All stats of our Area 51 page are in the green except the Questions Per Day. We need to raise it from 2.3 to 15 questions per day. Does anyone have any good ideas? I've seen some sites have had users "pledge" to ask a question a day or every other day. What other ways can we raise our questions per day stat?
Hmm. I think part of it may be the nature of the topic — it's quite normal to run into a new programming problem every day, but not likely to have a new practice/performance problem. As individuals we could certainly look into a new area of theory we haven't before, for example; that would provide a good source of questions. But in the long run that isn't sustainable.
Our number of "active users" is slightly inflated due to the Guitars merge, since it actually counts rep and not current activity, though I don't know the exact numbers. Since users drive questions I think it may actually be the user department where we are suffering. Our stats about answering are great, and I think we have a number of experts, so the questions I would ask are:
- How can we attract new users, paricularly beginners?
- How can we keep new users coming back to the site and asking questions as they progress?
That assumes that the new users are constructive conributors. However, a substantial portion of new users come here asking for recommendations, "what's your favorite song", etc. While there are certain classes of questions we've decided are off-topic but could potentially be made on-topic one day, those kinds of questions aren't constructive and just aren't doable on Stack Exchange at a fundamental level. So they're going to be closed, which leads to another question:
- How can we ensure poor-fit questions are closed without discouraging people? How can we turn that negative experience into a positive one?
All 3 of these are fairly difficult questions to answer, and I hope others have some ideas about them as well as the general topic of your post, Luke.
One approach I've been trying to address the last question was suggested by Overlord Shog. Instead of just saying
Sorry, this is off-topic, see the FAQ
I've been trying to be more specific about the problem and, most importantly, add things like
If you have another question that would be a better fit, please feel free to ask it!
Hopefully this will help to turn the comment from "rejection" to "invitation", in some sense, and the user will try again.
Matthew makes a very good point about engaging users - we have 45 pages of users with a reputation of 101 or less. That's about 1600 people who have visited but not had any upvotes.
Have we put them off by being harsh about their first question? If so, let's edit and encourage updating of the question rather than just telling them it is off-topic.
Have we looked at all the answers? Are there a lot of answers with no upvotes - perhaps an idea is to encourage more of the regulars to check out the review tab at least once a week. Responding to every new answer posted can help a new member feel engaged, and could translate to repeat visits. Again, the two most common activities should be an upvote if the answer deserves it, or assistance/edit/comment if it is not quite there. Downvotes still need to be allowed for the answers that really can't be saved, but let's encourage more than discourage.
Aside from that, I guess we could try and get into the habit of watching in the news, blogs, online etc. for music topics which could translate into a question, ask the question, and then post that URL back at the original site - it's all about spreading the word, really.
Update 1 -10/15/12
Our QPD is now 3.1. It's rising, but we need to move faster. We have over 2,300 visits per day. If we can continue to feed good-quality content, our user-base (approaching 3000 users) will continue to expand and the QPD will continue to rise. However, at 538 days in beta (almost one and a half years), we're running a risk of being closed. I find it imperative to make an extra push for graduation.
Since the ultimate goal is to have a repository of helpful information on a broad range of common musical questions/problems, couldn't we ask questions specifically so that there are answers on the site? What I mean is that you can ask a question about something that you've already figured out on your own if you think the answers will be helpful to a lot of people.
I think that these sort of questions may actually end up being some of the best ones. It would certainly help QPD as well as future visitors.