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8

I notice we have a dearth of activity on this site.

With a relatively small number of active users, perhaps we can add a tab to the "Questions" Page. We have Activity, Age, Score as sorting algorithms. How about a "Lottery" tab?

Once a day, randomize the questions we have, and use that as the order for the "lottery" tab. Leave it up for the day; I think we can get new answers, or at least votes on questions.

I visit the site daily, as I did for SE, and (as my profile indicates) I pretty much exclusively answer questions. On SE, I seldom look past the "new questions" or "active questions". With not many users, those are dead zones; so perhaps in lieu of new questions, we can focus on "filling in" the content already created; particularly questions and answers without votes.

It would be nice to have something to do, here, and I think there are just not many questions (and I seldom have any...)

EDIT: I like Mark Baker's suggestion, instead of a randomized list, a tab of "On This Day" previous questions asked on the same calendar day (Jan 10). That would still amount to about a page's worth of questions, and could be constructed on the fly pretty easily, and would ensure all questions be shown within a year. (Well, Feb 29 gets the shaft).

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See my answer over here - which goes some way to addressing this need. This is still on the list, though. ArtOfCode 2 months ago

This is completed :) ArtOfCode 2 months ago

4 answers

8

This is technically difficult to do without being horribly slow. I can do you a random sort easily enough, but the "keep it around for a day" is where it becomes more challenging.

As a compromise, how would it be if the lottery page was only one page? That is, there's one page, and there's only 25 questions on that page - there's no page 2, 3, or 366. That limitation should allow me to keep the order around without making re-applying it later a slow operation.


2020-01-17: this is [status-completed]!

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6 comments

That sounds good -- how often are people going to read more than 25 questions at a time anyway? Monica Cellio 3 months ago

I'll second this! Lauren Ipsum 3 months ago

I will second this too! I just realized we can't upvote comments. Or flag them (I don't want to flag any, I'm just sayin'). Amadeus 3 months ago

I would check that page. Sounds interesting. called2voyage 3 months ago

I'm noticing that the questions on the Lottery page seem to be highly weighted towards recent questions. Often, some of the same questions appear on the lottery page and the front page. Since the purpose is to dredge up older questions that might need a review, is there a way to weight its question selection more evenly, or even to weight it more towards the past? Mark Baker about 1 month ago

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I think this would particularly help in this "new site, imported content" stage. There are a lot of questions and answers that are old and valuable. They all started here at score 0 (that's by design), and some of those questions would almost certainly benefit from new or updated answers if we saw them. I've been trying to tag-surf a little to find and vote/improve them, but having access to a random list would be great. Think of it like SE's "community bump" on steroids.

This isn't something that a mature, established community necessarily needs, but it'd sure help us get off the ground here.

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I agree, a more mature community wouldn't need it; but a "queen for a day" page might get some attention and make the site less stale. I wouldn't upvote my own answer if it's already there, I always upvote any question I think (or in this case thought) was worth answering. Amadeus 3 months ago

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First: Allow re-asking of old questions. I've always felt it was odd to say "that question has already been asked--search the archives instead of asking it again." If someone has a question, they likely have a shading of their question that is specific to their individual story or project.

So, I'd suggest allowing people to ask whatever they like without the old culture of searching the archive first. I'm working on my sequel, and I'm coming across all sorts of issues--but I refrain from bringing it up here, in part because I know there are plenty of resources in the archives. But--I don't feel like trawling through five-year-old threads looking for ideas or answers. (I mean heck, publishing changes in that amount of time anyway.)

Sometimes the process of writing out the question helps me figure out my problem on my own anyway, and that can't happen if I feel like I'm discouraged from asking a question 'that has been asked before.'

tl;dr: Allow people to ask old questions, at least til the site has more activity.

And: I tried to log on a few times but could not. My password was forgotten (by my brain) and the recovery methods weren't working to get me logged in. It was annoying enough to make me question whether it was worth it to keep trying to gain access.

I doubt I'm the only one who ran into that issue.

And: more leniency toward conversation would be nice. I was not a huge fan of the Q/A nature of SE ('no conversation, please!')

Anyway, them's my thoughts.

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A lot of questions have some nuance that makes the new one different from the older one anyway. My recommendation: ask the new question, and if it turns out to be an exact duplicate the community can mark it as such. If you know about the older question (or someone points it out), you can edit to explain what's different about your new question, and then it's not a duplicate. Monica Cellio 3 months ago

Also, sorry about the password problem! This current site is a stopgap, to keep our community from falling apart over on SE. Better software is coming, but we could get this now. We're depending on the servers and caretaking of one person -- a reliable person, but one person nonetheless, and we do let him sleep sometimes. :-) Monica Cellio 3 months ago

To your first comment--I know, but the SE practice of saying "A similar question has already been asked, now jump through this hoop please" will have a dampening effect on participation in my opinion. Of course, I'm not invested enough into the site to make a fuss--but it's feedback y'all can use if you like. Or not. To your second--thank you for your help sorting it all. As you can see, I'm here! :) DPT 3 months ago

I agree completely with this; especially the duplicates. If there is a duplicate, recommending the previous question is just an Answer itself, not a disqualifier. Like, "Check out the answers to this question, as well", but still let others answer the question directly. Maybe you are talking about your own question or previous answer, that's fine. Accumulating new fresh answers to a previous question seems valuable to me; and people can vote on the current, on the old, whatever. Amadeus 3 months ago

On the bright side: I've just fixed emails, finally. If you forget your password again, try the reset mechanism, and it should work for you this time. ArtOfCode 3 months ago

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Pondering this, I wonder what the point is of improving questions/answers that no one is reading. Is writing new answers to those questions going to make then suddenly start turning up in searches?

It occurs to me that as long as the version of this site on SE exists, it is what is going to show up in Google searches for any given topic. Not sure what you do about that. But that will mean that the only people who come here looking for answers will be people who know about this site and come here directly. What will they do then? Do a search here, or ask a new question? I suspect it will be the latter almost all of the time. (I suspect it was that way on SE as well, and that the only way people came there indirectly was via search.)

If people do search the site and find an old question that is relevant to them, then hopefully they will vote for the question and/or one or more answers, and that will the surface it as an active question. Or do votes not count in the activity of a question? And if they don't, maybe they should, at least for a while.

Anyway, I suspect that for a very long time to come, this site will sink or swim based on people asking new questions. Yes, that is more like a forum than a QA site, but my guess is that until a QA sites is rich enough and unique enough to rank on Google, that is how they are all going to work.

So, as far as traditional Q/A traffic is concerned, I don't think this proposal does anything useful, except entertain those of us who delight in answering question, whether the is anyone listening to the answers of not. (And I am one of those.)

The other model, in which this proposal would make more sense, is that of a band of regular site users who do not come to get specific questions answered, but who come either of a love of debating the craft, or as a way of getting an education on topics they might not have thought to ask, by looking at questions and answers that others have asked.

That might actually be what is happening here, particularly at this early stage, in which case, an algorithm that ensures that there are always fresh discussion topics, even if they are recycled ones, makes more sense, and would make sense as a permanent feature.

But in that case, it does not have to be randomly generated. In face, random generation would not produce an even distribution of resurfaced questions unless it ran for a very long time. So I would suggest a different model, that I suspect would be far easier to implement, and would ensure a more evenly distributed resurfacing of old questions:

Implement a list of "On this day in years past" questions. So, for instance, today it would list all the questions asked on Jan 10 in all the previous years in the dataset. That does the same job of resurfacing old questions.

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8 comments

That sounds good to me, also. I am one of those that love to ask questions, too, as my profile says: 1376 questions answered, 1 asked! I'd also say, I do enjoy debating the craft. I wouldn't mind the (SE Banned) "matter of opinion" or "survey" questions, for example, I find it interesting to read different opinions on approaches and they may change or refine my own. I'm a statistician, so surveys are also inherently interesting to me. Amadeus 3 months ago

Continued: Listing "on this day" would be pretty interesting; since we end up with about 366 pages of questions, that would also result in approximately a page of questions resurfaced each day (maybe not on Christmas or New Years, but on average). I might even modify some of my own old answers on such a page. Amadeus 3 months ago

I think right now we do have that band of regular users who don't have specific questions right now but love the topic and want to help build this repository. SE will get the Googlers but we can build a community here too. There are a lot of old questions that are timeless in nature and could be improved, including adding new answers. I want to encourage people to look through some of it; what the specific mechanism is doesn't matter as much. Monica Cellio 3 months ago

Eventually, we would want the stuff they do on websites (not my field) like keyword optimization, banner exchange, and targeted advertising, I know Facebook has a lot of very fine distinctions for ads, they may allow selection by "writers', or may have relevant facebook groups. I presume we can also advertise here for revenue, however small, pay-by-click ads (vs pay for exposure) don't care how small the audience is, they only pay if they get clicked. Amadeus 3 months ago

@MonicaCellio has done a successful GoFundMe, that might be a way to raise promotional funding; I'd contribute. But I don't think we're ready; being unable to import the scores on Q/A makes us look incomplete; no votes on anything loses all ranking. All questions look the same, all answers look the same. Very egalitarian, but useless for beginners looking for a consensus or most likely correct answer, or for the most interesting questions. Amadeus 3 months ago

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