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I have not been with The Workplace for very long but I have observed that when a site is ready it will be launched out of Beta and then be a full Stack Exchange Site. I have learned what it would take for a site to graduate, but I am wondering how far off we are and what is stopping us.

More importantly, what can we do to get this site published?

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    "will we graduate?" :) – enderland Jun 14 '13 at 19:01
  • One thing at which we're not yet there (and I believe should not hurry to get there), is questions backlog (as of now, we have about 1.8K). List of SE sites ordered by questions clearly shows that under 3K questions in backlog, there are no graduated sites (except for AskPatents, but it's special case). – gnat Jun 15 '13 at 21:22
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    @enderland hoping so mate.. – Michael Grubey Jun 17 '13 at 15:55
  • This link sums it up nicely :p - youtube.com/watch?v=9AbjYmLIIGE – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 16 '13 at 15:07
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The Workplace SE is a site that people are finding useful. One person, Paul Brown, recently commented on this:

I want to thank everyone on TheWorkplace for helping me to learn more about professional development and job searching. I recently got a job offer at a really great company and it is largely due to what I have learned on this site! They have a basketball court, a cafeteria, hiking trails and lots of people my age to work with and I can't wait to start.

I have been looking for a good job (read: 40 hour weeks, reasonable work conditions, using new programming languages, etc) for months now and I'm glad that I made myself be extra picky because it was worth the wait.

We have some good content here. Overall, we do a great job as a community of pushing the low quality stuff to the bottom or even disposing of it. As we grow, we'll need more avid users who help guide new users and teach them how to formulate good questions and answers. As far as focusing inward, we're doing a pretty good job. We just need to stay the course and continue to build good content. Those posts, even months or years later, will help people who find the site through search engines such as Google. The more we have, the more opportunities there are for people to find us.

Additionally, we'll need to focus outward as well. In order to grow, we'll have to spread the word using different strategies, such as by Promoting the Workplace SE through community outreach to bloggers and through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. So if you see an opportunity to help one of your Facebook friends with a workplace problem, consider dropping a link to an answer from The Workplace, or ask the question yourself if one doesn't exist, and give the link to your friend! :) LinkedIn could also present some opportunities to help people out with work-related problems, considering the audience.

The question of when we'll graduate can't really be answered definitively; it's not based on time. We'll need to hit a tipping point where growth is exponential and where we have enough users to flag, edit, and vote to close, even if a large majority of top users disappear due to life's demands and even with increased reputation thresholds for those privileges.

The key is to just keep using the site as a resource and focus on good content while also sharing helpful posts with our friends and colleagues.

  • If we graduated today, the site would have 39 close voters (3K+ rep). That's not bad, and in fact it's 3 more than Christianity (they graduated recently). Of course numbers alone don't tell the whole story, I don't have an easy way of knowing how active our close voters are (and I do know one of them - me - isn't really active). – yannis Jun 15 '13 at 15:54
  • @Yannis - Looking at Christianity, it doesn't look like the Area 51 numbers are all that different from Workplace. In fact, Workplace's numbers are higher in every category across the board. However, my impression is that they look at other statistics like growth of visits per day, as well as the actual content. Since we're a newer site than Christianity, it seems that our rate of growth is larger. But whether or not we're ready, continuing to do the above things will still yield positive results. – jmort253 Jun 15 '13 at 18:21
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    @Yannis I think the thing about Workplace.SE that is different from other sites is that many users only come here for a short time period - when they're looking for a job (or for help with their job). That's different from other SE sites where the majority of the active user base is made up of people that are passionate about the subject. Sure we have some of those people here, but it's definitely not as high of a percentage as something like Christianity has. – Rachel Jun 16 '13 at 15:56
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We will graduate mostly at the discretion of 'the powers that be' but we can use the statistics site to determine how 'Healthy' a site is, the healthier a site the more likely it is to be graduated. Currently we meet every milestone but question count.

Provided we keep a constructive and active community with a healthy question and answer base then it should only be a matter of time before we make the needed impression.

Much thanks to Rarity for correcting my understanding.

Stats found here

5 questions per day Needs Work – 15 questions per day on average is a healthy beta, 5 questions or fewer per day needs some work. A healthy site generates lots of good content to make sure users keep coming back.

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    Not quiiiite. The milestones are more of a health indicator. Some sites graduate before meeting all the goals (User Experience had around 5 Q per day when it graduated I think), but meeting all goals at once is a very strong sign of a healthy site. But meeting everything but the question requirement (while keeping up consistent activity) seems acceptable for SE as well. – Rarity Jun 13 '13 at 13:13
  • @Rarity my apologies then! when i asked previously this was the explanation i received. bare with me, update coming – Rhys Jun 13 '13 at 13:23
  • It's a common mistake. There's supposed to be a revised Area 51 site which lists more/better stats and focuses more on consistent growth over specific "goals" but...it's been like a year since they talked about that and no such luck yet. – Rarity Jun 13 '13 at 13:30
  • @Rarity hopefully my edited question is closer to the ball now. Ironic that it was suggested for A51, the proposals site, and never made it out of there! – Rhys Jun 13 '13 at 13:31
  • I would encourage folks to avoid taking those stats too seriously as they're subject to interpretation. Taken too literally, I've seen people try and reach down deep and ask more questions, which doesn't sustain and which tends to evoke very low quality. The actual interpretation of the questions per day stat is tied more closely to visits per day. The more interesting and helpful content we provide, the more visits per day, the more people who find the site, and the more people who ask real, legitimate questions about real, actual problems. :) – jmort253 Jun 14 '13 at 3:28
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Executive Summary

I did a bit of number crunching, comparing us to other beta sites, and the non-beta sites to see where we stand on the numbers showed here. The categories I looked at are:

  1. Questions (Total)
  2. Answers (Total)
  3. Users (Total)
  4. Visits/Day
  5. Questions/Day

For questions, we are behind all non-beta sites. For answers we beat Skeptics, and are neck and neck with Theoretical Computer Science. For users we beat Mathematica, Bicycles, Travel, RPGs, Christianity, and Mi Yodeya. For visits we beat UX, RPGs, Mathematica, On Startups, Mi Yodeya, and Theoretical Computer Science (we are neck and neck with Travel and Bicycles). For questions per day we beat Bicycles, Theoretical Computer Science, OnStartups, and Skeptics.

In other words, I think we are getting mighty close as we are pulling in line with non-beta sites in almost every category, and have a very significant audience compared with many non-beta sites. If we keep providing valuable information for visitors, I think we will find ourselves with a non-default theme soonTM

Additional Info on Close Ratio

I did a bit more analysis based on gnat's comment below. I looked at the following sites for ratio of closed questions both in the past month, and total, and compared it to our site. Here are the results (last month questions / last month closed / last month closed %, total questions / total closed / total closed %):

  1. Travel ( 223 / 56 / 25.1% ; 5,185 / 654 / 12.6% )
  2. Mi Yodeya ( 234 / 14 / 6.0% ; 8,728 / 446 / 5.1% )
  3. The Workplace ( 157 / 66 / 42.0% ; 2,318 / 566 / 24.4% )
  4. Bicycles ( 121 / 11 / 9.1% ; 3,791 / 165 / 4.4% )
  5. Theoretical Computer Science ( 150 / 14 / 9.3% ; 4,859 / 207 / 4.3% )
  6. Answers OnStartups ( 115 / 27 / 23.5% ; 9,874 / 579 / 5.9% )
  7. Skeptics ( 91 / 22 / 24.2% ; 4,049 / 367 / 9.1% )

We have dramatically more closed questions than any non-beta site ratio-wise, both recently and overall. Because of the topic (and the urge for people to ask for personalized advice) this may be avoidable, but in the meantime we can continue to work on deleting closed questions (or at least voting them down so they will be auto-deleted), and editing salvageable questions and reopening them.


Here is how we rank among the beta sites in each category. If you want to do your own analysis, I have a CSV dump at the bottom of this answer (it ain't perfect, numbers are rounded, blah blah blah).

Questions

Rank: 25/65 Total: 2.3k Lowest in Non-Beta sites: 3.8k (Bicycles)

(Since it seems deleted questions aren't counted, ironically our efforts in cleaning things up may be hurting our raw numbers here)

Answers

Rank: 8/65 Total: 8.5k Lowest in Non-Beta sites: 5.5k (Skeptics)

Users

Rank: 3/65 Total: 8.5k Lowest in Non-Beta sites: 2.5k (Mi Yodeya)

Visits/Day

Rank: 6/65 Total: 7.8k Lowest in Non-Beta sites: 1.7k (Theoretical Computer Science)

Questions/Day

Rank: 16/65 Total: 5.6 Lowest in Non-Beta sites: 3.3 (Skeptics)

Data Dump

Site,Beta?,Q,A,% A,Users,Visits,Q/Day,Age; Stack Overflow,0,5900000,11000000,0.77,2400000,6000000,7100,5y3m; Mathematics,0,185000,284000,0.84,83000,94000,456,3y3m; Ask Ubuntu,0,121000,156000,0.69,147000,285000,195,3y3m; Super User,0,191000,321000,0.76,199000,501000,182,4y3m; Server Fault,0,160000,298000,0.82,141000,198000,98,4y6m; TeX - LaTeX,0,48000,71000,0.97,33000,53000,63,3y3m; WordPress Answers,0,37000,51000,0.8,30000,26000,52,3y2m; Unix & Linux,0,30000,53000,0.86,43000,62000,50,3y2m; Drupal Answers,0,31000,40000,0.72,17000,22000,47,2y7m; Physics,0,24000,41000,0.87,23000,22000,46,2y11m; Meta Stack Overflow,0,57000,96000,0.88,90000,8500,46,4y4m; Cross Validated,0,27000,33000,0.71,24000,22000,45,3y3m; Geographic Information Systems,0,25000,36000,0.79,18000,20000,43,3y3m; Arqade,0,35000,62000,0.94,39000,237000,42,3y3m; English Language & Usage,0,28000,76000,1,40000,118000,40,3y2m; MathOverflow,0,44000,80000,0.8,28000,17000,38,4y1m; Ask Different,0,32000,53000,0.78,45000,119000,37,3y2m; Electrical Engineering,0,21000,44000,0.93,22000,27000,35,3y1m; Programmers,0,28000,115000,0.98,89000,49000,31,3y1m; SharePoint,0,29000,39000,0.68,14000,28000,31,2y6m; Android Enthusiasts,0,17000,23000,0.74,34000,65000,23,3y1m; Database Administrators,0,17000,26000,0.88,24000,32000,22,2y9m; Mathematica,0,11000,18000,0.9,8200,5000,20,1y9m; Game Development,0,17000,33000,0.9,30000,15000,18,3y3m; Information Security,0,10000,25000,0.98,27000,22000,17,2y11m; Web Applications,0,13000,19000,0.81,35000,55000,14,3y4m; Home Improvement,0,8600,17000,0.92,12000,29000,12,3y3m; Webmasters,0,14000,26000,0.94,24000,11000,12,3y3m; Science Fiction & Fantasy,0,11000,22000,0.95,15000,19000,8.3,2y9m; User Experience,0,9300,30000,0.99,28000,7400,8.3,3y2m; Photography,0,9200,26000,0.99,16000,16000,8.1,3y3m; Christianity,0,4100,10000,0.99,4300,11000,7.4,2y2m; Travel,0,5200,10000,0.99,7200,7900,7.3,2y4m; Mi Yodeya,0,8700,16000,0.89,2500,1900,6.9,2y5m; Seasoned Advice,0,8400,23000,0.99,14000,61000,6.2,3y3m; Role-playing Games,0,5800,18000,1,6400,5300,6,3y2m; The Workplace,1,2300,8500,1,8500,7800,5.6,1y6m; Bicycles,0,3800,12000,0.98,7500,7800,5,3y2m; Theoretical Computer Science,0,4900,8600,0.81,14000,1700,4.9,3y2m; Answers OnStartups,0,9800,30000,0.98,18000,3800,3.6,3y1m; Skeptics,0,4000,5500,0.86,11000,15000,3.3,2y8m; Ask Patents,0,722,1700,0.87,4500,1200,1.7,1y1m; Stack Apps,0,1600,1800,0.69,14000,458,0.5,3y7m;

  • wonder how we compare to other sites by the number of open questions. If we're behind a particular site because they've got huge backlog of closed questions that aren't eligible for roomba, this wouldn't worry me much... rather opposite :) – gnat Oct 15 '13 at 9:02
  • You'd have to do a search on each individual site with the is:closed operator to get an idea of that. And that's a lot of sites (100, give or take). – jmac Oct 15 '13 at 9:31
  • yeah, that would be too much of work. Still, maybe worth checking 2-3 non-beta sites that are closest to us by the number of questions, to get an approximate idea how we stand against these – gnat Oct 15 '13 at 10:20
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    @gnat, the results are not good. We have a far far far higher portion of closed questions over the past month (40+%) than any non-beta site. That may also be something we need to work on. – jmac Oct 15 '13 at 23:48
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    Additionally made a feature request on meta for better and more accessible stats. Please go on over and take a look if you want to help make this sort of information easier to get. – jmac Oct 16 '13 at 1:12
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    24.4% close ratio looks quite close to 23.14% of Programmers (6,461 closed of 27,926 total there). That's unlikely a pure coincidence, as Shog once noted "The topics accepted by Programmers and TWP are... problematic... But then, that's why these sites exist..." – gnat Oct 16 '13 at 7:53
  • @gnat, didn't the reboot help that? Or is it still an issue? (No time to check the last 6 months or year for comparison purposes right now). Regardless, that may be one of the reasons we aren't moving forward yet -- prevent a repeat or somesuch. – jmac Oct 16 '13 at 8:28
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    reboot (if you mean scope change from NPR) rather triggered it, as the topics that were originally supposed to be OK became closeable. There is a backlog of old closeable questions that adds to the close ratio (directly, as well as indirectly by making broken windows setting bad example), but even without it, close ratio could be around 15-20% I think. And, I think stricter closures at Workplace now, will help us in the future. Another thing worth taking into account is... – gnat Oct 16 '13 at 8:53
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    ...a damaging influence of collider, and this likely impacts both Workplace and Programmers. Hotness formula tends both to promote troublesome questions ("trouble with popularity"), and damage good ones "thanks" to lemmings coming from collider. This stuff is highly visible and makes wrong impression to outsiders about what kind posts are fit for the sites – gnat Oct 16 '13 at 8:54

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