TLD: .com or .org or what?

A discussion has come up on Discord: what top-level domain should our content site be under? Whatever the name is (that’s a mostly separate question), do we want a .com, .org, something else?

I feel strongly that this should not be .com.

We’re here because we’re unhappy about Stack Overflow, Inc. We’re unhappy for different reasons, but a central aspect is that the ultimate power resides in a for-profit company. If we’re a .com, we’re the same. A .com sends the wrong message.

I favor .org. Our philosophy is much closer to Wikimedia than to Stack Overflow, even if the tool that we want to build is close to Stack Overflow. Wikimedia sites are all .org.

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Definitely .com. That is the “goto” for pretty much everyone. Even the places that should use something else - e.g., higher education .edu and goverment (US) .gov - often use .com because that is what the average user expects to see.

In addition, .org doesn’t actually “mean” anything - there is no vetting process as there is with .edu - no requirement to be a nonprofit or anything else. If you want to register .net and .org (and anything else reasonable) to avoid squatting on the same name in different TLD, that’s fine. But the main thing for the unwashed masses is .com.

Wikipedia is the big obvious exception - but wikipedia.com redirects to wikipedia.org. Same thing for us. If the consensus is to go with .org then we still need to get the .com anyway - just redirect com to org rather than the other way around.

Well, sure, we can redirect the .com. But our public image should not be a .com.

Do people even type .com these days? From what I’ve seen of both techy and non-techy people, most people type the name in their search bar and let Google find the site.

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Hmm, I think that many of us old schoolers do. We’re becoming a rare species, but still.

Now on topic, .org is generally directed towards non-profits, with no commercial presence. So, if this ends up being our actual approach, .org would be most appropriate. But will it be so? At this point, I’m not qualified to state either way.

Reposting one of my earlier messages on the Discord server, from 2019-10-17 (that was day#2) with emphasis:

  1. Maybe a significant share of why the Stack Overflow / SE clones have failed is that their development and implementation diverged too much from the actual SO(SE). This is the first thing we must get right.

  2. Another relevant point - in fact, I’d argue it’s THE most relevant, is that of market reach, funding, and management. I’m more of a technical person, but can definitely see how the technical side - the software, the sysadmin etc - is just a minor part of making this endeavour successful.
    And no, I don’t have a lot of insights on how to manage success on that front, if it’s at all doable.

Since then there has been much deliberation (mostly on #general and #funding) regarding what would be a successfull financial model. I don’t have the pinpoints fresh in my mind right now.

Anyway, just wanted to add these perspectives. Choosing a TLD is tied to choosing a PM/governance/financial model.

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Now on topic, .org is generally directed towards non-profits, with no commercial presence. So, if this ends up being our actual approach, .org would be most appropriate. But will it be so? At this point, I’m not qualified to state either way.

The content must be managed by a non-profit organization. Otherwise we’ll just reproduce the Stack Exchange model. The structure may involve a for-profit organization that owns the software and the server, but the non-profit needs to be the one in charge of governance.

Decisions like the terms of service, the code of conduct, the content license, what ads are ok if any, what communities are allowed to exist, who receives privileges such as moderator access, etc. need to be taken by a non-profit, not by someone who thinks in terms of KPI and sales volume and stock price.

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One thing we might do to mitigate the concerns of „.com“ meaning company is to say „.com stands for community“.

Listed elsewhere, but relevant here:
The current project site is both codidact.com and codidact.org with primary domain TBD by implementer (likely @ArtOfCode at the moment). But both should point to the same server(s).

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.qa appears to be Quatar’s national domain, I don’t know if it’s a good idea to get a non-general TLD, but the url would look pretty cool

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As an update, the primary TLD has been defined as codidact.org.

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According to this this has evolved.

AFAIK, the .ORG domain is for stuff about our project, team and organization, whereas the instance is on .COM (for COMmunity). Therefore we’ll need to put it on codidact.com .

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No, it’s not. COM stands for COMmercial.

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Yeah, the quote is referencing a pun from earlier in that thread.

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I get that it’s kind of a joke, but really I think there are two classes of users here:

  • People who remember when there were four international TLDs and they meant something
  • People who don’t really care even if they know the differences

Trying to put a new spin on .com will just irritate the first group and the second group still won’t care.

For what it’s worth, I think there’s a minor symbolic benefit in sticking with .org. (It works for Wikipedia!) My preference would be to use codidact.org for the software, and then some-new-catchy-name.org for the showcase instance — with .com redirecting to .org for both.

But this isn’t an important battle to me, so, eh, if the core developers have strong opinions and plans in motion, whatever. :slight_smile:

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A Little History

(No, not of TLDs)

At the start (or at least, not too long after the start) of this project, there was a discussion among the initial contributors regarding names. We ended up having a series of votes which resulted in:

  • Codidact as the name of the software/development project
  • Undecided regarding the name of the primary instance

There were a number of people (myself included) who were not keen on the idea of Codidact as the name of the primary instance. There was general agreement that we would have a new vote when we got closer to completion.

To be honest, Codidact has grown on me quite a bit since then, but I am still concerned that for a general public site that the name may be a bit too unusual. I have (and others had) a number of ideas. Due to domain-squatting concerns, we have not listed those publicly.

If, in the end, we decide to pick a different name for the primary instance (after suitable deliberation & voting) then we will likely want to redirect writing.codidact.com to the writing.whateverwepick.com. But that is not a big deal.

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I agree there’s no strong need to decide this now.

There will also be plentiful possibilities to use codidact.com & codidact.org interchangable.

In the end we will likely have some more stuff to host. Considering that we will very likely need some sort of legal entity to carry at least the primary instance, that entity will need some representation as well.

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I will put in however that Codidact is already ‘out there’ - also unique isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But if we were to change then I guess the equivalent is Mozilla to Firefox.

We just need to make sure its uniquely identifable for SEO purposes. something like answers and questions would be an incredibly hard term to rank for.

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This is off topic of this thread, but it came to my mind…
This is the first mention I’ve noticed of SEO. I also noticed some mention of importing data from SE/SO. My experience in SEO suggests that the duplicate content would (or could) cause a significant negative SEO effect.

What about codidact.org and stuff.codidact.org being the official URLs, but we grab the .com domains as well, and have them re-direct to the .org sites? This is what Wikipedia does.

I strongly agree with gilles that the official sites should be .org, but we’ll want to grab the .com ones too.

We already did that the other way round.

Our reasoning for that is COM is for COMmunity and ORG is for the ORGanisation.

However it will not be possible to simply redirect all traffic, because there’ll be / are already some subdomains hosting dev stuff on codidact.org. For example design.codidact.org would conflict with a Design community.

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