Every few weeks another sharp poster asks:

As a regular DBA.SE patron your response might be: "Because all of those topics are welcome on this site, both by our FAQ and by our users!"

Well you know what?

No-one gives a [REDACTED] about our FAQ or our posts, because the second they read our name they figure us all out.

The equation is pretty simple:

Database Administrators == DBAs == Cranky Old Dudes who do Backups and Logs and [REDACTED].

I don't care where this perception comes from (e.g. one, two). The point is that it's widespread enough to limit the scope of this site. (And you can read more complaints about the name when it was first changed from "Databases" to "Database Administrators" in the comments on this question and the comments on this answer.) Many of us have raised the issue of renaming the site over, and over again, and I have lamented our name several times.

To cut this rant short:

  • As a community we welcome and aim to be the best place to answer questions about:

    • advanced database design and development
    • data warehousing and business intelligence
    • NoSQL technologies
    • database administration (for traditional RDMSs and NoSQL/NewSQL technologies as well)

    "DBA" means something very specific to a lot of people. Unfortunately, that something does not include most of the items above.

  • Our name is at odds with this aforementioned aim. It limits our perceived scope (never mind what's actually in our FAQ!) and creates resistance from others unhappy to see questions migrated here, others who would make great additions to our community.
  • Therefore we need to make it a top priority to change our name to something that captures the scope of our FAQ and attracts the people and posts we want here. Site banner, community vote, name change by diktat... I don't know how best to make this happen, but this. needs. to happen. ASAP.

Vote on or Propose Here a New Name for the Site

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According to your profile, you're not old enough to be this cranky. See also: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/113775/… –  Shog9 Dec 2 '11 at 21:50
    
@Shog9 - I think I'm turning into the DBA all developers fear. And yep, I saw that discussion. (It's in the list above.) –  Nick Chammas Dec 2 '11 at 22:13
    
@Shog9 seeing as you are here, can I ask you to give some more thought to your post there on mSO in the light of this post. I see this as a private discussion for SO people to have which is why I'm asking here rather than butting in on mSO (hope you understand that) - and what I'm really suggesting is that you at least consider changing your advice that "blind migration of any advanced SQL questions is not the way to go" - also please see Jeffs comment on the similar mSF post. –  Jack Douglas Dec 2 '11 at 22:59
    
obviously that is SF not SO and the same rules needn't apply - and it is still only one man's opinion, but I thought you might like to read it none the less... –  Jack Douglas Dec 2 '11 at 23:00
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@Jack: my philosophy is that as long as your question is on-topic, it should stay on whatever site you asked it on. Asking an advanced SQL question on Server Fault stands a pretty good chance of failing test #1 - so if it has to be migrated, migrating here is a good choice. Ask the very same question on SO though, and you'll probably be on-topic. So then the question becomes, would you get a better answer by asking it here instead? - that's something you (or whoever) can suggest to someone struggling to get a good answer on SO. –  Shog9 Dec 2 '11 at 23:38
    
@Shog9 thanks for your well thought-out comments. The remaining question in my mind is whether the concept of 'on-topic' on SO is set in stone or gradually evolving now that the SE2 sites have arrived. We will continue to do our bit - our very best to make dba.se a good home for what you do migrate and not worry too much about internal SO politics - my guess is that that is the best way to develop the site and have a good relationship with SO (no-one wants to send a question off to a bad home). –  Jack Douglas Dec 3 '11 at 7:43
    
Your point about commenting to the OP: right now users on SO flag for migration to dba and mods handle it - I don't know but think it is very unlikely we get many self-flagged migrations nor would if we commented. If you want to change how that works that is up to you on SO, not us, but I personally think it would be a very unhelpful move for both sites in the long term. –  Jack Douglas Dec 3 '11 at 7:47
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I think any other name (such as suggestions here meta.dba.stackexchange.com/questions/270/…) simply reduce conciseness while often making a question of what's appropriate on the site even MORE ambiguous. I'm a spreadsheet user. Am I a "Data Guru" now? What about designing Crystal Reports? I also don't think DBA is exclusive of NoSQL or BI. BI is usually tied to a database and NoSQL data storage is still in what is called "database", just not relational. –  Ben Brocka Dec 7 '11 at 16:37
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@BenBrocka - The term DBA means something very specific to a lot of people. The fact that "Data Gurus" doesn't is an advantage--then our FAQ and About pages have more of a chance of being read and setting a scope for the site. They don't have to struggle against a definition people already have in their mind from reading our name. And yes, to many people DBA is exclusive of NoSQL and BI (whether or not that has to be the case is irrelevant; that's the perception). Just read the posts I linked to above to see what your average techie thinks DBA means--or rather, what it doesn't mean. –  Nick Chammas Dec 7 '11 at 16:46
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Just because someone asked if it's on topic doesn't mean a substantial number of people believe the site excludes NoSQL or BI. I'm not opposed to Databases.SE but "Gurus" gains inclusiveness at the expense of recognization. –  Ben Brocka Dec 7 '11 at 17:02
    
@BenBrocka - If someone asked, there are probably many more that agree (a small portion of whom also saw the question and voted it up). I agree wrt the name change losing us recognition. –  Nick Chammas Dec 7 '11 at 17:42
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It's funny that I just visited here for the first time to do exactly that: complain why a post was moved here. Folks, having two places that the same questions can be answered is awful. It dilutes your pool of answerers and punishes them by siphoning off reputation from people who want their rep to stay in one place. Finally it makes duplicate questions more likely by isolating them from each other. Not good. –  ErikE Feb 6 '12 at 2:28

4 Answers 4

The only way we'll know if this is a real problem is by asking real users; these discussions are great but it's impossible to know what % of users have these misconceptions if we only listen to those vocal enough to say something. If Bill Gates thought a DBA was a badger and 99% of other developers thought a DBA was a weasel, then the most relevant answer is that a DBA is in fact a weasel. In the subjective case the superstar user is no more relevant than any other single user, so we must resort to quantitative analysis.

What we should do is create a brief survey intended for Stack Overflow users; target developers who work with databases and use the Stack Exchange network, the sites we migrate the most questions from (SO for sure, maybe Programmers/serverfault if there are many people trying to post DB questions). What we want to know is A) why people are posting their DB questions on that site and B) whether they find their questions appropriate for this site.

We could run a community ad to help recruit users. Since our population is Stack Exchange users this results in relatively little sample bias. The main thing beyond that is careful copy to encourage lots of responses without biasing their opinions.

Here's some sample copy for an SE community ad:

Database Developer?

Answer a brief survey to help us better answer your database questions!


Questions:

  • On a Database Administrators Q & A site, the following questions would be appropriate: (check all that apply)
  • Have you used DBA.Stackexchange before? Why or why not?

We could include some more but short and sweet will maximize successful conversions and minimize the risk of bias in the wording. We could ask on Quara or another site but I would rather target SO's users, as they're our main target. We need to know if they find the DBA title offputting, as they're largely the ones deciding whether a question belongs on SO or DBA--or maybe they don't know DBA exists.

This would help us find if the naming is an issue; we could find if Alex Kuznetsov 's opinion of "DBA" not including things like Database Design, DB source control ect is common among our developer users.

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I agree a survey would be the "correct" way to determine what SO patrons think DBAs do (or what they think is welcome on DBA.SE). However, I think this sample of posts (and specifically, the comments on the posts) gives a good prediction of what the results of said survey would be: one‌​, two, three. –  Nick Chammas Dec 7 '11 at 23:11
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I don't find those posts very relevant as no one is going to post a question stating "I think DBA is a swell name". I could just as easily state that all of the on-topic questions on DBA prove that the majority of people/questions indicate there is no problem; neither is a proper measure. –  Ben Brocka Dec 8 '11 at 0:16
    
That is true. So how do we go about launching this survey? –  Nick Chammas Dec 21 '11 at 17:28
    
Best-case we could get the Stack Exchange crew involved; they've run some surveys before. blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/12/come-here-often –  Ben Brocka Dec 21 '11 at 20:24

I am a real user. I have over 5k rep on SO, in large part due to answering SQL questions. I came here expressly to ask why a question was migrated. I didn't like it.

I agree with you. The name does not convey to me advanced SQL querying, design, BI, or any of that. Please see my question link for more detail.

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Thanks for coming here and participating in the debate - as you now know dba.se is not just for questions that your DBAs would answer. Partly this is a culture thing - where I work, DBA means something much broader than where you work, and partly it is down to the imperfect nature of communication - many of us are just not sure there is a 'better' name for the site even though we acknowledge it can cause confusion. In many ways I consider myself more of a SQL expert than a DBA, and I feel very at home on this site - I do hope you will decide to participate here too long term. –  Jack Douglas Feb 6 '12 at 15:30

I don't know how best to make this happen

That one I think I can answer :)

There is only one way the site name can change: these things get decided here on meta - not by mods, not in chat, not on the main site but right here on meta by the community.

So, as part of a campaign to get more people to vote on the existing question about the site name I think this is a great question (+1). But there are two things we should not do:

  • ask the question again to try and get a different answer
  • ignore the votes on that question
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By "the existing question", you mean this question, correct? –  Nick Chammas Dec 2 '11 at 1:48
    
Yes - everyone please go and vote there! Or better still come up with a great name/url we can all agree on and add it there :) FWIW I nearly changed my vote on databasemonkeys to an upvote last night - but couldn't bring myself to in the end. –  Jack Douglas Dec 2 '11 at 7:35
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I delete "monkeys" from that Q: time to get serious and quickly –  gbn Dec 2 '11 at 16:44

For reference, here is the text of @AlexKuznetsov's post on our main site (which was originally posted as an answer to a question and has since been deleted and moved here):

I know this is not an answer, but I do not know where and how I should share my opinion. This is not the first time when a question asked by a developer, and meant to be answered by developers, is migrated off the developers' site.

I think it should be moved back to stackoverflow, where it belongs.

I do not think that DBAs are always better experts on version control than developers.

So, I think this question has a much better chance of getting proper answer where it was originally asked, and I ask to move it back.

Same goes for multiple questions on table/constraint design - why are they moved here from stackoverflow?

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