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If you look at our new questions page, you might notice a few things.

  1. There are very few high rep users asking questions.
  2. There are quite a few questions that are either closed or migrated. In addition, the questions that remain are often low quality, and many are about someone looking for a specific script (which we agreed were off-topic).
  3. There isn't a lot of questions being asked per day. We got 13 questions a day on january 28 and january 27 (14 on jan 26).
    1. According to area 51, 15 questions per day on average is a healthy beta.
    2. The stack exchange stats place us at 15 questions per day on average. That is not even above the area 51 recommendations.
    3. And I bet most of those questions were from a while ago, based off of the activity we have now.

It's pretty important that we have lots of questions, because without questions, there wont be any questions to answer, and therefore there wont be any activity. Barely meeting the area51 questions per day requirement clearly shows that we don't have enough questions.

Furthermore, the point of stack exchange is to be a q&a for experts, not low rep users. The fact that there aren't a lot of questions asked by high rep users shows that we are failing to meet that requirement.

So, to recap, we are failing to:

  1. Make this site a q&a for experts.
  2. Get enough questions to make this an active q&a site.

In order to become an popular q&a site, as we said we wanted to do in this question, we clearly need fix those two problems. If this site does not have any questions to generate activity, and if it isn't a q&a for experts, it will not be a popular site.

However, we can fix this. If every high rep user committed to posting it least one quality question a week, our site will have made huge progress towards fixing those two problems and making webmasters.se more popular in 2012.

So, what do you think?

Who wants to commit to posting a question a week?

UPDATE: Here is the first question that I have asked as part of this initiative: Hotlinking: what is it, and why shouldn't people do it?

UPDATE #2: I created a community promotion add to promote this initiative.

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    +1 It might be easier if there were some notion of a monthly topic. If you have ideas for topics please wiki them and we'll get a proposed schedule together. – danlefree Jan 29 '12 at 18:51
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    Good idea. The reason I'm not asking questions is because I tend to find them out through various methods. However I could ask a question that I know the answer to, which I appreciate is allowed and is useful. I'll try and commit to that for a few weeks. – paulmorriss Jan 30 '12 at 9:28
  • @danlefree a monthly topic would be nice, but it will probably take a while to set up (especially since that post was created on Dec 16 2011). Lets commit to posting some questions now, and once we do that, we can build on that and have a topic of the month to keep getting ideas for questions. – user6901 Jan 30 '12 at 21:50
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    @Christofian - Alright, even if we do not commit to a topic schedule that list can serve as inspiration for asking questions (particularly for those of us who are used to researching our own answers) – danlefree Jan 31 '12 at 4:05
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    Here's a community promotion add that I created to help get the word out: meta.webmasters.stackexchange.com/a/674/6901 – user6901 Feb 2 '12 at 1:52
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    It needs 6 votes to get shown, so everyone please vote! – paulmorriss Feb 2 '12 at 9:41
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    I asked a question, and was surprised to find it was my first ever! – paulmorriss Feb 6 '12 at 12:47
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One thing we should all keep in mind is that SE isn't just about getting information for yourself. The SEO for SE is pretty darn good, and as such it pops up in Google high in the SERPs. The questions you ask (provided they are well formulated) adds to the entire ideal behind SE.

If you know of a cool trick or an issue that has been previously resolved that took you a while to dig up the solution would be a great idea.

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I completely agree - we need more interesting and unique questions here, not only to increase the overall quality and activity on the site, but to keep ourselves and other users coming back. Although I just earned the Fanatic badge, prior to that I almost gave up on this place because of the lack of interesting questions to answer.

I think it's a great idea for higher-rep users to try posting more questions, but we must be careful not to ask just for the sake of asking, because then questions end up being low quality.

I regularly ask questions here whenever I have a problem, even when I'm fairly sure I know the answer (or know I could find the answer with a bunch more research). I'd encourage others to do the same, provided they are not too trivial. I'm sure the top users here regularly come across interesting problems in their day-to-day work!

And as I just answered on another question, it's good to keep an eye out at other network sites like Stack Overflow for any questions that are more appropriate here and should be migrated.

  • +1 "I think it's a great idea for higher-rep users to try posting more questions, but we must be careful not to ask just for the sake of asking, because then questions end up being low quality." – user6901 Jan 31 '12 at 1:57
  • "it's good to keep an eye out at other network sites like Stack Overflow". I haven't done it recently, but that's a good idea. I check tags like hosting and seo. I've also edited the tag wikis for some of those to point people to here (or serverfault). – paulmorriss Jan 31 '12 at 8:38
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You also need to bear in mind that typically, high rep users don't tend to ask that many questions; looking at the trilogy for example, when I wrote this, the Newest Questions page set to show 30 questions gives me:

  • Stack Overflow newest questions highest rep asker: 3,220; average: 359
  • Server Fault newest questions highest rep asker: 9,266; average: 618
  • Super User newest questions highest rep asker: 1,675; average: 222

  • Pro Webmasters newest questions highest rep: 612; average: 101

(For completeness, Gaming has a few high rep users that have asked questions leading to a highest rep asker currently of 13,671 with an average of 1,463, but there subject matter lead me to think that would be the case - people often play lots of different games)

So I shouldn't worry that there aren't many high rep users asking questions - however if you want to encourage them to ask some questions, then yes, a "Hot Topic of the Week" seems to be the way to go.

Edit to add:

I don't disagree that we need more activity here, it's a problem I'm also facing on LEGO Answers, and yes those that are more involved with the site might be a good place to start building more questions.

  • 1. Can you get the data for webmaster.se? 2. Looking at the new questions page, there are about two people who asked questions that have more than 200 rep (and most either have < 50 rep or 101 rep from other sites). 3. We need to build more activity, and that should be the job of the high rep users. – user6901 Jan 31 '12 at 22:15

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