In the past 3 months, Gaming has grown to be one of the largest sites in the Stack Exchange network. Skyrim boosted it into the big leagues in November, and now Mass Effect 3 is showing that that wasn’t a lucky, once-in-a-lifetime event but something that can be repeated.
Those events were mainly focused on our community, but we want to do more to reach outside. We’re experimenting with things like sponsoring a League of Legends tournament, and even thinking about having a presence at conferences like PAX. These attract users directly by driving people to our site, but they also get our name out there so that the next time these people search for a question and land on our site they remember us.
The main obstacle in these more marketing/advertising focused promotions has often turned out to be something annoyingly simple: we don’t have a name. As Oak observes:
Btw stuff like that really makes me wish we had a better site name and domain name! … it's a hard decision to make, definitely. But when our name / domain name start appearing in sponsorship context, it becomes critical. (source, source)
There’s no doubt about it: “Gaming Stack Exchange” is a mouthful. But worse than just being long, it’s not really a name -- it’s a description that says “We’re the Gaming section of Stack Exchange”. It’s a name targeted to people inside the network: “Oh, this is Stack Exchange for gaming? I love gaming!”. When we tell people about the site, we get one chance to communicate who we are and what we’re about, and we’re tripping on the first three words out of our mouths.
A proposed name
So we at Stack Exchange HQ thought a lot about this, and not without disagreement. Some people feel strongly that Stack Exchange is the brand, and promoting that brand will help all the sites. Others think that each site should have its own brand that speaks to its unique community. About the only thing we can agree on right now is that “XXXXX Stack Exchange” is not a brand -- it’s too long, descriptive, and forgettable.
A few of us who love gaming decided to see if we could come up with a decent name. We thought about what we wanted to convey: not just a site about gaming, since there are tons of those. We wanted to focus on what makes us different -- answers, high-quality content, game mechanics, etc.
So we brainstormed, we made lists, we contacted domain squatters, we argued, and we came up with one name that we really liked: Game Council. Why? On the surface, it’s short, it’s unique, the domain was available, and it spoke to the core of our identity: a group of gaming experts answering important questions.
"Council" suggests expert, high-quality advice. "Ask the Game Council" and "Join the Game Council" are catchy tag lines we can use to give a sense of what we do in just a few words. Becoming an expert "Councillor" conveys the knowledge-sharing and advancement that make the site work.
Wait, what? A domain?
Well, yes and no. Domains have been exceedingly problematic in the past and have big search implications. So for now we would only use gamecouncil.com to redirect to gaming.stackexchange.com, a la Ask Different. We would use gamecouncil.com in advertising and so on, but the site will still live at the same address. We’re hoping that this gives the site an identity without all the pain associated with changing domains.
What do you think?
So there it is: our best stab at a name. We’re not going to enforce it from above, because that’s silly: if it’s going to be the identity of the site, it has to be your identity. Obviously not everyone will like it, but if we don’t have a solid majority we’ll go back to the drawing board and start all over. We’ll work with the community -- do some polls, vote on names, etc -- and see if we can come up with something better.
Or, if you like the name, we’ll get started on it right away.