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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?

  • 3
    I kinda feel like growth is inevitable for a site like this. Fast growth. – Undo Feb 10 '14 at 13:45
  • @Flyk, There are "experts" you know, or rather people who have spent alot of time on this topic, like the guys from portablefreeware.com – Pacerier Jun 10 '15 at 4:44
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To askers: very, very slowly.

Trilogy moderators are already getting requests to migrate questions to the site, when it hasn't even left private beta. We're going to get a lot of visitors from other Stack Exchange sites, most of them asking questions, many of them asking low-quality questions.

We need to promote this site actively to

  • answerers — people who know their stuff and are prepared to write decent answers, not just one-liners with a link;
  • janitors — people who close, flag, etc. and leave comments to police and improve our content.

We could run ads on SE 2.0 sites — “used up your flags? spend some more on SR!”.

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Here's my $.02 as a new user: don't scare away other new users with your overly aggressive "janitor" tactics. I'm relatively new to Stack Exchange and I'm already getting frustrated with my questions getting moderated. And I take the time to search before writing appropriate, lengthy, thoughtful questions. I've found enough questions closed by the same people on Superuser I don't even know if I want to post over there anymore. My 2nd or 3rd question over there got closed, yet I'm carrying on a conversation with someone about an alternate way to solve my problem (on a closed question!), and then I found out about this exchange because of it.

I don't know the history, the reason for such hyper-vigilence, nor anything about Reddit (I must be the only netizen who's never been there), but it seems that you guys are trying almost too hard to be different than some other sites (Reddit, Yahoo answers, etc.) and you've got some people that just troll answers and delete them or edit them as soon as they come out. I applaud your manual efforts, but it seems at least some people have gone too far.

I mean, my first question here was edited for no reason, and part of it was stripped out as "off topic" when none of the FAQs said anything about that part was off topic for the site. That is what will drive people like me away. For reference, here's what I use as a signature in another forum:

Philosophy Why am I stating the obvious? b/c back in the day, The Internets were full of answers. Nowadays, they are full of questions. Please, take the time to do like I am doing here and make sure to "seed" the information back there in an intelligible & detailed manner so that the next guy doesn't have to spend a day & a half researching how to re-engineer the wheel.

http://catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

My point is that I think we're on the same team and I'm taking friendly fire, so if I take any more I'm not likely to stick around. And how many more are like me, but just not saying anything?

  • 1
    If someone edited your post to clear it of "off-topic" stuff that you feel should have stayed you can reverse their edit. If the same thing is edited again you can flag for moderator attention or bring it up on meta. More often then not they are editing away stuff that we collectively (for subjective reasons that we are glad to explain to you) don't want to have. Sometimes you come across someone who "takes it too far". Meta will chill them out, its the right place to bring up such stuff. - I hope you take your time to see the beauty in our ways and stay. Feel free to ask me any questions. :) – Angelo Fuchs Aug 17 '15 at 15:21
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    My experiences are similar to yours. I think the amount of rigidity on several SE sites drives people away in droves. I rarely post on Superuser or Android SE for the exact reasons you state. I found other non-SE websites that are less rigid and more accepting (and where more questions actually get answered). Hopefully, we can avoid the same mistakes in this SE. If we do, this site can flourish. – RockPaperLizard Oct 1 '15 at 18:46
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SO has a perfect channel for making SR visible. Sheesh, SR was started because SO didn't want these questions, and SO still gets them.

SO insists on closing these questions. I'll agree that they way they are often posed on SO is not necessarily good for SR, so blatant migrations of such questions might not be a good idea.

Suggestion 1: Migrate such questions wholesale, with the proviso that if they do not get an upvoted answer in 30 days, they vanish from SR too. The junk ones will vanish. The not junk ones, by definition, got an upvoted answer (or some higher vote threshold, tune till baked properly). (I note many of the SO closed questions have a good answer by the time they get closed by SO, which frosts a lot of people, especially when that good answer disappears.) [Slight revision: if the OP upvoted the answer at SO before it got migrated, it should not be subject to the 30 day rule; obviously the OP thought he got what he requested].

Suggestion 2: When SO closes a question for "We don't do recommendation questions", simply ask SO to note to OP, as part of closing the question, the existence of SR, the usual need to rewrite the question, and a link to the "how to write a good SR question" page. Presumably forcing OP to rewrite the question will cause it to get better. The second time usually is.

EDIT Sept 2015: Now that SR is not longer beta (Congratulations! Software Recommendations is graduating!) it seems like we ought to revisit this.

  • 1
    I'll note that SO seems to be on a "close tools request" rampage, closing many questions that seem like they should belong here. A pity; no longer available at SO, and not appearing here either. – Ira Baxter Jul 24 '15 at 22:09

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