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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 to grow all of our communities?

+11
−0

As most have noticed, there's been a discussion raised on all the community metas about how to grow that particular community. It's a good question and I do believe they should be answered on community basis.

However, there are some common universal issues with all Codidact communities that I think should be addressed here at meta.codidact. Please post an answer if you have ideas or want to raise discussion about how to increase activity concerning all our communities.

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Duplicate? (2 comments)

6 answers

+13
−1

In order to make more users join a community, there must be actual content present
Casual users don't join some random community no matter how interested they are in the topic unless given an actual reason to. Reasons in this case include already posted high quality content or the ability to ask questions to domain experts on the topic. Or maybe just an impression that this seems to be a nice place to hang out.

This means that when we start a new community, it is not sufficient to have some 10 or so people saying "yeah this sounds fun". We need several committed enthusiasts who constantly push the site forward: defining scopes, starting meta discussions, posting actual content, remaining active over time.

Regarding luring users over from Stack Exchange specifically, it is not sufficient to simply offer better features or a better organization. Most people only care about the actual site content. It many cases they will expect content of equal or greater quality than that of the site they are currently using, so they will in many cases have very high standards.

Imported posts from SE has been a hot potato discussed on the various community metas. I think it is good that we have the option to import, but the Codidact sites cannot just rely on old imported content - there must be something new content unique to the particular community to make it interesting. You'll want casual users to read a post and think "This was a nice post - hey I better keep an eye on this particular community or I might be missing out some good stuff."


Some concrete suggestions for how to improve the situation:

  • Put all the ghost towns in the freezer.
    The definition of a ghost town being a site where there are not enough enthusiast users that are continuously providing content for that community. And "the freezer" would be some less prominent place where embryos of working communities may exist until they can guarantee sufficient site activity. See Stack Exchange Area 51 for inspiration, it seems to be a model which works well.

    This may sound harsh but the network as whole is suffering from these ghost towns. I don't think they should have been launched in the first place. In many cases there was just one or two prominent users pushing for a certain community and when they stop pushing for the site, for whatever reason, it dies. Roughly half of our communities are such ghost towns.

  • Ensure that there is high quality, unique content upon launch
    Upon launching a new community, we should already have prepared detailed and high quality Q&A to "seed the site" with - not only to serve as examples of what kind of questions to expect, but to be interesting enough in itself to draw people there.

    This means at the very least some 10-20 prepared Q&A posts that should be added to the community within the first week after launch. Give it a flying start. If there isn't enough such content prepared, this in turn suggests that there may not be enough enthusiast users to get the community up and running. If you have some 10-20 enthusiasts users and everyone tries to ask a single high quality question, post a quality answer or post a self-answered Q&A within the first week(s) after launch, then that might do a big difference.

  • Quality moderation early on
    A lot of us want to see a new community grow and thrive. So when some community is launched, Codidact users from other communities who aren't quite sure about what that community is about "stumble in" and post questions. I do this myself too, even if I'm just mildly interested in the topic of the new community.

    But as a result, we do end up with a whole lot of naive, low quality questions, borderline on-topic. These questions drive people with actual interest and expertise in the topic away from that site. If the first impression of the site is a collection of down-voted, low quality posts, people are not likely going to stick around.

    To prevent this, we may have to crack down on such "friendly" users stumbling in to "help". It's important that we get scope and moderators in place as quickly as possibly. Anyone signing up for moderator duty need to be enthusiasts of the topic. Not necessarily experts, but at least with enough knowledge to remove low quality and off-topic posts.

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3 comment threads

Basically, we need to beta our sites (3 comments)
Would you be willing to flesh out a feature request? (1 comment)
"Incubator" is a good name for your freezer. (1 comment)
+4
−1

Here maybe some things that others may have forgotten or may not have emphasized as such:

Continue supporting the software development

I'm really surprised how well developed and rich of features QPixel is, even more after hearing that it is an effort of only two main developers and a few other contributors. The goal should be to make it the best open source Q&A software available with the best features. Codidact can serve as the showcase for QPixel but will also profit from a better QPixel. And who knows, QPixel can even be competition to something like to Stack Overflow for Teams, if only there was paid support for QPixel, which might happen at some point.

Favor quality over quantity

What is more useful? Lots of mediocre questions and answers or fewer but better quality content pieces? I would opt for the letter, because Q&A is not new and exists in many places. High quality Q&A is comparably scarcer and it might be easier to make a high impact there.

What does that mean actually? It means that we should clearly formulate the expectations on the quality of a question and an answer. It also means that editing and improving existing content is something really worthwhile and should be encouraged. Showing the number of edits on the user card is actually a step in the right direction. We should have a culture of improving existing content.

We must be nice

With small communities you cannot afford to lose even only a single contributing member. While being nice and polite is always a good idea, I think here it should be paramount. Not only would it reduce attrition, small communities can also increase their attractivity a lot by how welcoming they appear.

Example: Negatively received (more downvotes than upvotes) contributions may not be very useful but I would not call them "drivel" because that is a too strong/too negative label that does not serve any use. Better might be to think of negatively scored content as content that yet needs to be improved or simply wasn't a big hit.

Talk about Codidact and QPixel

There are actually two topics one can talk about (but always also mention the other one while doing so): the software and the Q&A platform. How do they compare with competitors, what can they do better, what do they still need, ... Not only on Social Media but also on all "journalistic" platforms. For example, submit an article to opensource.com and talk about it all. (If needed I could probably also do it, but I don't know the history of Codidact as well as others.)

Don't put inactive communities in the freezer

What good will it do to put an already suffering entity in the cold? None! I don't really like the division into sub-communities with the sub-sites much. It has advantages but also disadvantages. If possible, I would rather try to blur the separation between them more. A network user profile in the software would be one step towards that.

If we see the site as a whole we see places that are less crowded, but the knowledge is still in there and can be (software is open source, knowledge is under a free license) be restarted at any time. I would not put sites in the freezer. Rather keep them and wait for new activity. More like hibernation actually and waiting for a new spring. It might be a good idea to mark these sites as such: "hibernating" or "currently low activity".

The main issue was that ghost towns do not make a good impressions. But I think if they were marked as such (say a banner like

This site has had low activity in the last time. You can help revive it by ...

should be sufficient) and on the codidact.com landing page maybe also a visual indicator of activity and sort by activity. But please do not put them in the freezer, that way you will likely lose them and have to start at square one again.

Face the realities, 2021 is not 2009, open source is not venture capital

There is already a lot of Q&A out there and the marketing reach of Codidact is limited. It looks to me more like a grassroots movement that will grow mostly by word of mouth, so probably not very explosive. What sold me to join was actually the quality of the software (really impressed, makes we want to be able to program in Ruby) and the quality of the content, not so much the amount of content that is existing. Codidact will probably only grow slowly.

There might even be a critical mass required for taking off and that might never be reached. The fun is trying to beat the odds though.

Add existing high quality content but increase the quality even more

I read about mass imports and that search engines basically did not honor that and ignored the copied content. So pure copying probably isn't useful, but copying and improving the quality content (more concise, leave out outdated information) would give a real added value and hopefully search engines would at some point realize that too.

That's what I will do if I have time, because that's (editing and summarizing and improving) is what I can do well and it doesn't depend on the size of the community really.

Everyone, think what you can do and simply do it

Improve the software. Ask or answer. Spread the word. Everything will help.

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4 comment threads

Feedback to - we must be nice (2 comments)
"Don't put inactive communities in the freezer" (1 comment)
Contributing to qpixel code (2 comments)
Talk about Codidact and QPixel (6 comments)
+3
−3

Start Marketing?

As I said earlier, I am not a marketer and I don't have relation in huge community. So I don't have any idea how to invite people to X.

I didn't have much more idea of internet when SE launched so I don't have any idea how SE took the marketplace. I believe some will come to correct me after writing the post.

I think SE was launched for educational purpose. But while CD was launched for educational purpose but the main part of CD was "no rude behaviour (behavior)" which SE's people had done to our staff Monica. Wonderfully our staffs will never do the mistake as SE's staffs. But the main fact here is, we aren't welcoming new users the SE's people does. I remember the day, when I created second account and posted a question in Linux CD someone was telling me "I am not accusing for your bad English". While SE's people says, "Welcome to X, Did you mean 'blah blah blah' by 'this'?" But our people is doing something else. I don't think any new user was welcomed in the community. Even when new user in MSE don't write equations using MathJax, then that post gets only 1 downvote and write a comment something just like this : "Welcome to Mathematics StackExchange, please write your equations using MathJax". Who welcome our new user? Why new user will feel free in our community? A bad poster is ongoing bad posting, who is stopping them? Why no one is teaching them the correct thing rather everyone is behaving rude (I can link some questions(Unfortunately, I can't find other posts))?

Lundin had raised a post in Software CD (Questions easily answered by studying a beginner-level book), in that post Olin Lathrop said that "Downvote them for now" (whichever can be answered easily by reading first few paragraph of beginner-level books). You know what when SE first launched they needed more people and "good post" that's what we are looking for. But if you take a look at 10 years old questions than you will see that some answers were written in a line or twice line cause that was just solving the OP's question they(mod) wasn't requesting for explanation of answerers code which they are doing now. They got people and it won't affect much more if they lose 10 people per month cause they are getting new users every whole day. They were encouraging new coders that time while they are encouraging intermediate coders now. As I wrote in PCD, students have question rather than physicists in Physics fields. So we should encourage learner. When we get enough professionals in Site Proposal we start new community, but who will ask question? A professional/Professor/Physicist? Of course not! Go and find for students.

When I learned Android Application development, my teacher had told me to use SO for any kind of help but not CD. I suspect he may not have idea of CD also. So starts marketing in IT sector for Software CD, Physicsforums and facebook for Physics CD and so on.

Can we market in a place for the whole network?

Of course we can. The best place is Quora. It's too hard to invite people without advertisement. Sorry to say, the banner which is Codidact using and newly created banner is good but not creative.

If you write in a blue background that, Welcome to Codidact. Then no one will enjoy it. But if you make that banner creatively than people will be interested to visit that. It's something like telling someone to a blue chocolate or gradient chocolate. Everyone thinks colorful things. And I remember correctly, a boss in a company had invited his colleagues after few moments he told his worker to bring tea and biscuit, his worker brought some biscuit which cost 5৳ per piece. The boss could tell him to buy some expensive things rather than cheap one. But everyone liked it cause it was packed beautifully. No one cares what's inside but outside design. I personally like UI/UX of Codidact but advertisement in some SE's Meta wasn't good at all cause the design was too "cheap".

Oops! I was talking about advertisement in Quora, if you want to advertise the whole network than Quora will be the best for it. Cause if you search in internet than you can find programming, physics, cooking and others post in Quora. They don't describe their question too much but we do. So maybe we could introduce them to that also.


Lack of Voting isn't really a problem. I had seen some Mithrandir's post in Scientific Speculation, they are good enough. But most of them got no vote. When I first seen it I thought it's really bad. But latter my mind said, "it's really not". If you look at SE's highest upvote then you will see that some questions/answers got over than 1k upvotes. While in the whole network, highest upvote is 52 in current site highest answer 53 in Code Golf, while in the related post of Code golf SE has more than 150 answers. So my opinion is don't compare Codidact to Stackexchange now.

I will just repeat the same thing what I said in PCD, "peoples are just writing their answers in comment, and some are just keep showing link if you understood what that webpage said than why you didn't write an answer? What is stopping you? If you didn't understand then why did you comment? I had seen both links before he posted but when that wasn't giving me some useful answers I came to Codidact while user is doing "this" :|. Meaningless!!!!!!!!! I don't care whoever downvotes the answers cause I had mentioned them directly rather hiding them. A professional must be mentioned everywhere while professional are just ....................

I wonder average related answers got downvote around the network, maybe there's someone who is thinking we are just ongoing harming them (all answers in the question and here)

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1 comment thread

---I wonder average related answers got downvote around the network, maybe there's someone who is thi... (2 comments)
+2
−2

In addition to what Lundin said, we should do something Monica alluded to in her posts to each community.

Some communities, particularly the less-active ones, have a high drivel ratio. This makes the place look like an unkempt trash heap to casual visitors. I suggest that unregistered users only be shown posts with positive vote count. I've looked at communities with particularly high drivel problems (Outdoors, Scientific Speculation), and that pretty much weeds out the duds.

Alternatively, or maybe in addition, the list of posts can be displayed differently for everyone. Right now, all posts are displayed with the same prominence. The only way to tell gems from junk is by looking at the score. The information is there, but it's mixed in with the clutter visually.

Instead, post should be displayed differently according to three classifications: New, Positive, and Poor.

New posts are those that have been posted recently, like a day or a few days, and have received less than N total votes. The exact time limit and number of votes should be settable per site. New posts would be shown in the list with a light green background so that they stand out. These are the posts that should get the most attention from existing users. They need to be answered and rated.

Positive posts are those with a net-positive (+1 or more) vote count. These would be shown as they are now.

Poor posts have a 0 or negative vote count. They would be shown somewhat grayed-out and with less detail, and take up less space vertically. The point is to visually de-emphasize them.

This does some useful things:

  1. Active users can quickly see where attention is needed.
  2. Askers will see their new questions be highlighted for a time.
  3. There are real a consequences to asking poorly. Your question will be less visible, and then you're less likely to get an answer. You can no longer just ignore all the downvotes and keep doing the same thing. You now have to actually impress someone for your post to live and produce the desired result.
  4. The perceived quality is higher with poor posts de-emphasized. Not only does that make them feel like a smaller fraction of the site, but it also shows that the site understands they are poor posts and has dealt with them accordingly. Put another way, you don't see as much dirt, and you can see that we know the difference and try to keep the place clean.

None of this should apply to meta, since voting there is (or should be) about agreement or disagreement, not necessarily a judgement of post quality. Free discussion of ideas should be encouraged on meta, without the fear of being penalized for having an unpopular viewpoint. Maybe unregistered users shouldn't see meta at all?


I wouldn't want to see posts classified as "poor," at least not by the criteria suggested. To be "poor," a post would need only a single downvote, or a lack of upvotes for long enough to leave the "new" category. That happens often here. People seeing their sincere, well-written, but ignored posts labelled "poor" aren't likely to come back. If we're going to have that category, the criteria for being placed in it have to be stronger, perhaps at least a score of -2.

The labels I used above were only to aid in describing the mechanics. Names of the classifications would not be shown to users. All they see is posts either highlighted, displayed as now, or de-emphasized.

As for the threshold for poor, I've looked around in a number of the sites. The dividing line between good and everything else seems to be that good stuff gets at least one upvote. Ignored questions with 0/0 votes are generally not very good, and are not what we want casual visitors to see as part of their first impressions.

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1 comment thread

Maybe make hot posts/hot network posts more prominent? (4 comments)
+2
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When Outdoors/Photography started there was a bunch of activity and upvoting and I asked a bunch of questions. However, my participation dropped about 8 months ago for several different reasons,

  1. Lack of expertise.

    In either case, there is no reason to ask here when I could ask on another site where the experts know what a lithophane/Ursack is.

  2. Lack of voting

    • For example on Cooking, most of the questions with one upvote were upvoted by me.
    • It is not worth it to take the time to write a self answered Q&A and get a single upvote. This has happened to me on both Photography and Outdoors.
    • There are however lots of downvotes happening and when the front page is filled with downvoted questions then that tends to discourage other people from asking. This question has a lot of research but seems to suffer from English as a second language

    Voting is how we pay people in a sense and right now there aren't enough people upvoting content.

  3. Rudeness

    • There seems to be a loud minority that thinks the problem with SE/SO was that they were not rude enough to the new users who asked poor questions. This shows when users leave comments attempting to shame new users into not posting or doing lots of research before posting. It's trying to create a reputation for harshness in an attempt to get high-quality questions that didn't work for SO and I doubt it would work here.
    • SO/SE had high expectations for moderators, here there is at least one moderator who keeps making rude comments on sites where they are not a moderator.

I can deal with the lack of expertise and voting somewhat but the rudeness is a bright red line where if it is a choice between dealing with the rude comments and not asking, I will find the answer elsewhere every single time.

Right now Codidact is not working as a place to ask questions and until that is fixed I don't see site promotion being successful.

As far as what I would like to see Codidact do to fix these problems,

  • Moderators represent Codidact and as such there should be a much lower tolerance for rudeness from a moderator than a regular user.

  • Culture building towards helping new users instead of slamming the door in their face.

I have two Socratic badges on Outdoors.SE and have asked more questions on Outdoors.SE/CD than any other user, but right now due to the above problems the juice is not worth the squeeze. I can think of questions to ask, but am unable to convince myself that it would be worth the effort write them out.

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2 comment threads

This seems community-specific (10 comments)
Moderator rudeness on sites that they don't moderate (1 comment)
+1
−5

See my other suggestions. Here's one more. Galvanize, hearten, spur and goad questions that quote from popular books!

Like most people, I stumbled on Stack Exchange and Codidact after Googling the exact text in a popular textbook, that I didn't grok!

Many readers will Google the exact text — like of exercises or problems — in textbooks that they don't grok. The more Codidact contains these texts, the more newcomers!

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