this started out as a comment to an answer on this question but I think it might deserve its own question.

We are all(!) agreed that we don't want this to become a recipe swap site, and we know we will continue to get these questions regardless of what we want. It seems, from this question, that the majorities preferred solution is to have a sub-site, like meta, which can be used for these recipe swap questions. From the responses it seems like this is unlikely to happen any time soon, with so many site launching and this needing to be a site specific change.

Robert proposed setting up a (actually supporting the existing) proposal for a recipe swap site, but this seemed to be rejected. I admit I was a nay sayer in the beginning, but i have come round to the idea having seen that it should be simple to migrate between the sister sites1, and even think that having them have separate focuses the sites on the differences, and means that those who don't care for this don't need to be involved and those that only care about recipe swapping (or whatever the scope for that site is) don't need to worry about this site. it sort of makes sense to have different reputations for that site as well.

On SO if you have 3 answers which suggest 3 different things, all with equal votes, but one of them is by Jon Skeet, you know that that one is probably to be trusted. Similarly on the recipe swap site, if someones recipes are consistently voted up, then you know you can probably trust another recipe they have posted. it doesn't necessarily follow that they have good rep on this site that their recipes will be the best. For example if a chef from here with great rep posts a recipe, it might be fantastic, but might need a thermo mixer or blast chiller to get it to come out right.

The proposal as it currently stands doesn't have a great deal of traction, but it seems to me that if we made a concerted effort to reply to recipe requests with something along the lines of:

'Thanks for the question, but recipe requests are considered off topic here. We are focused on questions which can be objectively answered. However, there is a proposal for a similar site focused on recipe requesting. If this proposal gets enough interest it will become a site like this one. Please consider adding your voice to the proposal so the site can get off the ground ASAP. You can read the proposal here: http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/11202/recipes and just click the follow button if you decide this is the sort of site you would like to be involved in'

then we could probably help to swell the numbers of relevant people quite quickly.

This would be mutually beneficial I believe.

1 from the comments in the linked question: 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♦ 2 days ago @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. – Robert Cartaino♦ 2 days ago edit

  • 2
    I don't use SO, SF, SU. Is it obvious when a question is moved where it has gone? My guess is that the people most likely to make the mistake will also be the people least likely to understand the structure of the site(s) and what has happened.
    – yossarian
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 12:32
  • 1
    @yossarian : question and answers asked so far (and I believe their current upvotes/downvotes) are moved to the new site, and the original question is marked close with a note that it's been migrated, and a link to the new location.
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 18:35

3 Answers 3


I prefer the idea of a meta site, however, as you point out, that seems unlikely. So this is the second best option. So, I agree and will join the recipe's proposal today.


This is just my opinion (and I've been wrong many times), but just because we have a specific off-topic that gets asked frequently does not mean we need to deal with figuring out where else to send the asker, especially Area51. It's a good thought, but I just don't see it happening:

Imagine that this site is a bookstore. You come in asking for a thai cookbook. The clerk would say "I'm sorry, we don't carry cookbooks, but we have this great book on how to perfect your pad Thai recipe". The clerk may even say "there's a store with cookbooks down the street, and come back when you still can't get that pad Thai right". However, the clerk would never say "We don't carry cookbooks, but you can help us build a cookbook store next door if you like!"

We should be instructing the asker about what the site is, how to ask an appropriate question, how to fix their current question, and where to go if they'd like to participate and help shape the community.

I think sending them to Area51 would be a mistake. Non-committed first time users will mostly bail.

  • You shouldn't have to send them to Area51, the site just has to be made: problem solved! It's no longer hypothetical, the site is really there. It's like Gaming and Game Dev, Web Apps and Web Masters, just have Cooking and Recipes
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 13:35

I'm with you in principle, but I don't think it would actually be effective.


Because we'd be asking extreme newbies to deal with Area 51. And that site/application is not geared toward those kinds of people. I'm thinking of, for example, my mom, who spends countless hours scouting for recipes but AFAIK would have zero interest in a "technique" site like this one. If she comes and posts a recipe request and gets pointed to Area 51, I guarantee that she'll decide after all of 6 seconds that it'll be quicker and easier to find that recipe somewhere else.

I am for the idea of trying to build support for the Recipes proposal. But advertising it to every Joe/Jane who naïvely requests a recipe here, just isn't the right way to get it.

I think that any serious support for that proposal would have to come from the more "long-term" membership of this site - probably the meta, because those are the kinds of people who care enough and are willing to invest sufficient time to move that proposal forward.

  • Right now it's Area 51. Once the proposal reaches critical mass, it will be an SE site in its own right. So the Area 51 problem is too localized. ;) Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 14:31
  • Yeah I understand this, and considered this myself. I had pointed some of my more intelligent friends at A51 before this site started to try and get them interested, and they didn't get it at all, so this does worry me. But my reasoning ended up being, any extra bodies can only help, and it may expose it to some of the more regular members who might then get involved. I tried to word the suggested reply such that it basically tells them what to do to support the recipe site even if they don't get the A51 thing.
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 14:36
  • @GalacticCowboy, yes, but the point Aaronut is making is that this won't be an effective way of getting it to that critical point. I hope he is wrong, but suspect he is right, but regardless, it can't hurt. Ps I notice your name is not down in the list of followers ;)
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 14:38
  • @GalacticCowboy: If it becomes its own SE site then we don't have point people there, we can just migrate the questions. Until then, though, I think we'd just be scaring people off by sending them to Area 51.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 16:04
  • @Sam: Only problem is that simply following the proposal won't help; they need to vote and possibly propose questions. And the voting system is pretty confusing to a non-techie - not to mention that the actual votes cast so far have been a little wonky. I hope I'm wrong too, but in the meantime, I don't think I'm doing new members a favour by pointing them to Area 51; I'd rather be telling them "Hey, we don't actually deal with recipes here, but there's a lot of other really cool stuff you should check out if you're into cooking."
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 16:07
  • There is enough of an overlap currently, especially for answers, which can be construed as being 'recipe' biased. I'm not particularly excited about a pure 'recipe swap' site, but I'm also leaning towards letting this site morph into recipe related questions that are specific - substitutions, cooking times, container varieties ect...I can see the benefits of allowing those kinds of questions for the longer term life this site. With that being said, I want to stress that I don't think a pure "Does anyone know a good recipe for Brownies" style questions have any merit for this site. My 2oz.'s
    – AttilaNYC
    Commented Aug 1, 2010 at 14:50
  • @Attila: Yes, what you're saying is AFAIK the general consensus right now; questions about recipes are OK, questions asking for recipes are not. The borderline case is questions trying to recreate specific recipes, which remain open only if they are specific and detailed enough to make them objectively answerable.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Aug 1, 2010 at 17:21

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