So we have fairly strong support for the idea that recipe requests (AKA "recipe-swapping" questions) should be out of scope for the main site. I'd prefer not to rehash the rationale; for anyone who's not familiar with this subject, please see the following:

Thing is - there's also some pretty heavy resistance to the idea:

I think it's hard to argue that, in the big-picture view, a large number of recipe requests would be bad for the site. But I can see this argument dragging on for a long time (think SO and career advice), and major disagreements like that are also going to be bad for the site.

So I propose that we meet these people halfway: Create a dedicated recipe site that works like meta.

The way I see it, this makes sense on every level:

  • Migration is a more polite response to newbies than closing their questions;

  • It should satisfy the dissenters;

  • It eliminates any possibility of rep- or badge-farming (since rep is derived from the parent site, and badges don't carry over);

  • It eliminates front-page clutter;

  • The recipes would be indexed and searchable;

  • It supports voting and ranking, which is probably why some people are so dead-set on using the F&C SE for it.

  • People who use the "recipe meta" site would probably be more willing to help migrate recipe requests there instead of arguing or voting to reopen on the parent site. (In other words, we could all be on the same team here.)

  • At the very worst, it would stagnate and collect dust - doing no harm to the parent site, but proving that recipe swapping isn't necessary or helpful to the community's survival.

Maybe I'm missing something, but to me, this is win-win. Can we get this implemented ASAP? Or does anybody see any serious problems with it?

  • Sure. Beats endless arguments.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 25, 2010 at 17:41
  • This is something that would suit some variations from the classic meta system and I don't see any reason why other sites wouldn't benefit something similar. Whilst I can see asap is a good thing, it would need to be done carefully so that in the future (When people aren't busy creating new SE's) changes could be made without causing too much damage.
    – Ian Turner
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 11:13
  • 1
    I like it, I would however like all recipes on the recipy-meta to be 'linked' to some specific 'cooking.stackexchange' question, detailing why the recipe is given (exposition of specific technique, flavor combination, etc.). Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 10:23
  • How about recipes.seasonedadvice.com? Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 1:16
  • @Tobia: I agree. We want to make sure we do not remove traffic from this site just to add to another. I think that maybe even there should not be a recipe search but just a question search to find a request for a recipe. Then you can have answers that link to recipes and then they can get voted on. (similar to StackOverflow where they have have a code solution on jsfiddle.net but you don't search code solutions.. you just search for questions) Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 1:20

5 Answers 5


From a non-professional chef user's standpoint, I believe this is an excellent idea and I support it.


This is really easy: Area 51 - Recipes.

If the idea gets support, the site will get created.1 Otherwise it wont.

So go rally the troops.

1 We'll worry about the meta-ness of it later. But, my guess is probably not. Just a regular site.

  • I had a feeling this would be the official response. We're trying to reach a compromise here; you're basically saying "if you want it, go start your own." The problem is, that doesn't acknowledge anyone's complaints, and the whole process - even if it succeeds - will be way too slow to nip this in the bud. I appreciate what you're trying to do, but could you state your objections to this proposal instead of requiring everyone to go through this tedious process just to create a site for somebody else's benefit?
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 1:28
  • 1
    You guys have indicated in the past that you'd be receptive to feature requests that are unique to specific sites; I happen to believe that this is a unique requirement for the Food & Cooking SE, one that isn't solved very well by the existing system. Obviously, you're the ones in charge, but it's naïve to think that none of us ever considered creating another proposal; we just didn't think it was the right way to handle this.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 1:31
  • 2
    Of course, there already was a recipes proposal, before you just went and created a new one : area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/11202/recipes
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 2:02
  • @Joe: I had forgotten there was already a recipe proposal. I deleted my duplicate proposal and redirect the link in my suggestion to the original. Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 4:16
  • 1
    @Aaronaught: I don't understand what you mean by "create a site for somebody else's benefit." I thought it was the perfect solution to fulfill the need — a full-fledged sister site with an easy migration path between the two. With the support of this site, a recipe site would get created very quickly (I was thinking by the end of next week). I'll let you guys hash the solution out in this thread, then. I'm not getting (yet) how a sister site isn't an awesome, expedient solution — except that it doesn't "work like meta," which I'm not entirely sure what that means. Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 4:24
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    @Robert: I think the issue is "we" (me, Aaronaught, others?) don't care for it. I'm on the bandwagon of recipe swaps not belonging here. That doesn't mean that I want to go commit to and sponsor a site that caters to that. I don't have an interest, nor the time. Back when it was just SO and we closed things that now have a place on SF/SU doesn't mean that I had any interest in helping those two get started.
    – hobodave
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 5:05
  • Hobodave expressed it pretty well. What we are trying to do is solve an immediate problem, not build a second community. The primary argument against recipe swapping put forth by us (including you) is that they are indiscriminate questions calling for non-expert answers and that allowing them to clutter up the front page will turn away the experts we need to build a true community. It seems most people more-or-less accept that logic but just can't get their heads around the idea of recipe requests being off-topic on a cooking site. This offers a compromise.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 13:56
  • 3
    Furthermore, if you consider why meta sites exist, it makes sense. MSO was created for one reason and one reason alone: To move the meta talk away from Stack Overflow because those discussions, while still important, would pollute the main site. We are essentially proposing the same thing; we acknowledge that these questions will come up frequently, that we obviously don't want them on the main site, but that giving people an outlet for this stuff instead of blatantly zapping is ultimately going to be easier for all of us and lead to a community with higher morale.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 14:02
  • Last comment for now: Although we'll no doubt have to wait several days for the full range of votes and responses because this meta is not that busy, it's telling that the proposal has 9 upvotes and not a single downvote. The recipe-swapping answer in the FAQ thread was very controversial, and yet, people so far seem to be almost unanimous in their support for this idea. Like I said, we should wait for more votes (up or down), but if there's even a possibility that this could unite a divided community, isn't it silly to reject it on principle?
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 14:06
  • @Aaronaught: I hear ya. I wasn't rejecting the idea at all. I just thought (mistakenly) that I had a solution that we together could implement now without going back to the core team with a special request. They're neck deep in getting the Network sites launched so community-specific features are a lower priority in these earliest days. I can't say if they would or would not implement a feature like this — almost certainly not until after the site makes it out of beta, though. Hence, the proposal idea. I simply thought I saw an opportunity to say "Hey! Let's just do this ourselves." Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 17:23
  • Okay, fair enough, if it's complicated to implement then it has to be prioritized along with everything else. I had the idea in my mind that since it's already been done for the meta sites, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to add a second "child" site. I do still think that this is the ideal solution, at least for now, but I guess we'll have to try to make do in the meantime and hope it doesn't lead to too much drama.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 17:59
  • My concern with having this a seperate site would be how easily it would be to migrate postings between sites -- with Stack Overflow, they can move messages to Super User or Server Fault; will that be possible if it were a completely separate site? Would you have to have a new set of moderators and all of the other overhead for the recipes site?
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 18:18
  • @Joe: Migration would be equally simple between two paired sites versus site-to-meta migration. No difference. Moderators: Probably different simply due to the commitment of time needed. But there's nothing saying it would have to be separate Moderators. Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 20:43
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    Whilst I was at first against this idea, I'm coming round to the idea more and more, especially if migration is simple between the 2 sites. We could just have one which is focused on recipe swapping, where the best recipes get voted up, and one on getting answers to your questions. why would both communities be the same? the likelihood is that they wouldn't be, you would get different people interested in each. The professional chefs might be more at home here and the professional 'recipe hoarders' would be more at home at the other. ctd...
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 11:07
  • 2
    @Ocaasi, I disagree, we specifically don't want those users. We want them to have their own community. What good is someone who is only interested in recipe collections to a site where recipe collections are off topic?
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 15:04

A dedicated recipe site would be a great addition to "Food and Cooking" at some point. However, I don't believe the site is mature enough in its young stages to merit a site-specific feature enhancement.

I completely understand why we don't want "Food and Cooking" to become yet-another-recipe-site, hence the idea to have a dedicated portion of the site to handle dedicated recipe swapping. No one wants bad questions to clutter up the site. I also can see the great potential of having a "recipe area" of our site that takes advantage of the fantastic talent pool in the "food and cooking" domain. You could come up with quite the wiki-cookbook of recipes from such a group!

I think, though, that the drama around what types of recipe questions should or should not be allowed is evidence enough of the complexity that will be required to design a good recipe extension to the site. All of the same questions surrounding recipes right now will still apply: Is this a pure recipe question that belongs on recipes.cooking? Is this a question about technique in a recipe or is the technique the entire recipe, and if so, does it belong on recipes.cooking? To what extent does a question have to be a "pure recipe question" before being moved to recipes.cooking?

To implement the solution well (by well, I mean not just a place to dump poorly worded questions that contain the word "recipe"), it would probably require a significant extension to the site. While the cost could potentially be justified later on, the site is certainly too young right now to merit the resources it would take to implement this site-specific extension.

  • I actually think that it would simplify matters, because the system would be more tolerant of the inevitable errors in judgment. The test is easy: "If you are searching for a recipe, ask your question on recipes. If you need help with a specific recipe, ask here." And it's not really that big a deal if somebody posts in the wrong place because it can be migrated. That said, it's possible that I'm being overly optimistic and have blinded myself to some of the greater subtleties.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 20:19
  • And you're absolutely right, doing this "properly" so as to be totally seamless and efficient would require some major design chance; I was hoping for a "quick fix" with this request, something to tide us over in the short term until the site is big enough to warrant an overhaul (assuming an overhaul ever actually becomes necessary). Oh well, you win some, you lose some. :)
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 20:21

As an amateur cook, there are many times I would like to hear expert opinions on subjective stuff: what are the good brands of cooking chocolate, a good stuffing recipe, which stick blender works, etc... For cases like these we could have a no reputation “question” with one answer that is forced to be a wiki where lists items may be voted on.

  • I don't think that this is necessarily a bad idea (it's been proposed before on MSO) but I can't see it working for recipes, because there are tons of them for any given dish and they comprise a much larger amount of content. While a true "poll" for the best of 10 different brands of hand blender, 1-3 words each might do fine, I can't see it working for a gigantic list of recipes. In any case, reputation is not really the primary issue here, it's just one of many, with the biggest being that they'll clutter up the front page and distract from the "expert" questions we want/need.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 0:33
  • While the examples you provide (which cooking chocolate, what good stuffing recipe, which stick blender...) all share in common that they would lead to subjective answers, I don't necessarily agree that subjective answers should receive no reputation. For example, this answer about ( cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/2242/… ) kosher salt contains an expert, albeit subjective, opinion about which type of kosher salt is best. However, the explanation behind the opinion gives merit to the 8 reputation up-votes it received. Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 18:24
  • it might be worth adding those example questions to the recipe swap proposal site at area51, to help define what that site should deal with. If they are not considered appropriate for here, then maybe the supporters of that site will consider them for their proposal.
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 11:13
  • Isn't that what community wiki is for?
    – Ocaasi
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 14:48

I'm in the process of designing a recipe sharing site based in part on the SO vote and ranking model. It's called Fridge to Food and is in the late alpha stages. It indexes recipes based on ingredients, is very image focused allowing anyone to post an image to any recipe, has tagging and keeps track of user cookies. Users gain reputation for recipe upvotes and for image upvotes (less for images, more for recipes).

Like I said, it's still in alpha and isn't even to feature complete beta. However, when finished it could serve much better as a recipe repository than an SE but retain the features that people want from a recipe SE. I've been working on it since November when I got the idea for a ingredient searchable recipe site with SO-like voting, but development's been slower than I like as I've had to maintain a full time job the entire time. First as a programmer and now as a teacher in Thailand.

I've been debating for a while whether or not I wanted to suggest it as a possible recipe repository for a food and cooking SE. I do want to eventually commercialize it (if it is successful) if for no other reason than that I could concentrate on it full time. I'm happy to offer it up as a distant cousin site that could serve as a recipe repository for Food and Cooking Stack Exchange.

If this is out of line somehow, let me know and I'll retract the post. But as long as we're discussing a dedicated recipe Stack Exchange I figured I would offer it. I'd considered using a Stack Exchange for recipes, but figured it would be better to take the features from the SO model that I love and build a dedicated site better suited to recipes.

  • It sounds like a great idea to me, although it's missing one very important feature and that's the ability to cleanly migrate questions. Maybe that's not a show-stopper - after all, we have Doctype in the trilogy footer which is based on completely different software and run by different people. If this feature-request is either declined or put in the "six to eight weeks" bucket, and if you can clear yours with the team (no doubt some conditions would apply), then I'd certainly support it in the short term at least.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 15:11

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