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The stats for this site don't look very good: after 235 days in beta, this site has .3 questions a day (that's one question every 3.3 days) and 27 visits a day. These numbers may not improve: while we are a community composed of Community Managers, we have not been able to increase traffic despite having 235 days to do so.

I have contributed several pages worth of content to this site, so I have many reasons to want this site to remain open. However, I would prefer for my content to be displayed in a more active and vibrant community, where it would help more people.

The way I see it, this community has three options:

  1. We could close the site and try again by creating a new proposal on Area 51.
  2. We could try to continue to promote the site in attempt to increase members and traffic.
  3. We could migrate questions to other sites and then close this site:

I am not creating this post because I want this site to fail; I am creating it because I want it to succeed. I am just not sure whether this site will succeed in its current incarnation.

  • Those stats don't look right at all. 263 questions divided by 235 means 1.11914894 questions per day. – Anonymous Penguin Mar 22 '15 at 20:33
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    @AnnonomusPenguin Area 51 reports a rolling average, not an average for the lifespan of the site. – Monica Cellio Mar 22 '15 at 20:36
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    Why are you so eager to shut down this site, do you have a personal grudge against this community? Even though it is a small community who s statistics are more appropriately measured in days per question than in questions per day, it works fine. There are many experts who give give great answers on each question that comes in, and the content has a high quality. There is nothing wrong with small specialized high-quality communities. So the site should just be left alone, I do absolutely not see why anybody would be interested in killing that community. -1 for that attacking post. – just_curious Mar 22 '15 at 20:36
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    @MonicaCellio Oh. Stack Exchange always annoys me with statistics since they're never uniformly calculated. – Anonymous Penguin Mar 22 '15 at 20:42
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    @just_curious I apologize if I sounded as if I "have a personal grudge against this community." This was not my intent, though I do realize how this post could have been interpreted that way. Looking through the answers, I see that I did not consider the value of a "small specialized community." – user319 Mar 25 '15 at 20:30
  • @AnnonomusPenguin I think it makes sense to use a rolling average in this case, as it shows if activity has increased or decreased. – user319 Mar 25 '15 at 20:31
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This site started out as Moderators.SE and then broadened its scope a few months into beta. I think we are still recovering from that; the original scope was too narrow and failed to attract (or keep) enough people, and the broader scope hasn't "gotten out there" yet. We've attempted some advertising and need to do more of that; we seem to have a shortage of people with the skills to make ads, though maybe somebody can do something with these easier, targeted ones.

While some of the questions are about SE sites, they aren't all suitable for MSE IMO. I ask network-specific questions there; I ask questions about the community aspect here, now that this site exists.

I'm not all that familiar with Webmasters, but I don't think a lot of our questions would really be suitable there.

But even if some of our questions could migrate to other sites, they all belong here and I think it's premature to talk about dismantling this community. Especially considering the scope change we have not been in beta all that long. Stack Exchange generally gives betas plenty of time to try; they haven't even shut down Beer yet after more than a year, and they have 353 questions in 425 days with very little meta activity.

It's not time to give up; it's time to infuse some new activity into the site. How do we do that? There are questions about advertising and about topic challenges already; think about what else we can do and ask about (or propose) it on meta. Instead of giving up, let's figure out what we need to do to improve things.

  • Unfurtunately there are sites that have been closed very unfairly and prematurly by SE: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/23848/theoretical-physics. It was the same situations there as here: a small very high-level community, full of expersts who answered each incoming question withing half a day by more than one great answers. I really hope SE will not do the same inappropriate thing to this community they have done to the other site ... – just_curious Mar 22 '15 at 20:56
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    @just_curious that was also three years ago. SE has somewhat changed their policies since then. – Anonymous Penguin Mar 22 '15 at 21:12
  • @Anonymous Penguin unfortunately SE has not really changed their attitude towards smaller high-quality communities: they set up the private beta of Open Science in the midst of academic summer holidays and killed it after two weeks. The returning from their holidays academics, who have not even seen the invitiation before, could do nothing but helplessly observe how that community got killed. This is not cool, SE should have taken the naturally slower turning time of academic communities and the holidays into account... – just_curious Aug 22 '15 at 9:56
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Our biggest problem is that we do have such a limited audience. Stack Exchange knew that when we launched.

1.) We could close the site and try again by creating a new proposal on Area 51.

What's the point? It took almost a year to reach this amount of questions, so why start over?

2.) We could try to continue to promote the site in attempt to increase members and traffic.

That's what we need to do in my opinion. We're big enough that we can't really be shut down, but small enough that we might not graduate.

3.) We could migrate questions to other sites and then close this site:

That's the same thing as proposal #1.


Back to your actual question, you're looking at only quantity. A community is never judged on the quantity alone, but the quality is a major factor to Stack Exchange. Mind you, you can't have quality without any quantity.

Our quality-related stats are pretty high. We have a near 100% answered rate (might be closer to 99%), which indicates there's we have a large base of users that are willing to answer questions. Almost all of our posts are highly upvoted, questions and answers, which indicates that not only many users are reading questions, but that we have quality that people are willing to upvote for. It's not unusual for a random answer of mine to get 7, 8, or 9 upvotes in a day or so.

Also, poke around in the questions list. All of our questions are edited, tagged, and formatted to an exceptional level of quality. This is mostly unheard of on most SE sites, let alone getting almost a 100% level of "proficiency" in this category. We have some regular chat users, and we have a fair amount of people who use meta often.

It has always seemed to be that we have a large core user base, but we just have all ran out of questions to ask on the site.

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Sites can stay in beta as long as necessary to reach critical mass.

Don't underestimate the difficulty of building that critical mass, either. You don't want to go throwing out several hundred existing questions, already indexed by search engines, not to mention scoping discussions and other related efforts on Meta to define this community. That would be a major setback.

As Robert told us on Engineering SE at the start of our beta:

Be careful about using these stats to gauge the quality of the site overall. ... Don't force the activity here just to "hit the numbers." It usually does more harm than good.

If this site manages to crank out one absolute gem (or pearl, to use the metaphor de rigueur) every week—a searchable question with at least one fantastic, useful answer—without losing those gems in a mountain of crap, then it's on the right track as far as building a critical mass.

Don't forget that a lot of the reason traffic and visibility have become such a problem for Stack Overflow is that, when it was tiny and invisible, the content it was generating was very useful for solving problems that people were searching for who didn't even know SO existed. Its reputation is entirely based on the usefulness and availability of that content. How much traffic the site got in its first year is completely irrelevant at this point.

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