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All of our stats are heading in the right direction, except questions per day, which seems to be dropping. Is this a normal lull after new sites launch as traffic builds, or is there something else?

Is this even something to be concerned about?

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    It's certainly common for it to drop after the private beta, as everyone's very active and usually has a few questions already prepared. How much it usually drops I'm not sure, but it's my experience from another beta. – Rarity Apr 30 '12 at 13:41
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    I think what I'm calling the Middle Ground problem is making asking questions here a bit difficult as well. I've started a discussion on that matter – Rarity May 1 '12 at 18:25
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It's too early too tell. Right now our stats are:

  • 5.8 questions per day

    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.

  • 99% answered

    90% answered is a healthy beta, 80% answered needs some work. In the beta it's especially important that when new visitors ask questions they usually get a good answer.

  • 85 avid users, 626 total users

    Every site needs a solid group of core users to assist in moderating the site. We recommend:

    • 150 users with 200+ rep (currently 85 users with 200+ rep)
    • 10 users with 2,000+ rep (currently 0 users with 2,000+ rep)
    • 5 users with 3,000+ rep (currently 0 users with 3,000+ rep)
  • 4.1 answer ratio

    2.5 answers per question is good, only 1 answer per question needs some work. In a healthy site, questions receive multiple answers and the best answer is voted to the top.

  • 445 visits/day

    1,500 visits per day is good, 500 visits per day needs some work. A great site benefits people outside the community. Eventually, 90% of a site's traffic should come from search engines.

Yes, we could use more questions per day, more visits, and more users. But the stats are only measuring quantity, and at the end of the day quantity & volume is the least of our concerns. We've all taken notice of the recent decision to close six betas, sad news indeed, but quantity and volume wasn't the primary reason the sites were closed. Or, to be a bit more exact, quality is what keeps a beta alive, even if it's as small (or even smaller) than the betas that were closed.

The one stat that hints towards the quality of the site, is our 4.1 answers per question ratio. Although 2.5 is given as a good ratio, 4.1 is not necessarily better, as it can be interpreted as a tendency to allow too many bikeshed questions to survive long enough. 20 days into beta and there are already three Meta questions regarding the site's quality:

I think we should be concentrating on the overall quality of the site, and forget about the stats, at least for now. We are going to get our first crop of moderators soon (don't know when, soon was the answer when I asked), and they will have access to quite a few more stats and more importantly a direct line with Stack Exchange. Not to say that regular users shouldn't care for the site's stats, we should and it's great that you do, but right now it's still too early to make sense of them, the site isn't yet a month old.

Whether a site will survive beta or not is not an exact science, and ideally we shouldn't even think about it. But let's face it, the site is already starting to smell a bit, and not in a nice way. The crowd over at Skeptics goes at extreme lengths to back each answer with solid references to validate or refute even the most idiotic claims, yet our Meta is slowly filling up with people whining because they find it unthinkable that their non-constructive questions or opinion heavy answers are unsuitable for a (supposedly) high signal low noise professional Q&A site.

We may get more questions, more visits, more users, I certainly hope we do, but if we don't we could still justify the site's existence if we maintain relatively high quality standards. The only thing that's certain, though, is that > 15 questions per day won't mean much if people get the same kind of answers they would get at Yahoo! Answers.

I've bookmarked a discussion on the Assembly that you might find interesting, in short:

  • The stats are a bit useless,
  • We might get a better set of stats soon,
  • In any case, don't get stuck on the stats,
  • Quality > quantity.
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    Coincidentally this just showed up on Area51: Are there any general guidelines how to improve the statistics of a site? – yannis Apr 30 '12 at 4:54
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    Thanks for the comprehensive answer. – jcmeloni Apr 30 '12 at 11:43
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    I agree that we shouldn't worry about this stat now, however disagree with I think we should be concentrating on the overall quality of the site, and forget about the stats. This is beta, which will determine if the site should exist or not. We need to show there is enough of an audience to validate the existence of the site, so quantity is very important this early on. We need users to ask questions before we can expect to attract experts to answer them. We should strive for many questions with expert answers, not a few expert questions with expert answers. – Rachel Apr 30 '12 at 16:33
  • @Rachel Exactly the... wrong attitude. We need to show there is enough of an audience to validate the existence of the site I've provided two references where an SE employee says that quality > quantity and somehow you know better what will keep the site alive? – yannis Apr 30 '12 at 23:40
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    Quality is definitely more important than quantity. However, if the means we use to improve quality harm the ability for users to ask questions (they don't know how, they can't think of any that "fit" our standards, etc.) then we could end up with a quantity problem. I hesitate to start using words like "smell" and "whining", I'd prefer to be more constructive rather than casting blame, but +1 overall. – Nicole May 1 '12 at 16:51
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No, I don't think we're running out of questions. The Workplace is a very broad category, and there are plenty of good questions out there that haven't been asked yet.

Workplace questions are about an environment, not a specific activity (like Programming, Cooking, Gaming, etc), so unless you work in a career-related job, you're less likely to encounter questions about it on a regular basis.

The key to getting more questions-per-day is to get more users to the site. Everyone's workplace life is a bit different, and the more users we get, the more questions will get asked.

When the site first launched, the users that committed to the site probably asked the questions they had, so the questions per day was fairly high, and is probably averaging out now. Give the site some time to get new users (or go out there and advertise the site to new users), and the questions per day will go up again.

I wouldn't worry about this stat too much unless the questions per day fall below 2, since all six recently closed sites had a questions per day average of less than 2. With no questions to answer, site activity dies down and the users that answer start to leave.

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This is a normal lull after the initial excitement. Most sites go through this.

This site has a problem with quality, not with quantity.

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