4

Have a look at this:

Original Site Metrics

Updated image: We're getting better.

Site Metrics Updated

The good news is that we're doing very well with our answer stats; almost all questions on the bicycles.se site have answers upvoted by users, and many questions have received multiple answers, which is even better. Multiple answers mean the ones with the most votes float to the top, which is at the heart of the SE model.

The bad: The number of questions and the views per day are both in the "worrying" category. The number of users (and number of active users) are low, but seem to be improving somewhat.

Here's a link to the current page.

The community needs to take action on this. We have two threads already in existence about publicity. Getting more eyeballs here could address the low views/day and, by extension, the other site issues. Freiheit's excellent thought about promoting the site by posting specific questions still sounds good to me. I've been using this site as a reference when bringing things up in forums and blogs, and I hope others have as well. It seems that what were doing isn't enough.

It's my opinion that we've been getting more questions and answers in the last week or so. More importantly, I've been noticing more users guiding other users in crafting questions and answers. We need to assure that this trend continues. We're a month and a half away from evaluation of the site. We need to get more people here!

Please answer this question with your thoughts about what we can to to get more people here, people who will continue to build this community.

One concept per answer so we can vote on them. (I certainly hope we have enough people here in meta for this.) Keep in mind that downvoting here in meta is not going to hurt their rep score. You're simply saying you disagree with their answer, and when the community doesn't like an idea, we need to know that. (Also, if I'm going about this the wrong way, please tell me so and downvote this question.)

This site is turning into something special; let's keep it going!

  • 1
    Are these stats averaged since day 1? The visitors/day figures are constantly in the mid 600's nowadays, nowhere near the stated 208 visitors/day. – dee-see Oct 15 '10 at 0:57
  • And the post on the SO blog this morning - blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/10/when-will-my-site-graduate - highlights that while the 90 days is a milestone in the site's development, it's not a hard-or-fast rule. I think that there's a growing swell here that is similar to that reported about the GIS site there, it just needs to continue the way it has been. – Unsliced Oct 21 '10 at 13:43
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Just to temper an overly-zealous interpretation of those statistics:

Those statistics are designed to inform participants. Where can participation be improved?

Sites are expected to do well in some of those areas, but not necessarily ALL of them. Timely and high-quality answers are the ultimate goal of each site. Each community will vary by size and the potential question base, but quality and participation are paramount.

I would interpret that data and say "this site is a small, enthusiastic group of users; not a large group but dedicated to their subject and providing consistently good answers."

That makes me happy. The subject is inherently seasonal, but in terms of keeping the site sustainably healthy down the road, I would be focusing on bringing in more users. If the user numbers start to dwindle, the rest of those statistics can go with it.

What I wouldn't do is start changing or gaming the behaviors of the site to improve the numbers. The participation has to be natural and organic. Anything else is not sustainable. Believe me, I've watch 100's of SE 1.0 sites (back when Stack Exchange sites were hosted as a subscription service) and I've seen every variation of "pumping up the numbers." And they ALL failed… universally. So before you start considering not closing posts, or other counter-productive measures, consider that the quality and answerability of your content is the saving grace of this site.

  • Thats very helpful, thanks. Also, I'm a year-round cycling nut, so I hadn't considered the seasonal aspect of all this. – Neil Fein Oct 13 '10 at 20:56
  • @neilfein: I'm a year round cyclist, too, but I can't help but notice that there's fewer cyclists on the road in the rainy season and that the various cycling sites slow down for winter. – freiheit Oct 13 '10 at 21:14
  • @freiheit - My LBS complains about the same thing. :( – Neil Fein Oct 13 '10 at 21:19
  • Don't forget that for some of us there's just too much snow on the ground to pedal. I mean, it's possible, but walking is faster in those conditions. Having more southern-hemisphere members would counter balance this. – dee-see Oct 14 '10 at 14:50
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One problem is that we are already confronting a possible natural limit in the number of questions that there out there. Now I'm sure that there are more than 500 reasonable questions about bikes and cycling, but there is going to be a vastly lower limit than, say, on parenting, ubuntu or web applications.

This is not advocating an acceptance of more forum-style debates, but we should as a group (and specifically those of us with +500 privileges) be a little less quick to close. I'm especially thinking about the fairly short shrift that particularly local/regional questions are given.

On my commute I can think of several peculiarly local questions, but I doubt they'd stay open for long.

  • 1
    Your point about users being less quick to close is well-taken. What we need is more users voting to close. Mods can't vote to close, they only have the ability to close. (This has been brought up on meta.so, with no joy there -- yet.) If more users voted to close, the mods would be more likely to wait for the community, but so far, the community isn't taking action very quickly. Also, low-rep users that can't vote to close can leave a comment recommending closure. – Neil Fein Oct 13 '10 at 17:56
  • Ah, interesting. I hadn't twigged that mods can't vote, just be omnipotent in that their vote carries the weight of many. And the irony of more votes to close perhaps resulting in fewer closes is intriguing too. – Unsliced Oct 13 '10 at 21:47
3

Part of the narrative on that page says "Eventually, 90% of a site's traffic should come from search engines."

I think that one thing that will help is that if those of us that have blogs do posts about the site in general, and then periodically do posts about specific interesting questions that link back to the site.

This may help with our search engine optimization.

  • A few weeks back I started posting a question a week on my blog. It doesn't get lots of traffic since I just started it but I figured every bit helps. – curtismchale Nov 8 '10 at 1:22
  • I've started including in our local zine, the most interesting question of the week from here. Dubai is even a year round cycling location. Less riders in the summer, because of the eat, but still year round. – zenbike Jul 11 '11 at 9:03
-1

I think it will take a long time for the site to grow, but that it is growing. The “catch 22” I have is I don’t wish to tell people about a site that may not be about in a few months time.

  • 1
    I understand your reticence, but if people take a risk and tell others about the site, it's more likely the site will still be here. besides, sites come and go on the web all the time, this would be no different. – Neil Fein Oct 13 '10 at 17:46
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    I don't see how this is a problem. If the website goes down, everything you've learned and everything others have learned from you will remain. – dee-see Oct 21 '10 at 13:29

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