In an awesome effort from out amazingly effective contest we have passed 10 questions per day. See the great screenshot below!

10 questions per day

Now that we have passed this milestone, what do we do next?

  • How do we use this to graduate?
  • How do we maintain this level without a contest?
  • Do we even want maintain this?
  • 1
    Finally got an answer (some sort of answer), in the comments here: writing.meta.stackexchange.com/a/1584/14704 – Galastel supports GoFundMonica Mar 4 '19 at 0:40
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    We've reached an important goal, but it's not a one-shot. We need to sustain it. Keep asking, answering, and spreading the word to your friends. – Monica Cellio Mar 4 '19 at 1:17
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    The sustainment part actually worries me. If promotion is going to come at the end of the year, there's plenty of time to fall behind the quota. – Liquid - Reinstate Monica Mar 5 '19 at 14:30
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    I'm also worried about sustainment. None of the other sites that have graduated are forced to maintain 10 Q/D indefinitely (or reach it at all in some cases, but I digress). We hit that because several of us put in a lot of time and effort. We can't keep doing that forever. Our site was valuable at 4-5 Q/D and it's not any more valuable now, it's just busier. – Cyn says make Monica whole Mar 6 '19 at 1:48
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    @Cyn in fact, I'd argue that it was more valuable when it was slower, and each question got more attention. – Galastel supports GoFundMonica Mar 6 '19 at 15:03
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    @Galastel Indeed, things do seem rushed now. I'm seing a bunch of new users, so maybe the whole question-drive contest will repay off with fresh faces added to our base. But we are still in a risky position. – Liquid - Reinstate Monica Mar 7 '19 at 9:19
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    @Galastel I think that's a negative viewpoint. More questions should also mean more good questions. It means we should use our votes and moderation powers to make sure the best of our content rises to the top and gets the attention it deserves. More questions means more users and more experts on more topics. So long as we vote and moderate accordingly the site will only improve with more traffic. – linksassin Mar 7 '19 at 21:55
  • @linksassin I meant, questions fall off the first page very quickly. Normally, I would wait a few days between questions, so that each question would get some attention. Our number of answer-providers has increased, I'm excited to see that, but it has increased less than the number of questions. We have doubled our questions-per-day. – Galastel supports GoFundMonica Mar 7 '19 at 22:23
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    What's nice is that our question/day number is still up there (not like we tipped 10.x and then are drifting back down), and our answer ratio is still pretty good. (From the random times I view the Area51 -- I don't track it constantly -- I'm still pretty new here.) – April Salutes Monica C. Mar 8 '19 at 15:57
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    re: the first page issue -- I tend to browse by tags, and "related questions," not just recent. I find myself more of an answerer and voter than questioner, which appeases my teacher-mode that's not fully indulged in this new job. But I think that as people start to get a little involved, the badge+rep system really rewards early, frequent, and consistent involvement. So there may be a greater variety of people answering, in to earnrep, and maybe vote on weekends to keep the consistency streak going. More Qs = more possible items to vote on. Virtuous cycles rewarded. – April Salutes Monica C. Mar 8 '19 at 16:01
  • I see more off-topic, general, and technical questions about finding or using software for writing (as opposed to the craft of writing), and sometimes wonder if the OP is asking a serious question. So while I may be answering more in total, I feel like I'm answering a lesser % of questions asked. But that's fine, it only takes a minute for me to decide I'm not answering (or will VTC), so at this level the greater volume is not an issue for me. I focus on craft-of-writing questions. – Amadeus Mar 12 '19 at 14:11
  • Can you please edit "from out amazingly" to "from our amazingly". I don't have enough rep to propose edits. – user1271772 Jul 31 '20 at 18:00

From Graduation, site closure, and a clearer outlook on the health of SE sites:

When a site starts to consistently receive 10 questions/day, we’ll consider it for graduation.

I've italicized two important words. Just hitting 10 questions a day isn't sufficient; we are looking for sites that sustain that rate. Also, there is an internal review process the community team uses to determine if a site is ready to graduate. (I don't see any reason for Writing to not graduate, but I don't make that decision on my own.)

As I've said elsewhere on the site:

Our long term goal has been to make sure that sites have the features they need when they need them. Initially, we assumed graduation was a binary state: either a site is large enough to host an election, justify a custom design, be ready for elevated privilege levels, and etc. But we've slowly come to the realization that not all sites develop the same way that Stack Overflow and other early entrants to the network have. In particular, some of my favorite sites don't get tons of questions as a result of their subject matter. So we are working on breaking up with graduation.

I know many of you are frustrated with the lack of progress, but the new theme has really made progress possible for sites that have been waiting far too long in beta. After a short respite at the start of the new year, we are finally ready to help more sites achieve graduation.

  • 5
    This is good to hear. Is it possible to get a timeline on the rollout? Even an answer of "by the end of the year" would be a good outcome for us. – linksassin Mar 4 '19 at 0:47
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    @linksassin: I'm hopeful we'll start reducing the backlog starting this month. As for how long, that depends on a variety of factors that are largely internal to the company. The big issue at the moment is we are short-staffed. We're hiring now, but it can take time for a designer to get up to speed. "End of the year" seems safe, however. – Jon Ericson Mar 4 '19 at 0:54

I'm also asking because I want the 5-questions badge. Not kidding. Answering is more my comfort zone, but the combination of rewards (badge + contest starting right when I discovered SE) is pushing me to consider questions*, too.

This is ultimately helpful for me to switch from thinking of myself as a Writing Teacher (Engl100 and Engl393 - First Year Comp & Technical Communication) to more of a potential Writer.

(When I was little, I definitely WAS a writer, and had no idea that I could lose that part of myself, but ... yeah. Gamification, maybe by tying into our more childlike selves, especially for an SE area like writing, may be exactly what we need.)

*(Although a question percolating in my head is more of a teacher/coach type one than a writing-writing one.)

  • (Just to spur your gamification senses further and see even more of your good questions on Main:) There is also a badge called Socratic: "Ask a well-received question on 100 separate days, and maintain a positive question record. This badge can be awarded multiple times." Only two people on Writing.SE had it so far ;) – Secespitus Mar 15 '19 at 15:04
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    Eventually. I'll get there! Right now I'm being careful about logging in and at least upvoting something on weekends -- I've been here a touch over a month, but only 23 days count towards that Enthusiast. (I'm not on meta every day, so that's at 5, but my positive-Q count for both is 4.) – April Salutes Monica C. Mar 15 '19 at 15:13
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    Between Curious and Socratic there's Inquisitive, so there is something more achievable now while you work on the longer-term one. :-) Also, since you are a teacher, you should know that asking and answering a question is just fine, so long as the question is asked well enough that other people could answer it too. (If the question is only good because of its answer, the question needs more work.) Here's an example where I did this (question came from a coworker in person originally). – Monica Cellio Mar 20 '19 at 15:24

I think it is a dangerous approach when a group of users artificially raises the question per day rate by asking questions that they wouldn't naturally ask.

Surely it is only a matter of time when you tire of making up questions that you don't need to be answered or when life events draw your attention away from this extra effort. Many extra efforts on many SE sites have burned themselves out after a few weeks or months, the Cogsci.SE Facebook page (which was created and died twice) is such an example. And this site has seen more users leave than are currently active on it, so I am not positive you'll all be around to keep the question rate high in the long term.

But most of all, questions have to rise organically from the problems that the members of the community face in their writing, otherwise the quality of the questions diminishes.

I would therefore recommend to

wait and see whether the question per day rate remains over 10 after those push-starting the site have stopped pushing.

  • 2
    Well, on WorldBuilding it seems to have worked. Look at this meta post for example. I would ask you whether you think we shouldn't try because CogSci's efforts failed, but sadly you disassociated yourself from this post in the matter of a couple minutes so I am left to leaving this for other readers to see... – Secespitus Mar 11 '19 at 19:51
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    Yeah, we will see whether it works out in the end or not. Discouraging it pre-emptively by saying it can't work out because it didn't work on CogSci doesn't seem to be helpful though. I didn't downvote this post, but I can understand that people in this hard working community are not too happy about this behaviour... – Secespitus Mar 11 '19 at 19:51
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    As the current top asker in the contest I assure you that I am interested in the answers to every single question I asked. I also deleted a few questions and refrained from ever asking a few others because I did not feel they were of sufficient quality. The contest merely encouraged me to more actively participate. I have seen a similar attention to quality from most of the other participants as well. – AGirlHasNoName Mar 11 '19 at 19:57
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    @bruglesco, I think it's clear that not all users have been following your standards (it's not about you or most members)…. a particular user who has been perpetually violating this is currently on a timeout for other user violations. …. On the otherhand, we could also say the user was heading for a fall one-way-or-other, and it had nothing to do with the contest. Bad actors will act bad no matter what. – wetcircuit Mar 17 '19 at 13:49
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    @wetcircuit that user hasn't even entered the contest. – AGirlHasNoName Mar 17 '19 at 13:53
  • Interesting, I didn't check… I can't fathom his behavior then…. I will be glad to have a week off from wikipedia bingo questions. – wetcircuit Mar 17 '19 at 13:55
  • @wetcircuit Yeah, that user didn't enter the contest and the excessive question asking pre-dated the contest. The user also did the same thing on other sites. A few of those q's were decent and a couple were excellent. But most were fluff. They're gone now but we're still getting a question rate slightly higher than we did pre-contest (when said user was super active). – Cyn says make Monica whole Apr 16 '19 at 5:25

Well, it didn't take long for the site to drop down to 5 questions per day again. Looks like my scepticism, as voiced in my answer from March 11, was justified, after all...

Area 51 Writers screenshot

  • 3
    Sure, we expected it would drop again. Turns out our site functions really well at these "okay" levels. We do well at "excellent" levels too, they're just not necessary. We're excellent on every other marker, including the ones SE doesn't track. Like welcoming newcomers and giving high quality answers that help writers (geeking out for its own sake is fun but it's not the focus of Writing). Our contest wasn't just about raising our q/day. But we've proved we can get more questions if we want. It's just not as important as the other stuff we've already got. – Cyn says make Monica whole Apr 16 '19 at 5:21

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