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JustinY asked What should our FAQ contain? This is one of the 7 essential meta questions that we must answer in order to form a healthy community.

One of the items that needs to go in the FAQ is the "Elevator Pitch" from the 7 Essential Questions:

Imagine you’ve just gotten on an elevator with a friendly stranger. You have precisely one floor to describe your community to them. What would you say? The elevator pitch is a brief sentence that describes what your site is about. Every word counts!

In Area 51, there were a lot of ideas discussed for what the definition of the site should be. Here is one that I proposed:

Q&A site for family historians, such as those who research and compile family histories, databases, birth records, marriage records, death records, and other identifying information. This site is for those who wish to increase their knowledge of these processes.

However, the elevator pitch is a single sentence. Something short, quick; something that will convince the stranger in the elevator to check out this community.

What is a good elevator pitch for Genealogy SE?

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  1. A place for family historians, from professionals to those just starting out, to give and recieve advice on the challenges involved with genealogical research.

  2. A place for family historians, from professionals to those just starting out, to give and recieve advice on the challenges that arise in the field.

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    I recall earlier discussion about "professional". It is not appropriate to use it as the opposite pole to "beginner". I do not aspire to make my living from genealogy but I do want to achieve work of the highest possible standard. Can "from professionals to those just starting out" be replaced with "from beginners to experts" or simply "of all levels of experience".? – Fortiter Oct 11 '12 at 13:57
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One option is to keep what is there.

Genealogy and Family History - Stack Exchange is for expert genealogists and people interested in genealogy or family history.

I don't know if it's anybody's favorite, but it's short and simple.

  • Well, I tend to agree with what you have here. This is very easy to get out on that elevator, without even taking a deep breath to get it all out. If that person asks for more info, well, then we can elaborate. :) – jmort253 Oct 11 '12 at 3:19
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    The disadvantage is that it says who the site is for but not what it offers. I am a person who is interested in family history but I have the choice of thousands of websites. Why should I use this one? – Fortiter Oct 11 '12 at 13:47
  • @Fortiter - Most of the Stack Exchange sites say who it is for, rather than what it offers. I brought this up back when we were in Area 51 getting the site going: discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/a/7611/5074 - Now I'm not advocating one way or another, but I thought it was useful to mention this. – lkessler Oct 29 '12 at 1:15
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Genealogy.SE is a website for genealogical Q&A for professionals, family historians, town archivists, etc who want to know the best methods, tools, and techniques for researching, tracing, documenting, and promulgating genealogical information (births, deaths, marriages, etc).

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I've been thinking about this lately while considering different ways to pitch the site via Twitter (see How to sell strength of Stack Exchange platform to larger genealogy community?).

Stack Exchange has its roots in the tech community, but since I don't frequent Stack Overflow or SuperUser or the other computer-related sites that often, I wasn't looking at SE with that kind of mindset.

And then I figured out the obvious. We're a help desk. You submit a question, and it's like a trouble ticket. Maybe you can figure out the answer to your problem by reading about similar problems and reading the answers. Or maybe not, in which case you need to ask a new question saying "I read this other question but it doesn't solve my problem."

On the other hand, saying explicitly that we're a help desk wouldn't necessarily be a good thing for the elevator pitch. It might attract help vampires instead of people who are willing to ask good questions.

So one of the problems I see in formulating an elevator pitch is that we have to know who the audience is for our pitch.

We might need completely different pitches for describing the site to someone already familiar with SE, and people who don't know it at all. Trying to address the needs of both audiences in the length of what's essentially a tweet is difficult.

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Wanna go up your genealogy? Go down this site ;-)

  • Doesn't make much sense to me. – American Luke Oct 10 '12 at 17:58
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    Tamura, your arresting suggestion caused me to think of several idiomatic Australian expressions that would be equally incomprehensible in most of a world-wide community. Global branding is a particularly challenging task. – Fortiter Oct 11 '12 at 13:52
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    It's just a joke to help get your creative juices flowing. – TamuraJones Oct 11 '12 at 15:11

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