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If you look at the Area51 assessment of rpg.stackexchange.com

http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/2208/role-playing-games

things are looking good except one area - the number of questions being asked.

What can be done to encourage more (good) questions?

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You can't really "encourage more questions", per se; not at least in any sustainable way. But getting more questions is a nice side effect of promoting healthy growth overall.

To make this site successful, you need a place where people are asking very interesting and challenging questions, not the same questions asked 100 times before on every other discussion site. The best way we've found to bring in more users is by publicizing interesting questions. Use those social links: Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Most of these sites start out with steady traffic going kind of horizontally for a while. Then, at some unpredictable point, POW the site hits a critical mass "tipping point" and the traffic starts climbing inexorably. Your traffic trends are pretty healthy, and there have been some promising signs of upward growth. Almost 52% of this site's traffic comes from questions people found in Google, so it looks like you are almost there!

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To keep those users and get them asking good questions, the quality has to be there.

I tell you this because when people start talking about "getting more questions," the discussion inevitably goes in one or two directions: "seeding" the site with more questions, or lowering the bar on quality to keep more questions. Both are a losing formula.

Back when Stack Exchange was a for-subscription service, individuals tried to create these sites with little idea of how to draw an audience. When the questions did not magically appear, most panicked. Sites started soliciting and allowing lower-quality questions under the mistaken belief that "more questions at any cost" was better than nurturing fewer questions with the high quality Stack Exchange users have become accustomed to. The result was almost 3,000 sites shut down with a 99.6% failure rate.

I can't emphasize enough the importance of staying on top of the quality of your content. This site's quality remains high; nearly 100% of the questions get answered; you have a strong community of avid usersThose are your saving graces.

Stay on top of the quality. Promote interesting questions. The traffic will come. If you start allowing questions that aren't a step above, it will start to undermine what we believe makes these sites worthwhile in the first place.

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Generosity.

  1. Vote up often! It is encouraging, both to new and established users.
  2. Be charitable in interpreting the rules. Look for novelty in questions that overlap with existing ones, and suggest improvements to otherwise problematic questions, before voting to close.
  3. Cross-reference existing posts that are relevant, and speak highly of worthwhile contributions.

The time to slam on the brakes is when looseness is causing wider problems in the site.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would strongly urge everyone to use rpg.stackexchange.com/review to identify new users adding great content, and vote them up as a way of welcoming them. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff Atwood Feb 8 '11 at 16:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jeff ... I wish I'd know about this page long ago... I've been doing this the hard way... by looking at the profiles of new users \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Withers Feb 10 '11 at 2:06
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By not closing down question that are deemed to have already been asked or not quite on topic. It kills your community. I have got board personally as the site seamed to be run by people that are only interested in metaphysical points, if a question has been asked before then there a good given answer, that can't been corrected or added to.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That's the parable of the broken window. A repeated question is not a real question, and only hides the fact that there aren't enough new interesting questions. I'd say that the way we approach newbies asking repeated questions can kill or enhance the community. \$\endgroup\$ – Adriano Varoli Piazza Feb 8 '11 at 12:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would only do this if the question is indeed salvageable through editing.. you can't duct-tape over a hole in the wall, etc. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff Atwood Feb 9 '11 at 5:26

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