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We all love Parenting Stack Exchange, but there is a whole world of people out there who need answers to their questions and don't even know that this site exists. When they arrive from Google, what will their first impression be? Let's try to look at this site through the eyes of someone who's never seen it before, and see how we stack up against the rest of the 'Net.

The Site Self-Evaluation review queue is open and populated with 10 questions that were asked and answered in the last quarter. Run a few Google searches to see how easy they are to find and compare the answers we have with the information available on other sites.

Rating the questions is only a part of the puzzle, though. Do you see a pattern of questions that should have been closed but are not? Questions or answers that could use an edit? Anything that's going really well? Post an answer below to share your thoughts and discuss these questions and the site's health with your fellow users!

  • How were the questions selected? About half of the ones I looked at were asked by one person. – smillig May 13 '13 at 9:34
  • @smillig According to this meta.so discussion, they select "10 random open questions with at least one answer from the past 30-40 days". – user420 May 16 '13 at 16:02
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Final Results

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I had a hard time finding many of our questions through Google, and I feel like the phrasing of the title had a lot to do with it.

Googling for exact matches on the question titles seems to almost always return our site as the first result. However, when I tried phrases that I thought would be more likely for a random person with a similar issue to search for, many of the sample questions did not show up in the first two pages.

I wonder if the question titles tend to be too specific to the situation of the person asking. Awkward phrasing in the title may also be an issue.

I think we may need to start being a little more aggressive and structured in editing question titles.

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    If you disagree with all or part of my answer here, it would help very much if you could explain why, either in a comment or an answer of your own. Meta is for discussion, and downvotes indicate disagreement (and I certainly don't take it personally), but disagreement without an explanation why isn't really conducive to the types of discussion that would lead to productive improvements. – user420 May 15 '13 at 15:35
  • for example w.r.t this question: "parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/7655/…", I am keen to know what other phrases did you use to search Google which didn't fetch this question as an output. – Aquarius_Girl May 22 '13 at 11:33
  • @AnishaKaul I said many, not all. That question in particular shows us at the top of page two for "5 year old yells", which is fine. However, "15 mo old son becomes very fussy every evening when I come home from work" is a good example of a question title that doesn't match what I'd expect people to search on ("toddler gets upset when i come home", "demanding toddler", "clingy toddler", etc.). – user420 May 22 '13 at 12:22
  • Actually I asked so we could get an idea about how to rephrase the titles. If we more examples, it will be easier for us to edit the titles accordingly. – Aquarius_Girl May 22 '13 at 12:26
  • @AnishaKaul I provided some examples in the previous comment, but the space in a comment is limited. Generally, my advice is: ignore the title, read the question, and then try to figure out the basic problem in as few words as possible, using generic terms (e.g. "toddler" instead of "15 month old", so you don't exclude 14 and 16 month old kids). Then search on that, try to find ours, and see what similar questions come up on other sites, and how they are phrased. – user420 May 22 '13 at 12:31
  • understood, do I have a right to find such questions and edit accordingly? will that not be offensive? – Aquarius_Girl May 22 '13 at 12:33
  • @AnishaKaul No one should be offended by edits to improve questions or answers. Just follow the guidelines. Keep in mind that you don't have enough reputation to edit without review (meaning go ahead and make the edits, but they won't show up until someone with more rep reviews and approves your suggestions), but also remember that you will gain reputation for suggesting edits that are approved. Not only are edits to other people's posts allowed, it's actively encouraged and rewarded. – user420 May 22 '13 at 12:37
  • Example: parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/8080/… In this question I has edited the title according to the keywords favoring many Google results, but someone edited that edit to the current form. You think it is advisable to argue on such issues? Or since the other fellow is senior to me in points, I should accept that he might be more correct? – Aquarius_Girl May 22 '13 at 13:03
  • @AnishaKaul If you notice the comments he included with his edit, his concern was that "pros and cons" in the title encourages a list. While I'm not sure I agree that that is a problem (I just answered your other "pros and cons" question, and there are other examples where that format works), formats that are questions seem to generally work a bit better for search engines (a lot of people search by typing in their question). I don't think your suggestion was bad, but I don't think the further edits were wrong, either. – user420 May 22 '13 at 13:39
  • One thing to watch out for, though, is to not get into an "edit war". If you disagree with the edits made, post a comment. If you think there should be a discussion, post a meta question, or invite the other person making edits to join you in chat so you can come to an agreement. – user420 May 22 '13 at 13:40

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