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It has caught my attention that this site has been quite some time on Beta mode, and it seems that across users of this site this seems to be a thing we wish to overcome.

Doing some research (this post, which lead me to this Meta SE post), it seems that "all we need" is to obtain at least 10 questions per day, in average:

Fast forward through all the boring analysis, and here's the result: from now on, when a site starts to consistently receive ten new questions every day, we'll consider it for graduation.

So here is what I ask: How can we encourage more questions to be asked on the main site?

Should we take in the task of asking more? Should we strive for more new users, or encourage "stealth" users to engage on the site?

Currently the Area 51 stats of the site indicate a 3.7 questions per day average. Although I am recent to the site, seems to me that the average has stayed around that amount for at least a year. Is this also something to consider for the actions we should take?

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    There's a request to change how de-beta-ing works here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/303727/… -- that would let us drop the "beta" label as well. – doppelgreener Feb 7 '18 at 18:36
  • @doppelgreener interesting, will read it thoroughly. Still, don't you thing it would be better if we raised that stat a bit? (Is that you Peridot?) – DarkCygnus Feb 7 '18 at 18:43
  • I talked about this a bit in chat, but why exactly do you want to leave beta. What benefits or changes do you foresee from BCG's graduation. – Malco Feb 7 '18 at 19:35
  • @Malco so you are saying we should stay in "beta" indefinitely? I am sure graduating has many benefits, to many perhaps to say in comments. Surely there is info about that in Meta SE. So now I ask you, why wouldn't you want to graduate, or what benefit we get from staying beta? – DarkCygnus Feb 7 '18 at 20:04
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    @DarkCygnus The obvious way to reframe that is what benefit we get from graduation, or what the harm is in staying in beta. Note that the main results of graduation are moderator elections, increased rep thresholds, removal of the beta label, and a sense of accomplishment. Really, the activity (questions per day, and all that comes with it) is the actual core benefit for the site. So I'm all for talking about how to keep on growing the site, and we can do that mostly as a goal in and of itself, with graduation being just a nice potential future acknowledgement of that growth. – Cascabel Feb 7 '18 at 20:30
  • @Cascabel agree, the graduation (if it still applies to when we reach that point) is the outcome of other benefits, like more Qs asked. That is why I asked How can we encourage more questions to be asked on the main site? and not How/why can we leave beta? (as that has already been asked). Hopefully more Qs will give this community more momentum and "mass" – DarkCygnus Feb 7 '18 at 20:33
  • @DarkCygnus I'm not saying that we should stay in Beta forever, but what you are proposing is that we should take steps to try to build numbers faster than what has been happening naturally. Making changes to the site to increase QperDay to 10 is not only a good deal of work, but could be potentially disruptive. To decide if we as a community want to do this we need to weigh the potential benefits with the costs. As it stands right now I don't think there is that much to gain by making aggressive changes to the site so to hit 10 Q/day. – Malco Feb 8 '18 at 14:57
  • @Malco never did I say about anything "aggressive". And yes, the deciding as community is the point of this dynamics, so we can know how to proceed properly. – DarkCygnus Feb 8 '18 at 15:40
  • @DarkCygnus You didn't mention it specifically, but in order to double the current Questions per day in a short time we would need to make some pretty aggressive changes. – Malco Feb 8 '18 at 16:59
  • @Malco seems that you could turn these things we have discussed into an answer, perhaps encouraging more Qs is not what we need to improve this site (or push it towards graduation in a non-aggressive way). – DarkCygnus Feb 8 '18 at 17:17
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There are a couple of issues that may be fundamental obstacles to improving our long-term question volume, that we have to take into account when considering potential solutions to the problem.

First, many board and card games are relatively simple and open, as compared to video games, for example. By this I mean that the rules generally fit within a booklet, and all of the game pieces and cards, etc. can be examined by payers without even playing this game. This means that in most cases players can generally understand the basic functionality of the game on their own, and most rules questions come from either a lack of clarity in the writing, or genuine ambiguities in the rules as written. And if the rules are genuinely ambiguous, this site may not be the best place to ask for help, because without additional information answers are unlikely to be authoritative or definite. A major exception to this is Magic: the Gathering, with a 200+ page rulebook and about 17,000 different cards, and it's no coincidence that we have nearly ten times as many questions about it as about any other game.

Second, in my experience most people play relatively few board and card games. This would mean that if someone comes to the site asking for help with one particular game, there are relatively few other games that they can ask or answer questions about if they stick around. This can have the effect of limiting the breadth of the set of games we actually see questions about.

In addition, I think Magic: the Gathering deserves its own special mention, because it provides such a large fraction of our total question volume. Magic has a very large number of rule and card interactions that generate questions that are usually easy to answer directly and definitively with authoritative sources. This makes it basically ideal for this site, but we are still not necessarily the best place to ask those questions. There are at least a couple of places on the Internet where you can ask those questions of judges directly, which has the benefit that the answer comes directly from an authority, and is generally considered to be binding.

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    Interesting analysis... but you didn't really answer my question: How can we encourage more questions to be asked on the main site? I get what you say about asking of ruling, but there are other things to ask of a card game: strategy, tips and specific plays, historical perspective, etc., so I think that even board games that don't have 200+ pages of ruling have material for good Qs and As. – DarkCygnus Feb 7 '18 at 21:21
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    It's true, I didn't answer that directly. But I think these may be fundamental obstacles to substantially increasing our question volume in the long term. At the very least, these are things we have to account for when trying to improve the situation. And you mention other kinds of questions, but we can't exactly make people need answers to those questions and ask them well and in large quantities. – murgatroid99 Feb 7 '18 at 21:53
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    We can't make people ask, but we could certainly think about what kinds of non-rules questions we could ask and answer, how to help people ask them well (since not asking well tends to lead to closure otherwise), and ultimately try to lead by example and actually ask some questions. – Cascabel Feb 7 '18 at 22:04
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    @Cascabel indeed, perhaps leading by example (asking non-rule stuff perhaps) could encourage other users to ask similar things, increasing the notion of the on-topicness of those subjects in the site. – DarkCygnus Feb 7 '18 at 22:36
  • @DarkCygnus This does answer your question. It's reasonable to answer any "How do I do X?" with a list of reasons why X may not be possible or feasible. As for your ideas about strategy and history questions, If nobody is asking those kinds of questions now, then public interest must be low, or the questions do not fit the format. The site has a Q&A format, and I doubt that will ever change. – Rainbolt Feb 19 '18 at 15:38
  • not all sites has a Q&A format per-se. Some sites allow a degree of opinion on the answers. Maybe refiting this to allow some degree of opinion could be benefical? – gbianchi Feb 20 '18 at 13:30
  • We do allow allow opinions on answers to a certain extent. I think this comes up most frequently on strategy questions, where answers always have some degree of individual judgment. But those answers still have to be justified by facts and/or experiences. – murgatroid99 Feb 20 '18 at 16:27
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Rather than trying to get 10+ questions per day, we should petition for an exception to let us graduate

Philosophy.SE was in a similar state as we were. They were around for 6 years and had far exceeded every threshold, except for questions per day. And yet they were allowed to graduate with only 5.7 questions per day.

Writing.SE is in the same boat. They have been open for 7 years and are far and above the every threshold except questions per day. And yet they are still stuck in beta with no end in sight. They are currently building a case to exit beta, using the precedent of Philosophy.SE doing the same. (Update: They have now formally submitted a request to Stack Exchange.)

Especially if Writing.SE is allowed to graduate despite having less than 10 questions per day, we should also petition for an exception to let our site graduate.


More broadly, there is a Meta Stack Exchange topic about changing the way that beta and graduation works, given that there are several sites like ours that are seven years old yet are still "beta". Ultimately, it may be decided that the criteria for graduating may need to be reevaluated.

  • Yeah, let's hope that Meta SE thing is reevaluated – DarkCygnus Feb 25 '18 at 15:27
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I'll chime in here about the MtG aspect and say we're going to hit a point (and we might already be there) where the majority of questions are going to be duplicate "How does the stack work?" or "How does mechanic work?" This is especially a problem because MtG generates a pretty hefty-sized chunk of the question inflow. I'm not sure how to address this other than to keep closing and linking to the existing answers though.

  • Do you feel there has been a rise in the duplicate questions asked about mtg? – DarkCygnus Apr 18 '18 at 3:36
  • Well looking at the last 30 MtG questions shows 5 Duplicates and a few that might also be considered. I'd say slightly? It's more a matter of the simpler "confusing" interactions and rules have already been covered but new players will still be tripped up by them and come to ask. And as time passes, this knowledge base will steadily grow so there'll be more and more dupes. I don't know if you want to call that a problem or not but I think it's going to start becoming more common. @DarkCygnus – Veskah Apr 18 '18 at 3:51
  • Interesting, perhaps then after some base is formed the community will start to ask different sorts of questions, maybe more strategy or history related, rather than more common or basic questions. Perhaps this behavior is typical of the evolution of card game questions (i.e.: yugioh could be on its early stages, but eventually also start to reach that base of questions and migrate to more complex ones). – DarkCygnus Apr 18 '18 at 3:58
  • On another note, I am a frequent user of The Workplace SE, and I also notice that there are currently a high % of questions that are closed as dupes, or basically are different wordings of dupes. – DarkCygnus Apr 18 '18 at 3:59
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How can we encourage more questions to be asked on the main site?

Get the boardgamegeek community ask their rules questions here instead of at the game specific rules forum section (https://boardgamegeek.com/forum/name-of-the-game/rules).

Not that I have an inkling of how to achieve that.

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    And how you propose we "get" those users to ask here? – DarkCygnus Feb 23 '18 at 18:50
  • There's virtually no appeal in posting rules questions here. The rulebooks for most new releases are hosted on BGG, for crying out loud! – The Chaz 2.0 Apr 20 '18 at 0:07

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