One of the questions selected for the most recent moderator election Q&A is

This site has been dominated by the IT industry. What can we do to encourage more diversity? How can we be welcoming to blue collar and other workers who are not considered "professionals" or office workers?

One problem is that the majority of the users here don't have as much first hand experience outside of these standard 'professional' office roles as they do in them, and are not able to provide as comprehensive and nuanced of answers as they can on more familiar questions. If we are able to provide content that is interesting to a broader audience, the user base will grow, diversify, and contribute more of that diverse content we're looking for.

Several of the top answerers on the home improvement sister site are professional tradesmen with exactly the kind of workplace experience we want to encourage here, and with a proven history of helpful StackExchange contributions to boot.

Should we reach out to some of these users and ask them to help seed this site with content that will be useful to a more diverse group of users?

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    Do we have data to back up the claim in the question? Yes, there's lots of techy folks here, but just in the last few days, I've answered or edited questions by people aspiring to be chefs, a factory worker, fast food line managers, salespeople... – dwizum May 21 '18 at 19:25
  • @dwizum I am suggesting it would be beneficial to have those questions be answer by chefs, factory workers, fast food line managers, and salespeople. I might be able to tell someone with questions about unsafe conditions in a factory about the resources available to them, but I have never used them myself. Someone who has spent a career in that environment would be able to offer advice not just on the resources available but how to use them, common political situations, etc. – MackM May 21 '18 at 19:36
  • We do suggest other sites when we find that another would be suited to their question. – Chris E May 21 '18 at 19:41
  • @ChrisE I'm suggesting we ask the answerers to come here for the questions that are good and on topic but about things most active users here are not experts in. This site has absolutely excellent advice on how to navigate working in an office / corporate world- I would like to see advice of the same caliber for other working environments. – MackM May 21 '18 at 19:44
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    I don't disagree that more diversity is better and I didn't mean to come off as critical. I'm just curious - how do we decide there's a problem, and how do we measure it? Also - per @ChrisE's comment - when do questions that specific become off topic? When techy-folk ask questions wrapped up in which programming language to choose, we direct them to other SE's. When they ask questions about interviewing, asking for a raise, dealing with a boss - we answer them. Should we not do the same with chefs? Again, not being critical, just playing devil's advocate. – dwizum May 21 '18 at 19:46
  • @dwizum If it's about the workplace (of any kind) then it's not off topic simply for that reason. The problem arises when the question is specific to that workplace. While we may leave it open, the reality is that the likelihood of someone here being able to answer it, That's when we refer them to another site more able to answer their question. It's possible it could even be migrated. – Chris E May 21 '18 at 20:09
  • @ChrisE Would it be better to invite the experts who can answer the question to do so here instead of directing the question elsewhere? If there is a valuable Q&A to be had, I want to keep it here. – MackM May 21 '18 at 20:19
  • Do we know who the experts are and where to get ahold of them? Are we talking strictly about others already on other SEs, or just, experts in general? – dwizum May 21 '18 at 20:28
  • @dwizum An example of a user I would love to have active on this site is diy.stackexchange.com/users/386/shirlock-homes – MackM May 21 '18 at 20:42
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    Realistically, I think people here would chase away many non-"professionals" if they were to answer questions here from their perspective. I know I would never have become a moderator here had I answered questions in order to interact with some of my factory coworkers in the past.. – enderland May 21 '18 at 22:50
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    @Elysian Fields A similar attitude existed towards "non-Americans" about 3 years ago, but thankfully, due to efforts of our moderators and some other regular members, that has been more or less fixed now. – Masked Man May 22 '18 at 9:33
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    @dwizum We decided this was a problem because multiple users have perceived it as such. In a now deleted meta post, one user remarked that "IT workplaces are special" and that non-IT questions are more likely to be "moulded" into general questions in a manner that IT folks could "get" it. (contd...) – Masked Man May 22 '18 at 9:38
  • This relates to my previous comment where I had observed that questions containing country-specific info would be edited to include an explanation like (equivalent to X in US) giving the impression that every question had to be framed in a manner that a US worker would "understand" it. However, as stated above, this has been "fixed" by now. – Masked Man May 22 '18 at 9:39
  • Let me re-emphasize that I'm not in any way "against" this effort. I'm asking questions and raising arguments as a way of understanding the best way to move forwards! I agree that the national diversity problem is no longer evident, it's pretty cool to see so many regionally-specific questions get good answers these days. What specific efforts helped change that? Or was it just a matter of suddenly having the right people onboard? – dwizum May 22 '18 at 12:44
  • @MackM That's actually the model that Quora uses. But here, it would require research to find experts. The more effective way (for the user especially) is to let them post on the specialized Exchange or, if the question is suitable, just migrate it over. Then the entire pool of knowledgeable people have the opportunity to see the question and answer it. – Chris E May 22 '18 at 14:07

Part of the problem is that I suspect most of us found "Workplace" because it featured on "Hot Network Questions" while we were browsing another SE site - and that overwhelming means "Stack Overflow".

I suspect that there just aren't that many blue-collar workers out there on all the other SE sites (yes, yes, there are probably hundreds of thousands, but in proportion ...)

But it would definitely be worthwhile (the working culture in IT is very different to other areas).

  • in Tavern chat room they once posted data on cross-site clicks through HNQ sidebar. If memory serves it was very heavily dominated by clicks from Stack Overflow, meaning our questions mostly entertain IT audience – gnat May 24 '18 at 11:30
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    Here's the raw data posted by Shog that @gnat mentioned about. – Andrew T. May 25 '18 at 7:12
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    Right. So (ignoring Workplace to Workplace clicks), more than half the total was from SO, and another 10% was from clearly "IT" related sites. ... and that doesn't count those people that started out on SO, discovered RPG (for example), and then discovered Workplace. – Martin Bonner supports Monica May 25 '18 at 7:25
  • An office is an office is an office, nothing special about you I.T. folk, no offence.... just saying – Kilisi Jun 3 '18 at 22:42
  • @Kilisi IT folk are in demand, so if they don't like the office culture, they can just walk. Secondly, at least programmers would do it for fun even if they weren't paid; that means they enjoy what they are doing. Even within hi-tech companies, the culture of the engineering department is usually different to the Sales/Finance/HR depts. I'd also like Workplace to cover factories and retail - not everyone works in an office. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jun 4 '18 at 5:45
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    Good IT don't 'just walk' and there is a glut on the market of mediocre ones..... location dependent though I suppose. Having said that, blue collar questions are welcome some of us didn't start in IT. – Kilisi Jun 4 '18 at 5:47

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