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I have been checking the website statistics and here is what I have noticed:

  • There were a lot of questions asked in private beta, but the number is slowly decreasing. The last time we had 15 questions in a day was 5 days ago.

  • Nearly all questions answered - great performance here.

  • The answer ratio is usually 2.2 or 2.3. It is below 2.5, but I think it's OK.

  • The number of daily visits and the amount of users have been steadily growing.

Area51 statistics

I created this topic just to raise awareness and discuss possibilities to invert the "number of questions" trend. Do you think we need more promotion?

  • Interestingly, it now shows 443 visits/day with 15 days in beta. If my understanding is correct, that means there were 2361 visitors in the last day. I don't know how to see more detailed data to see if this is unusual or part of some type of trend. – Michael McGowan Sep 14 '11 at 21:54
  • Hmmm using the same logic though means that the site had a net loss of about 3 questions in the last day (14 days at 13.4 Q/day means 187.6 questions, 15 days at 12.3 Q/day means 184.5 questions). Either there were a lot of deleted questions or the meaning behind those numbers is not as obvious as it seems. – Michael McGowan Sep 14 '11 at 21:58
  • "Visits/day" is actually displaying the median number of visits per day for the past 14 days. I assume the jump was due to the median shifting from the last day of the private beta to the first day of the public beta. – Chris Acheson Sep 14 '11 at 22:05
  • @Michael McGowan During private beta we had ~200 users and ~200 visits per day. When the site went public those numbers increased a lot so the average visits/day isn't stable yet. The number of questions is going in the opposite direction: we had around 40 questions/day during the first days of private and now we have around 10. – nmat Sep 14 '11 at 22:26
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My secret fear is that the well of good questions is quickly running dry. I hope that's not true. If promotion is going to be effective, it's going to need to hit people who are actually using Bitcoins and running into real-world issues, not just people who think Bitcoins are interesting.

Please read this.

  • 2
    Interesting point. I hadn't made the (potential) connection with the same "I'm merely curious" problem we had with the AI site: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/12/… As such, the committer roles break down as such: 51.0% Enthusiast, 20.6% Expert, 17.8% Beginner, 5.9% Academic, 4.7% Just curious. My advice still holds: "Make sure you are asking about actual day-to-day problems you encounter in your use of Bitcoin." We will have to see how that pans out. – Robert Cartaino Sep 14 '11 at 19:54
  • I included a link to that in my answer with about the strongest encouragement the markup allows. – David Schwartz Sep 14 '11 at 20:13
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    A fair amount of the actual bitcoin developers have been active here. That implies a certain level of expertise. There aren't all that many bitcoin "experts" in the world at the moment, since it is such a new technology. Certainly from my brief exposure to SE sites questions here seem generally better than even some of the large SE sites like apple.SE where many of the questions could easily be answered with a simple google search. – lemonginger Sep 14 '11 at 22:51
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    @llemonginger: Sure. Tou don't need many "experts," per se, but hopefully you can find enough actual practitioners/users to continue to ask interesting questions. But I concur; I've been impressed that the site has produced a decent amount of quality content. I just hope the content thus far brings forth a significant portion of the actual users to keep the the momentum from falling flat. – Robert Cartaino Sep 15 '11 at 2:57
  • I definitely agree with this fear. Having 99% of the questions answered suggests that we are not asking hard enough questions (or if we are asking hard enough questions, we are not taking them seriously and giving hard answers). – Artem Kaznatcheev Sep 25 '11 at 7:20
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This site was proposed and created on a somewhat precarious (and experimental) premise.

Bitcoin is a new technology with very little mainstream exposure. As such, a lot of these questions are what you might call "general reference," mostly just trying to figure out how all this stuff works. Indeed, if Bitcoin were already a more mainstream subject, many of these questions would like have been closed literally as "general reference". But there are no mainstream references covering the topic; hence, no source to cite as general reference.

Once you get through all these "what does this thing do?" questions, we'll have to see if you have anything left to talk about. The site may not go much beyond a user-generated FAQ and really never evolve into an actual Stack Exchange-style Q&A.

The only way to rescue this site from that fate is to ask about actual day-to-day problems you have while using Bitcoin … and stay away from the mind-numbing trivia and really basic, curiosity-seeking questions that some feel belong on this site.

  • 3
    Note that there is no SE-wide consensus regarding "general reference." There is not even a consensus among the founders; Joel thinks general reference questions are just fine and I tend to agree with him. – Michael McGowan Sep 14 '11 at 19:29
0

I don't think we have to be worried about it too much right here at the start. I would expect the questions to dip significantly after the initial "newness" of the site wears off, and a lot of the low hanging fruit gets asked. I also note that in some sites, like apple.stackexchange, they have a lot of questions, but many of them are terrible in terms of not being researched at all, and many questions get answered without votes, etc. I would like to see people stay engaged in voting and answering questions that come up rather than worry about number of questions. I feel like as the popularity of bitcoin grows, as more clients are released, as more people are actually using them etc, questions will grow again.

Quality over quantity I guess, even if it means dipping towards 5 questions/day for a few months and then climbing back up.

  • the 99% answer rate suggests to me that the questions/answers aren't that well researched. We should be concerned about this, and really push to try to ask hard questions and crack down on bad answers. – Artem Kaznatcheev Sep 25 '11 at 7:23

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