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The scope of this site has been, ever since the beginning, broader than just "quantum computation". There seems to always have been a relatively broad consensus that we should be about, at the very least, everything that relates to the broader area of quantum information science. This is reflected, for example, in

  1. What is the scope of Quantum Computing SE?
  2. "The Quantum SE"
  3. Our tour page, and our what topics can I ask about here help page.

Personally, I've always thought having a site that is specifically about "quantum computation" but not about all of the related areas is hardly tenable, or, at the very least, not desirable. I think the way the site came out proved my feelings right: I don't think it is in any way controversial to state that this site is currently not just about quantum computation.

Of course, what I personally think is ultimately not that relevant in regards to what the site should be or become. This is why I'm finally bringing this up here: do you think we should change the name of the site to something that more closely reflects its actual scope?

Fine, but what should the site be named then?

With this post I'm emphatically not trying to pick a new name, but rather to test whether there is a decent consensus about whether changing the site name is an issue that we should address. Where this to be the case, other posts would follow to more specifically decide on a new name and sort out the related details that would need sorting (URL, name shown in the main page, etc).

This said, it's probably also a good idea to throw a few possibilities here, to make the proposal more concrete. So to this end, a few possibilities for new domain names that come to mind, and/or were thrown around at some point or the other in the past years, are quantuminformation (my personal favourite... in case that wasn't obvious at this point), quantumoverflow, quantuminformationscience/quantumcomputerscience (maybe a bit long, but I'll include these anyway). If you have other ideas about this, let me know and I'll add them to the list (though maybe in a potential follow-up post).

It is also worth noting that domain and site name don't have to be identical, see e.g. stats.SE which is called "Cross Validated" in the home page (there's other examples of this, but it's probably not that useful for me to go fishing for them for our purposes). This means that the title shown in the title could be more descriptive than the domain name itself. We can probably easily go with "Quantum information science" or "Quantum information and quantum computation" as title in the site page.

The latter is an important point I think: I know that not everybody agrees on what monikers such as "quantum information (science)" actually encompass. Some working in related areas wouldn't define themselves as doing "quantum information". Something like "Quantum information and quantum computation" or "quantum information science" would probably be ideal for this reason.

Is changing the name actually possible?

It is not common, but yes, it is possible. Precedents include

  1. health $\to$ medicalsciences
  2. programmers $\to$ softwareengineering
  3. writers $\to$ writing
  4. Programing Puzzles & Code Golf $\to$ Code Golf and Coding Challenges (this one is only a change of name, not domain). See also https://codegolf.meta.stackexchange.com/q/17612/43490 about discussions related to their name change.

In most of these cases, the main reason for changing the site name, as far as I can tell, was to try to curb off-topic questions coming in due to the misleading title. In our case, this isn't really a big thing, because the current title isn't about something the site isn't about; rather, the problem is that the current title does not reflect a lot of things the site is about. The problem is that there are potentially many people who don't do anything they would call "quantum computation" that would erroneously think this site is of no interest to them.

Finally, yes, I asked CMs and they confirmed that this is possible.

What this is not about

I am not in any way advocating for a change in scope. The scope would remain unchanged, only the site name would more closely reflect it.

I am also not trying to decide what "quantum information" or other monikers should be taken to mean. I know some people working in related areas probably wouldn't say that they work on "quantum information". Different people like to call what they do in different wyas. However, I'm asking here whether you think the current title is sufficiently accurate for the purpose of this site; whether you think it is worth changing; whether you think there is a better, or at least less worse, alternative.

A final technical point

There is no need to worry about the eventual domain name change. Stackexchange sets up a redirect in these cases. For example, you can go to programmers.stackexchange.com without problems.

All that said, this would be a fairly major change, and ideally a permanent one. So please feel free to voice here any doubt, opinion, or idea related to the matter. To better assess community consensus I will also add an answer in favour of (one possible way to implement) the proposal, in order to make the meaning of upvoting/downvoting more obvious.

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    $\begingroup$ Matter Modeling SE (formerly Materials Modeling SE) went through a renaming not too long back. One thing to keep in mind that was discussed during our process is that SE doesn't want too long of site names and has more or less vetoed new site names containing "and". The current longest name url is interpersonalskills which limits you to roughly 19 characters. $\endgroup$
    – Tyberius
    Aug 17 at 19:47
  • $\begingroup$ "Code golf and coding challenges" is now just "Code golf". Just like "operations research and analytics" became "operations research". It's unlikely that making the name longer will be supported by SE. $\endgroup$ Sep 4 at 10:07
  • $\begingroup$ @user1271772 not sure what you are referring to. "Code golf and coding challenges" is now "Code golf and coding challenges", as you can see going in the site: codegolf.stackexchange.com. The URL is codegolf. The site name is "Code golf and coding challenges". Let me also remark that, as I already mentioned in the post, I already asked the CMs whether this is feasible. Specifically about "Quantum computation and quantum information", (that is the subject of the follow-up, not this post, but whatever), they have to give me a more definitive answer but it might be possible $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Sep 4 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, when I wrote that in the middle of the night, I was on my smartphone because I was in bed. On the Smartphone when I click on that URL, it doesn't say "coding challeneges" anywhere. Maybe the discrepancy between the apparent name on smartphones versus the name on desktop computers, is the reason why Robert Cartaino said "Operations Research and Analytics" is too long for the design. They used to allow things that they no longer allow, such as site names like Cross Validated, Server Fault, Seasoned Advice, Ask Different, Super User, etc. $\endgroup$ Sep 4 at 15:17
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I would say “no” because I don’t think that the current name is doing any harm, and in actuality might be a good shorthand to all of the topics mentioned (and then some more).

For example although I don’t know for sure, many of the university lectures use phrases such as Introduction to Quantum Computing, although they might touch on topics like quantum information, etc.

One thing that got me recently was that I was reading a recently published novel, a legal thriller. One of the characters was mentions to be an expert in computational chemistry, with a line to the effect of he was able to do things with a (classical) computer as good as things that could be done with “quantum computers”, although such computers don’t yet exist. My point is that the phrase “quantum computers” sounds pretty mainstream, but phrases such as quantum information science sounds a little too niche.

I wholeheartedly agree that the scope not be limited to quantum computing, but don’t agree that the name should change.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm now curious to know which novel that was! $\endgroup$ Jul 18 at 0:27
  • $\begingroup$ ‘The Last Trial’ by Scot Turow. I’ve liked his stuff for many years. It was a throw-away line but it was just so “in the know”, abs used perfectly correctly. $\endgroup$
    – Mark S
    Jul 18 at 2:25
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    $\begingroup$ Well, I agree that "quantum computing" is more mainstream/less specialised. I'm not so convinced that's a good thing though. Something like "quantum information and quantum computation" or variations would also be "mainstream" enough for anyone able to ask a meaningful question in the site. To be clear, are you referring specifically to the domain name, or also to the name displayed in the main page? It is also possible to maintain the domain name/URL and further qualify the name shown in the website $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jul 18 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ I am referring to the name displayed in the main page. Getting too far away from “Quantum Computing”… maybe Quantum Computing and Quantum Information can be ok? $\endgroup$
    – Mark S
    Jul 18 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ If someone is going to look on Stack Exchange for a question or an answer about, for example, BB84 or CPTP channels or the Elitzur-Vaidman bomb tester or the delayed choice quantum eraser, right now I would suppose she would either look at physics.stackechange or qcse. If she sees “Quantum Computing Stack Exhange” would she be turned off from asking/searching because her question is only quantum-computing adjacent? If she asks at physics.se and someone pointed her to QCSE would she be demotivated to ask? $\endgroup$
    – Mark S
    Jul 18 at 22:44
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkS well, hard to say, but it wouldn't be weird to me that someone wanting to ask about those topics wouldn't find it obvious that a site called "quantum computing" hosts them. If physics.SE was called, say, "classical physics", but its scope would be all physics, would you find it obvious that you can ask questions about QM there? That's not so different than the situation here: quantum computing is a specific subfield, but the scope is actually the broader topic. Our title is essentially a synecdoche, which doesn't seem a great strategy to communicate what the site is about $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jul 19 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ Quantum physics and classical physics are kind of orthogonal to each other, or better their inner product is negative. Quantum information and quantum computation are at least somewhat related. (Just to let you know I'm Ok with a name change if that's what the consensus says! Just trying to work out some counter-points.) $\endgroup$
    – Mark S
    Jul 19 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkS mh, that analogy might not be really ideal, but what I meant is that you still need the tools you learn when doing classical physics to understand much of quantum mechanics (or at least, it's useful to have them to better understand many things). Maybe a better example might be "electromagnetism.SE" for "physics.SE". Point is, a title that is a subset of the real scope. Also yes, don't worry, I'm not trying to attack anyone here, of course, just making counterarguments; I'm not married to any specific outcome. $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jul 19 at 13:55
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    $\begingroup$ I basically agree with @MarkS here. If at all there's a name change, I'd vouch for "Quantum Computing and Quantum Information" and suggest keeping the current uncomplicated domain name intact. As it stands currently, the scope of the site should be quite evident if any visitor simply browses the front page questions (which I expect most first-time visitors do). I do not believe the claim that many experts in adjacent areas like QI theory would feel the site is not relevant for them simply due to the site name being "Quantum Computing" and not (say) "Quantum Information Science". $\endgroup$ Jul 19 at 15:36
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    $\begingroup$ More importantly, "quantum computing" has pretty much become a catch-all term for areas adjacent to QCQI these days. Let's just take the example of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, which has one of the highest densities of QI theorists on the planet. $\endgroup$ Jul 19 at 15:36
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    $\begingroup$ @SanchayanDutta so, this is tricky. That claim is indeed my main motivator. It is also not a claim that can be proven/disproven here. I believe the name can make a significant difference, because I can see people seeing en passant a site about "quantum computing" and not bothering to check what it is really about. I think you overestimate how catch-all "quantum computing" actually is outside of mainstream media. Sure, it might be used a lot to "sell" things, because it's trendy, but that doesn't mean people automatically think "quantum computing" generally includes other quantum info topics. $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jul 19 at 19:43
  • $\begingroup$ or at least, that's my personal experience. I guess this is the sort of thing that might change significantly in different research environments. I might be living in a social bubble that gives me this impression, it's hard for me to say. $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jul 19 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ @SanchayanDutta uhm, I doubt google results would be that affected by the domain name itself, given google can look directly at the content. Don't have data to back that up though. I disagree that the site requires "selling to the public". More "public" in this sense means a higher volume of low-quality content, which is exactly what might disparage field experts, which are the ones that ultimately determine the long-term well-being of the site. $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jul 20 at 1:19
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    $\begingroup$ @SanchayanDutta I mostly agree with what you say 2 posts above; but why do we want more public exposure? My feeling is that the scope should be defined first, and then the exposure will follow from that -- not the other way round. Regarding experts, my feeling would be that in order to attract more experts the signal-to-noise ratio for them would have to improve. (E.g., I think it is better on physics.SE for [quantum-information] tagged questions; of course, of course, there is also just less signal.) $\endgroup$ Jul 23 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ Are there really that many questions that this site can’t have a big tent approach open to “experts” and “non-experts”? $\endgroup$
    – Mark S
    Jul 24 at 3:05
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I think both the current domain and site names ought to be changed. To what exactly, we can make a decision with a follow-up, more focused, discussion, but my personal preference would be to with "quantuminformation.SE" and for the title in the main page "Quantum information and quantum computation", "Quantum information science", or some variation on this tune.

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    $\begingroup$ Agreed; I'm also very much a fan of Quantum Information/Quantum Information Science (and the logo change that was suggested awhile ago on here). $\endgroup$
    – Auden Young Mod
    Jul 17 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ @karatechop Have you changed your username?? $\endgroup$ Jul 23 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ I'm curious about why you intend to put more focus on quantum information than quantum computation in the title "Quantum Information and Quantum Computation". Likewise, you suggest quantuminformation.stackexchange.com over quantumcomputing.stackexchange.com as the domain name. (I suspect you might be using a very broad definition of the term "quantum information". In general, in QCQI textbooks like N&C, there's a greater emphasis on QC than on QI.) $\endgroup$ Jul 23 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ @SanchayanDutta yes, as I've previously stated repeatedly, in my mind "quantum information" is synonym with "quantum information science". I'd suspect it is like that for many. I know it is not like that for others. It's not like there is an "official definition" of what the terms mean, and I'd say people generally don't really care too much. In a paper most probably would just stick to the "most widespread" definitions for these things. Of course, the fact that some/many books on the subject are called "QC and QI" is a point against what I'm saying, which I aknowledge. $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jul 23 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ Still, if one is to choose a term encompassing the whole field, I don't think many would argue that "quantum information" is the two-word monicker that gets the closest. Moreover, "quantum information science" I think is used relatively uncontroversially for that purpose, albeit when only using "quantum information" it's trickier. @NorbertSchuch let me know if you disagree with my assessment on these points $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jul 23 at 18:52
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    $\begingroup$ @NorbertSchuch I have, yes. Felt like switching it up :) $\endgroup$
    – Auden Young Mod
    Jul 26 at 2:00
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When I first read the title to this question, my immediate thought was that this is very unnecessary.

However I'm open to changing the name. What I'd actually be very open to, would be for some site name suggestions to be made, and then for the community to vote on what they like the most.

I think the answer to "should the site name change?" depends on the results of that poll. I personally can't vote on whether or not the site name needs to be changed if there is no option put forward which I like or dislike more than the current name.

That said, I think the poll and surrounding discussion should be up for quite a while (at least 6 months), since this is a serious change and the CMs will not likely be happy to change the name back and forth a lot. I wouldn't want our community (or the individuals voting in the poll) to decide on a whim. Perhaps a user goes through a 2 month phase where they like "Quantum Information SE" more, and then later feels again that "Quantum Computing" is better. The site culture and scope changes from season to season and also year to year, so I think we should keep the discussion about this open for a while before deciding on a permanent or semi-permanent name change.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a fair point (I mean, I personally disagree with most of it, but these are definitely things worth discussing, so thanks for making them). The reason I decided to go with the current version of the post is that, before pondering on new names, there should be a consensus about changing the current one. I think this is important, also from the point of view of CMs. I imagine the first question would be: why change it at all?. If many feel that the current title is fine, then changing it might be a matter of "aesthetics", which might not be a strong enough reason to enact the change. $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jul 17 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ just to be clear, consensus on the current post doesn't mean that a change will happen no matter what. A change would happen if there is (1) consensus on the current proposal, and (2) consensus on a new name to go with, as determined with 1+ follow-up posts. I also agree, as mentioned in the post, that this is a fairly major change, so we'll need to make sure people agree with a course of action. That said, 6 months seems like an eternity to me, but I'd remind to CMs experience in the matter about what an appropriate time would be for something like this $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jul 17 at 18:48
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    $\begingroup$ Whatever happens, there will probably be people that disagree. If the decision is made after only 1 week of discussion, a lot of people will be upset that they weren't able to participate in the discussion as much as they'd have liked (maybe that week was during a week-long conference, or the birth of their baby, or the week before a major deadline, or during their exam month, etc.). If we allow the discussion to happen for 1 month, fewer people will be upset with the amount of time available for discussion. But the vast majority of our users visit more sporadically (every few months). $\endgroup$ Jul 17 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ well, yes, obviously. It goes without saying that this wouldn't happen anywhere near that quickly. Just 6 months seems a bit much, but again that will depend on how much discussion there is. It's also possible that no change would happen anyway before 6 to 8 weeks due to CMs time schedules and all that, so I don't think there is any need to worry that this will be a surprise to anyone regularly visiting the site. $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jul 17 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ A few days ago you approved your own proposal for something after the discussion was open for 12 days, so I felt it would be helpful to mention the rough time span for discussing a name change, which would make me feel comfortable about it. Others might have a different preferred time span! $\endgroup$ Jul 17 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ sure! I see no contradiction. Changing a couple of tags and changing the name of the whole site are issues that have completely different scales of importance. And hopefully, more people will think the current issue to be of sufficient importance to be worth interacting with, as you did. $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jul 17 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ I actually was not going to answer, but because you acted on the other Meta proposal so fast, and because your reasoning for doing so was the lack of interaction from others, I forced myself to answer this question! $\endgroup$ Jul 17 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ I think it's great you did! $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jul 17 at 19:31
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I personally do not think that we need to change the site name to something more generic, but your points are valid so I would not mind changing it if a clear consensus arise.

Some remarks/feelings on the current proposals:

  • "Quantum information and Quantum computation" is maybe a little bit long, even though it seems to be the standard to define the field this SE community is trying to cover. I do not see any place (except in the browser tab name) where a longer name might bring issues, so I would say that even if the name is long, it is my favorite one.
  • "Quantum information science" seems nice, but even though it seems to not be the feeling of others I still have the impression that it leaves out "computing" a little bit. At least, it does not include "practical quantum computing" which is a high proportion of this website question (programming and qiskit are the two leading tags right now). I am highly biased toward programming as this is what I am doing on a daily-basis, so this remark is probably not objective.
  • "Quantum Computing" - same remark as "Quantum information science": it leaves out the "quantum information" part which is a very important part of this website questions/tags.

Now about the website URL. I do not know about others and what is your vision of this (it seems like nearly all the SE website disagree with me on this), but I do not need URLs to be readable in plain English, I just need them to be easily memorisable.

Moreover, the current URL quantumcomputing.stackexchange.com clashes with other important URLs such as quantum-computing.ibm.com (IBM Quantum website): both URL start with "quantum", so when I want to access IBM Quantum website (which I use less often than SE) I need to type "quantum-" before having the correct suggestion. The same would happen with quantuminformation.stackexchange.com, quantumoverflow.stackexchange.com, quantuminformationscience.stackexchange.com, quantumcomputerscience.stackexchange.com or any URL starting with "quantum".

All in all, my opinion on changing the URL is the following: the current URL is OK, but I would personally prefer to have something like qcqi.stackexchange.com or qiqc.stackexchange.com that is:

  • related to the potential new name of the website "Quantum Information and Quantum Computation" (or the other way around).
  • short.
  • simple to memorise.
  • hard to clash with. Right now qiqc.stackexchange.com might clash with qiskit.org if you only type the first two letters but "qiq" does not clash with any well known URL I am aware of. And I see no clash for the first two letters of qcqi.stackexchange.com.

Now, I understand that having an english readable URL might be a good thing to be welcoming for newcomers, and it might even be a requirement of the SE network I am not aware of. I just wanted to bring these potential URLs to the discussion table.

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  • $\begingroup$ thanks for contributing to the discussion. I agree that, while a bit long, "Quantum computing and quantum information" (or other way around) should be fine as site name. Regarding acronyms as domain names, it is also doable if people were to like it. An example of a site using an acronym is Geographic Information Systems, gis.stackexchange.com. I don't see the "clashing" problem as one particularly relevant though. Even if you find a URL that is non-clashing now, it might clash in the future with some other site you might start frequenting $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Aug 10 at 10:33
  • $\begingroup$ Agree with the clashing, this is not a valid argument, just something that annoys me a little bit. Nevertheless, I personally prefer "qiqc" (or "qcqi") because it is shorter ("quantumcomputing" is actually quite long for an URL, at least in my opinion) and still relatively easy to memorise. $\endgroup$ Aug 10 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ The majority of this answer is quite sensible. Regarding the usage of acronyms, note that qiqc often stands for quantum information and quantum control, whereas qcqi is quite standard for quantum computation and quantum information. $\endgroup$ Aug 10 at 13:53

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