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The state of Beer SE has been on my mind for quite a while now, and after another user suggested that the site expand our scope, we've decided it's time to shake things up.

In its current state, Beer is averaging 0.4 questions per day. While we have two active moderators who are keeping the site clean, we don't have many users asking or answering questions, or participating in review.

Community engagement is critical to keeping a site running.

The Plan

The site's current scope is too narrow. We'd like to widen its purview to all alcoholic beverages, including but not limited to:

As you can see, the new site scope will be broader than its current form. We want the community to be revitalized and open to these areas.

Why the change, now?

I'll admit that I was hesitant to change scope, but after looking it over, I decided that a lot of work (800+ days in beta) has been put in and it would be a shame to throw that away by combining the site with Homebrewing. There is no guarantee that a change in scope will breathe new life in the site but in my opinion, it's worth the effort.

The change will allow the site to encompass the current proposals of Wine, and Cider. We're hoping it will get interest from users of the now closed Alcoholic Beverages proposals (1, 2) to join the site and participate.

We want the community to succeed and if broadening the scope is needed, then let's go for it.

What's Next?

The community will need to flesh out the new scope of the site. What will be on-topic? We will also need to come up with a new site name. "Beer" is too limiting, so what should it be named?

Once these are decided, then we will get the highball rolling and have some fun with alcohol.

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    Wow, was surprised to see this proposal from you after your answer on the linked post. I take it you're speaking on behalf of the CM team? Cool -- let's liven up this site, then. – Monica Cellio Apr 5 '16 at 21:10
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    @MonicaCellio As I mentioned, I was hesitant to change the scope but after looking over the site and discussing it with the CM team I don't want all the hard work to go to waste. This change might not fix it, but I'm willing to give it a go to see if we can make the community thrive. BTW, if you have thoughts for a new name propose it in an answer. :) – Taryn Apr 5 '16 at 21:13
  • Thanks! Yes this might not fix it, but I'm glad we're giving it a shot. If it doesn't work we're presumably back to merging a subset of questions into Homebrewing (depending on what they'll take), but let's treat that as a fallback. – Monica Cellio Apr 5 '16 at 21:21
  • I don't know what the SEO juice would be, but for the new name, I'm partial to "libations.SE" at the moment. – Xander Apr 7 '16 at 1:34
  • @Xander I like Libations.SE on first glance -- how 'bout writing it up in an answer for voting? – Monica Cellio Apr 7 '16 at 2:34
  • can we ask about tequila? – Just Do It Apr 7 '16 at 14:27
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    @JustDoIt That would fall in the "other spirits" category, so yes, go for it. Or should I say Just Do It. :) – Taryn Apr 7 '16 at 14:28
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    From the perspective of Seasoned Advice, this seems like a great idea. We've always regarded drinks, alcoholic or otherwise, as on-topic there, but it's not totally intuitive. Having a more obvious home for those questions would probably get a lot more of them actually asked. (And if you do choose a relatively generic name like "drinks", and get off-topic non-alcoholic drink questions, you can always send them to cooking!) – Cascabel Apr 8 '16 at 0:24
  • Yea having a general 'alcoholic drinks' site would be a huge win. – Canadian Coder Apr 8 '16 at 18:28
  • Did you consider just combining beer with home brewing? – paparazzo Apr 11 '16 at 12:44
  • @Paparazzi Yes that was a possibility, but considering there have been other proposals for alcoholic beverages we decided to expand the scope instead. – Taryn Apr 11 '16 at 13:02
  • That is an insanely large group of drinks! Although I can understand that it will bring more feet, I am a bit worried that the scope will be too large. Then again, stackoverflow covers all programming... So; the more the merrier! Welcome to the other spirits (and Tequila)! – Atron Seige Apr 15 '16 at 8:56
  • And regarding the name, libations is good, but it might be a bit "high" for the average user. May I suggest "ABV"? – Atron Seige Apr 15 '16 at 8:58
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Scope

The on-topic help currently says the following:

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Specific beers
  • Breweries
  • Beer & brewing history
  • Beer styles & ingredients
  • Cultural and geographic questions specifically related to beer
  • Questions about other fermented drinks including:
    • Cider
    • Mead
    • Rice Wine

One specific topic that is not on-topic is home-brewing, and associated technical brewing questions which should be directed to Homebrewing Stack Exchange.

If we want to preserve the distinction between product and production -- that is, if we want questions about vintning, distilling, etc to be off-topic just as questions about home-brewing are now -- then we could generalize that list as follows:

  • Specific beers, wines, liquors, ciders, or other alcoholic drinks
  • Breweries, wineries, and distilleries
  • Alcohol & production history
  • Styles & ingredients
  • Cultural and geographic questions specifically related to alcohol

(And then a note about brewing/vintning/etc, TBD.)

I think that captures the spirit of the proposal here. Is that what we want?

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    I'm in favor of this. I might just delete the note about production entirely for now, and see how it goes with the additional scope (and hopefully traffic.) – Xander Apr 6 '16 at 21:20
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    The FAQ has been updated. – Xander Apr 7 '16 at 1:30
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Site Name

Based on the scope described in this answer, which so far has some support and no opposition, we need a name and URL that cover the broad range of alcoholic drinks. While Alcohol is an obvious candidate here, I'm going to propose that we follow in the footsteps of sites like Seasoned Advice (cooking) and Ask Different (apple). A catchier name might draw more attention from users we want to engage. I don't actually claim to be good at this, so I hope other people will offer competing answers.

Proposed name: The Open Bar

Proposed URL: alcohol.stackexchange.com (see alternate URL proposal in comments)

Favicon: You know how Aviation has that little airplane and a couple other sites have graphemes instead of text in their beta logos? Is there one of those for a beer mug?

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    I'm very much for an alternative to "Alcohol," and "Seasoned Advice" is a great example. To me, the word "alcohol" brings up a lot of impressions from negative or "sterile" contexts, from alcoholism to other adverse effects of alcohol, even the chemical group (COH). "Alcohol" also feels like a name indifferent to the culture of drinkers who enjoy the creative process, the locale-dependent search, the subjective evaluation of taste, the fun. – Andrew Cheong Apr 7 '16 at 11:48
  • To me, alcohol is only a byproduct of the creation process, and happens to have a side-effect during consumption, but is otherwise unrelated to what this site is really about, even if it happens to exist in beer, wine, and liquor. – Andrew Cheong Apr 7 '16 at 11:48
  • I'm going to ask around English.SE and general chats to see if people have some creative ideas. I thought Brewed and Distilled might be close, but doesn't quite cover wine, and Brewed, Fermented, and Distilled is too long. And neither are creative. The Open Bar is quite creative and I like it, except for its association (for me) with... drinking to get drunk / celebrate, but not to enjoy what's being had. – Andrew Cheong Apr 7 '16 at 12:03
  • @AndrewCheong those are good points. When I think of an open bar I think of happy occasions like weddings, not drunkenness, but you're right that that's not universal. And "alcohol" does sound kind of clinical. Let's see what else we can come up with! (Let's try to avoid "X and Y" names, though; we're looking for a category, not an enumeration.) – Monica Cellio Apr 7 '16 at 12:52
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    Friendly amendment: instead of the URL being "alcohol", how about "drinks" or "drinking"? I don't want to edit for that now because this answer already has votes, but please upvote this comment if you agree and leave (or upvote) a comment opposing it if you don't agree. – Monica Cellio Apr 7 '16 at 12:54
  • Ah, "clinical" is the word I've been searching for. Yes, I would say that "Alcohol" sounds clinical to me. The Open Bar though, I really do like—I think it's a fun name that would draw more visitors than Libations. And my personal associations with open bars are definitely not the norm; I've only been to two weddings :-) – Andrew Cheong Apr 7 '16 at 14:13
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    what about speakeasy? It's a catchy name :) – Just Do It Apr 7 '16 at 14:32
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    @JustDoIt Propose that as an answer so people can vote. – Taryn Apr 7 '16 at 14:46
  • I don't know how to make a decent proposal. I just liked how it sounds :( – Just Do It Apr 7 '16 at 15:32
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    @MonicaCellio - After a discussion with bluefeet and Xander, we've decided to create a separate thread for site name proposals. Would you mind re-posting your suggestions to: meta.beer.stackexchange.com/questions/132/…. – Andrew Cheong Apr 11 '16 at 4:24
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I like Monica's suggestion for the new name, The Open Bar. Here are a couple of other options to consider:

  • Libations
    • I'm particularly partial to this one, though it may be to esoteric
  • Drinks
    • While not specific to alcoholic beverages, it's used enough as a synonym ("we're going out for drinks") that I think it could work.
  • Happy Hour
    • No comment needed.

Any of these could have a matching URL, but in any case I would probably (like Andrew commented on Monica's answer) like to find something a bit less sterile than "alcohol" for the name and URL.

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    Sorry to be a stickler but let's do one name per answer so people can vote on them. It would be easier than trying to decipher from comments a winner. – Taryn Apr 7 '16 at 12:13
  • I like Drinks (or Drinking). I'm holding off on voting until you split this up. – Monica Cellio Apr 7 '16 at 12:55
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    I've voted but I'll re-vote when these are split up. I'm quite fond of Libations as well. It's a word that's esoteric enough that users can reforge a new meaning somewhere in between "a drink poured as an offering to the gods" and what this site is. I like that even the literal definition gives the impression of valuing the drink as something symbolic of more than its chemical content. – Andrew Cheong Apr 7 '16 at 14:10
  • I'm personally digging Open Bar and Happy Hour – Just Do It Apr 7 '16 at 14:28
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    @Xander - Please migrate proposals to meta.beer.stackexchange.com/questions/132/… :-) – Andrew Cheong Apr 11 '16 at 4:24

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