Barrie England's last answer is dated May 4. Coleopeterist's last access on EL&U is dated Mar 26. Even Robusto's last answer is dated Apr 26. Jasper Loy has deleted his account on EL&U. John Lawler, a professor of linguistic, recently said "my enthusiasm is flagging, too." Other high-rep users, who have made EL&U great, seem ghosts of themselves.

Questions asked are systematically closed or downvoted.

Meta EL&U is practically dead.

I have been an active user on EL&U during 2012, but now I'm under the impression that EL&U is destined to an inexorable decline.

Am I right? If so, what is it that is not working?

  • 17
    The date of my last answer is misleading. I only answered that one because the OP asked me to, presumably so that he could have something to accept. February 10 is when I officially retired from active play, although I do keep up a fairly steady stream of comments going. The problem is, the same questions keep coming up again and again. Let those who have the enthusiasm for answering questions and the desire to gain rep drink at the trough. It is hard to see this datum as a trend, however. You do something long enough, it gets boring.
    – Robusto
    Jun 1, 2013 at 17:03
  • 3
    Maybe someone should do the stats and see if there is a slow-down in (Northern Hemisphere) summer every year...
    – GEdgar
    Jun 3, 2013 at 13:22
  • 3
    Such a doom-and-gloom prognosis! I imagine it's a mixture of things: some get bored and move on, some get busy and take a hiatus. Hopefully, for every couple or so that slip off into the virtual sunset, a new crop will spring up to keep the site healthy.
    – J.R.
    Jun 4, 2013 at 10:09
  • 3
    @J.R. That only works if newer members don't get scared off by closed and deleted questions.
    – Hannele
    Jun 5, 2013 at 16:14
  • 6
    @Hannele: You say that as though closures and deletions are a bad thing. I remember when I was a new member. I was scared, but I wasn't scared off. ELU's high standards prompted me to be more careful about what I wrote. To this day, I often double-check the meanings of words I'm using, to make sure I'm saying what I'm really trying to say. If I wanted a place where anyone could ask anything and nothing would ever get closed or deleted, I'd visit Yahoo! Answers. Some might be "scared off" by higher standards, but others are attacted to high quality. It's a tradeoff.
    – J.R.
    Jun 5, 2013 at 17:37
  • 7
    And if the questions that do get posted show some evidence that the poster knows enough English to understand the answer -- things with ungrammatical questions like "Why X is Y?" or "How to do Z?" I'm thinking of adopting a new policy of not officially Answering any question with grammatical mistakes in it that show poor command of basic English. If they can't get the simple things right, why bother with the complicated ones? Jun 5, 2013 at 17:40
  • 4
    Well. I for one would be sad if the most venerable contributors drifted away. I've only been a "member" (right word?) for six days but I can already tell that my skills in explaining a word, or understanding how and why the English language evolves has deepened. I love looking back at past questions and marvelling at the clarity (and sometimes the complexity) of users' answers. I am not a nerd, nor an expert but studying grammar here is entertaining. I just wish you (or the higher powers) would delete questions which a require a simple google search or at the least redirect them to ELL.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 5, 2013 at 19:34
  • @Mari-LouA Just for clarity's sake, ELL is a very new site that was a started by some of the EL&U core members (and others).
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Jun 5, 2013 at 23:22
  • @Mari-Lou: What?? You mean all those downvoted and closed questions haven't scared you off? ;^) Welcome aboard.
    – J.R.
    Jun 6, 2013 at 10:13

1 Answer 1


GEdgar commented:

Maybe someone should do the stats and see if there is a slow-down in (Northern Hemisphere) summer every year...

Here's the query:

Here's the chart (ignoring pre-launch migrations and this (partial) month):

chart showing questions and answers on EL&U

The chart shows there's no real significant slow-down in (northern hemisphere) summers, but whilst there are fewer answers this year, the rate of questions is constant and in fact increasing slightly. There's still more answers per month than questions.

  • 5
    That graph makes it look like there is a significant fall off in answers. This is evidence for the phenomenon that Carlo is wondering about.
    – Mitch
    Jun 7, 2013 at 0:17
  • 2
    Don't forget that ELL came online at the beginning of the year. While the quantity may be going down, it's possible the quality is going up. This may be a desirable effect, as our S/N ratio may be improving.
    – Robusto
    Jun 16, 2013 at 12:54
  • On the other hand, a quick perusal of the EL&U front page reveals the S/N ratio to be in a parlous state, as usual. Oh, well ...
    – Robusto
    Jun 16, 2013 at 14:58

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