This is a follow-up to a couple comments on What can we do to make this site more “intimidating”?
@Jason-C asserted that ELU's problems with question quality are no different than what other sites face. Specifically:
Many sites on SE have faced similar problems and solved them, never by making the site more "intimidating", but instead by using the tools we have been given appropriately.
Is that really true? I'm no SE guru, but I do pop over to other sites and have not noticed this same phenomenon there. Not even close. Writers, Sci-Fi, RPGs, WorldBuilding... sure, they get silly questions now and again, but the vast majority seem to be good ones.
I likewise find it hard to believe that an academic-oriented site like "MathOverflow" ever got the same deluge of horrible questions as we do. It would be like someone going there and asking "What is 27 x 52?" To which the immediate response would likely be: "Is your calculator broken?" or "Why in the world are you asking that here?"
I like @Andrew-Leach's summary of why ELU may be different:
I do think that subject area to be a special case, because the world his wife and his dog think they know something about English (as opposed to car maintenance, or mathematics), but members of other communities may not understand that.
But I'm open to being convinced that I'm wrong. I'm not savvy enough with the data stats to answer my own question, but perhaps someone else is?
Edit to clarify why I'm asking this:
Imagine you're complaining about your house being swarmed by flies and your neighbor says, "I had that same problem. Just use a flyswatter." But you've been using your flyswatter, and it's not working, and your arm's getting tired.
Before you start asking for a bigger flyswatter, I think you need some justification for why you need one when nobody else does. Maybe you don't. Maybe you're just doing it wrong. Maybe you're overstating the fly problem. Maybe your neighbors know something about fly-killing tactics that you don't.
Then again... maybe you've got a whole fly colony and nobody else does.
This is a question I believe can be answered with real data.