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Last year we discussed the possibility of changing the name of the site, first in Do we want to change the name of this site? and then in Do we want to change the name of this site? A follow-up.

In the latest post, the consensus seemed to be about not changing the domain name (i.e. site URL), but changing the name of the site itself to "Quantum computation and quantum information". The rationale is to have a title that more closely reflects the actual scope of the site, which isn't just about quantum computation but also about the more general subject area of quantum information science. The name is admittedly a bit long, but I asked specifically about it and it shouldn't be an issue. If anyone has any idea about possible better alternatives feel free to voice them here, of course. One could argue that "Quantum computation and information" specifies essentially the same scope and is less redundant. I personally find it a more awkward terminology, but again, please voice any dissenting opinion or alternative ideas.

We reached out to the CMs which gave us confirmation that this is indeed possible, and if we agree on going forward with it, could happen in the not-so-distant future. The purpose of this post is therefore to make sure we still have a consensus, since some time passed since the last post. Also, the question is now more grounded, meaning that if we reach a consensus here this most likely will happen (whereas last time it was still a bit more up in the air whether we'd actually get a green light from CMs about it).

Please upvote/downvote the answers to show your agreement/disagreement with the various proposals.

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    $\begingroup$ Also, if the community wants to show their support one way or the other, I'd suggest posting an answer/upvoting the answer(s) you support. Votes on the question post itself can be hard to interpret, as people may simply want to upvote the discussion itself for visibility without necessarily supporting a particular proposal/recommendation. $\endgroup$
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Dec 22, 2022 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ Could someone please clarify the role of downvoting the answers here? Does this mean something different than supporting the answers you didn't vote for or is it a redundant vote? $\endgroup$
    – forky40
    Jan 3 at 18:09
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    $\begingroup$ @forky40 there's no set rules, but I usually think of it as upvote: approve the proposal in an answer; no vote: you're neutral about it/you might prefer another one but you don't feel strongly against this one; downvote: you don't like this proposal. If you have a clear idea of what option you prefer, you can effectively cast 2 votes on it by upvoting one option and downvoting the others. If you prefer one thing but not too strongly, you might only cast an upvote and don't downvote the other proposals, etc. $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jan 3 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ @user1271772 I'm confused as to what you're trying to get at. That we shouldn't have another vote because people already agreed on the other post we should change the name? $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jan 14 at 23:53
  • $\begingroup$ We did not agree to change the name. $\endgroup$ Jan 14 at 23:56
  • $\begingroup$ @user1271772 to make sure we understand each other: I was answering to your now deleted comment about this post being a possible duplicate of quantumcomputing.meta.stackexchange.com/q/499/55. In there, the by far most upvoted answer is about changing the name, which is what I meant saying that if we were to go by the other post the decision would seem pretty clear-cut. I assume we don't disagree on the vote count, so can you clarify what exactly you are referring to/trying to say with your comment? $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jan 15 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ What is the vote count here: quantumcomputing.meta.stackexchange.com/a/492/2293? $\endgroup$ Jan 15 at 0:03
  • $\begingroup$ @user1271772 ok but then I'm confused, why didn't you link that one before? Regardless, that post came before the other one and was asking also about other things such as changing the domain name, hence the follow-up post being more specific about the question to avoid misunderstandings. I really don't understand your objection here (assuming there is one?). Or maybe it was a rhetorical question? Sorry, it's hard to parse those here $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jan 15 at 10:09
  • $\begingroup$ I, for one, think people have gotten confused about the voting process, such as it is. Looking below at both @user1271772's answer and gIS's answer and forgetting about my now-deleted answer, it looks like there are +3/-3 votes to maintain the status quo, and +6/-4 votes to change. I would say that previously there was a general desire to maintain the status quo; now there's maybe a lukewarm desire to change. But, when should we table this for later, or otherwise make the change? $\endgroup$
    – Mark S
    Jan 17 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkS Votes can come from fake accounts or from other parts of the SE network. glS, other than "featuring" this question have you sent it to anyone? I've not done that yet, but I suspect the vote tallies would look very different if I did (not that I have plans to bother people with this after already bothering so many people to participate more in MMSE). My point is that votes are not what count. Wiki famously says "Consensus is not based on a tally of votes, but on reasonable, logical, policy-based arguments" and that totally makes sense when we can't see who it was that voted, and when... $\endgroup$ Jan 17 at 23:53
  • $\begingroup$ people can make as many fake accounts as they want with different computers (different cookies) and different IP addresses. I think the more important signal so far is that there's two active users who gave "no" answers and one that gave a "yes" answer. The votes don't matter. Many others seem not to care much. As for tabling this for later, I think we shouldn't return to this discussion for another 5 years. I think the first proposal started on a good footing but then... $\endgroup$ Jan 17 at 23:57
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    $\begingroup$ @MarkS barely veiled implicit suggestions of possible conspiracies to cheat the voting system aside, no, I don't personally think this kind of tally is sufficient to make a decision to make this kind of change. There needs to be either more people voicing their opinion, or a much more clear-cut consensus on how to proceed $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jan 18 at 0:00
  • $\begingroup$ when clearly the consensus was to not change the name, the question was asked again in a way that made me very uncomfortable because I believe it mis-characterized things. Since then it's been like "we agreed to change the name, and not to change the URL, so do we still agree?" even though we never agreed to change the name. There's basically been 3 or 4 active users that have engaged in this discussion and only 1 of them really wants to change the name. To me that's not a consensus to change the name the way it's been characterized $\endgroup$ Jan 18 at 0:01
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    $\begingroup$ gIS and @user1271772 - I didn't mean to kick the hornet's nest! I don't think there's been bad-faith or sock-puppet voting and I'm sorry if that was interpreted to be my implication. I think (1) yes, there are about a half-dozen of us who actively consider this question, (2) it's been asked before, and (3) for such a change there should probably be much more of a supermajority in favor of the change before action is taken, which I suspect that the three of us at least partially agree to? Also, the three of us are certainly the loudest or most vocal of the half-dozen with a voiced opinion. $\endgroup$
    – Mark S
    Jan 18 at 2:14
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkS I obviously didn't interpret it to be your implication =). The rationale for this question was that the previous iteration seemed to have a clear consensus on changing the name, with the most upvoted answer about changing currently standing at +11 vs a max of +1 on the other answers, so I interpreted the different vote tallies in the previous one as due to unclear wording and also asking about changing site URL. That said, there's clearly now not enough people agreeing on the change or caring enough to pitch in on the matter, so unless this changes in the future I consider this settled. $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jan 18 at 10:01

3 Answers 3

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Yes, we should change the name of the site to Quantum computation and quantum information.

Posting this answer to make interpreting votes easier. Please post a new answer if you don't agree with this one, or want to bring up any other related issue.

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps if it is too long one could omit the second quantum $\endgroup$
    – Rammus
    Jan 11 at 16:06
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    $\begingroup$ I voted against this because it is too long for me. I agree this would be a more accurate description of the content of this site, but to me that is not worth the price of never uttering the name of this site again :p - e.g. I sometimes mention "the quantum computing stack exchange" when discussing QI but I can't see myself saying this proposed name. Similarly, I don't think I've ever heard or spoken aloud the name of Nielsen and Chuang's textbook in conversation with academics. $\endgroup$
    – forky40
    Jan 19 at 22:07
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    $\begingroup$ @forky40 How about Quantum Information Science? $\endgroup$ Jan 20 at 1:42
  • $\begingroup$ I think pronouncing "QIS stack exchange" is in fact easier than "quantum computing stack exchange" and from conversations I've had "QIS" acronym is recognizable. $\endgroup$ Jan 20 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ @AdamZalcman Why don't you propose this as an answer? I'm somewhat in favor of it -- though of course, to an amateur audience, this is probably much less clear thatn Quantum Computing, or the like. $\endgroup$ Jan 22 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ @AdamZalcman you probably are aware, but just to have it written down here as well: that's what I also think is the best choice by far, and is essentially what I originally proposed. QC&QI was a "lesser evil choice" for me. There were however concerns regarding whether QC should be considered as part of "QIS", and whether this is known to "nonspecialists". Which to me was always quite odd, because I'm quite sure most people I know would consider QC as a subset of QIS. But I suppose different places/communities are used to using the terms in different ways. $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jan 22 at 21:08
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    $\begingroup$ I'm also more in favor of Quantum Information Science $\endgroup$
    – forky40
    Jan 23 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ Cool! I wrote it up. Regarding the concern about the inclusion of QC in QIS: I find it obvious that $\text{QC}\subset\text{QIS}$ and have never actually come across anyone questioning it. Computing is a form of information processing, after all. Certainly many research institutions whose names include QIS, but not QC don't seem worried even though they include QC in their purview. $\endgroup$ Jan 24 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ glS just please don't make any decision until people are given at least ~35 days to go around finding people who might be in favor of keeping the name the same, and pinging them (i.e. canvassing) to gather more support. Until now I haven't done that and didn't see any need to. $\endgroup$ Jan 24 at 21:28
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    $\begingroup$ @user1271772 you keep saying stuff like that as if someone else here would have even thought about actively go asking people to come advocating just to further your own personal view (if that's what you're saying you're planning to do, it's not very clear). What even is the point of asking people that are not active on the site? The goal is to figure out what people here want to do, not to figure out how to have it your way in any way you can. It's perfectly fine to think the name should or should not be changed, but in my view, the way you act on this matter is completely inappropriate. $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Jan 24 at 21:47
  • $\begingroup$ glS, I don't know what you're talking about. I'm just asking you not to make a decision until we've had much longer time to canvass. Is there anything wrong with that? I felt that your fair and reasonable 18 January comment was going to be the end of it, and I thanked you for that, and told you that I was nevertheless happy to see that you are so passionate about the site. $\endgroup$ Jan 24 at 21:51
  • $\begingroup$ Forky's comment reinforced the decision on 19 January, and then Adam opened up the can of worms again on 20 January. Forky didn't reply until you and Norbert did. Only after that, did we see a new answer come up, which pushes for overturning the decision made on 19 January. Since the new answer is the one that favors your desires, and I am worried about you making decisions without waiting long enough to hear from the community, I'm asking not to make any quick decisions. $\endgroup$ Jan 24 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ "in my view, the way you act on this matter is completely inappropriate" -- You want the site's name to change, and I'm the one stopping it from happening, so of course you're going to say that. $\endgroup$ Jan 24 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ "completely inappropriate" ... when a government proposes a change, it's fair for those opposed to lobby against it. $\endgroup$ Jan 25 at 2:47
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No.

"Quantum Computing" is a better site name than "Quantum Computation and Quantum Information".

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We should change the name of the site to Quantum Information Science.

I think the current name is recognizable and short, but inaccurate. The proposal fixes the inaccuracy issue without hurting recognizability or length.

Accuracy

Quantum computing is a subfield of quantum information science. Many questions unrelated to computing (e.g. about von Neumann entropy, quantum Fisher information, black hole information paradox, etc) belong on the site. By contrast, the overlap between the topics of the questions on the site and the concerns of quantum information science is nearly exact. Therefore, "quantum information science" is a more accurate name.

Recognizability

I suppose the name "quantum computing" is a little more recognizable to the general public. However, it seems to me that "quantum information science" has become quite recognizable, too. For example, it is included in the name of many research institutions such as IQIM (Institute for Quantum Information and Matter at Caltech), IQOQI (Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Vienna), and IQUIST (Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology Center).

Moreover, my impression from literature, conversations, software package names etc is that the abbreviated form "QIS" is in fact more recognizable than "QC". That is probably because QIS is less likely to collide with another name. For example, most sites returned to me by a Google search just now for "QIS" are about quantum information science while a search for "QC" returned sites about quality control, quantum cosmology, Queen's College and a web comic called "Questionable Content".

Also, it seems to me that "computing" is fairly widely understood to refer to a form of information processing, so leaving "computing" implicit seems acceptable. Many other subfields of quantum information science are included only implicitly, e.g. quantum cryptography and quantum error correction. It does not seem necessary or desirable to include the name of any proper subfield explicitly given that a recognizable umbrella term for the whole field exists.

Length

Finally, the proposed name is fairly short. Examples of other StackExchange sites with more than two words in the name include "Theoretical Computer Science", "Computer Science Educators", and "History of Science and Mathematics".

In fact, the name "Quantum Computing Stack Exchange" is fairly long and cumbersome for use in a conversation. At the same time "QC StackExchange" is unlikely to be recognized (see above about recognizability of abbreviations). By contrast, "QIS Stack Exchange" is short, easy to pronounce and likely to be understood.

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  • $\begingroup$ "The proposal fixes the inaccuracy issue without hurting recognizability or length." The inaccuracy issues are still there, only smaller; and it does hurt recognizability and length!!! $\endgroup$ Jan 24 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ I disagree with all three paragraphs in the Recognizability section. QC is far more recognizable than QIS. Your mentioning of Queen's College and the web comic called "Questionable Content" is just absurd in my opinion. I have never heard of IQIM or IQOQI or IQUIST, but everyone in the field has heard of IQC: Institute for Quantum Computing. The middle paragraph seems to be irrelevant, because the site's name is not "QC", it's "Quantum Computing". At least people in the field use "QC" as a short form for Quantum Computing. No one really uses QIS. We all call this site QCSE, let's continue that $\endgroup$ Jan 24 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ IQOQI, where 1/3 of last year's Nobel prize in physics went, sorry you haven't heard of it $\endgroup$
    – Rammus
    Jan 24 at 22:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Rammus out of curiosity, I wonder if you know (without looking) the current institutions of the other two people who shared that Nobel Prize? I think we both agree that 99.9% of this site's users can't. Just because an institution hosts a Nobel Prize winner doesn't mean that people have heard of it (or its acronym). Certainly most people in this field know that Vienna and Innsbruck are strong for quantum computing, but likely more people (in this field) haven't heard of IQOQI (by that name!) than the number of people who have. QIS is even more rare than QI. It's not called QIS. $\endgroup$ Jan 25 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ I know Aspect but Clauser I'm unsure. But anyway, I find your assertions that everyone has heard of $X$ but basically no-one knows $Y$ quite strange. What you do and don't know depends very highly on your research topics and geographic location. It may feel like everyone knows $X$ and no-one knows $Y$ but that's because we mainly interact with those doing similar research topics and with a similar geographical location. I, for instance, knew IQOQI long before I knew IQC. $\endgroup$
    – Rammus
    2 days ago

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