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This is what I know.

All four moderators are extraordinary.

John Conde brings unbelievable dedication and commitment. He has the uncanny and remarkable skill to answer questions succinctly and precisely. It cracks me up.

Dan brings outstanding answers that I marvel over but prefers to give kindness and generosity to the users. Something I am trying to do myself.

Bybe brings outstanding technical expertise and very precise answers and is prolific in doing so.

Stephen Ostermiller also brings outstanding answers and too is prolific.

Between Bybe and Stephen Ostermiller, I recognize that the best answers are detailed answers which Dan has mastered as well. I have at times stepped up my game with this in mind.

All have been very kind to me personally and extremely supportive and generous which I appreciate.

I will defend you all tooth and nail and could not imagine this site without you.

But, saddly, it appears this site is failing.

When I arrived it ws bustling with activity and pure fun to participate in. I would stay up to the wee hours of the morning answering far too many questions. I am a night-owl and so this gave me purpose while the others are sleeping. (I am a landlord living in my own building- I cannot play In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and still have tenants.)

Now it seems that we hardly get people at night anymore. And even the afternoons and evenings are getting thin.

I know we are all frustrated. The moderators and the users. Frustration is the downward driving force these days it seems. It is understandable. I believe I can see, at least to a point, both sides of the issue- moderators and users.

Some good ideas have been put forth. I am not sure what the consensus on those ideas has been. But I would like to put them to the test if I may.

For my question.

Dan did the hard work and came up with some ideas. Would it be acceptable that they be posted here one at a time and voted upon and commented on individually? I realize that the format of all ideas in a single answer/post, while outstanding, did not garner much if any user/community discussion and it makes sense in my mind- to many variables and moving parts. Would this be an acceptable way to gauge what ideas should live or die?? Can I get a commitment from the moderators to weigh in on these to see where we are? As well, being a relative noob here, what would be the difficulties and concerns for each idea? This could be a good way for someone like myself to understand these issues better. Could this be a good way to move toward a goal I am sure we all share?

If we can iron out some of these issues, we can at least arrest some of the frustration which is my goal. Not to change the sites mission, but to reduce frustration in a way that makes sense to all of us. Can we agree on this? Or should I put my headphones on and crank-up a CD?

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    "Failing" is a strong word. Activity on this site comes and goes. I've been active here for three years now and I've seen several cycles of it. My own activity waxes and wanes as well. – Stephen Ostermiller Apr 8 '15 at 9:20
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    I'd absolutely love to see suggestions for improvements. IMO allowing a wider range of questions to be "on-topic" would help. I'd personally like to allow recommendation question. – Stephen Ostermiller Apr 8 '15 at 9:22
  • I'm looking at the analytics for the site (moderators have access) and I'm seeing a dip in the number of questions answered right now. For the last month, we have had more asked than answered. The number of questions asked is steady (and has been for years). If anything it looks like we need to encourage answers the most. – Stephen Ostermiller Apr 8 '15 at 9:36
  • @StephenOstermiller In retrospect, you are right- failing would be over-stating what is going on. I was sure there were cycles and that things can be improved. What I see most is user frustration- some unjustified, but some within the realm of fixable. I do know busy lives. My elderly Mom has been ill for years and goes through cycles and I have not been here as much in the past 2-3 weeks as I have in the past. And there have been questions I can answer asked when I am gone and ones I cannot answer asked when I was available. Isn't that the way?? – closetnoc Apr 8 '15 at 15:09
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    There's quite a lot of .htaccess questions asked over on StackOverflow, but they never get migrated here - they are, after all, reasonably on-topic for SO. However, they don't necessarily get a great reception on SO. I've seen webmastering questions closed as being off-topic on SO (sometimes for very wrong reasons). It would perhaps help if "Pro Webmasters" was on the standard list of migration sites on SO? – MrWhite Apr 14 '15 at 11:56
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    I've been slowly getting involved.. answering what I can FWIW. I just wanted to say that this is one of my favourite sites. Thank you all! – mezzo Nov 23 '15 at 0:11
  • @mezzo You are going to find that this is one fantastic group of folks! We have some real experts here- trust me on that!! It proves what I have always said, with very little exception, webmasters are the best people in the world. Not sure how that happens, but I am glad it has. – closetnoc Nov 23 '15 at 0:34
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    Joined on Valentine's Day 2013, lurked for 2 years seldomly and.. now it's a weekly obsession. Fwiw, I like many of your answers to questions @closetnoc ~ been wanting to tell you that for awhile but didn't know how to msg you via this site. Still learning cautiously. – mezzo Nov 23 '15 at 1:09
  • @mezzo Thank you for the compliment! Just jump in my friend. Answer what you can and skip the ones you cannot. BTW- I read your bio. I used to do tech start-ups and consulted to telecoms at a high level especially for project start-ups or designing and developing new technologies. Did some market research, business plans, presentations of new business ideas, marketing, CEO of my own companies, pioneered and developed some remarkable and significant code, and so on. So you and I have some overlap. It would be good to have another business oriented mind here. Cheers!! – closetnoc Nov 23 '15 at 1:43
  • I need to brush up my bio actually, thanks for the reminder. :) – mezzo Nov 23 '15 at 1:44
  • @mezzo Mine is a bit thin... should be a giigle (intentional misspelling) penalty in there somewhere. One day I will drop something more in. – closetnoc Nov 23 '15 at 1:50
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First of all, thank you for caring. For those of us who have participated in this site for an extended period of time it is nice to see that others care as much as we do and want to see this site grow and prosper.

Stephen's comments are pretty spot on. This site has very well defined cycles in activity. I have yet to figure out why that is but it ebbs and flows like clockwork. The Hot Network Questions on the side helps to bring in traffic periodically but that doesn't seem to translate into active participants.

The hardest part about getting anything done around here is just getting people to do it. Participating here isn't anyone's full time job and (for various reasons) if someone doesn't grab the bull by the horns and run with something it just isn't gonna happen. As you saw Dan and I have made proposals for various things to do to improve this site but haven't followed through on them. It's not that we're lazy (at least Dan's not). It's just hard to prioritize it over other things in our lives especially when there isn't a lot of inertia/support/stuff at this site to encourage us to follow through.

If you feel that you can help carry some of this load and champion a cause or two, please do so. You'll at least have the support of all of the moderators.

  • You nailed down everything I assumed was happening. I understand that you all volunteer your time here, I can see a vast effort from all the moderators. And I get that people get tired and since the activity level has dropped on the site, it is hard to be motivated especially when home life is calling. I get it. Time can be a hard currency to come by when life just plain keeps you running in circles. I am not complaining. I just want to help the users who are here have a better experience. You know, help facilitate any log jams. BTW- log jam on toast helps increase your daily fibre intake. – closetnoc Apr 8 '15 at 15:18
  • BTW- John, I did not mean to single out just Dan's input. It was what came to mind as I typed the question. I appreciated your input as well. I guess I should explain, I am a bit of the absent minded professor who walks around with his glasses on his head looking for his glasses (and yes I do this [please don't laugh- it is really sad]). So sometimes that is reflected through my fingers. I prefer to put my thought processes down in writing and mull it over for a while, but this time, I just jumped into the deep end of the pool without my arm float thingies on. – closetnoc Apr 10 '15 at 5:02
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    Don't worry. You articulated your point well. :) – John Conde Apr 11 '15 at 23:20
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I'm relatively new to site. I've decided to use it because it helped me a lot. So... I'll let it all out. I think that main concern that we need to focus on is motivation.

Users here like to get vote up on question / answer. So... if someone new gives a great answer or if he solves the problem from the question, vote him up so he can be motivated to do so often. In this particular case, we'll get a new guy or two or three that are going to provide great answers. It all came down to few users who are answering. I enjoy reading this page so... let's motivate everyone to do more. And to achieve that, we need to vote them up.

That's from my perspective. Even one vote up motivates you to go further.

If you are answering (in my case now for example) 6 questions in row without any vote up, it's really demotivateing. But it's me. I'll answer again and again. But there are users that'll answer 10 questions for example and get only one vote up, and they are simply going to stop answering.

I think that I explained what I mean. :) It's all in VOTE UP!

  • I am a bit strange on the up-vote thing. If I do not up-vote right away, I often go back every few days when I have a chunk of time and have at it. The reason is simple. I can be rather dense. ;-) We are all guilty of not up-voting from time to time. I like to encourage people with up-votes for exactly the reason you mention. And at one point, this site was so active with voting both up and down but then it turned quiet. For the record, I am glad you are here!! Keep up the faith! I will try and pass on what has been passed to me- I promise. Cheers! – closetnoc Feb 3 '16 at 15:57
  • I'm just stating the obvious, because on good questions / answers that I've read, and even when I find helpful answer, I vote up. I do it all the time. We need to encourage users to vote and to answer on daily basis. – Josip Ivic Feb 3 '16 at 16:00
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    And for the record, I'm glad that you're glad that I'm here, because I'm glad to be here. :D – Josip Ivic Feb 3 '16 at 16:00
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    You are right about up-votes. Here is another thing I do. If there is a Q that I do not know the answer to, then I wait to see what answers come along. I often wait till there is more than one answer before voting. This is because since I do not know the answer per se', I can tell which is at least the better answer or even have a few nuggets to research and determine which is a good answer. I often read the various Q&A to learn something new. Lately, however, I have not had the time to pay more than a few minutes of attention at a time so my participation has been less attentive. Sorry. – closetnoc Feb 3 '16 at 16:07
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    i mean... this is devastating -> webmasters.stackexchange.com/users?tab=Voters&filter=year – Josip Ivic Feb 3 '16 at 16:10
  • Excellent point! I gotta get busy!! This is a disgrace. We all need to do better. I will go through your answers specifically, but cannot do it too fast because serial up-voting gets canceled. I should know- it has happened to me before. It can be disappointing while completely understandable. – closetnoc Feb 3 '16 at 16:33
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    we should all do this. Just to get other guys motivated. – Josip Ivic Feb 3 '16 at 16:39
  • I completely agree. Every good question and answer deserves a vote, and I encourage other users to do so. On a smaller site like this one, it's especially important for the reasons Josip mentions above. Although competition might be a factor, it really shouldn't - if everyone votes, then everyone's rep will go up together. As a mod, I try to support new users (if their posts are good), but also try to be careful so as not to sway voting towards any one user too. The community really should decide on what's the best answer, and hope they will as they see them... – dan Feb 4 '16 at 0:04
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    It doesn't cost anything to vote and is super easy to do, so pay it forward and karma might reward you :-) – dan Feb 4 '16 at 0:05
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I can't say this site is failing. People do come and go and between around april and august, many post-secondary students in Canada are out of school and would rather be on vacation than ask questions. In July and August, everyone in Canada is out of school.

When September strikes, there may be an increase in the number of questions since everyone will be back in school by then.

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