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Back in August our top user asked how do we step off this plateau? Now here we are, six weeks later:

  • 68 days in beta
  • 0.6 questions/day
  • views/day hovering around 50

This is not good. They probably aren't going to shut us down just yet (c.f. Beer.SE, now at 8 months in beta and rather quiet), but this is not a promising start to what ought to be, and could be, an excellent site.

Back in August it was asked if we should change our name because the current name is somewhat misleading. (And, anecdotally, we sometimes get confused visitors to our chat room thinking this is a site for and about SE moderators, so I think there's truth to that concern.) A proposal to change our name to either Community Building or Communities got strong support but has not received any response from Stack Exchange.

A name change alone isn't enough, of course, but it's a factor. So my questions:

  • Can we please get some movement on the name issue -- either a change or an explanation about why it won't be changed and why that really isn't the problem many of us think it is?

  • What else can we do to grow this site? (Yes, "ask questions" and "promote", and people are doing that, but obviously it's not enough yet.)

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    As for the name change, I don't think we formally agreed on a name. The Building Communities name is the best one proposed yet as far as votes, but it puts stress on the building phase, not just general moderation. – Anonymous Penguin Oct 5 '14 at 19:47
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    Yeah, we need to resolve the name question, which I think comes down to either "Community Building" or "Communities" per votes so far. (Personally I favor the latter, as it implies all phases from creation to expansion to maintenance.) – Monica Cellio Oct 5 '14 at 23:56
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    I'd say that "Online communities" would be better, unless we actually want to broaden the scope to off-line community building, too. – Jenny D Oct 6 '14 at 7:00
  • @JennyD I agree with that, and had a now-deleted answer to that effect on the other question -- deleted because people assured me that offline communities are in-scope here too. But I don't really believe that now. – Monica Cellio Oct 6 '14 at 12:28
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We engaged a CM back in August when the original topic was created. We were told that name changes are a one time thing and that it was a bit early in the beta to request such a change. Based on that, we'd hoped that the previous topic would come up with either clear indication of what the community wanted or a stepping stone of where we should go next, before we went back to formally request the name change.

Since we didn't get that indication and we're six weeks later, let's see if we can clear up the problems we had initially. We'll create a community wiki question a little later to assist in voting, but we may be able to flesh out some details here first.

With such a name change, we need to explain why "Moderators" is bad and why the suggested name is perfect. I think we have a nice list for the first part of the question. The second part is what needs some fleshing out.

Looking through this topic and the previous one, it seems we have three clear choices. Do any of these three fit what we want in a way that doesn't restrict our "apparent scope" (to borrow Monica's phrase)?

  • Communities
  • Community Building
  • Online Communities
  • What would be the best venue for discussing these three name options? Just wait for the new meta post? ("We may be able to flesh out some details here first" suggests something else; what'd you have in mind?) – Monica Cellio Oct 6 '14 at 19:21
  • @MonicaCellio, if there is another option that I missed, I think it can be posted here. When we vote all options can be presented then. Alternatively, I suppose we can start that topic now since we need to convince SE that our choice is more appropriate. I was trying to get all options on an equal footing though by presenting them all at one time. – Andy Oct 6 '14 at 22:35
  • Sounds good to me, and I think those three are the current contenders (with the third being controversial as it involves a narrowing, in one dimension, of claimed scope). – Monica Cellio Oct 7 '14 at 2:44
  • Followup: meta.moderators.stackexchange.com/q/175/83 – Monica Cellio Oct 7 '14 at 15:13
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The first step is to stop discouraging people from posting questions.

I am pretty good at writing questions to help boost site traffic. But this is not a comfortable site to write questions to. My first couple of questions when the site was created where closed (and later re-opened).

After taking a break I came back to see if the mood had softened.

One of my latest question was commented (with five up votes) about not being a perfect question. It's not just me the last two questions posted to the site are also criticized as not perfect questions.

I personally don't have a real desire to post more questions to this site. I only stopped in today because it is still showing up as an unfulfilled commitment on my Area51 Profile.

There is only one person that has had the stomach to write 10 questions here Great Job Monica :)

Some sites that went live about the same time have many (as in way more than one) of the top users with 20+ questions posted. With some having 50, 60 or 70 questions. Buddhism & Hinduism

Except questions as they are written, unless there is extraordinary reason to ask for more. You all can't write answers without questions, and it feels like everyone is focused and finding the perfect question so they can write the perfect answer. Take the questions you are offered, by happy with them and encourage people to write more questions not less.

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    Thanks for this feedback. I take from this that we need to take more care in commenting on new questions and asking for edits (more information, narrowing of scope, or whatever). It also appears that the idea of "on hold" isn't well-enough understood; it's meant to be temporary, while a question is edited, and not a slap against the author. So I guess it would help to say that in a comment when voting to put on hold. – Monica Cellio Oct 12 '14 at 16:31
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    +1 I stopped participating here for similar reasons. – Anthony Neace Oct 16 '14 at 14:41
  • The Pastafarianism proposal just went to the commitment phase, and I need to complete my commitment here, so I am going to try and post a couple more. – James Jenkins Oct 16 '14 at 14:48
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I have a few ideas about the promotion of the site, but I haven't spoken with the other moderators or with a CM to know if they are feasible yet. I'll list them here though to get some feedback. Be warned, these are very early ideas and haven't been vetted by anyone for feasibility. This is just me throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Hopefully they generate some spark in someone else though for other ideas on what we can do to grow this community.

Idea One

Internal advertisements on Stack Exchange. Stack Overflow has the Open Source Advertising for open source projects. Obviously we aren't a software project, but maybe it'd be possible to get an ad in there for Moderators (or whatever name we change it to). I could see this being useful for other struggling Betas too. If I were to propose this on Meta, I'd also make the qualification that this type of ad would be more appropriate for "struggling" betas, not ones that are meeting their metrics toward graduation. My hope would be that this reduces that number of beta ads displayed. The downsize to SE would be that they are advertising sites internal to their network instead of showing an ad that someone paid for. This type of system is utilized on Reddit, where specific subreddits can advertise their own little corner in the larger Reddit ecosystem.

Idea Two

External Advertising (on a limited scale). I have mentioned Moderators.SE in a few external message boards (where appropriate, obviously), but I think a small ad campaign may help too. Much like the suggestion above for internal ads, I think a targeted campaign on Reddit (or similar) may be benefitial.

Idea Three

Many of us are moderators somewhere. We've all hit problems that we had to get through. What were those problems and how did you solve them? Ask a question and give a self answer. The benefit of this is that we get more questions and it provides and opportunity for someone else to present their perspective. Many of the problems we've encountered aren't that unique. Someone else has had a very similar problem and they may have solved it completely differently.

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    For idea one, that isn't just on SO. It's called community advertising (or something like that), and often sites advertise on that site. For sites that have it enabled (most graduated sites), you can visit their meta page and search. – Anonymous Penguin Oct 8 '14 at 0:46
  • On #1, see this related meta post. On #2, would you consider starting a new meta post to solicit specific suggestions about where we could advertise? (e.g. not just "some subreddits", but which ones? And where else?) Thanks. – Monica Cellio Dec 30 '14 at 15:01
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Increase scope a little, but more importantly, don't make the scope so hard to understand or rules so inflexible. I recently posted a question about trying to find a service that links reputation and identities from profiles of other existing communities. One of the moderators put this question on hold as "off topic, too technical."

I am building the platform for a community today and its a question I have that I'm sure others in my situation would have as well. I find it ironic that in a community about community building, I'm finding it too hard to interact with other community members due to overmoderation. This is probably my last appeal.

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