As of today, our beta stats look like this:

Since the last time I reviewed our stats, our percentage answered, users, answer ratio, and visits/day have held steady or improved. However, our questions per day has gone from "Okay" to "Worrying". I've noticed this personally—most days there are no new questions that I'm interested in. At 222 days in beta with the number of questions being asked dropping, I have to wonder whether the site is going to graduate any time soon.

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Even on meta, 200 discussioney comments about a nest of 10 related questions/complaints isn't all that helpful. I've started a separate meta Q on "Should we get rid of the glossary," with a side of "should we allow definition questions." meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/935/… –  mxyzplk Apr 1 '11 at 23:03
    
So, are we coming out of beta soon? ... –  Sardathrion Dec 19 '11 at 14:50
    
@Sardathrion See: meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/1106/… –  AceCalhoon Dec 19 '11 at 16:31
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10 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I think if we want this community to grow, the first priority should be good quality questions. It seems that we have no problems providing answers once the questions are there, and that proves that between us we have an excellent body of knowledge (or at least opinion *8').

With 200 avid users, we only need to each ask one question every two weeks to get close to the 15 required to be considered a healthy beta.

So, I pledge to try and think of a question a week, either as follow-on question from existing questions here (like my first question) or trying to draw out questions from my own role-playing groups.

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Good suggestion but there's a small problem: asking questions just for the sake of asking is bad form (aka "seeding", has been discussed several times already here on Meta). Another problem is that - at least for me - the site has recently lost lots of its appeal. I am even considering to ask for account deletion since I'm not sure I want to participate on the site any longer in its current state. –  user660 Apr 20 '11 at 10:20
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@Baelnorn - It's not a matter of asking a question for the sake of it. It's a question of keeping an eye out for interesting and potentially useful questions and asking them, rather than letting them slip by and not get asked. I'm relatively new here, and I can see that there are problems, but with the time you've invested so far it would be a shame to see you go rather than help fix those problems. –  Mark Booth Apr 20 '11 at 13:48
    
@Baelnorn: Can you elaborate on "lost lots of its appeal"? –  jprete Apr 20 '11 at 22:05
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@jprete: (1) people with fingers that are faster at clicking the close button than their brains are at understanding the question; (2) answers upvoted and supported that are blatantly false in the context of the question (e.g. a houserule presented as fact in a very RAW specific question); (3) people playing the "wait-police" (aka telling - especially - new users to "... best wait 24h before accepting an answer ...") but ignoring that "advice" themselves; –  user660 Apr 23 '11 at 18:37
    
@jprete: (4) EXTREMELY subjective, argumentative and flame-bait heavy questions accepted when posted by mods; (5) very inconsistent moderation - some questions are closed/edited while very similar questions are left alone; (6) some people more or less constantly complain about the dnd-4e centricness of the site yet the very same users rarely participate in non-dnd-4e questions; --- That's just some of my "proud nails" with the site off the top of my head. –  user660 Apr 23 '11 at 18:37
    
@Baelnorn Who's complaining about D&D 4e–centric-ness without contributing elsewhere? I can't think of anyone who has ever shown up on Meta without being active in questions. –  SevenSidedDie Apr 25 '11 at 16:17
    
@Baelnorn & @jprete, can we transfer this discussion to my question meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/q/962/1658 and delete the subsequently unnecessary comments? Thanks, –  Mark Booth Apr 26 '11 at 13:54
    
About 1) I've noticed that, a lot of D&D and pathfinder stuff being suggested and upvoted in a thread where he specified his players hate D&D for example. –  Canageek Sep 20 '11 at 19:22
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Well, here are the standard answers from the last time this came up:

  • Vote generously (is your name here? If not, why not?).

  • Promote interesting questions and answers with the share buttons.

  • Provide high-quality answers.

  • Ask interesting questions of your own.

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Your community moderators have access to

http://rpg.stackexchange.com/admin/analytics

Which will provide a bit more detail.

Stats do seem flat overall, but I don't see any precipitous drops or anything like that.

A few ideas:

  1. Invite notable RPG bloggers to weigh in on 'best of' interesting RPG questions. "We're not sure how to answer {question link}, do you have any advice?"

  2. Ask RPG questions on their behalf. If they write a blog entry or ask something (on their blog, twitter, or facebook) that contains a question -- actual or implied -- post it as a question here. Wait and see what kind of response it gets, then bring it to their attention. "I thought you brought up a really interesting question, and it got some interesting answers here {question link}."

I think it might be helpful to ping notable folks when you have something of direct interest to them.

(but of course, there is also Site approachability to think about...)

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Indeed, nothing's really been fixed with respect to the Site Approachability question. See the edit to my answer for that question. –  LeguRi Apr 1 '11 at 13:50
    
does that feature implement this feature request? If so, you could mark it status-completed. :-) meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/62563/… –  George Stocker Apr 4 '11 at 19:50
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There was a big dropoff over Christmas that we never recovered from. Our YTD stats aren't getting lower, but they've been consistently lower than 2010.

We need to attract new posters via crosspromotion on blogs, forums, facebook, and twitter.

We also need to be a place people want to use. I think it's clear that there's not a lot of people interested in a "rules only mostly 4e Stack Exchange." However whenever interesting more general roleplaying questions are broached people get pissy; a couple people vote to close and then, thwarted, festoon every part of the question and answers with combative comments. At least mostly not stuff bad enough to get mod action, but enough to make the environment hostile. And people wander off; if they wanted to be taking BS from punks they'd be posting on RPG.net.

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While I know the hostile environment has been a problem in the past, has it been happening much lately? My impression is that things have improved since the site approachability thread was started, but that could just be a function of lower question counts... –  AceCalhoon Mar 31 '11 at 3:18
    
Fewer questions and still fewer interesting ones. I'm not sure enough of the users read meta to think that the meta thread has much effect. –  mxyzplk Mar 31 '11 at 3:44
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Don't forget that this situation also depends heavily on the way and tone the question is asked. If people are primarily interested in answer to rules questions and then somebody comes along and asks a question implying that all people interested in rules questions are having badwrongfun(tm) that person shouldn't be surprised to catch some flak. –  user660 Mar 31 '11 at 22:10
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Yes, we'd hate for someone to ask a question that comes from a different view of the universe than yours. The proper response to that is "go to another question." Your input is not required on every question, only ones where it will be constructive. –  mxyzplk Apr 1 '11 at 0:46
    
@mxyzplk I think @Baelnorn is referring to the sort of person who phrases their question in a "what those guys do is bad" rather than a "what we do is awesome" kind of way. Still, leaving the question is probably the best course of action. In a rational world, I'd suggest editing the rudeness out of the post, but the sort of person who puts vitriol in usually objects to having it taken out. –  AceCalhoon Apr 1 '11 at 3:40
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@AceCalhoon Edit it or flag it for editing anyway. One of our core rules is "Be Nice". –  C. Ross Apr 1 '11 at 12:30
    
@AceCalhoon - "While I know the hostile environment has been a problem in the past, has it been happening much lately?" => Has much of anything been happening lately? I think we have to consider the magnitude of hostile behavior in proportion to the overall activity. –  LeguRi Apr 1 '11 at 14:04
    
@LeguRi We've had a steady stream of questions, aside from the past week or two (not as much as before December, and not a growing number, but enough to keep occupied). I believe there were also some good "soft" questions mixed in, which didn't get as much flak as previously. –  AceCalhoon Apr 1 '11 at 14:15
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@AceCalhoon - Fair enough; I haven't been around, so I admit you'd have better insight into it. –  LeguRi Apr 1 '11 at 14:53
    
So... Assuming that the people on Meta are a minority, what can we do to make things better? Can we make a push for interesting questions? How do we define interesting in this context, and where the line between pushing for questions and seeding? –  AceCalhoon Apr 1 '11 at 18:23
    
Can you point to some recent examples where "people get pissy"? I find it very hard to evaluate sourceless allegations. Having a discussion over an example is more productive than saying, "Don't pick on the new guy" –  Pat Ludwig Apr 1 '11 at 21:56
    
If you don't see anyone being pissy then I guess it's fine. I'm not interested in picking over every post fundamentalist-style and explaining what is unfriendly about it, then the offended poster arguing about it... I think there's wide agreement with this problem so proving it isn't something I want to spend effort on. –  mxyzplk Apr 1 '11 at 23:05
    
@mxy - without specifics or names, I really can't judge what you think is happening. IMHO most such behavior has already been purged so I'm genuinely curious as to recent infractions. I was also concerned as to which group I was in, at least your comment in chat cleared that up! Still, I am unlikely to modify my behavior without some idea as to what is annoying folks. –  Pat Ludwig Apr 2 '11 at 0:09
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I can't be bothered, only come here once a week now. I would suspect that there are others that now feel the same way.

I supposed as I was bothered once, it might be helpful to say why I am not now:

a) Asked a question - marked too general could be closed

b) Asked a question - marked too specific and then merged into a wiki

c) Asked a question - closed and merged because it was though to just a deviation of another, but actually it had come up in our game that night and I did not want it mixed with someone else general question.

d) answers that are 4e Dnd even though the questions are for 1e get more upticks

e) question after question is for 4e. argh enough of this. I have no interest in a 4e question site if the questions are only about 4e rules.

f) pointing out that the premiss of a question, might be wrong (even if it is only IMO), is not off topic just because the questioner says so.

g) FAQ wiki should only be for questions that are Frequently Asked, not a bucket for general questions that seam trivial to some.

h) not everyone speaks English as a first language, this preference for a high level of English literacy is stifling. If you want to correct someone else English that is cool and probably welcome.

i) just because an answer is an essay does not make it more worthy, pithy correct answer are just as correct.

j) a totally on topic attitude is unfriendly to some, not everyone's culture is based around, just do it and meeting are only about the agenda. Off topic comments sometimes are useful to the question, they help others to thing about the problem in unique ways.

k) if an answer seams to you to be antagonist, may be it was not intended to be. State why it may sound wrong, not everyone carries your perception of what has been written.

I am sure there is more ...

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a, b, Which questions? c Which question, and did the general question it was merged into not easily answer your question? –  AceCalhoon Apr 1 '11 at 13:14
    
d -- This is definitely a problem in the general case (exceptions: cases where the answer is correct but uses some 4e terminology; cases where the answer author acknowledges the edition mismatch and ties their point to the question). I'm not sure how to deal with this precisely... Downvote, certainly. Perhaps flag as well. –  AceCalhoon Apr 1 '11 at 13:16
    
e -- Many questions about 4e are not a problem. 4e is a popular game. A problem is "not enough questions that interest me." –  AceCalhoon Apr 1 '11 at 13:17
    
f -- This should usually be done as a comment, and only sparingly. –  AceCalhoon Apr 1 '11 at 13:18
    
g -- I don't have an opinion on this. –  AceCalhoon Apr 1 '11 at 13:18
    
h -- Absolutely. The response to bad grammar should be editing, unless the post is so mangled that it is unintelligible. –  AceCalhoon Apr 1 '11 at 13:18
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(sometimes the comment restrictions here really stink) –  AceCalhoon Apr 1 '11 at 13:21
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@Ace Point (e) is more complicated than that. It's a double-punch of "not enough questions that interest me" and the questions that are interesting being "flooded out with questions about a game that is already well supported everywhere else gods why must it take over here too why gods why…" Really. It's bad enough that there are too few interesting Qs here, but having them pushed down the page and lost among the flood of questions for a game that enjoys more support and forums than every other game put together is adding insult to injury. –  SevenSidedDie Apr 1 '11 at 15:56
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@SevenSidedDie Re: e -- To be perfectly blunt, that stance is childish, and I work very hard to assume that people aren't operating on such selfish principles. "We can't support that, it's too popular" actually makes me angry when I hear it. (Note: I am A-okay with people not liking D&D 4e; what makes me angry is people not liking people liking 4e) At any rate it's not actionable; what are we going to do, chase off the 4e players? Unless the ignored tags feature can be made more prominent? –  AceCalhoon Apr 1 '11 at 16:14
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@SevenSidedDie Re c -- In retrospect, I'd agree with you, particularly with the blog cite. Re b -- Yeah, the glossary thread wasn't a bad idea, but in retrospect I don't think it's worth potential hard feelings. –  AceCalhoon Apr 1 '11 at 16:15
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@SevenSidedDie Only if thing X in some way prevents something from happening. I'm not aware of anything that 4e stops. Like I said, I think there is a problem... And that's that we don't have enough content for other gaming systems and general topics. 4e is not doing anything to make the site less enjoyable to anyone. –  AceCalhoon Apr 1 '11 at 18:04
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The problem isn't the 4e questions specifically. It's twofold. First, it's the lack of other questions - I set the 4e tag to "ignore" so I don't have to see it, but there's not a lot else. Second, it's the 4e people spilling into inappropriate (non-4e) questions especially because they consider different playstyles besides the one 4e has prescribed for a couple years now to be an affront and worth smashing. We just need a) more stuff for other games, and b) people to stick to questions that are relevant to them. –  mxyzplk Apr 1 '11 at 23:07
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@SevenSidedDie: (e) - yes, it is like buying a general magazine about computers, purporting to cover linux and other things and all it has articles on Windows. Waste of money and time to the other (small) % of it readership that have zero interest in Windows. –  David Allan Finch Apr 4 '11 at 10:42
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@SevenSidedDie: (c) - my question had better more focused answers, if someone wanted to put both answers in the Wiki, after they where blessed, that is one thing, but to zap mine and give all its best stuff to another questions (words fail me). –  David Allan Finch Apr 4 '11 at 10:47
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To back up the above 4e assertion: There was a thread on adventures recently, where the OP specified his players hated D&D, and yet most of the upvoted answers involved either 4e or Pathfinder. –  Canageek Sep 20 '11 at 19:26
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I don't think there's really anything to worry about. 3 excellents that don't seem to be going anywhere I think more than makes up for the low visits and low questions per day. Something to remember is that RPGs are a niche hobby, it just simply won't generate the same kind of numbers as a more popular topic.

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Yeah, the beta stats are kind of useless. With no historical information, it's tough to tell how much change there's been. I've been making a point of watching our unique visits per day lately (from before this thread started), and they've been slowly going up. But I have no context for that increase, or anything to compare its magnitude to. –  AceCalhoon Apr 4 '11 at 15:18
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Whatever y'all have been doing this week (stumble, blog linking, whatever) keep it up!

Area51 ScreenShot - 851 views, 3.8 questions

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Better questions too, I think. –  Alticamelus Apr 5 '11 at 12:43
    
@Alticamelus More and better I think. –  C. Ross Apr 5 '11 at 13:38
    
We're up to 4.4 questions/day. –  Alticamelus May 10 '11 at 7:26
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Alright, I'm speaking as a very new user of the site: I saw it on twitter a year ago, but didn't join, and just recently saw it again after joining the LaTeX stack exchange. So far I've found the restrictions on questions very restrictive: I've already seen one question, that looked quite interesting to me, closed for lack of relevancy. I think expanding what constitutes a question on RPGs would help you a lot there. I mean, my reading of that stats indicates that the site is great at answering questions, but isn't getting many. Broadening its scope to include more aspects of RPGs would probably help. I mean, the purpose of that rule seems to be so that we don't have lots of off-topic questions covering up the sight, right? Well, from the stats it seems we don't have many questions at all, at least not compared to LaTeX, the other one I follow.

For example: Miniatures are a part of many RPGs. Why is a question about printing them off topic? Early indications showed that it was answerable.

I'm almost scared to post a question that doesn't have a specific page reference based on what I've seen in the last couple of days.

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The mini-scanning question got closed because there was nothing about the question that made it about RPGs, instead of just "How to make a 3D model of any small, detailed object". Further, since the thing being modelled was incidental to what the question was about, the expertise necessary to answer it isn't about RPGs. For the same reason, "What open-license RPG rules can I use to handle skills and levelling in the CRPG I'm programming?" would be off-topic at the Game Developers SE. –  SevenSidedDie Sep 20 '11 at 19:43
    
Another point: the question wasn't about printing them. That would be on-topic, being directly useful to RPG players and likely something someone among our members would have experience with. The question was about creating a digitised 3D model of a mini, something few-to-no RPG players expect to ever do or be interested in doing. –  SevenSidedDie Sep 20 '11 at 19:46
    
Ah, that makes sense. Perhaps editing the question to include that might be a better response then closing it entirely? I realized after that it might be a legal issue with pirating miniatures, but printing them would be pretty cool. –  Canageek Sep 22 '11 at 18:21
    
Yeah, but that would have fundamentally changed the question out from under the Asker's feet. And since we aim to solve real, not theoretical problems people have, that would also be at cross-purpose to the point of the site. –  SevenSidedDie Sep 22 '11 at 20:35
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I know the worst thing you can do to a community is point out that it is quiet but here are our stats: vists up but number of questions low. I imagine this is because those visiting the site feel that the restrictions are too tight.

I watch the questions per day out of interest and it doesn't pass 4.0.

Stats as of 10 Nov 2011

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it actually 4.1 right now! –  wax eagle Nov 10 '11 at 18:43
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I think it is unlikely that the figure will improve much. RPGs are a minor hobby the small the set of questions that we are allowed to be asked the less likely someone is to ask one. –  David Allan Finch Nov 11 '11 at 9:25
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I've started throwing up a load of non-4e questions to redress the balance. Not being a D&D player makes that a little easier! –  Rob Lang Nov 11 '11 at 9:42
    
Grea, but don't seed just to up a metric - only ask questions you genuinely want the answer to/need help on. –  mxyzplk Nov 11 '11 at 13:52
    
Good call, mxyzplk, of course. All questions are ones I want an answer on. –  Rob Lang Nov 11 '11 at 13:54
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6 months on, questions per day is up from worrying to needs work (3.4/day), visits is still okay, but up to 960/day, and our other metrics are still excelent.

I do wonder what the rate of new users is?

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That's not up from "worrying"; they just renamed "worrying" to "needs work". You'll note that 3.4/day is actually down from C. Ross' report in April of 3.8/day. Improved visits per day is good to see though. –  SevenSidedDie Sep 20 '11 at 2:49
    
Questions per day fluctuates up and down. It's been as high as 4.8 or so, but it never stays near 5 for long. –  C. Ross Sep 20 '11 at 16:22
    
@C.Ross, How long is it averaged over? –  Pureferret Dec 17 '11 at 9:27
    
@Pureferret Two weeks I think ... –  C. Ross Dec 17 '11 at 12:55
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