It seems like a lot of the questions we have so far are fairly esoteric or advanced. Should we make an effort to populate the site with more basic questions in order to build up a good knowledge base? In other words, should we start asking questions that we may already know the answer to, just to get the information documented? For example, a question like "What is castling in chess?" I know the answer, but having answers like that might help bring more traffic to the site.

4 Answers 4


See the blog for a semi-official answer.

My process on RPG is if the question legitimately came up during the game, and we weren't able to quickly locate the rule and decided to move on, then I will post it on SE. Even if someone googled the answer while I was driving home and emailed it out.

I don't think we should seed the site with questions that we think people might be looking for. We're closing in on 200 questions after just one week. Soon, the private beta will be over. Let's concentrate on getting quality answers and making sure that as many questions get answered as possible.


"Seeding" the site with basic questions is almost certainly a bad idea. The blog entry that Pat linked to does a pretty good job of explaining why. Also, someone has already tried "seeding" the site with every question he could think of about poker, which wound up taking up the whole front page and frustrating a lot of people.

Formulaic basic questions just aren't what StackExchange is good for. Sure, you might get a few good answers; most likely, you'll just get a lot of answers pointing to somewhere else where the question is already answered. And then we'll have the site seeded with a whole bunch of content that's just links to Wikipedia or BoardGameGeek; and anyone who looks will wonder "Why would I use this site? Why wouldn't I just google, I can find better answers that way."

The best questions to ask are those that you actually need solved. Then you can provide better guidance to those answering as to whether they are helpful or not. If you know the answer to something, it would be much better to just write up a FAQ, or a blog entry, or a wiki page; if there's something you know that you want to share, then do so, but there's no reason to ask it as a question. Questions should be for approaching something from an angle that hasn't been explored before, or for when you're confused by an explanation and want clarification from an expert, or you just can't figure out how to find the needle of the one piece of information that's on some webpage that hasn't been updated since 1997 and shows up on the 6th page of all of the obvious Google searches, or you know that the answer must be simple and you keep on looking at the rules and it doesn't make sense and you just need someone to point out the completely obvious thing that you're missing.

Now, you can do a certain amount of seeding, by asking questions that you've actually had in the past; something that you were wondering about, or some issue that bothered your group for a while, or something that came up and you've left unresolved for a while. If you want to contribute good questions, think back to real questions that it's taken you a while to solve, or you haven't solved, or you needed to ask someone else who was an expert in the topic to solve.


I have asked a few questions that I personally already know the answers to, but which come up frequently with new players of those games or in other groups. They're questions that maybe I WOULD have solved by coming here when I first encountered the issue, had this site existed.


Seeding is bad because there are only so many answerers around, and by seeding you drain both their resources (time to answer questions) and their motivation (because the questions aren't genuine).

An exception could be made for questions that are enjoyable to answer, and lead to interesting discussions (e.g. strategy questions).

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