7

The number of questions asked per day for this site has stayed around 20/day for a pretty long while now. This number is also significantly lower than the number for AskUbuntu (~50) and Mathematics (~55). It is similar to smaller SE 2.0 sites (in terms of visits and users) like TeX, Apple, WordPress and English.

Is this cause for concern? Should we try to encourage people to ask more questions?

| |
14

You should remember that starting from the end of February (post-GDC) a new season of gaming releases starts, which should see a bunch of new releases that naturally will cause a flow of new questions and therefore potentially new users.

Right after the holiday season most publishers lay low, because these games don't tend to sell very well (buying fatigue most likely).

The only thing our existing users can do is to ask any potential question they have while playing games on the site. But I don't think it's a good idea to force growth, by asking sub-par questions, because this doesn't set an attractive example for potential new users.

Just a comparison: in Math, Programming or using computer programs, questions stay relevant as long as people have need for them. I rarely pick up my old time games, because I prefer a new experience over replaying old ones.

That's why it's important that we're on top of new games, that's where our added value is right now. Writing a whole FAQ like Game-FAQs does takes a long time. If you can manage to help drive by users to find their answers here before the FAQ is up, we have a shot of getting them to ask questions new questions here.

The big difference between us and other sites, is that feedback here generally comes within minutes or hours after posting. Once new users get to appreciate this kind of rapid feedback, they'll probably ask their new questions here as well.

So my advice: be patient and keep playing new games and ask questions about everything that you can't figure out yourself!

| |
  • You're most likely right about the game releases, it's pretty quiet right now. – Mad Scientist Feb 13 '11 at 20:46
  • While I appreciate your insight on this issue, this is largely and unproven argument. I think increasing our Questions/PerDay is something that is always relevant; advice on that issue is good regardless our any seasonal patterns. – tzenes Feb 14 '11 at 3:57
  • 1
    While maybe true @tzenes, you can't force people to ask more quality without the overall quality decreasing. I know from my own experience that it's really hard to ask questions, that you actually don't have yourself, but still think should be on the site. If you haven't been stuck in such a situation, the question is often not phrased as well as when you have been. In a sense, you already know the known unknowns (thank you Rumsfeld), which tends to make the questions less interesting – Ivo Flipse Feb 14 '11 at 5:48
  • I admit, this is slightly easier in Gaming, because you might have had to try it a couple of times before you nailed that hard part and understand what you did wrong. But it's still hard. Either way, we could try 'seeding' the site with more questions, just watch out for blatant copyright violations ;-) – Ivo Flipse Feb 14 '11 at 5:50
  • 1
    @Ivo I think what I was eluding to was; this is part of an recurrent problem we're having with encouraging involvement in GSE. We need to figure out how we can deal with this problem instead of continuing to dismiss it as: Seasonal, or Periodic. Admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery. – tzenes Feb 14 '11 at 6:07
  • 1
    Agreed @tzenes, the only remedy to that problem is 'mentally' forcing yourself to ask a question about everything that you've conditionally accepted as odd or that you normally looked up online directly. I guess our 'current' audience are the users who know how to figure things out and therefore aren't the question asking machines you also need on a site. Forcing yourself to ask questions is at least the first step towards increasing the number of questions – Ivo Flipse Feb 14 '11 at 6:12
  • While the statement is true, it does not explain the symptoms (as Gerg House would say), ergo does not answer the question. – DrFish Feb 21 '11 at 12:39
  • There are no symptoms if you don't expect excessive growth @Bora ;-) The site is doing perfectly fine, it could only do 'better', but that's hardly a symptom. Either way, it's always lupus anyway – Ivo Flipse Feb 21 '11 at 12:54
1

I don't think we should be encouraging people to use our site more. It's up to the user base if they'll decide to use the site and for what reasons, and simply using the site more for the sake of a pretty statistic is sort of petty, at least in my view.

I can't really be the one to comment on whether or not this is a reason to be concerned, what with being a user who hasn't really been keeping up with the site stats too much, but I'm not particularly worried about it. We still have a very large amount of views per day, very many more than most of the SE2.0 sites. This indicates to me that we've become more of a widespread, useful resource for other people, even if they don't necessarily participate with questions or answers. Until that number starts dropping greatly I'm not worried about the future of the site.

Getting those people to use our site, on the other hand, goes back to the Conversion Rate problem.

| |
  • What uses of our site are there, except asking and answering questions? – badp Feb 13 '11 at 17:11
  • @badp Thanks, editing. – Mana Feb 13 '11 at 17:23
1

I feel it's important to remember that if you're programming, or cooking, or doing math, running into a problem that you can't figure out the answer to is usually an opportunity to grow as a programmer / mathematician / chef.

But if you're playing a game and you run into a problem you can't figure out, it's generally because the game developers failed.

I've written a Python program or two in my day and I've spent plenty of time baffled at what to do next, but I've never thought the thing to do next would be hard.
I've played plenty of games that I thought were brutally hard, but the only time I've been baffled was while playing the Myst series, or those Crimson Room flash games (and even then, the question wasn't "Is it possible to do X in this game", it was "Am I willing to put forth the effort to do X in this game"). I don't ask Gaming questions about things that are hard, I ask about things that are baffling. I can practice more to get better at the hard stuff.

Gaming.SE is unique in the Stack network in that we have entire Quality Assurance departments at major video game studios who go to work every day to make sure that their users shouldn't need to ask questions about their games on our site.

Am I happy that our question/day rate is on the low end? No. But do I think it's understandable? Yeah.

| |
  • 1
    I'm not sure that developer failure accounts primarily for the wide success of sites like GameFAQs, which provides both similar and matching services to our own. – Grace Note Feb 18 '11 at 21:48
  • @Grace Not primarily, no. But I believe it contributes. – Steve V. Feb 18 '11 at 22:02
  • 3
    Off course there's still strategy or best-practices, which can't be solved by the design, because that would make the game too simple. But it does explain why questions about iPad / social games don't really pick up. They lack any depth that requires expertise to solve a problem – Ivo Flipse Feb 19 '11 at 16:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .