This question came up while discussing this question. Since we've chosen our domain name to be cstheory.org, does this mean that our site's name will have to be cstheory? All the other SE sites I've seen follow this: SuperUser, StackExchange, ServerFault, etc. (Even MathOverflow)

I couldn't find the answer on any of the SE sites, does anyone know what will happen?

  • $\begingroup$ have you tried posting a question on meta.SO ? $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Sep 25 '10 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ I agree to Suresh, but personally I prefer the same (or similar) name. Having two different names (a “real name” and a domain name) often gives a disorganized and amateurish impression. $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 25 '10 at 19:27
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    $\begingroup$ In addition, although the poll was for domain name, the fact that people chose cstheory.org as a domain name should be respected. For example, another poll for real name does not sound right. $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 25 '10 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ My memory must be faulty, and the poll was in fact both for website name and for domain name. (I realized this after reading Jukka’s comment to JeffE’s answer.) $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 27 '10 at 0:26

Edit: I rewrote this answer significantly in revision 3 to simplify the reasoning, although the conclusion is the same.

I do not know whether the website name and the domain name of a Stack Exchange website have to be the same or not. I agree to Suresh that you should ask on Meta Stack Overflow if you want to know that.

However, in our case, the website name should be “cstheory.org,” that is, exactly the same as the domain name.

The poll to decide the site name and the domain name was already closed, and the decision was cstheory.org. Although most proposals, including the chosen one, only stated a domain name and did not state a website name explicitly, it should be understood that the website name was going to be the same as the domain name up to minor modifications (such as removing the top-level domain or breaking into more than one word).

I prefer “cstheory.org” to “cstheory” or “CS Theory” as the website name for a reason which Jukka already stated: when pronounced, “C-S-theory” does not identify us. (In fact, I stated this during the poll as a comment, too.)


I really, really, really hope that the name debate is reopened.

The now-locked, original poll was arguably too close to call. CSTheory.org won by at most one vote if you account for the fourteen negative votes for the comment by Emil (and there were other critical comments which also garnered support). In spite of this, the suggestion of a runoff poll was ignored by the moderator(s).

More importantly, there wasn't really much discussion about how long the name poll/debate was meant to last. So if there is enough support to re-ask or re-open the poll, we should.

The name of the site is of crucial importance and reflects how researchers in our field wish to be portrayed. I believe that as much time, thought and effort should be put into it as necessary.

Another thought is that it is still very early days -- e.g. the Complexity Theory blog just posted a link to the site -- and maybe we could wait a bit longer for more people to get on board before locking in our choice.

Added: I strangely forgot to mention how much I abhor the current choice. It is nearly the least imaginative of the lot and shows how much (or rather, little) creativity we are capable of. I am firmly in the camp "anything but CSTheory.org"!

  • $\begingroup$ PS The question of whether to count upvotes for a critical comment as negative votes is hard to resolve. An important consideration here is that currently fewer than half of the users have the privilege to downvote an answer. $\endgroup$ – RJK Sep 27 '10 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ I do not think it fair to subtract the upvotes of negative comments. I upvoted Emil’s comment and downvoted the proposal “CSTheory.org.” Therefore, your calculation double-counts my vote against the proposal twice. (Also, I upvoted the second-place proposal “InfiniteStack.org.”) $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 27 '10 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Tsuyoshi: I guess that's why I wrote "arguably". By my count, there were 8 negative comments that attracted 43 votes in total. However, it is impossible (?) to tell out how many distinct "disenfranchised" users (i.e. with < 100 rep) cast "downvotes" this way. On the other hand, InfiniteStack.org didn't get any negative comments. (The weighted form of voting in SE makes things awkward and goes against my intuition.) For clarity, can someone with more than 750 rep (hint hint) tell everyone how many downvotes each of the top 5 candidates got? $\endgroup$ – RJK Sep 27 '10 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ +56/-10, +37/-7, +37/-9, +28/-8, +14/-1. $\endgroup$ – Jukka Suomela Sep 27 '10 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ @RJK: I did not know that I could do that…. They are +56/−10, +37/−6, +37/−9, +28/−7, +14/−1. I do not know why the numbers are slightly different from Jukka’s comment after just one hour. $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 27 '10 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Tsuyoshi Ito: even though the question is closed, people can still change their votes or edit answers. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Sep 27 '10 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Jukka, @Tsuyoshi: Thanks both! So it looks like some positive number of upvotes for the critical comments could be interpreted as downvotes for the answer. The number is somewhere between and 4 and 40ish. Interesting that 6 people downvoted second place without mentioning why. $\endgroup$ – RJK Sep 27 '10 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaveh: Thanks, that explains why the numbers differ. But then I am not sure if it is a right thing to do to base our arguments on the numbers available now. We have no idea how much changed since the poll was closed, although it will be reasonable to assume the difference is not large. $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 27 '10 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ As you know well, I do not like the result of the poll, either, for exactly the same reason as you stated. I guess that most people supporting the reopening do not like the outcome of the poll. But I believe that that is exactly a wrong reason to reverse the poll. We should respect the choice made by the community; that is how a poll works. The poll was announced, held and concluded. We cannot and we should not revert the poll just because some of us do not like the result. $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 27 '10 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ Of course, if I liked the result of the poll, it wouldn't be in my best interests to suggest a re-opening! But my first priority was to raise four objective objections. The addition was just to be open about my motivations and say that I think the current choice will be damaging to the goals of this site. If others do not agree, then so be it. $\endgroup$ – RJK Sep 27 '10 at 22:38
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    $\begingroup$ If I had realised there was a deadline I would have deleted my suggestion for #3 "TheoryOverflow". Moreover, had I known that others were using negative votes, I would have also -- it seemed inappropriate to downvote perfectly reasonable names, when negative votes are supposed to have a specific semantics, including justifying downvotes in comments (not done for #2, 0 comments 6 downvotes). Finally it seemed weird that I couldn't vote for either #2 or #3 since I had proposed them. These silly artifacts of forcing a vote into the site design combined badly with relatively few votes overall. $\endgroup$ – András Salamon Sep 28 '10 at 16:03

I would very much prefer that our name not be "cstheory.org", but rather a short, memorable, and humanly pronounceable name that doesn't look ridiculous in print — like Math Overflow, Stack Exchange, etc. I agree with Jukka that "CS Theory" is too generic to be useful to be the entire name, but what about CS Theory Exchange? The CS Theory Oracle? The CS Theory Symposium?

If we're willing to reopen the domain-name discussion, I propose "STOC Exchange".

  • $\begingroup$ the domain name discussion is alas, closed. $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Sep 25 '10 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ @JeffE: It seems we're stuck with the name, no matter how we feel about it... The crowd has spoken. $\endgroup$ – Robin Kothari Sep 26 '10 at 0:52
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    $\begingroup$ I think STOC Exchange is awesome, and it would have been chosen if it was among the answers. (I wish we had STOC Exchange, and similar names like TOC, ETOC, and SETOC, TOC.SE then). Even if we cannot change the opinion of others, we can create a redirect from it to the main site. Another option is to start a new question on changing the name and get more votes than CSTheory had if we are permitted. Suresh, can we post a question on changing the name from CSTheory to STOC Exchange? $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Sep 26 '10 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ Are we allowed to (ab)use the name of STOC like this? Don't you think we should ask someone (SIGACT?) first? $\endgroup$ – Jukka Suomela Sep 26 '10 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ In retrospect, deciding on a domain name before deciding on a (human) name for the community was a mistake. (I wish I'd had the foresight to make this objection when it could have made a difference.) Independent of THIS question, it seems really stupid not to even consider revisiting past decisions. We are, after all, still in beta. $\endgroup$ – Jeffε Sep 26 '10 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ I thought that the voting was about both our human-readable name and the domain name; after all, those aren't two separate questions. Also note that the thread title was "What should our site/domain name be?" – I thought that the "site name" refers to our human-readable name. But if it seems that something went horribly wrong and there are new ideas that are much better than cstheory.org, I'm not strongly against reopening the naming discussion (unless it's already too late, e.g., SE people have already bought the domain name). $\endgroup$ – Jukka Suomela Sep 26 '10 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ If there's a possibility of reopening the naming discussion, I'm all for it. On a lighter note, FOCS exchange does not serve as a good name: focsexchange. $\endgroup$ – Robin Kothari Sep 27 '10 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ As Jukka said, the poll was for deciding both the site name and the domain name, and the decision was already made. (I had written a comment to the question stating otherwise; sorry if it confused you.) I do not think that reopening is an option; otherwise what was that poll for? $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 27 '10 at 10:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Tsuyoshi: Your argument suggests that one should never revisit bad decisions. In a democratic country, after electing person A, if the majority realizes this was a bad idea, it is feasible to have a vote of no confidence for person A and then hold re-elections. (This happens all the time in many countries actually!) $\endgroup$ – Robin Kothari Sep 27 '10 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaveh, @Robin: I reckon that a "vote of no confidence" would be doomed to failure, unless it had a direct link from the parent site (like the poll had for a period of about a week). The traffic figures on the meta and parent sites appear to differ by an order of magnitude. $\endgroup$ – RJK Sep 27 '10 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Robin: I agree that bad decisions should be reconsidered. However, I am not convinced that the particular decision of the name was bad. I see that some people believe that they have come up with better ideas than the name chosen by the poll but, well, I still think that AnalyticalEngine.org was the best among all proposals and that my proposal was still better than the chosen name, so what is the difference? That is not sufficient to reverse the decision made based on the poll in my opinion. $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 27 '10 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Tsuyoshi: I was just saying that re-polling can make sense, as it does in real democracies. Whether we should or not in this case depends on many factors.. Such as how many people really want a re-poll, whether it will change anything, etc. $\endgroup$ – Robin Kothari Sep 27 '10 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ This is a great name: would have received an upvote from me. $\endgroup$ – András Salamon Sep 28 '10 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ I think the name is too heavily tied with STOC, which, as far as I can see, is a Theory A conference. This would then alienate Theory B people, who are unfortunately quite absent here. Also, why would we want our name to be too closely related to StackExchange? $\endgroup$ – Dave Clarke Sep 29 '10 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ STOC exchange is bad. STOC covers very little of theory. We really dont want a site to be associated with a single conference. cstheory.org is boring but better. IMHO... $\endgroup$ – Sariel Har-Peled Sep 30 '10 at 5:16

I would very much prefer that our name was "cstheory.org", not "cstheory".

Names like "MathOverflow" are specific and won't be confused with anything else. However, something like "cstheory" is very generic and does not really identify us.

Besides, if we use our domain name as our name, then we don't need to explain where to find it...

  • $\begingroup$ When citing "cstheory.org" in print (as a site name, not just a URL), how should I spell/capitalize it? CSTheory.org? CStheory.org? CSTheory.Org? "CS Theory Dot Org"? The obvious option "cstheory.org" is unacceptable unless you're e.e.cummings. $\endgroup$ – Jeffε Sep 26 '10 at 20:13
  • $\begingroup$ ee cummings or arXiv.org. $\endgroup$ – Jukka Suomela Sep 26 '10 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ But seriously, perhaps we could try some kind of compromise like CStheory.org; it almost looks like a name, without having too many disturbing capital letters. $\endgroup$ – Jukka Suomela Sep 26 '10 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ I prefer cstheory.org in print but it doesn't roll off the tongue. $\endgroup$ – András Salamon Sep 28 '10 at 16:12

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