a name by which I can refer to the site. –  yossarian Oct 4 '10 at 18:44
When someone refers to the yahoo search sub domain, they don't say "I went to", they say "I looked it up on yahoo" and the context makes the meaning clear. The delineation of topics to sub domains doesn't make that possible with the proposed stack exchange solution. If I refer to "finding the answer on stack exchange" I could be talking about any one of 100s (eventually?) of sites. –  yossarian Oct 4 '10 at 18:47
I suppose you could address this by calling it "Stack Exchange Cooking" like yahoo does with Finance (a well known brand), and that would help somewhat. However, if we're going to talk about bad names, lets look at "Stack Exchange" which is totally meaningless to me. Nothing about the name says "expert q&a site" to me. It also sounds very technical to me, and not where I'd expect to find photography or cooking. I don't really see how it's any better a name than "Nothing to Install". –  yossarian Oct 4 '10 at 18:50
It doesn't help that "stackexchange" is a bitch to spell + explain over the phone. But whatever - if "" redirects, it's a non-issue, I can just use that. If anyone happens to notice the redirect and ask about it, I can just do the usual shrug + "oh, those crazy internets" thing. –  Shog9 Oct 4 '10 at 20:43
just to clarify, i think having the url redirect here is a good compromise, i just wanted to throw in my voice as one more person who agrees with aaron and yossarian and knives, and explain my down-vote to the answer above. i'd like to be more elaborate, but aaron's comments in the main thread are more detailed and eloquent than i could ever be. but the short of it is, is not the kind of URL you can share over the phone, in person, or on a radio show, no matter how much the se owners/moderators want it to be (and the votes on this thread loudly agree). –  stephennmcdonald Oct 4 '10 at 21:28
@kevin, Stephen pretty much nails it. Cooking is accurate in the context of stack exchange (and knowing what SE is), but I can't say "oh, I saw a great question on Cooking" because that's meaningless, just like saying "I saw a great question on Stack Exchange". Neither of those statements have much value, you have to use the combination, which is a lousy name for a community, heck it's not a name, it's a url (hence the 'dot'). But this is all really academic based on Jeff's original post, because we do get a name, which is far more important than a url. –  yossarian Oct 4 '10 at 21:40
@yossarian - "I found great results on Google." What the heck is a Google? Of course non-techies don't know what StackExchange is yet, they didn't know what Twitter, Facebook, or Microsoft were either. I read that entire argument as a pro-brand-building one, not an anti-StackExchange one. I also take issue with @stephen's argument that we can't say "the cooking site." That's the goal isn't it? To be the site for cooking questions on the internet? We aren't there yet, but why settle for "never gonna get there?" –  Kevin Montrose Oct 4 '10 at 22:28
@Kevin: What about a compromise. How about changing the subdomain to That way you get your search engine juice, and we can at least pretend that it's really our name (it at least makes some sense when redirects to as opposed to And we can actually have "seasoned advice" in the title and have that make sense to people. –  Aaronut Oct 4 '10 at 23:16
@Kevin: Fine, I'm not necessarily advocating a network-wide policy here; this would be similar to the suggestion someone made in the MSO thread, to be done if you accept the community's chosen name. I'm sure that other non-suck names for other sites will spring up over time as well. It would seem that you get everything you want this way, and the communities get at least some of what they want. –  Aaronut Oct 4 '10 at 23:33
Ah, branding... Nothing like having a name you can trust when it comes to things you can use. Wanders off to eat some delicious Unilever Food –  Shog9 Oct 5 '10 at 17:17
@Jeff: actually, my point is that even an established brand isn't worth much once you step outside of its established scope. Walk into any supermarket, and you'll encounter thousands of brands, hundreds of parent brands, few or none with any long-term relation to their manufacturers, who have their own brands that are exposed to an entirely different audience. SOIC is young enough to be stuck in the "soap company making margarine" role, but this too shall pass: if/when you succeed, you'll eventually find brands that don't expose the quirky name you picked for your back-end software... –  Shog9 Oct 5 '10 at 21:19

I know nothing about this meta-discussion. But I hate the idea of leaving it as Have you ever tried to point someone to this site by word of mouth? It's impossible. I don't even bother and had been waiting for a new user friendly name.

As had most of us, I think. Not that I want to discourage people from trying to promote the site the way it is, but the typical response so far has been "cooking dot what? Never mind, I'll ask <name of friend or family member who cooks>." –  Aaronut Oct 3 '10 at 15:57
@aaronut, Exactly. All the other stack exchange sites so far seem very techy, so I can see how those would work. But Cooking has such a different audience. Maybe the answer is that the community should get a name but maybe not provide it themselves? –  yossarian Oct 3 '10 at 16:21
Well we can still call it verbally and it will still work, even if it does get redirected, you still have the name in the header area of the site. –  musicwithoutpaper Apr 19 '11 at 23:30

Yeah, it's starting to look as though this thing might be stuck in "cooking..." limbo for an indeterminate amount of time. The SE Team hasn't, to my knowledge, come right out and said so... but there's been an awful lot of (cryptic, argumentative) hinting at it.

Which sucks, if true. Donno 'bout anyone else, but I've really been looking forward to recommending this site to family and friends, once it finally shakes free of the whole SE/A51 branding. I'm not really wild about trying to explain all that.

There's a good deal of geeks here do far, and that's great (I'm included in that group) but I don't think that's what the site wants in the long term. The name doesn't help at all. –  yossarian Oct 4 '10 at 1:56
@yossarian, by the way, Jeff mentioned you in a comment on this post; not really sure why. (EDIT: perhaps it was this user) –  Pops Oct 4 '10 at 2:06
@lord, I'm going to give jeff the benefit of the doubt and assume he's making a literary reference to my namesake rather than taking weird potshots at active users. –  yossarian Oct 4 '10 at 11:46
@Lord: Catch 22 –  hobodave Oct 5 '10 at 0:26

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