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In response to this question, is there a way in which we can work out the positive effects on traffic and questions following this?

I've noticed a few good questions from users with referral bonuses but otherwise new to workplace, and assume they've been directed as that question came under the 'hot questions' tab in the stackexchange dropdown, but is there a way of confirming what I think?

  • what positive effects are you wanting to track? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jan 10 '13 at 16:24
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    traffic, new questions from users who have seen this question and commented etc... – Dibstar Jan 10 '13 at 17:13
  • as far as I understand off-topic questions are removed from multicollider after closure. And if moderator locks it, this additionally lowers their chances to remain popular – gnat Jan 10 '13 at 18:51
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You can see the traffic data for this site on Quantcast.

This question changed a lot.

enter image description here

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    Hi toscho, would you mind measuring those results again in a week and posting an update. It will be interesting to see what actually sustains from this. :) – jmort253 Jan 13 '13 at 8:59
  • @jmort253 I’ll try to remember that. :) – fuxia Jan 13 '13 at 9:14
  • @toscho no need to wait, you can take a look back at 3 months view and see how question with even larger number of views had zero long term effect – gnat Jan 14 '13 at 20:19
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    @gnat Impressive. :) I think it is good to see the effect wear off so fast. A continuous growth will be more stable. – fuxia Jan 14 '13 at 20:51
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    @gnat - that answers my question perfectly (and gives me more stats to look at - yay!) – Dibstar Jan 15 '13 at 9:25
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Ever heard the phrase "a flash in the pan"? According to my mom, my grandfather and grandmother allegedly used this phrase to talk about Elvis Presley when he made his first break. The idea was that he would have a brief "flash" of popularity and then evaporate into nothingness; he wouldn't even be a one-hit wonder. They were of course wrong about Elvis Presley, as he eventually became known as the King of Rock and Roll, but the idea of the flash in the pan is really true on the Workplace SE.

In my experience, popular questions have a very minimal impact on the site in the long term. While I can't give you specifics on actual traffic numbers, I can tell you that there's basically a spike in views for that day, then things go back to normal, as if nothing ever happened. However, these questions, while interesting, do tend to create a lot of work, as many of the visitors are new or drive by users who don't understand how our site works, and many of our high rep users and moderators must step in to edit, comment on, and flag material that doesn't belong.

The best strategy for making positive gains is to focus on quality material, and then share that quality material with people whom you think would be interested in the site. Over time, the site will build up enough quality content to where a trend starts happening where the site growth begins to take off exponentially. In short, one question alone will never make the Workplace SE a great site, as it's the combination of all of the great content that will help move us forward as a community of experts.

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    Flash in the pan sounds about right. Take a peek in the long-term views part of the mod analytics, you'll find a gargantuan spike of views over a 3 day period from a popular question (like 30k views?) views dropped back down to equilibrium quite quickly, and the growth has been steady before/after all these spikes. I don't really know how much the spikes really help at all. – Rarity Jan 14 '13 at 0:54
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    @Rarity - Exactly. There were other questions that resulted in similar attention on the site, and after the fact, the traffic levels go back to normal. I don't think the spikes really help either. They tend to just bring in a lot of drive by posters and create a lot of stuff that needs to be cleaned up. – jmort253 Jan 14 '13 at 1:14
  • consider adding to your answer this screen shot. Taken at 3-months view from Quantcast, it clearly demonstrates flash pan effect on Aug 29 of a question that peaked at about 1.5x than the one asked about here; it also shows that current fake-elvis question will most likely end the same. Note wider peak around 10 Jan is likely related to the fact that question is around top of "SE multicollider" for 4-5 days – gnat Jan 14 '13 at 9:49
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Beta sites aren't part of Data.SE, however if this site wasn't a beta site you could track user participation in the site through there. I even have some queries saved in an answer of mine on Programmers that I often re-use to check out a site's user participation trends.

However since this is a beta site, the only stats we have access to are the ones on Area51. I know some users are actually tracking those stats on a regular basis and graphing the trends, so perhaps ask in chat if anyone has links to these trends. normalocity is regularly tracking the site's stats, you can see the latest stats on his site.

There's also Quantcast data, but that only measures visitors and views, not necessarily site participation.

It should be noted that none of this is really tied to a specific question. You can make assumptions that the traffic changes were the result of a really popular question, however its not something that I think we can actually prove.

(As a side note, I think the question you linked is on-topic after the latest edits)

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