Launch!

After almost a year in beta, we now have over 3000 users and an active community of science fiction fans (as well as a few users that are actively working in this area) providing input, answers, moderation, blog posts and their own time to make the site a global success.

Congratulations to all the members – your effort has paid off, and today scifi.stackexchange.com has graduated from a beta Stack Exchange website to a full-fledged member of the Stack Exchange family.

What does this mean?

New design.


Be sure to check out the errorCAPTCHA (human verification), about, and 404 (page not found) pages, and check out the different look of meta (and, while you’re there, take a look at some of the hot meta questions).

Privileges have changed.

Now that we’re not a beta site, the privileges required to do certain things have increased. That means there are fewer people to do them, and you might not be able to do everything that you could yesterday.

If you see something problematic, please comment and flag. Your moderators will be happy to close, reopen, migrate, protect or delete questions or answers that need it, especially if there’s comments and/or flags from multiple users saying that’s what needs to happen.

Remember that anyone can edit.  Even if you lost the edit privilege, you can still edit any answer or question – it’ll just go into a moderation queue to be verified first.  Again, there are fewer people to work through these suggested edits now, too, so it might take a little longer for the suggestions to be processed, but generally our moderators are super fast, so you probably won’t wait long.  If your edit is approved, you get reputation, so it’s another way to build up to the privilege level that you used to enjoy.

Vote Early, Vote Often, and Vote Some More. Voting builds reputation, which will help more users earn the privileges that let the site be more user-run than moderator-run.  When you’ve run out of votes, find an unanswered or poorly answered question and answer it, to gather more reputation for yourself.

We’re linked in the footer of regular Stack Exchange sites

Hopefully we’ll get some new visitors as a result.  Please take care to be even more friendly and helpful than you already are to help out our new members.  In particular, if you down-vote or vote to close, please make sure that you leave a comment (or upvote an existing comment) explaining what’s wrong with the question/answer, so that we encourage better participation by these new users, rather than scare them away.

Let your friends and fellow fans know about the site (and the blog!) – we get around 1500 visits a day, but the more people who come, the wider the pool of expertise we can bring in.  This is just one giant leap towards becoming the authoritative site for science fiction and fantasy questions – we still need to work hard to get the rest of the way.

@stackscifi improvements

Not everyone is interested in manually heading to a website each day to check out what’s new  – we’d rather get pushed any interesting new content when it arrives. Thankfully, there are a number of ways that you can get notified about new scifi.stackexchange.com content:

One of the most convenient ways to get notification of interesting content on the site is via Twitter.  The @stackscifi account has tweeted links to interesting new questions for a while now, but it’s recently had some significant improvements, and if you follow it, you’ll now find out about:
  • Great answers to questions (note that “great” here isn’t the same as in badges).  I find this more useful than even the questions (which I’m likely to notice just browsing the site), since it’s easy to miss a great answer, especially if it gets added after you’ve already read a question.
  • Requests for help (“can you answer”).  If there’s a question that no-one has been able to answer, @stackscifi will put out a call for help.
  • Notification of new blog posts, like this one.
  • Upcoming chat events, like the fortnightly recommendation chat.
Not only is this a great way to keep track of anything interesting appearing on the site, it’s also the easiest way to share this information – all you need to do is tap a retweet button to pass along a link to a great question or answer (note that there are FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn sharing buttons on each question if you prefer to do this the longer way).

Literature Sister Site Launches

The Literature StackExchange site is now available to the public.  If you’ve got questions that need answering by a literature expert, then this is a good place to ask – note that their current definition of “literature” is quite wide (it includes popular fiction, not just “those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit”).

The site actually has quite a large proportion of questions that are about science fiction and fantasy literature, so if you’ve got some expertise there, you might be interested in answering some questions for them (if you’ve got an account on our site with at least 200 reputation, then if you associate the two accounts – you’ll be prompted to do this if you use the same OpenID – then you’ll start off there with 101 reputation).

If you’ve got a question about science fiction or fantasy literature, where do you ask that question, now that there’s both sites?  Consider who you would like an answer from: an expert in science fiction / fantasy, or an expert in literature in general; different types of questions will suit each site.  Some questions will be perfectly acceptable on both sites, and in those cases it’s up to the asker to decide where they’d like to ask (in general questions won’t be migrated between the sites, and duplicates may exist on both sites, as long as they are not exact duplicates). You should definitely not post the same question on both sites, however.

If you’ve got questions about writing science fiction or fantasy, then you’re still probably best off asking over at Writers rather than Literature or our site.  Note that the Literature site currently accepts recommendation questions, which are off-topic at our site, so if you’re after a science fiction or fantasy recommendation, then you can ask there (we continue to welcome these questions in chat, as well).

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