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I already brought this up in the Junk Drawer, though not too much happened from that discussion, so I'll bring it up here.

Are there too many users here?

I don't have much experience with sites in private beta, but I do know that I joined WorldBuilding in public beta, and got the UID 2072. This site is five days into private beta, and the newest user at time of posting has the UID 1271 (see here for the newest new users).

To me, it feels like private beta might perhaps be made more private, with numbers somehow closer to the number of committers (218).

....I wouldn't bring this up if I didn't think it was a problem -- I think it's going to be very hard (it already is very hard) to maintain standards of quality and on-topicness if we have six times the number of users who committed to the site*, traipsing in here and asking any question they think is on-topic, and all of them having close/reopen vote powers might make things very messy very quickly.

This post was partially inspired when I saw someone make the point that "...these people did commit and agree to this earlier. If 3 of your qs are closed, you're doing something wrong." ....but most of the users here did not commit, and aren't hanging around Meta LH or the Junk Drawer....a lack of communication of what is acceptable here is making things difficult for those users who are trying very hard to build a viable site.

  • Too many? Is it bad? More users, more activity! It would be bad if there would be too few... – nicael Dec 14 '14 at 12:39
  • @nicael Yes, too few would be a problem....but masses and masses of people who are excited to finally see a "catch-all" SE coming in and asking questions, and not caring about scope or question/answer quality makes things harder for us. – Shokhet Dec 14 '14 at 19:39
  • I heard about/joined the site on the first day, and happen to be #25. Must've got there early. – J. Musser Dec 16 '14 at 11:23
  • @J.Musser Same. I got here three hours after the email, and got UID 59. – Shokhet Dec 16 '14 at 20:24
  • I didn't commit @Shokhet, found it after it became a beta, so no email. – J. Musser Dec 16 '14 at 20:26
  • @J.Musser Really? I didn't know that. Someone invited you to the private beta as soon as they came in, then? ( likely one of the first 24 people :P) – Shokhet Dec 16 '14 at 20:30
  • @Shokhet no, I was in the MSE tavern, and someone put it up soon after it launched, and I joined. – J. Musser Mar 18 '15 at 2:06
9

Too many users is not an issue.

The issue was that we didn't have a clearly defined scope in an accessible format for everyone to read. Everyone was asking whatever they wanted, and it wasn't working. Now, people will look at highly voted, open questions as examples. Some of these may not remain on-topic.

Now that we've come up with an authoritative scope, I left comments all over the site, asking people to update their questions in order to not get them closed. Since then, almost all the new questions have been squarely in scope. This will be even stronger once we have a customized help center, tour, even close reasons.

Another thing - in this stage, closed questions (even a high percentage) is normal (not good, normal). The scope hadn't been clearly defined yet. I am predicting (and already seeing) that in the future, far fewer questions will be subject to closing.

For now, we can

  1. Comment on posts that have issues, explain what these issues are - basically educate, educate, educate. All users need to know the rules.
  2. Enforce these standards. If a user does not respond, close their question. Without strong backup, educating users is useless.
  3. Provide a positive example for users to follow. You know the scope better than most; on site, you need to be what you want to see. Try to stay entirely within the scope, and be open and welcoming of advice/criticism given via comment.

That last sentence has been mixed for me, looking at the results from my mass comment. Most people are more like:

Ok, thanks for the heads up. Is my question better?

But a couple were almost like:

Really? I don't see any problem here.

The second is far less common, but my advice is, "Don't be that user.". It sets a bad example.

0

I think we have just the right amount of users and users don't have to be active in meta to be considered. What I think our problem is:

  • People are not dedicated. Some answers are really poorly written, I mean they have no supplementary info, research, they are 2 sentences long, etc.

  • People don't visit the meta when they do something wrong and so they don't know what's going on. This Meta is defining what needs to be done, our scope etc. If you as a user aren't here or aren't focused on quality, you don't know what is going on.

  • They seem to concerned with posting Q&A than quality. Rep is useless without a site.

  • People join in ignorance to what the site actually means and don't care about learning a better definition.

I agree with you sincerely here:

I think it's going to be very hard (it already is very hard) to maintain standards of quality and on-topicness if we have six times the number of users who committed to the site*, traipsing in here and asking any question they think is on-topic, and all of them having close/reopen vote powers might make things very messy very quickly.


My solution:

Reach out to them via comments with a message of what's going on or through chat. Maybe a message can be synthesized that mirrors our feelings. But these users need to be told that why they are destroying the site.

The damage is already done: The users are here maybe in another beta the problem can be solved, but here the damage is done. All we can do is:

  • Coach

  • Close post

  • Lead the site

  • And define Lifehacks

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