I think that the general approach on SE sites is to 'build the hive' rather than go looking for bees (so to speak). In that case, we shouldn't worry too much about reaching the target audience, but concentrate on creating an 'awesome site'.

But that still begs the question of awesome site for whom?

The proposal said:

For students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the French language.

So it should be clear, right? But I think the 'finer points' could be a bit difficult to define. And the thing is, whatever we may want, the initial audience is going to be an overwhelming influx of bilingual geeks from Stack Overflow. If that matters.

Maybe it's abundantly clear and I'm fussing for nothing.



The audience that interests me is anyone with a basic grasp of French and interested in learning more. I'm open to making the site more or less accessible to non-francophones, but if I'm to remain interested, there is a basic requirement:

The site must be attractive to experts.

Experts, here, are people who have more than a casual or practical interest in the French language: academics studying the fine points of the language, teachers of French (whether to French or foreign students), native or non-native speakers who are interested in more than knowing enough to get by.

So I prefer this audience:

  non-speaker          learner          fluent    native    academic

to this audience:

  non-speaker          learner          fluent    native    academic

even though the former is not as wide.


Ouch. The usage of the word 'awesome' is so abused here. :-)

I really think we should go for as wide an audience as possible from square one. That means that questions about tricky translations to French, differences in usage between different French-speaking regions, and finer points of grammar, should all be on-topic.

This 'awesome' thing makes it sound like one should be overawed when they see the site, or something. I think the term is used way too much. The site should be of good quality, but 'awesome'? Please.

  • 1
    Not to keen on the "awesome" abuse myself either, but it seems to be pretty endemic around stackexchange google.com/search?q=site%3Ablog.stackoverflow.com+awesome
    – Flexo
    Aug 18 '11 at 9:22
  • Yeah but it still grates on me.
    – Jez
    Aug 18 '11 at 9:24
  • 1
    I disagree that having a wide audience is the primary goal. If you exclude the experts, why bother? Aug 18 '11 at 10:00
  • @Gilles How does "having a wide audience" equate to "excluding the experts"?
    – Jez
    Aug 18 '11 at 10:41
  • 1
    @Jez: It's about noise-to-signal ratio. If a blog has a really interesting post every 50 posts, but the rest is only trivial banalities, I'm not gonna read it. Too much noice, too little signal. The same applies to experts. If too many of the questions are not even remotely difficult, the expert in question will find something better to do.
    – Borror0
    Aug 19 '11 at 21:31

I think this question is still quite open: right now, the site doesn’t attract a lot of questions and most of them are from French learners.

I’m personally not so sure we should try to appeal to experts. Well, it would be nice but:

  1. I have no doubt they already know how and where to discuss (i.e. academia)
  2. Nearly two years after this question was opened, we can’t say the expert questions are a large part of the current corpus.

I’ve only been here one month, but I’m under the impression that this site attracts mainly enthusiasts and learners (and enthusiastic learners). And the fact that learners have more questions than enthusiasts creates the bias was describing earlier.

So how would you say we should try and appeal to more people? I say the first step is to try and ask more questions, both in number and variety. But it is easy to say.

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