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All right, currently our biggest "Needs Work" area (in my opinion) is our questions per day. Our visits per day is also in the "Needs Work" but we are still a fairly young beta and we have been doing some promotion. Our questions per day is pretty bad though. Currently we have about 861 users, and a question rate of 4.9 questions per day. This means that on average each of us is only asking almost one question every three months!

We need to step it up. So if we want to get to the "healthy beta" metric of 15 questions per day, we're going to have to ask more questions. Each of us will need to ask about a question a month on average to meet this.

However, a number of our users are probably inactive most of the time. That leaves it to the 83 of us who are avid users to really step it up. If we only count avid users, then 4.9 questions per day means that on average each of us is asking about 1 question every two weeks. In order to get to 15 questions per day, we need to be asking about 2 questions a week! All of us who are over 200 reputation need to do this.


P.S. Top 20 rep users: Pearson, Tildal, Hash, Undo, AlanSE, Chris, Rory, James, Erik, ernestopheles, aramis, Mark, SF, Everyone, geoffc, coleopterist, horsh, gerrit, and Gwen --

Let's assume that we do 25% of the contributions. That would mean that about 1.2 of the 4.9 questions per day come from us. That means that each of us asks about 1 question every two weeks. In order to get to 15 questions per day, our group needs to be at 3.75 questions per day. This also puts us at asking about 2 questions a week, so we are not exempt from the bolded value above.

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    $\begingroup$ Let's face it, the top 20 users are going to do more than 25% of the work. I suspect it's more like 50%, if not higher... $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Oct 11 '13 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ @PearsonArtPhoto I was going to do 50%, but I figured I'd assume a more modest value. If you want to make your case for 50%, you're welcome to post an answer. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Oct 11 '13 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ I think 25% of the questions coming from the top 20 users is a good goal, just now it seems like 50% come from us;-) $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Oct 11 '13 at 14:00
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think I can keep up 2 question per week forever. We're not doing so bad, many sides have much less than 5 questions per day, and remain in beta for years. There is time, and I'd rather let the site grow slowly but steadily (which means the questions will come) than to force myself to come up with questions at moments that I don't really know any. Quality before quantity. please. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Oct 11 '13 at 14:24
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I have to agree with @Gerrit in the comments, we're not doing as bad as the question might suggest, especially given our current numbers. I would much rather see an increase in thought provoking questions than their sheer numbers, but we do need to step it up a bit, I agree with that.

First about the A51 stats. Those are largely irrelevant at this stage we're currently in, because they appear to be sampling data from maybe two weeks worth of stats for the site (my guess, I'd have to ask), so if that is true, it's sampling from our cruise mode telemetry and any reboost we manage to do with individual and more Stack Exchange popular questions will greatly affect these stats. What I'm saying is A51 stats show variations that aren't conclusive, let alone a good indication of our health. They are also not equipped with any metadata to enable them being read unbiased. It is just bad stats, if they lead you to any conclusions, which I don't believe is what they're there for. For example, if you simply divide the total number of our questions with the days since we've entered private beta, you'll know what I mean. That comes out as over 8 questions per day. They are, at best, means to somewhat (quantitative-wise) compare our last sample period activity with other sites that are at a similar stage of development. In that, they compare favorably for our site. So much about A51 stats.

Now, those stats (whichever you would look at) are still only relevant to the number of questions, not the quality of them or their answers. I.e. they are quantitative, not qualitative measurements or projections. I honestly don't expect us to ever deal with the sheer mass of questions that some other Stack Exchange sites do, because most our questions cannot be dismissed easily with a line or two and require some research to answer them. That is actually good even merely stats-wise, because it produces more SEO friendly threads with more highly specific and sought after keywords on web searches. Our web search stats confirm that and they are rising, and although I can't disclose more specifics about them, all the indications are we're doing just fine in that regard. I've already had web searches where the top result would be one of our threads. That is great, but I honestly don't expect us to fill the whole first page of results at any time, and I would probably change my search provider if that happened.

So, we do need to step it up of course, nothing changed there since day one, but I couldn't really be asking more from those that are already highly active on the site, not in terms of asking more questions and disregarding their quality in the process at least. What we need to step up is advertizing our presence to expert communities, gain a few more active experts that will help reassure casual visitors, by numbers main consumers of our contents that these are good, quality contents that they can trust. We also need more experts and more answers per question. Saying it differently, we need more peer review, in Stack Exchange lingua.

And this is what I hope many of you are already trying to achieve, and we indeed have many threads in this meta suggesting how to go about it. I'm gonna quote myself from one of previous answers:

  • Use the share and favorite buttons under questions and answers. Have you asked a question, or maybe answered it? Then share your contribution to social networks that you might have account at. If you don't have an account, they're easy enough to create. I personally find Twitter for this sharing most convenient, but I'm not saying it's the best overall. It's just what I'm most used to. Retweet (or re-share, whatever it is called on other social network websites) our main Space Exploration tweets, regardless of who they were originally posted by. Favorite questions you like, both on social networks they are posted at and in the question threads themselves, and help us make a difference also in the Stack Exchange SuperCollider, where - what we usually refer to as rep train questions - can make a huge difference, greatly increasing our daily number of visitors. Sharing, favoriting, upvoting, adding answers and merely increasing page views by other means are the main contributors in raising their popularity and create a domino / cascade effect. We are competing with questions from other Stack Exchange websites there, and each of us can help the more popular questions reflect on our website's popularity in turn.
  • Help make the questions themselves more visible to search engines. Have you read the question and think it could use more tags, better worded title, it could have more external links (maybe to explain some used acronym better, preferably in words, too)? Then please edit it to be more search engine friendly and SEO (Search Engine Optimized). Can't submit edits directly, because you didn't reach the required privilege yet? No problem, suggest an edit, or raise a custom flag for moderators to handle it, explaining what you had in mind.
  • Vote on contributions that you've read. I'm not suggesting which way the vote should go, there should be both upvotes as well as downvotes warranted, and that is perfectly normal, if you look, even on already mature Stack Exchange sites. Good voting habits will help us further define what is on our website wanted, and what isn't. At the same time, it will make users posting great contributions feel more welcome, and are likely to stay more frequently with us. Plus, we need more members with higher reputation points privileges, so this feel of a productive community really starts happening.
  • Participate in meta, and our main chat room. Good ideas are always welcome in our meta site, but they do tend to add to our members' workloads where, as far as our statistics go, doesn't matter so much. Much of this red tape could be easily avoided by stopping by at our main chat room and discuss smaller issues with our regular dwellers there. If ideas, suggestions, even arguments need to be kept on record, replied and voted on by our community though, then of course, by all means, please post it in our meta.
  • Help others learn the ropes. Constructive criticism is fine, but often it will only take ever so slightly more effort in actually making some contribution better, than to comment on it. If you see a new, still low reputation user struggling to add links or images to their posts, then please edit them to include information they wanted to add, but yet can't. Also make sure they get those few much needed starting reputation points faster, so they can do a few of things on their own as fast as possible and start learning the ropes on their own. Many of our new members will actually already be used to handling stuff by having experience on other Stack Exchange websites, but some might be new. Lend them a hand. Ideally, the question titles and their tags should make as much sense before it reaches two upvotes and is automatically retweeted by our website's twitter account. So - edit for clarity, then upvote. If you see members struggle with some other things, help them out, or bring it to attention to our moderators and other members in our chat room, or with moderator flags.
  • Make sure your ideas to promote the site reach those that can help you. Some members might be a bit more inventive, with a touch for designing our promotional materials, while some might be better at finding ideas that others could help materialize. Nobody here should feel alone in trying to promote our website, we have many users constantly dedicating some of their precious time for such activities, and we're already active in building our stack of promotional materials for use elsewhere. Best place to discuss such ideas is our main chat room, where you might get near instantaneous response, see how others feel about it. We certainly don't want to appear as too needy, desperate even, so be prepared for some criticism from our peers to polish some idea and really make it shine. It will make a difference.
  • Help us upvote already placed on other sites community promotion banners. As mentioned previously, these community promotion ads will compete with ads of other communities for their rotation space. Our currently placed ads are doing great, and have already attracted several dozens of visitors per each Stack Exchange website they're posted on to our website in mere days. The higher voted those ads are, the more frequently they will rotate on their respective main sites. These ads are posted in the Ideas for off-site Space Exploration community promotion ads thread, listing in each answer where individual ads are posted and could use more upvotes.
  • Don't favor individuals, favor the whole community. If you're here reading this, then you're likely already doing this, but just a quick reminder that other members need support from you as well, not just a handful of top rated members. The newcomers will likely need your attention more. If they write good contents, then make sure you've upvoted them. If you see them struggle with English or expert language, suggest an edit to improve their contributions. Try to add to their contributions, not hijack them. Avoid long discussions in the comments not to make them feel they're being tested, and rather invite them to our chat room. Have you been in our chat room and saw some new member come in and say nothing? Make them feel welcome and encourage them to participate in whichever discussion you're having. Be courteous. We already have much to show for, and some new members might feel unease inserting their own take. We want to prevent that and be an open society.

And so on, and each of you reading this can probably think of other ways as well to help us kickstart the community to be more visible, more open and more inviting to new members. Share your thoughts here or in any similar thread how we might be able to achieve that, and don't wait for anyone else to do that for you.

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Don't worry too much about the question stats. We are already doing things to help make this a better spot, the Topic of the Week is a big help in that actually. Participate in it. Ask a question or two during the week that relates to the topic of the week. Suggest a new topic if there's something you'd like to participate in. Vote on topics for upcoming weeks!

Aside from that, remember quality vs quantity. Quality will bring in more people asking quality questions, quantity without quality will just drive everyone bonkers.

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