This is another one of those seven essential meta questions of every beta and I feel that this, too, is going to require a different approach to the way this is normally handled on other sites in the network.
Unlike other Stack Exchange sites, we are not appealing to a specific set of experts with this site, but rather a much broader range of people across a variety of disciplines and subjects.
Here is what the blog post that prompted this post says on the matter:
We can come up with budgets and promotions but the means and ideas about how to reach your target audience HAS TO come from you and your community. Has to. Has to, has to, has to! We simply are not experts in your field. We don’t have the the connections nor the experience you bring to the table. You are both our evangelist and our ambassador — and sharing links to great questions and answers is the best way to start.
Stack Overflow has been a huge, red-hot success story in the programming arena. But that early success came in large part to the participation of Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky, both cult-classic bloggers and celebrities in their field. We want that same success for you and your community. That’s why we need to identify the Jeffs and the Joels of your industry. We need bloggers, pundits, podcasters, publishers, celebrities… anyone who can rally the troops, so to speak.
Meta is the perfect venue reach out and ask around about who knows whom. Ask your friends to ask their friends. The people needed to make your site a huge success are already within your reach.
As mentioned, I don't think there are any experts in the field of "Recommending Software", but on a more granular level we will have people who have used a variety of different kinds of software for different purposes. I feel that we are best going to grow the site through the following methods:
- the vast group of experts that already take part in the Stack Exchange network
- social media (Twitter, etc) to advertise questions and solicit recommendations from the internet at large
- friends of our active users - if you know somebody who will be able to answer a particular recommendation request, why not invite them to join us?
Experts already on the Stack Exchange network
We've already got a lot of sites that make up the Stack Exchange network, all of these sites are for specific subjects and these sites each have their own expert users. Enticing these users to come over to Software Recommendations to share their knowledge has the potential to be our biggest growth area in the short to medium term. We've got experts on programming, security, gaming, web development, amongst other fields.
The biggest sticking point that I see, is that Software Recommendations breaks from the Stack Exchange formula that these experts are used to. It is our responsibility to make this site accommodating for these users by utilising a "same but different" philosophy - this is still the Stack Exchange you know and love, but here, we exist to provide objective recommendations to people that fulfil a specific list of requirements.
Social media and your circle of friends
So a question has been asked and you just happen to know somebody who will know the answer. This person may not already be a member of the Stack Exchange network (otherwise they'd probably fall under "Experts already on the Stack Exchange network", above), so why not ask them to sign up to the site and share their expertise with that enthusiastic individual asking for a recommendation?
Does anybody have any other ideas on how we can ensure our future growth, from public beta into the future?