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If you checked the area51 entry for rpg, there's a "how is the site going" entry to click. RPG is fine for some things, but the number of views per day is worrying low.

Comments?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the pointer. I hadn't actually noted that the "how is the site going" text was actually a link to more info. Somedays I'm slow :) \$\endgroup\$ – Pat Ludwig Oct 11 '10 at 5:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ When you say "worryingly low," what does that mean? Is there a threshold below which the site will be shut down? \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Oct 11 '10 at 12:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jadasc That's the wording used on the Area51 site. I don't believe Jeff has ever stated what exactly will cause a site to be shut down/not graduate from beta. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Oct 11 '10 at 14:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jadasc It's lower than the owners would like it to be. Note that we're doing well in some areas, and poor in just one. Do we need more traffic? Yes. Is the site completely broken? NO! We have great users, and great answers. Now just about those questions and views ... \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Oct 13 '10 at 19:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've got a question on the differences between the Area 51 stats and the RPG site's front-page stats. As I write this, Area 51 is still showing 451 visits/day. On the RPG site, the sidebar shows 1118 visitors/day. Which one's right? \$\endgroup\$ – Jason S. Oct 21 '10 at 20:20
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The recent blog post When Will My Site Graduate? explains how SOIS is using this data. To summarize, if questions are being answered and the quality of the questions and answers is high, the metrics will determine how long a site stays in beta. They do not intend to close down sites at 90 days due to low traffic. The primary concern is that there will be enough users in the community with the edit and close privileges when the site is public. The reputation requirements for those privileges on a graduated site are 2000 and 3000 respectively.

Currently, the Area 51 site shows the RPG SE is on pace to have 8 users with 2000+ and 4 users with 3000+ by the 90 days. The recommended numbers are 10 and 5. So in addition to spreading the word to get more users and more questions, we really need to be up voting good answers and questions.

I do not think that we have any reason to be worried that the RPG SE will not make it out of beta. The question really is when will it graduate.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I saw that post too. Cheers! I'm newer here but I like this site bunches; good to know it's not necessarily going to go up in a puff of smoke. I've sent the URL to friends but no one's biting yet. \$\endgroup\$ – Jason S. Oct 22 '10 at 17:56
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I think it's obvious use of the site isn't spreading well yet. A couple factors from my observations:

  1. Needs to be promoted in more places, many folks haven't heard of it. Some folks have posted it on forums/our blogs but we rely on everyone spreading the word more. Have a blog? Post about it and put it in your blogroll. Link to relevant answers in forum discussions. Tell your gaming group. Etc. It's hard to keep people's interest without volume - I don't play 4e, for example, so even as a mod days go by when nothing happens here I care about.

  2. Community closing and editing and whatnot has been a bit more obnoxious than it needs to be, causing new users to bail. The mods have discussed dialing this back but in the end it's up to the community at large to implement that. When someone's first question is downvoted and closed with little explanation, a new person who hasn't read through the FAQ and the history of stack exchanges and all of meta thinks, with some justification, "Man these guys are assholes." We want to keep the site on topic but I think some latitude is justified, at and least friendlier explanations when something's closed.

  3. Volume may never be super high. Go take the first page of posts on any of the major fora - ENWorld, RPG.net, etc. Then evaluate how much of any of those threads is useful questions and contentful answers, as opposed to the crowd of the same people grinding their usual axes, tossing in unhelpful asides and derailing threads, etc. In the end it's a 1/10 or more ratio of posts to anything worth reading a day from now. And I think that's OK.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Re: 3, +1. One of the things that makes this site unique is that it's not about fat-chewing; it's a place to ask questions and get answers — thoughtful, considered ones. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Oct 11 '10 at 12:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 with respect to #2 \$\endgroup\$ – LeguRi Oct 12 '10 at 3:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ the crucial question I'd like to make is: is there enough to be asked/answered on RPGs ? I am personally running out of questions to be asked. I have no experience with forums, but if the only way to keep healthy traffic is to have lengthy discussions, then I am worried we are unlikely to keep this SE open at the end of the beta. That, or it could just be that we are missing users. Can we get some more ? \$\endgroup\$ – Stefano Borini Oct 12 '10 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ See #1. If there's enough traffic to keep dozens of RPG forums in thousands of posts a day, there's enough to sustain us. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Oct 12 '10 at 22:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ We either survive as a stackexchange or we don't. Surviving as a stackexchange means having an attitude that we are a Q&A site, not a discussion site. If anything we haven't been rigorous enough about closing questions and pushing people to delete excess answers. \$\endgroup\$ – anon186 Oct 13 '10 at 19:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ That attitude can be expressed in a friendly way or a buttpluggy way. May I suggest the former. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Oct 14 '10 at 14:09
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I challenge the idea that we are not currently an attractive community and that we close too many posts.

I've heard this several times, and I'd like to hear specifics so that they can be properly debated. Over the last 2 weeks, there are a total of 2 closed questions. Over the life of the site, 21 in all. Matched against our 590 total questions, I don't feel that is a very high number. I counted 11 of the 21 closed posts as getting the full 5 votes. 10 were closed earlier by moderators. The community has only closed 10 questions.

Is this about voting to close and not actual closing? It takes 5 votes to close. Are we to discourage all close votes? For the record, I try to comment to explain any that I make. Several have generated meta posts to discuss (which I'm totally fine with - I think we need to discuss these things).

My one close vote needs to find 4 others before its worth anything. Until then, is it something that is chasing anyone away? Sorry to be argumentative here, but I'm finding it hard to believe that what little close activity I've witnessed has chased anyone away.

*Big caveat - I was not here for the first couple weeks, from what I've heard it was more rancorous around here then. My question is more about the present though, have things improved?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If I remember right, users can't even see close votes until they have the ability to vote on them, which is 250 rep for your own questions. So a close vote (without the other 4) couldn't act as a deterrent to new members. So I assume its about actually closed questions. \$\endgroup\$ – yhw42 Oct 13 '10 at 18:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @yhw42 Ah, I didn't know that. Personally I didn't notice the close link hiding there for quite a while after I had 250 rep :) I didn't want to assume that everyone was as unobservant as me though! \$\endgroup\$ – Pat Ludwig Oct 13 '10 at 19:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ These are valid points; my opinion perhaps is a tad expired ;) \$\endgroup\$ – LeguRi Oct 13 '10 at 19:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LeguRi I think that there was a problem with how some things were handled. It wasn't that things were closed but the attitudes and perhaps the down votes that accompanied it. We're all big kids here and we need to treat each other with respect. We need rules, but we also need grace, mercy, and kindness. \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Oct 13 '10 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LeguRi - thanks, I appreciate the reconsideration. \$\endgroup\$ – Pat Ludwig Oct 13 '10 at 20:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CRoss - I find myself not using down votes for questions much lately. Close votes suffice for my needs, I reserve down votes for answers that wish to register disapproval of. \$\endgroup\$ – Pat Ludwig Oct 13 '10 at 20:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pat Ludwig - I appreciate the not-flammable polite and factual rebuttal :) \$\endgroup\$ – LeguRi Oct 13 '10 at 21:10
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I think if this site is going to survive we need to do better at seeding it with good questions. If you search just about anything that we have a question for rpg.stackexchange is in the top list of answers. So we need more questions to drive more google visits here.

People need to set aside their gamer "know-it-allness" and ask questions, lots and lots of good questions. We're not getting enough a day. The key is making sure they are good questions and not just terminology questions that can be easily answered by spending 5 seconds on wizards site.

This will also help push up reps to maintain site healthiness.

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    \$\begingroup\$ More questions is good, but "seeding" is strongly discouraged because, in the end, only real "I want an answer for a specific purpose" questions end up being good ones for the site's health. I don't think "fake traffic" is what you meant by "seeding", but it's still worth saying for the audience. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 26 '10 at 23:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ To get more good questions, I think we should concentrate on bringing in more people to ask them. The English SE site is doing well because there are a lot of ESL students asking practical (to them) questions. We need to tap into something like that… \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 26 '10 at 23:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am all for new people, but we definitely also need more questions from the people here. And answers. I for one would like to be voting more than I am. \$\endgroup\$ – anon186 Oct 27 '10 at 22:11
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@Stefano, I agree with @mxyzplk; there are enough people and enough questions to sustain a Table-Top SPG Q&A site.

I think the problem is the site, and the community; I really feel like @mxyzplk's point #2 is a huge issue, along with a lot of squabbling over the vision and direction of the site.

ie. There is a sufficient user base out there, but we're not an attractive community!

A lot of us have decided on what the site should be like, and are being very aggressive that users cater to that vision... but that vision caters to the legacy of StackExchange sites (ie StackOverflow) and isn't actually catering to the needs to RPG Q&A users.

Summary:

We haven't decided who belongs to this community, and yet we're enforcing pretty stern rules about how the community should work. As a result, the community isn't really working out... as such, I propose a new Question! More productive than @Stafano's (no offense @Stafano but your question focuses a lot of "the problem" not "the solution") and I call it: * drum roll *

What would an table-top RPGer want/need of a Q&A community?

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