We closed the domain naming thread (click for details).

Instead, let's start with a killer "elevator pitch!" Joel will be blogging about the elevator pitch approach to naming, but to get you started:

The Elevator Pitch

This isn't as easy as it sounds. Imagine the user who will never read your FAQ and you have two seconds to grab their attention. It should be catchy but descriptive. It should be thoroughly clear but painfully concise. Make every... word... count.

Here are some creative examples:

  • Gawker: Daily Manhattan media news and gossip. Reporting live from the center of the universe.
  • Gizmodo: The gadget guide. So much in love with shiny new toys, it’s unnatural.
  • Autoblog: We obsessively cover the auto industry.
  • DumbLittleMan: So what do we do here? Well, it’s simple. 15 to 20 times per week we provide tips that will save you money, increase your productivity, or simply keep you sane.
  • Needcoffee.com: We are the Internet equivalent of a triple espresso with whipped cream. Mmmm…whipped cream.

Use it as a Tagline

A shorter elevator pitch can be used as a tagline — something you can display in the header at the top of the page. If it doesn't fit, consider shortening it or creating a separate tagline. Here are some great examples:

The Motto (don't forget your logo)

A logo begs for it own little, short tagline — like a motto. Maybe the tagline inspires the logo; Maybe it's the other way around. Mottos make good t-shirt, bumper stickers, and other marketing material. Either way, you'll recognize a good motto when you see it:

  • Just do it.
  • Think Different.
  • The Uncola.
  • Intel inside.
  • Like a rock.
  • The king of beers.

…and perhaps all this leads to a proper name and domain for your site… eventually. So let's start from the basics. Come up with a killer elevator pitch, tagline, and/or motto!

14 Answers 14

Inspired by Kaveh's post.

A tagline for cstheory:

Questions answered. In theory.

As Tsuyoshi pointed out, this goes great with the logo that has the highest number of votes at present.

  • 1
    I also liked this one. (I think a comma in place of the period sounds/looks nicer: Questions answered, in theory.) – Kaveh Oct 9 '10 at 17:28
  • 3
    I hope Luca Trevisan doesn't mind :). – Suresh Venkat Oct 9 '10 at 21:22
  • 3
    @Kaveh: I prefer the period. It looks more like "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." which is an awesome tagline. – Robin Kothari Oct 9 '10 at 22:39
  • @Kaveh: I also prefer the period, because it makes the secondary meaning less prominent, and also emphasizes the Q&A part. – András Salamon Oct 12 '10 at 9:08
  • @Robin: I wonder if "Queries answered. In theory." would be an improvement? Replacing "question" with "query" seems somewhat appropriate for our subject. – András Salamon Oct 12 '10 at 9:10
  • 1
    How about the variant "All questions answered"? It has better meter, and it works as a Knuth reference. :) – Per Vognsen Oct 12 '10 at 10:12
  • @András: I'm not sure what that means to non-CS people. I guess we'd like the tagline to be understandable to everyone. @Per:I like the fact that both sentences have exactly two words. Again, it's like "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." – Robin Kothari Oct 12 '10 at 16:55

Tagline: Problems solved efficiently, with unbounded depth.

  • 1
    This is my favorite, but I'd personally say "Questions answered efficiently with unbounded depth." Unfortunately the joke is only gotten by those who know something about circuit complexity. – Ryan Williams Oct 13 '10 at 8:07
  • I think the ideal tagline is something which can be either read literally (for those not in the know) or as a graceful pun (for the complement). – Niel de Beaudrap Oct 13 '10 at 9:05
  1. In theory, you'll get an answer.

  2. You've got a question? You'll get an answer! In theory.

  3. Questions answered, in theory.

(3 is a small modification of Robin's answer.)

EDIT: I changed the order.

  • 1
    I like the second one, and both quite a bit :) – Suresh Venkat Oct 9 '10 at 6:16
  • 3
    Good idea, but needs polish. I like Robin's variant "Questions answered. In theory." better. – Jeffε Oct 9 '10 at 15:33
  • @JeffE: I made it CW. Fell free to add more polished versions. – Kaveh Oct 9 '10 at 17:41
  • Pro: This will go very well with a proposed logo. Con: It does not sound very creative, given there is already a great blog with this title. – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 9 '10 at 22:08
  • @Kaveh: Maybe we should only have one tagline per post, because its not clear which one is being voted up. – Robin Kothari Oct 9 '10 at 23:40
  • @Tsuyoshi: The "in theory" pun is a nice one, I don't think it matters if it is original or not, and having a tag-line similar to such a nice blog is a pro not a con (as long as Luca doesn't mind it). – Kaveh Oct 10 '10 at 5:27
  • notice that Luca took his line from the Simpsons. – Suresh Venkat Oct 10 '10 at 7:25
  • @Suresh: I know that, but that does not affect my opinion that using the same pun as the title of a well-known blog in TCS in a tagline of another website about TCS will suggest the lack of creativity (no matter whether we come up with the same pun independently or not). Just in case, I am not claiming that we cannot use the same pun. I am just explaining the reason why I do not like using the same pun. – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 10 '10 at 13:57
  • @Tsuyoshi: I disagree, reuse of ideas is a part of creativity, no one stands on empty space. And after all we are not trying to prove that we are creative, we are trying to find a nice tag-line. IMO, being original is not a main criteria, especially for a site which is for knowledge-sharing. – Kaveh Oct 11 '10 at 19:50
  • The reuse of the same pun seems hardly creative to me, no matter how you argue. But I will let the community decide anyway. If the community likes these taglines, my personal preference is not important. – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 11 '10 at 20:55

Another tagline similar to my previous suggestions:

Questions answered. In polynomial time.

I prefer "in theory", but it seems like we're copying Luca Trevisan's idea.

  • 2
    I actually prefer this to "in theory". First of all, this is positive (questions answered fast, not questions sort of answered). Second, it is more specific ("theory" can refer to anything; "polynomial time" is very specific to TCS). – Jukka Suomela Oct 10 '10 at 11:08
  • 1
    "In theory" is such a natural phrase that I wouldn't say we're stealing it from Luca. – Lev Reyzin Oct 11 '10 at 21:31
  • I would hesitate to make such a strong claim... – András Salamon Oct 12 '10 at 9:11
  • To clarify my last comment: suppose someone asks "does this Turing machine terminate with the null input?"... – András Salamon Oct 12 '10 at 15:06

Here are a few elevator pitches which I came up with.

Drop-in seminar to share problems and answers in theoretical computer science, 24/7.

(The idea to compare the site to a seminar is borrowed from MathOverflow. Could use more polishing, as András commented.)

Virtual coffee break for theoretical computer scientists to ask and answer questions.

(The coffee-break idea is borrowed from the answers to the question “How will you cite a discussion on this site in your paper?” on Meta. Coffee was mentioned earlier in a domain name suggestion.)

  • perhaps the "walk-in" description could be tweaked, to something like "drop-in" (though that might encourage drive-by questions), or "permanent" (which is perhaps too strong a claim), or "persistent" (which captures a lesser permanence, and has CS overtones as well as hinting at the enthusiasm of the community). – András Salamon Oct 12 '10 at 9:15
  • @András: Thanks for the comment. I think I chose a wrong word. What I meant was a seminar where people can enter and leave as they like, as opposed to a seminar with fixed members. I replaced the word by “drop-in” to reflect my original intent. However, I agree that it can encourage drive-by questions, which is not what we want to do. – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 12 '10 at 10:16

cstheory: Where polynomial time is always efficient.

This idea has to be polished more. The point I wanted to highlight is that polynomial time is efficient only in theory.

  • In algorithms, just being polynomial time is often considered slow, or at least considered to have a lot of room for improvement. – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 9 '10 at 23:15
  • 3
    cstheory: where $n^{10^{10^{10}}}$ is considered efficient! – Joe Fitzsimons Oct 10 '10 at 1:36
  • 2
    These seems too negative to me, using a positive aspect of theory would be better. – Kaveh Oct 10 '10 at 5:29

Conquering the world with algorithms, one question at a time.

  • Too narrow. It's not all about algorithms. Is it? – Dave Clarke Oct 10 '10 at 19:52
  • he he. fair enough. I like robin's answer best in any case. – Suresh Venkat Oct 10 '10 at 20:21

Where complex things are made simple.

  • I guess that this applies equally to most of the fields of science (mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc.). – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 9 '10 at 22:00
  • 1
    ... or vice versa. – Jeffε Oct 10 '10 at 7:50

Tagline: Satisfaction with probability 1 − 1/2poly(n).

  • 1
    Isn’t that negative…? :) – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 11 '10 at 10:15
  • @Tsuyoshi Ito: it definitely was, assuming we restrict to positive-valued polynomials, as we conventionally do. – Niel de Beaudrap Oct 11 '10 at 12:06

distributed public coffee-break, efficient in the worst-case.


distributed on-line coffee-break, efficient in the worst-case.

They capture a number of areas in Theory A (complexity, algorithms, distributed-computing, crypto, algorithmic-game-theory). I will try to come up with something that also captures some areas in Theory B, but may need some help.

  • I erased the first version: "efficient distributed coffee-break." – Kaveh Oct 11 '10 at 19:36

An elevator pitch:

Have a coffee-break on the cloud with experts in theory.

Where $n^{1000000000}$ is good and $1.0000000001^n$ is bad.

  • @Walter I think that comma is supposed to be a period. – Joe Fitzsimons Oct 22 '10 at 18:51
  • 3
    I like the current version: "Where [Math Processing Error] is good and [Math Processing Error] is bad." – Jukka Suomela Oct 22 '10 at 20:52
  • 3
    Although I find an O(n^1000000000)-time algorithm kind of cool, I am not sure if we want to advertise how unrelated we are to the real world. – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 22 '10 at 22:46
  • @Joe: I wrote a comma because I'm more used to the european convention. But yes, it is a decimal separator. I've changed it to the United States convention. – Giorgio Camerani Oct 24 '10 at 17:01
  • 1
    @Tsuyoshi: I recognize that maybe it is too auto-ironical. – Giorgio Camerani Oct 24 '10 at 17:04
  • @Walter: Technically it's not the United States convention, it's more of an English-speaking countries convention (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:DecimalSeparator.svg for example). In any case, the full stop was used as a decimal separator much before the US was even a country. – Robin Kothari Oct 25 '10 at 15:14
  • @Robin: You're right ;-) – Giorgio Camerani Oct 25 '10 at 16:32

Some proposals for the motto:

  1. Just ask it.
  2. Delivering answers.
  3. Answers. Delivered.
  4. Questions. Answered.

  5. EDIT:

  6. Delivering theory.
  7. Theory. Delivered.
  • 3
    But these also work for any other Q&A site. – Robin Kothari Oct 24 '10 at 17:30
  • @Robin: Yes I agree with you. But I have these 2 opinions: 1) The motto has to be short, if we put too much information in the motto it will become longer and it will coincide with the tagline. 2) Consider your tagline proposal "Question answered. In theory." (I think it is the best and I voted up for it): it would fit perfectly also for a website on theoretical physics. – Giorgio Camerani Oct 25 '10 at 8:07
  • 1
    Fair enough, but at least "theory" narrows it down quite a bit. – Robin Kothari Oct 25 '10 at 15:06
  • @Robin: Yes, I recognize that. – Giorgio Camerani Oct 25 '10 at 16:36

"the best place to go so you don't feel like the smartest person in the room"

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