Okay guys, I know about the area 51 stats, and once upon a time read What do we still need . . . so this is actually a slightly different set of questions.

Does the linked question need updating?

What can we do to encourage more question asking? Or, if other things (like Meta Participation) improved would 4/5 on the Stats page be enough?

What can be done to encourage more participation in the ancillary aspects of the site such as meta and chat?

  • 2
    Just a note, Parenting is really starting to see traction in a few key areas. I don't yet know what this means, and I don't want to write an answer about it yet, but I plan to as soon as I have some more data. For now I'd like to just remind folks that the Area 51 stats are heavily cached, and we're seeing some rather interesting growth as of late that isn't yet quite reflected there. Stay tuned!
    – user106
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 17:56

2 Answers 2


I think the situation remains much the same: we primarily need more questions per day.

The activity we see in the question feed doesn't always reflect it, but our overall site traffic has been steadily increasing over time at a pretty impressive rate. We still see the occasional spikes in traffic when a particularly popular question gets posted/tweeted/shared, but even ignoring the spikes, we've had just a really good, and consistent, increase in overall new visits to the site.

What's more, the more content we have, the more often we show up in searches like Google, so it really should just continue to snowball.

So my general feeling at this point is "we need to keep doing what we've been doing."

I'll also quote from Tim Post's answer when I asked about how to follow up on a previous Community Evaluation:

I'm quite convinced that this site would finally reach a huge success if it just had a few well respected evangelists promoting it. I'm not talking Oprah caliber, just parents that have a substantial following. Who are these people, and how do we get them to notice us? If we come up with those answers, then we've come up with half a plan. The other half is discussing the idea of what people could ask here, if they're not really comfortable asking about the real world problems that they face.

We had a related discussion about identifying said evangelists, which I encourage everyone to check out and participate in (there were some sidebar discussions in that thread that point out some potential issues/problems, as well).

I would also like to address Beansa's answer here:

First off, thank you very much for the candid feedback! It really does help us understand the perspective of newer users.

I can certainly understand your confusion over the Community Evaluation results. In all honesty, I don't really know how to answer some of your questions. While I see potential value in the process, I feel like it needs some clearer guidelines to really explain what the results mean. I would think that trying to improve the questions would certainly be a good thing, but in all honesty, I'm not sure how some of the questions that received a negative score could be improved (especially since I believe I scored one of them as at least "satisfactory").

I can also understand why our meta would be a bit intimidating. It is easy, I think, for new users to miss it entirely, and it probably isn't intuitively obvious what it is for.

Any suggestions you can make for how we can make it more welcoming would certainly be... welcome. Even any insight you could offer as to specific reasons why it feels unwelcoming or intimidating would be helpful.

I know that lately I haven't been as active as I had in the past. That's due to a combination of things, ranging from being busy in "real life", to feeling like maybe I should step back a bit to encourage other people to participate more. I have to admit that I also have been participating less on meta because I'm feeling a bit burned out, as so many of the things we've tried to help this site progress seem to have not produced the results I had hoped for.

I can also easily see how it seems like much of the content on meta is directed at the moderators, since it seems rare to have people aside from the moderators or community team respond to questions. I would love to see a change to that trend!

So, really, the best I can think of at the moment by way of suggestion is: post more stuff on meta! The more questions and answers, and overall activity, we see here, the more I think it will help make the purpose of meta clearer, and the community in general seem more open and friendly (I hope!).


I dipped my toes in the meta-water during last month's site self-evaluation; I rated some of the questions in the queue and I poked around some of the meta discussions trying to get a feel for things. I was looking at "active" discussions but some of them were posted months ago and I didn't see recent updates, or the discussion was between people I didn't recognize from my short time on the site so I was unsure if the ideas under discussion were still on the table or if I'd just be wasting time chipping in my 2 cents. Other questions seemed more like they were directed at moderators or at least at users more experienced than me.

The site self-evaluation also left me a little lost. I saw the results posted, but I don't know what I'm supposed to do with that information. What is considered an adequate net score? Should we try to fix questions with low net scores? Why were some of the questions scored lower; was it the quality of the answer or because the question wasn't easy to find on Google or some other reason?

I am not new to online communities in general and I was already familiar with SE because my husband loooves it, (I've even done my time as a volunteer moderator on a decently-sized forum), but for some reason I've found this site, especially the meta, somewhat intimidating and not entirely welcoming. I've gotten nice comments and feedback that I appreciate; I like the SE model and I'm interested in seeing how it works with a topic like Parenting so I keep coming back, trying to get more into things...but I'm not sure where to put my effort and I am left wishing for more of a community feeling here I guess.

Given how motivated I think I am to be an active member here and how I have struggled a bit figuring things out, I wonder what navigating the site is like for members who aren't already familiar with SE or who have less online community experience.

I've been hesitant to post my thoughts because I realize that I am making a lot of criticisms and not offering a lot of solutions. I try to be constructive whenever possible ;) I will try to think up some ways to encourage more participation but for now I'm hoping my feedback will get a conversation going.

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    See, this is exactly why we need your input! These are good things to know so we can work on brainstorming ways to make things more welcoming and inclusive! I recall feeling a bit lost at first too (I wasn't familiar with SE at all) and frankly not welcome with my first contributions, but that was for a separate, more unique reason - I hope - than most. Now, yes, let's start thinking of some constructive answers to the items you list here. Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 22:22

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