I've never posted in Meta before, and I rarely use SE. So this question may be considered rude, unfair, or "too meta". I genuinely don't know, but I want to ask anyway. This is the closest thing I could find to what I want to address.

I found three posts on the front page that made me more than a little confused. I don't come around here often--we'll say once every other month. But every time I come to see if there are any interesting questions, there (usually) aren't.

For some examples:

  1. So a computer is now called a "Miner" and is creating currency?

  2. Mining my own blockchain?

  3. How do I write a Litecoin mining client?

Now. I don't mean to embarrass anyone here. But these questions show a fundamental misunderstanding with the entire atmosphere of StackExchange. There's no effort put into research. Question 1 isn't necessarily about Bitcoin. It's just an economics question. An economics question that can be easily answered by Googling things like intrinsic value and deflation. Question 2 is just a complete and blatant misunderstanding of how bitcoin as a protocol functions. And the answer to question 3 is "you don't". I mean honestly. If you come to any forum asking, "How do I make this thing? I've put no effort in at all. Just tell me." then you just shouldn't make the thing in question.

I'm not trying to be divisive. I just picked 3 random posts off of the front page from today. And if I come back in two months, I could probably find a very similar 3 posts again.

  • Preparing to be downvoted to oblivion. – KJ O Apr 28 '16 at 21:29
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    "Preparing to be downvoted to oblivion." I think you must be confusing us with reddit. ;) – Murch Apr 29 '16 at 5:16
  • My opinion is that it's the nature of the topic. A bunch of people hear about it somewhere, think they can make a quick buck, then just try and slop their way there. – fredsbend Jun 1 '16 at 18:54

TL;DR: We have bad content because bad content isn't being culled and good content isn't being added. If you want to see better content, try sorting the front page by hot instead of active. If you want to help that we have better content: 1) Vote more, 2) flag more, 3) add interesting questions yourself.

I like your question actually. I'll try to give an encompassing answer, though, so I hope you don't mind if this will be a bit longer.

Why does BitcoinSE attract particularly low quality posts?

I don't think it does. All sites attract bad content. The question is what happens with it.
On an SE its community decides what is a good question or a bad question. And our mechanism to cull questions isn't working. On most SE, there are a bunch of active users. New questions quickly get some small touch-ups, and then some votes by the user-base. The front-page is very responsive to voting and edits. Except, on Bitcoin.SE we have very few people that edit questions or vote.

E.g. today is Friday (6th day in the week): I'm the only user that has more than five edits this week and I'm the only user that has voted more than 10 times this week. It looks slightly better when you look at the month: Four users have more than 5 edits, eleven users have voted 10 or more times.

However, it gets even worse if you think about this: Three of those 11 have not cast a single downvote, the others cast roughly five to fifteen upvotes per downvote. Nick and I are roughly at 3 to 1.

Ergo, the problem isn't that we attract bad content, but that it isn't being culled. As a moderator, I have two options. I can downvote (which I already do), or delete. I don't like to unilaterally delete content, so I only do that on real crap. Regular users have a bit of an "advantage" here, it takes several delete votes to remove content, so they can vote to delete at their heart's desire…

Often a single downvote will be enough! Questions that are more than 30 days old, have -1 score or worse and have no answers, get deleted automatically. If you want bad content to disappear more quickly, downvote more, and flag appropriately.

Now, this week is a bit of a special case, because I had been eradicating the tag "mining". Over the course of the last few months, I've edited more than a thousand questions to that end. I went through them mostly sorted by votes, so the last batch had a few really bad ones. I've downvoted (and even deleted) some of them when editing, but my edit still pushed them to the front.

So, SE is community run. If you want better content, it's in your power to help shape it.

  • This makes since. And I don't want you or Nick (or any of the moderators) to think I'm placing blame on you. I realise that it's community dependent, and the mods are only to regulate the community. I have flagged questions. But I feel like if I actually flagged every question that I thought was poor or anything else, it would end up making me look pretentious and probably give all of the mods a complex. – KJ O Apr 29 '16 at 18:15
  • @KJO: It might take a few hours a day sometimes, but we do handle every flag we get! Usually, we follow the recommended action of the flagger (but not always). We just don't have time to look at all content ourselves, or even if we do, most things we do immediately take effect, so getting a cue from other users is much appreciated. So, if you want to try flagging some more, feel free. :) – Murch Apr 29 '16 at 18:31

I think it's worth noting that all three of those things were posts bumped during the Great Retagging. There's a correlation between a question being poorly tagged, and a question being poorly researched.

And the answer to question 3 is "you don't". I mean honestly. If you come to any forum asking, "How do I make this thing? I've put no effort in at all. Just tell me." then you just shouldn't make the thing in question.

I don't agree. Let's say that someone asks "I'm trying to build a jet aircraft. How do I do this?" The most helpful thing we can do is explain the enormous scope of the project they're undertaking, and suggest what fields of study the asker needs to understand before starting the project. Even if that's an unsatisfying answer, it's still useful.

Preparing to be downvoted to oblivion.

I hope that people don't downvote you. I don't think that your question is rude - it's how you feel, y'know? I think that you have some valid points. I'd like to see more technical questions on the frontpage too.

You're not powerless here, though. You have the power to shape the content of this SE by posting your own questions. I hope this SE becomes a place where you enjoy spending time.

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    I do enjoy spending time here. I come back once every few months because there are compelling questions asked in those time frames. But there aren't compelling questions asked on a daily basis. And that probably has more to do with size than anything else. If I didn't enjoy this place, I wouldn't have posted on its Meta :) – KJ O Apr 29 '16 at 18:18

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