6

Update: After some discussion below, it seems like it is the question rate that is of focal interest, and that 3 questions per day would be great, but that 2.5 questions per day constitutes an achievable short term aim.


Our site is growing users gradually. We have our broader goal of growing the site into a thriving hub of high quality questions and answers. There is a reciprocal relationship between content and users.

Our current stats at the end of May 2012 are around 1.8 to 2 questions per day and 84% answered.

I'd like to propose a short term goal for June 2012, that we aim to get our site statistics to

  • at least 3 questions per day, and (this is a step towards 5 which is the "Okay range")
  • at least 90% answered (this in the "Health site range")

See our Area 51 stats here

  • To get to 3 questions per day, just keep an eye on that statistic, and if it gets low, ask a question yourself. Even consider self-answering a question, if you think it is interesting and worthwhile.
  • To get to 90% answered, we need to increase our answer rate from 84% to 90% (which as a rough guide involves adding around 25 answers to existing questions without answers). Check out this list of unanswered questions.

Question

  • Is it useful to set such short term goals?
  • Is this a reasonable short term goal? or would you define it differently?
  • How can we ensure that we achieve it?
  • 1
    I'm not sure answered % is nearly as significant an issue as Q asked, though we certainly don't want it to drop lower than it is – Ben Brocka May 29 '12 at 2:00
  • I agree. Questions per day is the big one. I'd like to see questions per day, answer rate, and answer ratio all be at least be in the okay range. The other two indicators (i.e., number of avid users and visits per day) are factors that build over the longer term. – Jeromy Anglim May 29 '12 at 2:19
  • The problem space simply means we do have a lot of very hard questions and potentially many (currently) answerable ones. – Ben Brocka May 29 '12 at 2:28
  • 1
    I agree. I think also we aspire to a degree of scientific rigour where answers of the form "this is my opinion" tend to get rightfully downvoted. Of course this is a great feature of our site. But it does make it harder to maintain a high answer rate. – Jeromy Anglim May 29 '12 at 2:36
  • 2
    Frankly I prefer this to the extremely high answer rate and low barrier to entry on The Workplace; tons of answers but you never know when you'll find a good one. When I see a new answer here, 90% of the time it's good, about half the time it's outstanding. The rest rightfully get quick downvotes – Ben Brocka May 29 '12 at 2:39
  • Oh, to be clear, we're talking overall site stats, right? 3 Q per day in June is 90 questions total, to bring our actual total up to 3 Q per day we'll need significantly more than that – Ben Brocka May 29 '12 at 15:24
  • @BenBrocka I'm thinking about the Area51 stats. I imagine that it's based on the number of questions asked in the last week or so. But I'd be happy to get clarification. – Jeromy Anglim May 29 '12 at 23:38
  • 2
    Ahah, it is the past two weeks: meta.stackexchange.com/a/96723/166936 – Ben Brocka May 29 '12 at 23:49
  • I think 3 questions per day is a pretty big jump from 1.8 (especially since we recently saw a boost in question asking activity which is atypical compared to previous weeks). I recommend 2.5 questions per day as a goal, and not worry about the answer rate. – Artem Kaznatcheev May 30 '12 at 21:00
  • 1
    @ArtemKaznatcheev I've updated it to focus more on questions per day. – Jeromy Anglim May 31 '12 at 4:33
  • @Ben I've made it featured. Do you care about 2.5 versus 3? On one level I like the aspirational quality of 3; but I take Artem's points that even achieving 2 questions per day recently was the result of a jump in activity, and that our longer term average has been around 1 to 1.5 in the preceding weeks. – Jeromy Anglim May 31 '12 at 4:33
  • Either seems okay to me, it's okay for goals to be a little lofty as long as they're not extremely unlikely, but 2.5 seems sensible enough – Ben Brocka May 31 '12 at 13:30
  • 1
    Minor tweak, but I find "more than" more motivational than "at least" – Ben Brocka Jun 1 '12 at 19:40
  • 1
    Wow, impressive success so far, up to 2.3 already in the official stats! – Ben Brocka Jun 5 '12 at 19:39
  • June 10th: 2.6 q/day and maintained answer rate at 84%. good stuff That puts us above around 30 other SE sites for the q/day index. stackexchange.com/sites#questionsperday – Jeromy Anglim Jun 10 '12 at 3:47
5

I'd like to recommend the new "Answer your Own Question" feature to facilitate sharing knowledge (incidentally it ensures our answer rate stays high).
enter image description here

See Shog9's full explanation here but basically this allows you to ask questions and answer them to share useful, practical knowledge. Just because you know the answer to a significant problem that no one's asked about doesn't mean the site should be devoid of your knowledge.

I think part of the low-question rate here is most experts don't have so many questions they can't answer themselves, but they have a lot of knowledge that could be valuable regardless. By asking and self answering you share your knowledge and open the door for other answers, so if someone else knows a better or different way they can chime in just like on any other answer. I think there are a lot of methodology questions out there we could ask and self answer and still learn something as other users share their own solutions to those same problems.

Remember self-answered questions are still judged to the same quality standards as the rest of the site; these should be real, practical problems that people in our domain face.

3

I think 2.5 questions a day for June, is a good goal. It is achievable, but we shouldn't let the downsize from 3 to 2.5 questions per day as a goal, trick us into thinking it is easy.

We need to ask 75 questions in June.

Currently, the website had 313 questions from before June. That is 2.35 questions a day (and remember, this 313 includes the flurry of activity when everyone was excited in private beta. 74 questions are dated before we entered public beta (either they were asked in private beta or are old migrations). Thus, in the 126 days between going public beta (starting Jan 25th) and June, we have asked 239 questions: in public beta we have asked only 1.9 questions per day.

Our work is cut out for us, and unfortunately we are still lacking a solid regular userbase. Just because we set out a personal goal on meta, does not mean non-regular users will suddenly appear in larger numbers, much of the work will fall upon the regulars.

Drawing from the lists of active Meta participants, and people with 400+ rep and 4+ Qs (between Jan 25 and June). This is the number of questions they asked between Jan 25th and end-of-May (and what % of all public beta Qs that corresponds to) and by extrapolation, what they should aim (rounded up) for in terms of questions asked for June:


Jeromy Anglim has asked 21 questions (8.8%) and will aim for 7+

Ben Brocka has asked 18 questions (7.5%) and should aim for 6+

Artem Kaznatcheev has asked 10 questions (4.2%) and will aim for 4+

jonsca has asked 8 questions (3.3%) and will aim for 5+

John Pick has asked 6 questions (2.5%) and should aim for 2+

Josh Gitlin has asked 6 questions (2.5%) and will aim for 2+

Speldosa has asked 5 questions (2.1%) and should aim for 2+

Steven Jeuris has asked 4 questions (1.7%) and should aim for 2+

Vielle has asked 4 questions (1.7%) and should aim for 2+

zergylord has asked 4 questions (1.7%) and should aim for 2+


If you are willing to take the personal challenge to help us pass 2.5 questions a day then please edit this post (I will make it community wiki) and replace

should aim for n+

with

will aim for n+

next to your name (with the proper n substituted). We can do it!

0

Review July 1st: Goal achieved

The following image shows the Area 51 stats at the end of June 2012.

  • We have added around 95 questions in June 2012 from 305 to 400 total site questions.
  • This was achieved with a slight increase in the answer rate from 84% to 86%.
  • We've also moved our 200+ rep avid user count from around 54 to 64.

See also these related posts:

area51 statistics for cogsci

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