9

Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of SR. But I do have to ask: is this site viable?

Why do I ask?

My question was triggered by seeing this question: it's extensive and very well written. However, it had one upvote and low views on the Sep 17th, after even being tweeted. Worse though, after carrying a "draw attention" bounty for 6 days, it had one extra upvote, only one extra answer*, and a measly 62 views total.

Why are people not viewing that question?
Why are people not upvoting that question?
Why is only one person lured by the bounty to answer it?

Before, I also had this feeling based on my own question history of six questions:

  • Three are unanswered 1, 2, 3
  • One self answered with a short additional answer (with one upvote, by me) 4
  • Two questions with one answer, respectively very short and failing a must-have 5, 6

Don't get me wrong: I appreciate the answers (and express this with votes and interaction). However, this is not very rewarding, and I'd expect this situation to scare off new users.

What do you think? Can this site work? Is some kind of change needed? Or does it just need time?


* And seemingly even a self-promotion answer without real disclosure (apart from some "we"'s)...

  • 2
    It might not be the site, but the questions you've picked. I could as well name you questions having received more than 60 upvotes, 13 answers, or more than 10,000 views. Statistics depend on who set them up, as e.g. Benjamin Disraeli put it (according to Mark Twain): There are three kind of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics :) – Izzy Sep 24 '14 at 11:17
  • Touché :-), I've (incorrectly) used anecdotal evidence fueled by some personal frustration to ask a question with a title suggesting it's about trends and overall stats. Perhaps I should reword my question slightly, because it remains interesting / worrying that an (individual) "draw attention" bounty failed to draw attention. – Jeroen Sep 24 '14 at 11:40
  • 1
    Agreed to that :) But again, that's one specific case. I've had the same problem on several SE sites already (placing a bounty "almost in vain") – but again, one could certainly list examples for the contrary as well. Which basically means we'd be "playing ball". A single example makes no stats. If you can pin-point a general trend (like "80% of the bountied questions end up like this"), it would be a different case. – Izzy Sep 24 '14 at 13:37
  • There are bountied questions that don't manage to get >100 views... and on SO. – Braiam Oct 5 '14 at 17:22
  • True. Though that seems to be less than 5% of all questions with in some cases arguably low quality. – Jeroen Oct 5 '14 at 18:50
  • meta.softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/951/… same. Questions which can be googled in 5 minutes are rarely answered. It doesn't have something to do with poor quality. – Smit Johnth Oct 5 '14 at 19:01
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    As a side note I think it's important to vote. I often see questions with no vote. – Franck Dernoncourt Oct 8 '14 at 0:06
6

1. This question requires deep professional knowledge.

Even though the questions has low views, many people might have read the extract on the front page, and decided that the question was not their own domain, which is perfectly fine. When I see a question about a domain I know nothing about, I understand nothing and I am not able to know whether it should be upvoted or not.

2. Such software might actually not exist yet as COTS.

If it exists, I don't think many professionals use it, so it might take some time before someone who knows come across this question.

4

As a new user to Stack Exchange, I find that the site is not geared towards helping people find answers, or solving problems at all, rather the inverse. It's more like a tease whereby certain people in charge get to gleefully watch and say "hahahaha, you can't do that because I will moderate you or you don't have enough reputation to do what you want".

I don't even care about reputation, it just bothers me that I can't comment on people's posts, I can only ask questions and make answers, which is counter intuitive as a new user. I'm not sure what the expectation is to get to 50 reputation, but I'm sure that bar was set high for some kind of reason, but nonetheless, it is high.

My experience is almost exclusively with forums, which have no bar of entry, save for a few that make sure you're not a bot, but once you get over the frustrating hump you're usually OK.

Getting away from the meta-answer and moving to the direct answer to your question, I had no idea what the OP was asking for with that title, so I would have assumed he had no idea what he was asking for either. The title is very vague and does not draw me in, nor draws my attention. My experience is in professional tech support, so I'm paid to deal with ridiculously bad titles of emails where people request support, and that title doesn't tell me anything about what's going on.

Reading the question, I could feel my eyes glaze over, probably because it was at a high level of abstraction and I'm about to go to sleep and, again, the text wasn't grabbing my attention. You know how some people just don't grab your attention when they are talking? It might be that in this case for me. I stopped reading 2 paragraphs in. I skimmed the rest and wasn't able to surmise what the OP was asking for, and I support a web based application that talks to SQL server as my day job.

I see quantity there, but I don't see quality. If this were a support request that crossed my inbox, I would wonder what they were asking for and return their communication by phone rather than email, since something was not working right by written word. Once I got a feel for their communication style, further communications might resume by text, or I might call this person every time they emailed me, depending on how things turned out.

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