Communities

Writing
Writing
Codidact Meta
Codidact Meta
The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors
Photography & Video
Photography & Video
Scientific Speculation
Scientific Speculation
Cooking
Cooking
Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Judaism
Judaism
Languages & Linguistics
Languages & Linguistics
Software Development
Software Development
Mathematics
Mathematics
Christianity
Christianity
Code Golf
Code Golf
Music
Music
Physics
Physics

Dashboard
Notifications
Mark all as read
Q&A

Welcome to Codidact Meta!

Codidact Meta is the meta-discussion site for the Codidact community network and the Codidact software. Whether you have bug reports or feature requests, support questions or rule discussions that touch the whole network – this is the site for you.

How can we make Codidact more friendly for askers?

+9
−0

Most of the sites are struggling to get questions and while it seems to me at least that more effort has been put into optimizing for the answerers than for the askers.

To put it another way, there are lots and lots of sites on the internet where one could get their question answered, why should they ask it here?

Recently for me, it has not so much been that I don't have questions but more that the cost of writing questions is has not been worth the benefit.

What can we do to encourage people to ask questions here?

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.
Why should this post be closed?

0 comments

8 answers

+6
−0

Chicken, meet egg.

In many cases, the askers are much less expert than the answerers. The experts are the ones creating this site - not exclusively, but in many cases, and not necessarily academic or professional experts but sometimes just by virtue of having hung out SomeplaceElse for years and gaining experience. These askers don't seek us out. They Google to find some answers to their questions. If they don't find their specific question (and answers to it), they go to the sites that list other similar questions and answers and ask on those sites. Until we have lots of quality content, we are not one of those sites. We'll get there, but it takes time. On the other hand, the answerers who are already here don't have so many questions to ask, so we don't get questions from them either.

In short, we need content to get askers, but we need askers to get content. We tried, largely unsuccessfully, to build that initial content by copying from StackExchange, as permitted by the content licenses. However, that did not have the hoped for effects, for various reasons largely beyond our control. Every existing Q&A site (and almost any site actually, except if created by/for a major bricks & mortar company) goes through this process. The big question is: How can we can accelerate the process to get to "big enough to be seen by the askers"?

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

3 comments

Your looking broadly, I was asking much more specifically. Why should I, (with 2 Socratic badges on the old sites) ask my questions here? What is our selling point as to what makes asking questions here better than the other sites? Charlie Brumbaugh‭ 3 months ago

Once we have sufficient volume (enough askers to ask enough questions that they have a good chance of already seeing relevant Q&A so that they even think to look here, and so that there are enough new questions to keep the answerers busy; enough answerers to be able to give quality answers to new questions in a timely manner), then the differences start to matter. Until then, not so much. The differences once we are big enough to "compete" have to do with governance, Code of Conduct, manassehkatz‭ 3 months ago

and related items (which is what drove a lot of people away from Some Other places) as well as enhanced features like Blogs/Articles and other different post types, faster turnaround of new desirable features, community-specific customization, etc. manassehkatz‭ 3 months ago

+5
−0

This is very half-baked and just brainstorming at the moment, but it'd be good if askers received some sort of feedback that people were working on responding to them. Right now, some questions sit at zero answers for some time, and it can be hard to know if it's because the question is really hard, or because somebody is mullin over and maybe doing some research in their spare time but haven't put together a real "answer" yet, or if it's that there are so few answerers in a community that they're not likely to ever see a response. Upvotes mitigate this somewhat, but I know I upvote questions where "This is interesting and well-written and I'd like to see a response too" but I don't plan on answering myself.

Some of this may not be technological features that are needed, but expectations around what's needed to start posting an answer, if pointers to a few resources (some kind of "partial answer") is acceptable to people, or if just there should be an expectation of certain comments of "This is really interesting and I'm trying to dig into this in my spare time to try to help but don't know if I'll get to writing up an answer anytime soon" is something that should be encouraged? And maybe some community efforts to try to find questions that are sitting around unanswered for too long (which the cross-community "ads" may be the start of but there might be more we can do)?

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

3 comments

We could surface the number of drafts currently being written in response to a question... I think. Would that be useful? ArtOfCode‭ 3 months ago

@ArtOfCode Hmm, maybe. In terms of technical changes I was thinking more of an "I'm working on an answer" button of some sort, which might handle cases where I'm doing research but haven't yet started formulating an answer. But having a standard just be starting a draft just might be good enough. I'd be afraid that at this point it might just discourage people more since they'd know that nobody was working on it, though. :) Do you have any statistics on how often drafts turn into real posts? Peter Cooper Jr.‭ 3 months ago

One quick way for potential answerers to indicate this is via comments. I saw this being used on Politics.SE (more frequently for questions in danger of being closed that for "normal" questions, but still...). Alexei‭ 3 months ago

+3
−0

Elaborating on the thoughts of @PeterCooperJr.‭, it might be sensible to provide some meta statistics on each site on the main and / or "Ask Question" page.

For example, it might be viable to display the usual average response time to a given question. Maybe be even more detailed with how long it takes until it's answered by any person and how long it takes until it's answered by a domain expert. Another interesting statistics might be how many answers are to be expected. Some questions / topics don't have objective correct answers but a lot of correct subjective ones (think about cutting vegetables during cooking - many ways and nearly all of them are feasible in a way).

More statistics could be:

  • Average online users
  • Users online in the last 24 hours / 3 days / 7 days
  • General ratio of questions asked and answers provided
  • Number of domain experts
  • Number of non-domain experts but high-rep users (if it's to be distinguished somehow)
  • Time until the first interaction happens (casting votes, editing, answering etc.)
  • Total number of questions (factually already exists on the top of each site)
  • Total number of answers

All these numbers might encourage someone to ask a question here (numbers displaying a highly active community), however, they might also discourage someone to ask a question (numbers displaying an inactive community).

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

1 comment

These might be interesting statistics to track per site, but I don't think they would have much bearing on whether people ask questions here. The barrier is in people finding out about the site in the first place. If they can see the statistics, they are already here and know about the site. Olin Lathrop‭ 3 months ago

+3
−0

A lot of Codidact's distinctives, as Manasseh notes in comments on another answer, are about how the Codidact team and the community interact -- that communities here have much more control, that the team is accountable to the communities not to shareholders, much better responsiveness to requests and bug reports than Somewhere Else, and that we are all working together to build something better.

People with questions, who aren't part of communities, don't care about that stuff, yet. We hope that if they come here and have a good experience, they'll become part of our community and then care about these things, but when they're at the "I have a question and I will ask Google" phase, they just want answers.

How do we help them (a) find us and (b) have a good experience when they get here? These are related but separate questions. (a) is about search-engine optimization and having enough good content here already to register. That will take time and some tuning (and us learning, or attracting the attention of someone who knows, more about SEO).

But that other part, (b)? That's more under our control. As communities, let's try to help newcomers when they stumble -- ask questions if a post is unclear, be constructive, help out with an edit if we can. Be friendly native guides, so to speak. And let's try to keep an eye out for new questions and try to get them answered; if somebody asks a question and gets no help, that person probably won't return.

Our communities are largely founded by people who can answer, but we need questions for them to answer. Let's try to also ask questions. Even if you don't have an immediate problem to solve, are you curious about something? If you are, probably others are too -- go ahead and ask.

We need to solve the problem of people finding us, which will take time and isn't entirely under our control, but alongside that, maybe even before that, we need to have content already here that will attract visitors and help turn visitors into participants, and a lot of that is under our collective control.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

0 comments

+2
−1

Don't shoot the messenger. What about assimilating Codidact's website design — just this, nothing else, definitely not their policies — to Stack Exchange's?

I sugegst this because I asked some friends to use Codidact. They said they will try us, but they prefer S.E.'s design because it's neater and cleaner. Let's compare them side by side.

alt text

They said they

  1. prefer how S.E. makes question titles bigger.

  2. found Codidact too cluttered. Like the "Featured" and "Hot Posts" rectangle on the right. On S.E. they turn off Hot Network Questions.

  3. S.E. keeps "Questions, Tags, Users" together. Why does Codidact put "Users" up at the top, separate from "Posts", "Tags"?

  4. are irked by the community description, which is taking up valuable space. Isn't it obvious that "Mathematics" is about "General Q&A about all branches of theoretical and applied mathematics etc..."? They don't need to see it every time they come to the site.

  5. are irked by the "Subscribe" button.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

7 comments

I can see pros & cons for every one of these issues. One thing to keep in mind is that unlike SE, we are open to change here: Newer (so less inertia to overcome to make changes), not driven by corporate interests (so no need to leave room for advertising, etc.), and not driven by "one particular big site matters far more than all the others". So get them over here, let them try it out and they can suggest specific changes as they see fit. manassehkatz‭ 3 months ago

Thanks for the feedback. We should consider making some of those sections collapsible. The reason users aren't with tags and posts is that tags and posts are at the category level, while users are global for a community. If you click on "tags" in the meta category, for example, you'll only see the meta tags, not all of them. But if you click on "users" anywhere, you see everybody. We use the positioning to indicate what's global vs category (for example, help is also global). Monica Cellio‭ 3 months ago

Point 4 is based on a misunderstanding: it's not a description of the site, but of the category Q&A (Meta has different text there). Moving the text into the purple header might clarify the scope, although it wouldn't deal with the point that you really only need to read it once, not every time you visit the question list. Peter Taylor‭ 3 months ago

@PeterTaylor moving the text into the category header (something I briefly thought about too) would not work well on small viewports, like phones. I've just filed a GitHub issue to make it collapsible instead. Monica Cellio‭ 3 months ago

A simple solution would be to put a close or collapse button on the text. If the categories page hadn't been removed, I'd say it's enough to list the descriptions there (as an aside, I actually miss a way to get a quick overview without clicking on all categories; if anything, I would have increased the utility of the page by adding information to it). celtschk‭ 3 months ago

Show 2 more comments
+5
−4
How can we make Codidact more friendly for askers?

That's the wrong question. We aren't unfriendly to askers. The real question is:

What can we do to encourage people to ask questions here?

There are two necessary conditions to have a site that gets a good volume of questions:

  1. Good answers need to be forthcoming quickly.
  2. People need to know about the site to ask in the first place.

Our sites were started by the small active core on existing Q&A sites elsewhere. We generally do OK at #1.

We suck at #2.

The core group of each site needs to do some work to get the word out. Some ways individuals can do this:

  1. Stop answering Elsewhere where you were recognized as one of the experts, and put a note on your profile pointing to here. Some followers will notice you aren't answering anymore, and check your profile. Others will bump into some good answers of yours, and might be curious who this person is that wrote all those good answers.
  2. Personally invite people you know that are experts in the subject matter to come here, and then do #1 above, like you did.
  3. Whenever you interact with others in the subject domain of a site, mention Codidact when possible and not inappropriate. This is harder with Covid, but tradeshows and other subject domain gatherings are a good place to do this.

    This is an area where the Codidact organization should help once it is up and running enough to accept donations and actually have a little money to spend. Printing up "business cards" for each site would be useful. These would then be distributed to the few top rep people on each site, who then hand them out in situations as mentioned above. Others could get them too when requested, like before heading off to a tradeshow or teaching a class.

    Basically, some marketing money should be allocated to each site. I wouldn't make it a requirement, but the core group of each site should at least be asked to contribute once the mechanisms are in place.

However, probably by far the most significant way the inquisitive masses find out about us is when we pop up as a hit to a question posed to a search engine. One thing significantly holding us back here is all the duplicate content we scraped from SE. Recent tests have shown that this duplicate content is seriously hurting us. It has effectively black-listed the Writing, Outdoors, and Scientific Speculation sites, and seems to be having some negative impact on all the sites. Until this is fixed, any other effort to get more users on those sites is pretty much pointless.

Then there is the simple issue of critical mass. It takes lots of good answers to attract more questions. We have to realize this is a slow process initially.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

2 comments

The advice to stop answering Elsewhere isn't good advertising. Stopping to produce content might be understandable on principle, but won't get more people to click on your profile than if you continually produce questions and answers and have your profile in more places. user8078‭ 3 months ago

@user: The point is to not provide content elsewhere so that askers have to come here to get it. Also continuing to provide content elsewhere only helps those other places get high search results. We need good content here to attract more good content here. Olin Lathrop‭ 3 months ago

+2
−3

I think we must commence the Accounting, Economics, Finance forthwith to take advantage of the current bull U.S. stock markets! As you may have seen on the news, many amateurs are piling into investing and cryptocurrency now, and stock market indices are breaking record highs. The Sub Reddits for these topics are skyrocketing as much as meme stocks!

Communities for Accounting, Economics, Finance can attract these investors. Perhaps Codidact staff can message the moderators of r/economics, r/economy, r/finance, r/investing, r/stocks, r/stockmarket, r/personalfinance, r/options, and ask if they can advertise our communities there?

I know they're getting more questions than their moderators can handle. They will be happy to divert some of the traffic to us!

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

5 comments

What we need is for some folks here -- needn't and probably shouldn't be Codidact admins, but rather people who would participate on these communities -- to do some of this outreach. If there's a group of people who want to support a community here, we want to set it up. But we're a small team and can't go find all those participants for all those communities ourselves; we need some evangelists from within the community to lead that. Interested in working with those Reddit subs? Monica Cellio‭ 3 months ago

"Interested in working with those Reddit subs?" yes, but unfortunately, I have literally zero karma on Reddit. I mostly lurk. I don't think I should ask because Reddit moderators may intepret a zero karma account as spam. Do you know if there are Codidact users here who are already moderators on Reddit, or at least have more karma, who can carry more weight? PSTH‭ 3 months ago

The Codidact team can't take on the task of finding people to support every community that someone would like to see here. We need supporters of community proposals to do that legwork. By the way, I don't have any status on Reddit either. If there are people there who would potentially come here, somebody who's invested in the proposal needs to do that outreach, talk with them, work together to shape the proposal, etc. I don't know how you do that on Reddit. Monica Cellio‭ 3 months ago

So... I am a moderator on reddit with a decent amount of karma, but... I'm also Codidact staff. I could reach out, but Monica has an excellent point that it really should be people who actually want to use these communities. ArtOfCode‭ 3 months ago

@ArtofCode Can you try reaching out to mods on those investing subreddits? Let us know their replies. Chgg Clou‭ 2 months ago

+1
−6

I'll try not to repeat what's already written here.

  1. Codidact just feels too cluttered compared to S.E. — see https://meta.codidact.com/posts/280464. I think Codidact can gain from appearing more S.E. Then people won't have to get used to two different layouts.

  2. Codidact doesn't offer communities for subjects that the average layman cares about. Just look at S.E. and Reddit's most popular communities. We got no politics, economics, finance, medicine, DIY or home improvement!

Most ones here are too esoteric — Scientific Speculation, Electrical Engineering, Software Development, Code Golf. No offense to Christianity and Judaism — but many English speakers aren't Christians or Jews.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

3 comments

Just like on SE, the sites are what users proposed and gave some indication they will support. Nobody sat down and decided to have a particular set of sites. If you want something that's not here, propose it. Be prepared to do the work to define the site, get others on board, eventually write the help pages, etc. Olin Lathrop‭ 3 months ago

SE's most popular community by far is StackOverflow which is larger than all other communities combined by I think every metric SE tracks. The top several communities by users are "esoteric" (e.g. programming, sys admin, mathematics) and similarly by traffic. Arquade, a site for gamers, is arguably the first site that would be (superficially) appealing to "the average layman". Derek Elkins‭ 3 months ago

Even on Reddit the story isn't that clear cut. r/science is about four times the size of r/politics. That said, the Q&A format makes a big difference in my opinion and makes Reddit and SE not very comparable. I suspect a large part of r/gaming would find Arqade uncompelling. This is just a bizarre critique. Derek Elkins‭ 3 months ago

Sign up to answer this question »

This community is part of the Codidact network. We have other communities too — take a look!

You can also join us in chat!

Want to advertise this community? Use our templates!