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Just wanted to call out the fact that our Area51 stats are moving in the right direction, with only our question rate remaining the sticky part:

Area51 Stats: 3.3 questions per day, 97% answered, 445 avid users, 2.6 answer ratio (answers per question), 4010 visits per day

What I find particularly interesting about this site is all of it! By that I mean even though I only tinker with a few retro computers, I'm often falling down rabbit holes learning about other machines I've never even seen let alone touched.

Getting an audience was always going to be a slow burner for this site due to th sheer number of established forums, but something I find particularly interesting here is that we often get questions and answers with high numbers of votes (at least compared to another SE site I moderate). Keep up the great work everyone, and keep sharing such amazing knowledge!

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Well, the site is running pretty smooth. But still, we are notr an established scholar area as historians, despite the drive to keep it on a professional level, nor are we some super nerdy stuff (just check the bible section on SE). And while retro is mainstream, dealing with old computers in a serious way isn't. So we may stay between the leagues for quite some time to come.

Even more so as any community (like retro) has many users, but only a few tinkerers - and only these dig deep enough into the issue to end up with question that google's first entry won't answer.

Or is there a way to tweak SE rules?

After all, we excel (as shown) greatly on 4 of 5 points, so maybe there's room?


(Since this is Meta, now for wizzwizz4's answer)

While I really appreciate your enthusiasm to push the site, artificial growth has never helped any project. Not in war and not in business - nor in cosmetic surgery - deflation did always hit soon. It seams to me as if you're trying a bit too hard.

On the management side, splitting questions is only a good idea when really unrelated issues are tackled. In the question mentioned the OP didn't ask to answers each and every point (as many did), but rather a timeline of development (which again may be rather broad in itself). The points given are clearly meant as examples to build that timeline along. So it never was about them in the first place, and while I agree, that each (or at least most) of them would also qualify as questions of their own (some have already been asked), the question as it was asked is not one to be split.


I also feel this related to some overreaction on other topics - which do ironically seams counteracting your intention to promote the site. For example the two quite different questions about the history about diskettes, where one got arbitrary marked as duplicate, despite that there is none - or at least not more as if the site would allow two independent questions asked about the C64 (wich it des if I remember correctly).


Quite related the handling of an actual and genuine new question like this about the workings of Zuse's FP implementation. It would be quite appropriate to give members a chance to answer it - and eventually improve the question as well. Just cancelling it isn't helping in any way.

I'm even more so confused when reading the reasoning provided: "@Raffzahn There's not even a question mark in the body, and the title isn't a question either." Serious? A missing question mark? If that's a main reason to close a serious question, then moderation can be replaced by a single line PERL expression - isn't it?

Questions can be held in many ways. AFAIK you are English, right? Your people are known to put questions in a way no normal being not grown up in this language will even start to detect. Aren't they? Shouldn't that result in a certain sense to extract what's asked when others do alike? Not least the name of the OP should have told that he may be from a wider audience than just 'Upper-Left-West-Berkshire'. What about helping such posters instead of canceling 'em out?


And then there is the notion encouraging people to ask questions to the purpose of hunting down badges. While I agree that gamification is a nice idea and for great icing on the cake, turning the on top is missing the whole idea. We already have many, ... lets say, less than genuine ... questions asked. If questions that can be answered by entering the title line into Google and clicking one of the first links (usually Wiki) are realy a goal for the site, then we should pool a few quid and hire click-workers to turn wiki headlines into questions.

I can't see pushing this even further, playing a game against Area51 rules, is anything desirable for RC.SE. I mean, what good is it if we plunge back after such an artificial peak, filling the site with not really great knowledge, turning away future members by superfluous content?

We should at all means try to keep quality our main goal.

After all, we can stay the next decade in Beta and wouldn't miss anything relevant - no, changing the background colour or having an icon of our own isn't adding anything - it's eye candy without value to content or the site at all.

(Having said that, there is one, and only one helpful feature that comes by leaving Beta (as I understand): The ability to have several other SE sites listed on the 'close and move to other site' selector when voting for closing a question. Much helpful, still not worth flooding the site with low quality to get it.)

Personally I could crank out several questions a day, including some where I assume an answer will not be given by many, but to me this is faking as I already know the answer :)) So far there are only a few questions I couldn't find a satisfying answer myself by investing a few minutes in googling and browsing the results. Nop, I'm not moving onto the Dark Side.

  • "Personally I could crank out several questions a day, including some where I assume an answer will not be given by many, but to me this is faking as I already know the answer" Many a day is probably excessive, since it'll flood the site and prevent unanswered questions from getting answered, but this is actually considered a good thing (so long as quality remains high!). There's even a dedicated button for it on the ask question page. The site's about sharing knowledge as much as answering individual questions. – wizzwizz4 Feb 1 at 16:51
  • Also, note that you only get awarded the badge if your questions are well-received and, if you haven't got a very high well-received rate, you can be at 40 questions and still not get awarded the badge. The badge is awarded for consistent quality. – wizzwizz4 Feb 1 at 16:53
  • @wizzwizz4 For sharing knowledge, I'll edit Wiki. This is to help people understand certain aspects they can't on their own. Doing otherwise is a disgrace to the mission. Unrelated, your argumentation about number of questions and quality is faulty, as these are unrelated questions - and a badge can well be reached by entering many many questions in hope for enough to stick and produce upvotes. It's like playing lotto - and as lotto doesn't produce 'quality' millionaries, this method won't produce quality questions. You might want to think about the relations here. – Raffzahn Feb 1 at 17:04
  • "and a badge can well be reached by entering many many questions in hope for enough to stick and produce upvotes" No, it can't. I tried that on a different site, when I was younger and more foolish, and it didn't work. Why do you think it took me so long to get the curious badge on Stack Overflow, despite having at least 6 well-received questions? I had about 3 bad ones. So there has to be a more than half well-received question ratio to get the badge. – wizzwizz4 Feb 1 at 17:05
  • @wizzwizz4 Erm, you're aware, that an anecdotal story isn't anywhere a proof? A bit more of a professional aproach is needed. They to put you 'experiance' away and do logic to reevaluate. – Raffzahn Feb 1 at 17:08
  • Here's the algorithm. (TotalQuestions - Negative - Closed - Deleted) / TotalQuestions ≥ 0.5, where a negative-score question that's closed counts twice and if it's been cleaned up by the Roomba it'll count thrice. So, in practice, the user will have to ask more than twice the number of good questions as bad questions to get this badge. – wizzwizz4 Feb 1 at 17:11
  • Well, yes, well known. Have you thought about it's implications toward a great number of questions asked? Going thru the various combinations will tell you that these batches can be received easy by avoiding to delete your own questions and going for more non closed/non nevative than close/negative? A bit of meditation about that will for sure reveal that it can easy be played by staying medicore and on popular areas (like praising the C64 for example:)). Not anythng that is associated with quality. Badges are reached by quantity allone. Encurageing to do is is not lifting quality but noise. – Raffzahn Feb 1 at 17:17
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    Keep in mind that the only people who'll be reading meta are the people who're invested in the site's quality anyway; only 10 people have looked at it so far, and I think that counter counts people more than once if they view it twice in a day (but not twice in a minute). I'll edit my answer to focus more on quality, though. – wizzwizz4 Feb 1 at 17:20
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    They do bend the rules from time to time... we got the Salesforce site through to beta early on the basis that a large chunk of the audience were unfamiliar with the model and we believed it'd be more effectively conveyed live than by Area 51 alone. – Matt Lacey Feb 4 at 0:23
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We're up to 3.3‽ (Down to 2.2 now‼ ☹) This is amazing! We've been consistently sitting around 1.9 for ages, and now it's picking up!

We've recently had a really broad question asked that should be split into 10 different questions (including duplicates; I haven't checked), which might spawn two or three more questions between them. That could add about 1.2 to the counter.

You, the reader, trying to get the • Inquisitive badge, but only if you've got good questions, is probably the easiest way to get our questions-per-day up. If only 10 people do this, and we get some more answerers to keep our answered percentage up, we'll be graduating in no time!

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Questions per day (QPD) looks like it's about to become irrelevant. A brief summary for those who don't want to wade through it all:

  • SE staff have declared that 29 sites that have been in beta for seven years or more, all of whom were not meeting the 10 QPD criterion, are now no longer beta.
  • It was clear to them, on examination, that these sites have proven themselves and should not be beta; that they still were is clearly an error with the graduation criteria, not anyting to do with the sites themselves.
  • The criteria will be reworked, and the 10 QPD criterion is almost certainly going to be reduced or removed. This will take some time, which is why they decided to "un-beta" right now some of the obvious sites that have been waiting the longest.
  • This is not a full graduation in the current sense. In particular, the reputation thresholds for privleges have not been bumped. The current "graduated" reputation thresholds are not suitable for smaller sites, so that will have to be reworked somehow to handle this before thresholds are changed.
  • The whole idea of what "graduation" is and what happens at that point is being reworked to some degree, at least in part to handle sites like this.

What does this mean for Retrocomputing? Keep doing what we're doing, maintain our quality levels, and don't worry any longer about QPD, except to the extent that's in line with standard site promotion for its own sake anyway.

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    I think we're doing well. I just looked at the some of sites having their beta labels removed on Area51 and our stats are as good as, if not better than, quite a few of them. Just got to keep at it I guess :) – Matt Lacey Aug 6 at 0:33

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