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I spent some time cleaning up the Sandbox today. It's getting to be a slow honker to load. This is especially true when I'm linking in through a comment notification.

I spent time removing the body contents of deleted posts and flagged a bunch of the longer comment chains for deletion (must be done by a moderator), but the truth is, the current Sandbox is becoming systemically unwieldy.

However, as the site ages, it's also true that it will (if it hasn't already) become a bit messy to find the "current" sandbox.

Proposal #1: I propose that we have an official "Sandbox landing site" that is the single Meta question we refer all people to. Along with the instructions for the sandbox, it contains a linked list of all previous sandboxes and the currently active sandbox. Ideally, this post would be answer-locked such that no answers can be posted. Users must move from this "landing site" post to the "current" sandbox page. All older sandbox pages would have their question body text deleted and replaced with a link to the landing site. (e.g., "Current active sandbox may be found here")

Proposal #2: Perhaps a simpler alternative is to rename the old sandbox pages (e.g., Sandbox for Proposed Questions 2014-2017) to specifically indicate they are inactive (e.g., "Inactive Sandbox 2014-2017") and specifically label the current sandbox "(Active)" This is basically a proposal to continue what we're doing with an improvement in searchability. (When I search for "Sandbox for Proposed Questions is:question" one and only one item should come up.)

The two proposals have pros and cons. I consider #1 to be cleaner and easier to use. It allows community promotion ads, the Help Center, and other convenient redirects to use a single URL that will never change.

On the other hand, #2 is simpler in the short-term and more reflective of how we've used the service in the past. It's just inefficient because we're forced to update all the links whenever we start a new page. If we avoid starting a new page to avoid updating links — the page becomes systemically ugly (which it's becoming now).

I believe the actual maintenance burden would be more-or-less identical. I prefer proposal #1.

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    $\begingroup$ If the sandbox is getting full, why not just do what we did last time? $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Mar 10 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ I processed a couple flags on the Sandbox, but the page takes too long to load for me to want to handle the rest now. (Some in-page operations cause the page to be reloaded.) I would appreciate it if somebody would increment the sandbox again; the current one has become a burden to at least this moderator. (If others don't find it a burden, they can signal so by handling the flags. :-) ) $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Mar 11 at 4:08
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio, I created a new sandbox page. Could you update the [help-center/on-topic] page with the new link? $\endgroup$ – JBH Mar 11 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ Done. (Don't forget to create the answer on the new sandbox and make it community wiki.) $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Mar 11 at 15:38
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I propose that we have an official "Sandbox landing site" that is the single site we refer all people to.

Not all SE use a sandbox, and having a dedicated landing site just for Worldbuilding would be a deviation from the standard configuration each community has. For that few I know about this, I suspect that such customization would be a lot of work with little return. Thus unlikely to land.

Proposal #2, as you noted, also involve a lot of work to be properly maintained, and I assume you are proposing this to get rid of some of the maintenance work.

My counter proposal: use a sandbox per year (called Sandbox 201x), which we open on Jan 1st 201x and close on Dec 31st 201x. So no need to update links, and more limited content.

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  • $\begingroup$ I might not have been clear. A "dedicated landing site" is nothing more than a standard Meta question that contains a list of links to sandbox pages. The effort to set it up and update the old pages is maybe 30 minutes. Your counter proposal is simply Proposal #2 with a different naming convention - and you get to update the help center and community ad links every year (no getting around that but with a landing site). $\endgroup$ – JBH Mar 10 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH, a site is, that is, a site. A question is a question. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Mar 10 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ I'm a programmer. All web pages are "sites" (something you see when you visit a unique URL). Nevertheless, I've updated my question to clarify what I'm talking about. (For the record, I'm not the downvoter for your answer.) $\endgroup$ – JBH Mar 10 at 17:10

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