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There are two primary components to any Q&A site.

  • Questions
  • Answers

We seem to have plenty of the latter, but are lacking the former. Honestly there are days when I come to the site and wonder what I can contribute, because there are no questions to answer.

Let's look at our site on the directory lately? We've been open 30 days, but we only have 460 questions.

Lets see what kind of questions we have (front page at time of writing)

  • Reincarnation rules for D&D 4th
  • Old World of Darkness: Changeling banality rating for demons
  • To document house rules, or no?
  • Is there a list of non-OGL monsters?
  • Anyone have write-ups (or alternatives) for “missing” skills in D&D 4E?
  • Effective use of many close combat characters?
  • What are weapons for characters in a Journey conflict?
  • Beyond hit points: injury in D&D
  • How to be a Centaur PC?
  • Does it make sense to give characters free weapons expertise?
  • A class with at-will powers only.
  • (several more)

What strikes me here is that so few are questions that interest players. I count two, maybe three (Effective use of many close combat characters?, How to be a Centaur PC?, and What are weapons for characters in a Journey conflict?). The faq states

Role-playing Games - Stack Exchange is for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. emphasis mine

So it seems we have a ton of GM questions, but very few player questions. Non-gm players obviously make up a large part of our communities, and if you look on other sites (the Wizards boards, etc) there are plenty of player directed questions.

What is making this site less attractive to players, and how can we make it more inviting to them?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Mods, look at the analytics. I think you'll see that the views follow questions, not answers (when the two diverge). \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Sep 24 '10 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @C. Ross: what does that mean? "views follow questions, not answers"? (and is there any way for us to see the traffic? ) \$\endgroup\$ – yhw42 Sep 26 '10 at 16:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @yhw42 There is a better correlation of views/questions than views/answers. I'll see about a screenshot. \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Sep 26 '10 at 16:34
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Mostly this has been promoted through word of mouth among the RPG blogosphere, which is dominated by GMs. GMs network online differently than players do.

If we want more players, we need to take our promotion to the players: the RP forums like ENWorld, RPG.net, story-games.com theRPGsite, Paizo boards, WotC boards, etc. The only problem I see doing promotion on forums is that they can be really tribal, so I expect a lot of people to see this site as being competition for the forums, rather than nicely complementary to them.

I don't hang out those places, but those of you who do: add it to your sig, start a thread discussing the SE site ("Have you used the RPG Q&A site? What did you find it useful for?" maybe), and get a good asbestos suit.

But above all, don't pull a Wizards and try to underline all the things SE is good at by pointing out how forums "suck" for doing what SE does! Each are good for different things, true, and drawing comparisons is going to feel like the natural way to explain the point of SE, but that will likely draw more fire than fans.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this really hits in on the head. Also the Q&A format (And the push away from subjectiveness) makes this very different than normal forum use. I look at ENWOrlD or RPG.net and mostly what I see are 40 threads complaining. \$\endgroup\$ – anon186 Sep 17 '10 at 20:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah I don't mind us not getting the same raw traffic as those forums because 95% of the posts on those forums are zero value add. I posted to the ads/promo sections of rpg.net, enworld, therpgsite, and my blog, but more continued crosslinking and whatnot would be nice. I also asked the RPG Bloggers Network for a "friend of the network" link, and if we could get on ENWorld News it would be a big up. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Sep 18 '10 at 2:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Four and a half years later: we certainly don't lack for player-centric questions now! (The promo pointers are still relevant for increasing traffic, though.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 6 '15 at 16:33
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I want to pull out and build on something Jeremiah Genest said.

Also the Q&A format (And the push away from subjectiveness) makes this very different than normal forum use.

This, I would argue, is precisely why players don't seem to be as interested in this site. GMs are more likely to be in a position to ask "Where can I find this book?" or "What is the rule for this?", which are questions with answers. Players aren't as concerned about what the rules say (after all DMs can override them). When they have questions, they go to their GM (who can come here).

If we want players to be more interested in the site, then I would recommend that we allow and encourage more subjective questions. If we don't want to do that, then it would be best to accept/admit that players are not a primary target audience.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I totally disagree. When I browse the forums at wizard (I haven't gotten over to EnWorld yet) I see lots of questions about rules, from players. "How does X work?" "Does Y rule in this circumstance?" "How can I build a character that does Z?" Also we already allow more subjective questions like What can I do to improve as a player. To be honest, if we allow more subjectivity, we might as well be another forum. \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Sep 20 '10 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the wizards forums are the closest I've seen to what SE does well. \$\endgroup\$ – anon186 Sep 20 '10 at 17:41

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