4

This seems to be question 1000. 1000 questions in 74 days, that is 13-14 questions a day.

Let's look at the official rating:

997 questions - Okay – 1,500 questions is a healthy beta, 750 questions is worrying. A healthy site generates lots of good content to make sure users keep coming back. This site is on pace to get 1,174 questions after 90 days.

997 questions because this statistic is done on a daily basis.

To be considered a healthy beta, we need 31-32 questions per day for the remaining 16 days. How do we do that?

6

First of all, before anybody panics, we don't really need 1500 questions to pass the beta. All site-health figures are just rough estimates, and the powers that be are constantly tweaking them. In fact, just ten days ago, that box read "1,000 questions is a healthy beta, 500 questions is worrying".

Looking at our siblings, we are faring rather well. Game Development has 924 questions (after 96 days), Photography and Photographic Editing has 860 (after 95 days), Statistical Analysis has 896 (after 91 days), but according to Area51, they have all finished their betas and will be launching very soon.

Next, let's have a more thorough analysis of how our very own 1000 questions came about.

Date    Number of questions posted

Aug  5  34 ==================================
Aug  6  25 =========================
Aug  7  11 ===========
Aug  8   6 ======
Aug  9  17 =================
Aug 10  18 ==================
Aug 11   8 ========
(End of private beta.)
Aug 12  25 =========================
Aug 13  51 ===================================================
Aug 14  19 ===================
Aug 15  14 ==============
Aug 16  32 ================================
Aug 17  20 ====================
Aug 18  35 ===================================
Aug 19  21 =====================
Aug 20  23 =======================
Aug 21  17 =================
Aug 22  16 ================
Aug 23  24 ========================
Aug 24  22 ======================
Aug 25  14 ==============
Aug 26  12 ============
Aug 27   7 =======
Aug 28  15 ===============
Aug 29   8 ========
Aug 30   9 =========
Aug 31  17 =================
Sep  1  19 ===================
Sep  2  14 ==============
Sep  3  18 ==================
Sep  4  16 ================
Sep  5  10 ==========
Sep  6   9 =========
Sep  7  13 =============
Sep  8  18 ==================
Sep  9  10 ==========
Sep 10  17 =================
Sep 11   6 ======
Sep 12   8 ========
Sep 13   6 ======
Sep 14  17 =================
Sep 15   9 =========
Sep 16  13 =============
Sep 17   9 =========
Sep 18   4 ====
Sep 19   8 ========
Sep 20   7 =======
Sep 21  10 ==========
Sep 22  14 ==============
Sep 23   7 =======
Sep 24  10 ==========
Sep 25   3 ===
Sep 26   6 ======
Sep 27   6 ======
Sep 28   8 ========
Sep 29   6 ======
Sep 30  10 ==========
Oct  1   9 =========
Oct  2   4 ====
Oct  3   3 ===
Oct  4  11 ===========
Oct  5   3 ===
Oct  6  17 =================
Oct  7  11 ===========
Oct  8  15 ===============
Oct  9   9 =========
Oct 10   5 =====
Oct 11  15 ===============
Oct 12   4 ====
Oct 13  14 ==============
Oct 14  18 ==================
Oct 15  16 ================
Oct 16   2 ==
Oct 17   2 ==
Oct 18  10 ==========
Oct 19   8 ========

If we look at the last 4 weeks, we are actually generating 8.75 questions/day rather than 13–14. That's the bad news.

The good news is that more and more questions seem to come from new users, rather than from regulars trying to "seed" the site. I, for one, have long stopped posting questions which I know the answer to. And kiamlaluno, who has posted a whopping 76 questions in total, hasn't posted a single one since September 3rd. Coincidentally, that's roughly in the middle of the above graph, so I'll just take it as a milestone and look at a few other regulars who have posted a few questions each:

Questions asked by   | before Sep 3 | since Sep 3 |
--------------------------------------------------|
kiamlaluno           |      76      |       0     |
RegDwight            |      23      |       3     |
rem                  |      21      |       9     |
Hamid                |      18      |       3     |
Edward Tanguay       |      13      |       1     |
Ex-user              |      11      |       2     |
cindi                |       9      |       7     |
JohnFx               |       8      |       2     |
serg555              |       6      |       2     |
stacker              |       6      |       1     |
MatthewMartin        |       6      |       0     |
VonC                 |       6      |       0     |
Lord Torgamus        |       5      |       1     |
chanchal1987         |       5      |       1     |
Vivi                 |       5      |       0     |
nohat                |       4      |       1     |
vonjd                |       4      |       0     |
Boofus McGoofus      |       3      |       1     |
Vaibhav Garg         |       3      |       1     |
Vincent McNabb       |       3      |       0     |
--------------------------------------------------|
Grand Total          |     235      |      35     |

Of course there are always notable exceptions:

keithjgrant          |       0      |       5     |
waiwai933            |       1      |       4     |
Dia                  |       1      |       4     |
Midhat               |       2      |       3     |
Seamus               |       3      |       6     |
Brian Hooper         |       4      |       4     |
Bruno Rothgiesser    |       5      |      11     |
Mehper C. Palavuzlar |       6      |       8     |
--------------------------------------------------|
Grand Total          |      22      |      45     |

But that doesn't change the bottom line that much:

Grand Grand Total    |     257      |      80     |

Given this data, I think 8.75 questions per day on average (that's including weekends!) is a pretty solid number. I am not sure how (and whether) we can quadruple it for the remaining two weeks, but again, we don't really have to. While we certainly need more users, I would not aim for a huge one-time influx, but rather for slow yet steady "organic" growth. I'll take a healthy community over a healthy number any time.

All that being said, what we do need rather desperately are more visitors (i.e. random passers-by, as opposed to avid askers). Our most worrying metric so far is the number of visits/day:

490: Worrying – 1,500 visits per day is good, 500 visits per day is worrying. A great site benefits people outside the community. Eventually, 90% of a site's traffic should come from search engines.

But again, that certainly doesn't mean that this site will get canceled. Especially given the fact that the number of visitors seems to be rising. It read 457 just a few days ago, and is now at 490. All hail Google!

3

I think we need to introduce our site to a larger audience by making use of social sites like facebook. In this way, we can gain more users who are likely to be interested but who haven't known about our site yet.

  • Coincidentally, the threshold for the "Announcer" badge was lowered today (from 50 to 25 unique IP addresses in 3 days), revealing that there are far more people who try to promote this site than just Joel and Jeff. It's just that we don't have an audience quite as huge as theirs. – RegDwigнt Oct 20 '10 at 9:15
  • 1
    In fact, we have more Announcers (9) than Gaming (7), Web Apps (6), Unix (6), Statistics (5), UI (5), WordPress (5), Webmasters (4), Photography (4), TeX (4), Money (4), Mathematics (2), Home Improvement (2), GIS (2), Game Development (1)... From all the sites I checked, in terms of the number of Announcers we are only behind CSTheory (14) and, of course, StackOverflow (45). Keep up the good work! – RegDwigнt Oct 20 '10 at 9:31

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