One of the ongoing issues for this site is that it is attracting only a fraction of its intended audience. In particular, it is attracting mostly questions related to fiction and very few questions related to professional or technical writing. This has become more of an issue due to the proposed Technical Communication site that is currently in the commit phase in Area 51, since everything that would be on topic there would also be on topic here. So the question is, how do it make it clear that technical communication questions are on topic here.
This is a problem of information scent. Information scent is part of Information Foraging theory, which posits that people search for information the way wild animals forage for food -- using tactics that maximize calories with minimizing the expenditure of energy. Part of information foraging behavior is that the easier it is to find different sources of information, the less time the reader will spend assessing any one source of information before moving on.
This means that information scent is an important part of attracting readers and users to a site. Information scent is essentially the impression that the site gives to the visitor that the information they need may be here. The more competing sites there are, the less time the visitor will spend sniffing for the scent of their information on any one site before moving on. Thus the more competing sites there are, the stronger the information scent must be to attract and hold visitors.
This also means that advertizing the site does very little good if the information scent is wrong when the visitor arrives. There is enough false advertizing on the Web that people give only seconds for a site to look like what it advertised itself as being before they dismiss it and move on.
A new Technical Communication site would have a much easier time establishing information scent for technical writers because it would have "Technical Communication" written across the front in large friendly letters. Of course, it would not present any information scent at all for aspiring novelists, but those questions would be outside of its scope.
Our scope is broader, and "Writers" is clearly does not create a sufficiently strong information scent for all the kinds of writers we want here. So the question for us is, how can we improve the information scent of this site to attract technical writers and everyone else who is within our scope?
Some measures have already been proposed to improve our information scent:
But perhaps we need to think about our information scent in more holistic terms. Unfortunately, as a beta site, we cannot change our design. That is a problem because site design is a huge component of information scent. (I am imagining something along the lines of a right-brain / left-brain graphic showing the range of writing types we cover.) So, the question is, given the limitations we have as a beta site, what can we do to broaden our information scent to bring in the broad range of writers we were chartered to serve?