When you use Data Explorer (SEDE), in the list of sites you will find this one as Health. As far as I know, the name was changed to Medical Sciences some time ago.



1 Answer 1


I wrote the below answer off-the-cuff. Of course, it has been discussed already: Data dump, Programmers and Software Engineering. See that question on Meta Stack Exchange for a much more expert discussion.

As Andy commented, renamed sites don't get their names updated in SEDE. The reason is mostly technical. When a new site is created, two new schemas are created in our database: one for the new site and one for the new site's meta. Using schemas prevents data leaking from one site to another and makes it easier to spin up (and shut down) new sites.1 Schemas need to be named, so we use the site's url stub (health in this case) as the schema name.2 Any arbitrary string would do, but it's convenient to use something that can identify the site without needing to do a lookup.

The string that we actually use for the sites name and url stub is stored in another table in the database.3 Changing the string requires someone to directly update the database, which is to be avoided on a production system. But compared to changing the name of a schema, updating a couple of columns of data is trivial. Since the schema name is generally not exposed to the public, we don't change it when we change a site name.

As you might have anticipated, the Data Explorer sometimes uses the schema name to identify site data. That makes sense because the what you are really doing is querying a particular schema in the Stack Exchange database. As I said, the schema name is fairly arbitrary and we only use the initial site name as a convenience. Changing the schema names would be warranted if:

  • they were more visible to people using the site or
  • the work required to make the change (and verify nothing else broke) was not extensive.

I don't think either one of those is the case, however.


  1. Trivia: Using schemas allowed us to build our Teams product. When a new customer signs up, it's easy to create a new schema to hold their data. Further trivia: when I was a full time developer as a contractor to JPL, I worked with our DBA to create a similar system for using schemas to encapsulate data. Schemas are awesome!

  2. Or, more accurately, StackExchange.Health and StackExchange.Health.Meta.

  3. I don't believe this table is exposed in the Data Explorer, but you can get it from the API instead. This table doesn't change very often. It's static unless we add, close or rename a site.

  • It is really not needed to fiddle with the database schema. You only need to update name and longname in the Sites table in SEDE unless that table is populated with a script each Sunday. Much like I showed here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/296521/… Unless I'm missing a technical detail I always assumed these things were left unfixed due to prioritization of more important tasks within the SE team not because of technical blocking issues.
    – rene
    Aug 7, 2019 at 18:40
  • Re-reading my above comment after some sleep, it might come across as passive-aggresive. That is certainly not the intent. It is my lack of understanding of the whole picture / context that lead me to post that comment, hoping to get that clarified for myself so I can extend my own answers with that info.
    – rene
    Aug 8, 2019 at 8:26
  • 1
    @rene: No problem. We had a conversation about this issue yesterday and a developer who understands the problem better than I do is looking into it. I included your comment in the discussion. I suspect you are correct. I also wonder if it might be possible to fix the issue with a pull request to the SEDE source code. Aug 8, 2019 at 15:28
  • If it is easier to have a PR that fixes these kind of things I'm happy to provide one but then Nick needs to run a Migrate (as I think that would be the cleanest way) but I'm not sure what his policy is on using Mirgrate to update / change production values except from initial seeding. But it would be nice if he can have a peek at my pending PR's there anyway ;) I'm also more then happy to create a one time sql script that collects the various issues that need an update in the sites table.
    – rene
    Aug 8, 2019 at 16:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .