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Do we have any statistics that show where users find questions to view (index page, RSS, subscriptions, searching, et cetera). Bonus points if there are statistics that show how users arrive at questions that they answer and/or act on in some manner (voting, flagging, commenting, adding to favorites).

The reason I'm asking is because it has been said that asking many questions quickly clutters the main page, making it harder for users to find relevant questions. I'm wondering if this is an important consideration, because I don't know how many people find questions on the front page versus some other means.

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    Search engines, primarily! – user27134 May 28 '13 at 12:36
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    I think we need to differentiate between active users and everyone else. Active users don't find questions through search (unless they have a problem), they find them through the front page and newest questions page. – MBraedley May 28 '13 at 12:39
  • It is important to take that into consideration @MBraedley - you're far more likely to get an answer from a site regular than a user that arrived from a search engine – user27134 May 28 '13 at 13:04
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    We do have something like this in the moderator dashboard, but we also have this written at the top: "analytics data is intended for moderators only; please don't share the specifics of this data in public" – juan May 28 '13 at 13:14
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    @jmfsg there is no harm in something like "we get users from X, Y and Z with most of the users coming from Q" though, surely? No actual numbers or graphs, etc – user27134 May 28 '13 at 13:21
  • @kalina google and reddit are the biggest traffic sources (no surprises there) – juan May 28 '13 at 13:27
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    I asked internally to see if we have any cool data that not even mods can see. – Grace Note May 28 '13 at 13:34
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    @jmfsg I think the question is not just about where traffic comes from, but where it goes to. There is a belief that flooding the active question queue with valid questions is a bad thing. If only .0001% of Arqade traffic lands on that page, that argument wouldn't have much weight. – EBongo May 28 '13 at 14:11
  • @jmfsg Of course those users come here for answers, not questions. They're usually not our answerers. – badp May 28 '13 at 16:11
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    @ebongo it's our homepage, our business card, chances are it is the single page that is hit most often on the site for obvious reasons. – badp May 28 '13 at 16:12
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    @badp I would be interested to see the actual statistics. I believe a large number of folks land on questions directly, via google, much more than say people bookmarking or directly navigating to www.arqade.com. Seasoned users are fairly immune to a flood of the "active question queue" since there are various other views they can look at. I realize it can be a challenging question to answer, but if is possible to answer I'd find it very interesting. – EBongo May 29 '13 at 2:06
  • I agree. Still, if you were a new user and just found out about the site and wanted to learn more sooner or later you'll hit it. :) – badp May 29 '13 at 6:49
  • @badp For users that wanted to learn more, they will likely go to the homepage eventually, yes. I think what is directly relevant to this question is, do enough users find the homepage who are not aware of how the sorts work for "high single user question volume" to cause and issue. Quoting kotekzot: "I'm wondering if this is an important consideration, because I don't know how many people find questions on the front page versus some other means." – EBongo May 30 '13 at 15:40
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As commented by jmfsg, the bulk of visitors arrive from search engines and other sites. There are, however, no publicly visible statistics that show what actions these users take. It's fair to state from my own observations that the bulk of visitors are not the people who vote or answer questions on the site though - sure there will be exceptions to this, but in general.

A small subset of regulars will notice that we have a feed in The Bridge that lists all new questions shortly after they come in - but this is as stated just a small subset of our active users.

The bulk of users will work through the site activity page which shows all currently active content on the site regardless of age. This is one of the reasons why one user flooding the site with content (whether new questions, new answers, edits, or other activities that result in a question being bumped onto the activity page) is bad, since it pushes content off this page, in addition to giving the illusion that the site has less active users that would otherwise be apparent from the information on this screen.

Other than the site activity page, there is the new questions page which shows all new questions on the site, in the order they were asked (newest to oldest).

The important thing to consider is, it's easy to find a specific question using a search engine when you're looking for something specific, however it's usually our core active userbase that is responsible to providing the actual answer to a question asked on the site, and these users will find questions to answer using the site activity page, the new questions page, and any the tag pages of any tags that they're monitoring/interested in.

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Our Lazers feed bot is meant to be a way to present questions to chat regulars (who are definitely potential answerers). Of course, a sudden flood in questions also becomes a flood in posts advertised by Lazers, making the bot a nuisance rather than an asset.

See http://chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/35?m=9597549#9597549

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    While I wish the denizens of the bridge all the best, I don't think site policy should be shaped around 20 chat regulars. – kotekzot May 29 '13 at 6:57
  • @kotekzot This isn't policy. It's just a thing that exists to let answerers find questions. Relax. – badp May 29 '13 at 8:02
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For now, we don't know.

In order to answer this question, we'd need access to the site analytics for hits (including different homepage views like "active"), and currently we only have that for questions.

  • To be clear, when I say "we" I mean non-mods reading this answer. I run a blog and I know you can get this type of information pretty easily, if you are an admin for the site. – EBongo May 30 '13 at 19:50

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