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I was looking at the Area 51 statistics for our site early today:

enter image description here

What stands out is the low average number of questions per day. We seem to be doing quite well on all other metrics but the 1.9 questions per day is disappointing and certainly not even remotely comparable to a site like eHam (while acknowledging the many foibles of that site).

My first reaction was that us "regulars" on the site should take the time to ask a question periodically. But this does not seem like a successful approach in itself since it would involve the top 25 reps posting a question every other day for a prolonged period.

The quality of the answers on this site is very good and the moderation is well done. What can we do to bring more pertinent questions to this site? And perhaps equally important is how do we do so without compromising the ethos of the site?

EDIT

Some data related to Kevin's answer regarding referrals, here are the referring sites statistics. It is not what I would have expected:

enter image description here

And in the last couple months, there has been an uptick of new questions. This is a weekly view:

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ I just added the featured tag, so a link to this post now shows up on the main page. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Mar 7 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent, and I fully agree. If you followed the links below, you can see that this has been brought up at least twice before. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Mar 8 at 2:26
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I'm not against any particular effort, but I do think we shouldn't worry about these metrics too much. They haven't (as far as I know) been revisited since the retirement of an earlier model of Stack Exchange sites, which assumed that sites had to be big or they would fail.

That said, here's some ways I can think of to cause there to be more (good) questions:

If you're an "answerer", how to write questions:

  • When you solve a problem on your own, consider posting it as a question and answer. Of course, only do this if the information is likely to be of interest to others, and it is not a duplicate. Make sure you're actually asking a question and not merely writing an article and putting the summary in the question part — think about whether the question admits different answers than the one you wrote.

  • Did you see a question which was irreparably poorly stated, or turned out to be not what you thought it was, and you're disappointed because you can think of a good answer which doesn't fit that question? Write the question you wanted, and answer that!

  • Did you write an answer and wish there was material that you could link to as further explanation of things you mentioned in passing? Does Wikipedia only have a cryptic paragraph about the topic? Make it another Q&A.

Attracting interest in the site:

If you want to try to send people here, this needs to be done carefully. In particular, it's easy to end up posting advertising where it is unwanted. Do not approach this problem with “let's try to interest some of the people on [some other amateur radio site] in coming here!” — that gets feathers ruffled because it's easily seen as adversarial/zero-sum. This has gone badly before.

In my opinion, the most worthwhile approach is simply to include links to relevant questions when they are relevant to what you're writing. Just like if you're writing an answer here, you would link to other questions/answers (or other ham sites, or Wikipedia) to help explain the terms and concepts in your answer — be generous with links in things you write elsewhere. If people frequently encounter the site as a useful resource, then they'll see how they can use it themselves.

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    $\begingroup$ All good points, Kevin. I have added links to SE on sites like eHam and Wikipedia and it does seem to drive some traffic. I believe W5DXP found our site due to one of those links, for example, and he is a good resource for this site. $\endgroup$ – Glenn W9IQ Mar 6 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ "This has gone badly before.". I can testify to that. Long story, but that got me banned for many months on one site. Having said, I kind of bashed that site in my email. ;-) $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Mar 7 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ I believe if I had simply posted a news item --or just simply started a normal thread-- it would have been fine and we would have more users. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Mar 7 at 21:38
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    $\begingroup$ Another thing we can do is rate this site on eHam. It has a rating of 3 out of 5 now. Look at some of the comments. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Mar 7 at 22:23
  • $\begingroup$ Specific to the issue of the number of questions per day, it seems that the SE folks take this quite seriously. I will put a quote in my next comment from SE Meta from the topic of graduating Beta sites. $\endgroup$ – Glenn W9IQ Mar 13 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ From SE Meta: Actually, a year (maybe more) of analysis went into determining that 10 questions per day was a very good indicator of site stability. It wasn't just a random number that was made up. You can't just gloss over that metric like it's unimportant and irrelevant. Questions per day is highly relevant to a beta - it indicates that the topic is sustainable and that activity won't just drop off a cliff at some point. Also, beta does not mean "in development". A better definition would be a trial to evaluate its potential. – animuson $\endgroup$ – Glenn W9IQ Mar 13 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ And if you were wondering who made that comment: animuson (moderator) top 0.07% overall I work for Stack Overflow as a Senior Product Support Specialist. $\endgroup$ – Glenn W9IQ Mar 13 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ @GlennW9IQ OK, I was misinformed about the recentness of that. That said, note the disagreement in that comment thread. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Mar 13 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ @KevinReidAG6YO It is a contentious topic, for sure. But I do think it has some merit related to my question. It would also be nice to lose the "beta". $\endgroup$ – Glenn W9IQ Mar 13 at 18:05
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What can we do to bring more pertinent questions to this site? And perhaps equally important is how do we do so without compromising the ethos of the site?

I have privately invited several hams to join us via email (Glenn is one of them).
You who are reading this, I invite you to do the same. :-)

I have several other hams in mind who not only act like gentlemen, but they possess accurate technical knowledge to varying degrees. Email me if you want some callsigns.


I believe that there is nothing wrong with:

  1. Posting a news item on Eham or QRZ
  2. Simply a posting a new thread on either of those sites

(I did post a news item on eham.net a few years ago, and posted an announcement on the Topband mailing list.)

As for posting a new thread, there are ways to do that without sounding like an ad. Heck, it could simply be a "what do you think of this site" question. Use your imagination, or post your ideas here.

We moderators concurred sometime ago that it should not be a moderator or a Stack Exchange employee who does this. I forget the details.


Please see this previous, related meta post.

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    $\begingroup$ You shouldn't have admitted that, Mike. Now everyone knows who to blame! Seriously, I am grateful you did. A lot of knowledgeable people here. $\endgroup$ – Glenn W9IQ Mar 7 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ @GlennW9IQ Well, I didn't get banned or fired. That was the first good sign. ;-) $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Mar 8 at 2:14
  • $\begingroup$ @GlennW9IQ Another ham that comes to mind is Dale Hunt, WB6BYU. He would be a great asset here, as well as a couple of other eHam regulars. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Mar 15 at 17:25
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    $\begingroup$ I searched the ARRL web site and turned up six (6) references to stackexchange sites. ham.SE received a passing mention in the K7RA Solar Update on 5/4/18: "Ever seen this?" Perhaps we could wrangle a mention on "The Doctor is In" and other columns. $\endgroup$ – Brian K1LI Mar 20 at 21:15

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