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Stack Exchange supports its communities in a number of ways. They periodically give branded swag to high rep users. They make donations on behalf of moderators to charities/causes during the holiday season. They also, at least for TeX.SE, have corporate membership in a relevant society.

I think there may be a relevant society that Stack Exchange might join that would help promote our site and provide benefits to out members. Should we ask Stack Exchange for such support, and if so where?

Some, likely not very good, ideas are:

National Postdoctoral Association

American Association of University Professors

Society of Women Engineers

PLoS

ArXiv

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    Unlike the TeX example, I don't think there's any organization that represents/supports a significant majority of users on this site. – ff524 Jan 27 '16 at 20:38
  • On the other hand there may be organisations, whose membership may grant us benefits. – Wrzlprmft Jan 27 '16 at 20:40
  • @ff524 while that may be true, there may be organizations that represent/support a large number of users (even if it is only a fraction of our total users). – StrongBad Jan 27 '16 at 20:43
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    The first three are rather specific in terms of focusing on a particular geography or gender. PLoS and arXiv are a bit more inclusive, but still rather focused on the sciences - plus, I don't see them offering institutional memberships. – Stephan Kolassa Jan 28 '16 at 13:31
  • What type of collaboration are you envisioning? Simply listing us as a preferred resource? Having people on the organization commit to answering questions on their topics? – eykanal Jan 28 '16 at 20:40
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    @eykanal I was thinking of SE paying for coroprate membership to help suppprt a society that we want to suppprt. SE/AC.SE would have their name listed with corporate members to give us a little advertisng. – StrongBad Jan 29 '16 at 16:55
  • @strongbad - If SE isn't already doing this for the computer/programming societies (e.g., IEEE Software), it'll probably be difficult to convince them we should do this for the SE sub-sites such as ours. OTOH, the main SO site doesn't need the advertising, whereas ours does, so... – eykanal Jan 29 '16 at 18:55
  • You want to give more money to PLOS? – Cape Code Feb 1 '16 at 14:52
  • It looks like the consensus here is "no," for a few different reasons, so I'm considering this "no-action-needed" for now. Feel free to ping if the situation changes. – Pops Feb 12 '16 at 16:06
  • @Pops I think that is a fair summary. Do you have any insight as to what SE would look for in evaluating a request? – StrongBad Feb 12 '16 at 16:34
  • For one thing, it would have to be something that represents the entire (or vast majority of) the community, as ff524 suggested. I wouldn't be too optimistic here... TeX/TUG has a community built around a "thing" with specific applications, whereas this site has formed around more of an abstract concept. I'm having a hard time imagining there being a society that helps people "academic better" (although, to be fair, I do know someone whose job description is more or less exactly that). – Pops Feb 12 '16 at 16:40
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Honestly, I don't think so.

As @ff524 has said, there's no unifying society that defines all members of this site. Even if you were talking about multiple memberships in several different societies, I don't think you'd overlap a sufficient spread of the user base to have a useful pool.

Further, I don't know that it would be useful. Consider the following benefits the TeX site has from its membership:

  • Get a subscription to the journal TUGboat
  • Receive the TeX Collection software
  • Get access to the TUG member area and to TUG books online
  • Get discounted conference fees

Given the broad base of users (plus institutional subscriptions etc.) I can't see how many of these would be sufficiently beneficial to the user base as a whole to justify the expense.

If anything, if Stack Exchange came to me and said "We've got money burning a hole in our pocket, what should we do with it?" I'd suggest either more swag, or marketing/sponsorship at conferences to increase the userbase over member benefits like an institutional membership.

  • That seems resonable. Mainly, I wanted to make users aware of the possibility and see if someone had a good idea. – StrongBad Jan 29 '16 at 19:47
  • Another possibility: banner ads at some journal sites that run ads, like PLoS ONE. – Stephan Kolassa Jan 30 '16 at 19:18

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