11

In this question, it was asked whether we had too many SC2 questions. The consensus was, of course, that the amount of SC2 questions was fine, and the problem was a lack of other games.

However, I didn't realise how bad the problem was until tzenes posted this graph:

Comparing Gaming to SO

So, why is our growth comparatively low? Just looking at the relative size and enthusiasm of gamers vs sysadmins, we should be leaving Server Fault in the dust.

I think, the problem is that we are currently too narrow. We have tons of questions, and good answers, on Starcraft 2, and Dwarf Fortress.

But this is like a Stack Overflow composed entirely of C# and C++ programmers. What about the Ruby users? The PHP coders? Etc.

Or in our case, what about the WoW players? The Sims players? The Pokemon players? These are all large communites, with large amounts of technical details that people surely have questions about.

The reason it was so easy to attract the SC2 and DF users was because they had nowhere they had to get answers. SC2, being a new game, had no established communities (other than the SC1 sites), and while DF had a community on the official forums, it wasn't a good place to get answers.

But, for other games, there are established communities, like the ones I linked to. So, how do we attract these people here? The sites they are at aren't cape wearing supervillains, so even if they hear of this site, they're likely to just go "meh" and move on.

  • 6
    I just want to note that gaming communities are a bit more popular than programming communities. I mean, prior to StackOverflow, I can't really recall a solid website that catered to developers like SO. Experts-exchange maybe but we all know how great that site is. It just seems with most games, a community is already behind the title. – Robb Aug 30 '10 at 15:01
  • @Robb: Not just that, but the website GameFAQs already caters to the same community this site targets... GameFAQs has both the titular FAQs, but also a Question and Answer section. – user2974 Sep 9 '10 at 19:10
  • Re while DF had a community on the official forums, it wasn't a good place to get answers. I know, i tried; I got slammed very quickly by a community apparently tired of answering questions :P – RCIX Sep 10 '10 at 6:33
4

It seems to me that as this site grows with respect to the information it contains, it'll grow in two ways. Volume of questions on popular games has already been covered: I can see several questions on games that were launched after the site was, and I don't think this site will have trouble finding more.

The other way is number of games with questions. It's not necessarily going to grow the site as much as having key answers for SC2 will, but there are always going to be people picking up games that are 2 or 3 years old (or older) and looking for answers about them.

So, to answer the question, I'd say that we can help by posting questions about those older games as we play them, and by trying to help answer questions about older games as we can. I'm not suggesting that people should dig up copies of Elder Scrolls: Arena or anything like that, but if you're still playing Oblivion (or Morrowind), you can think about appropriate questions you can post.

I know I have several older games that are still in my rotation, and I'm sure there are questions I can ask that somebody else here can answer ... and as we add more good questions about less-popular games, perhaps more users will feel more comfortable asking questions about older games they have.

3

Personally I'd say this is a very natural thing given the moment this site launched.

Just two months after E3, normally no AAA titles are released until the end of September, so they can get attention before the holiday season.

Starcraft 2 however, is an exception and actually quite predictably for Blizzard, so they can take all the attention when there is little competition. However, the upcoming season means releases for some highly anticipated games. Here's a sample just for the next month or so:

  • Battlefield: Bad company 2
  • Metroid: Other M
  • Ruse
  • Halo Reach
  • Playstation Move
  • Metal Gear Solid Rising
  • Civilization 5
  • Dead Rising 2
  • Guitar Hero 6 / Rock Band 3

I'm sure quite a bit of our current users are also going to give one of these a try. So I'd say: give it a month and hope that some of them will lead to a surge of questions (and answers)

  • If you need more confirmation, check these upcoming releases: vgreleases.com – Ivo Flipse Aug 29 '10 at 11:25
  • Yes, if we can get early questions in there. The Holiday season will prove to really push the site up. – Noctrine Aug 30 '10 at 5:32
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    See'ing how many of those are sequels, maybe we should get some questions about the previous games up ahead of time. It wouldn't hurt my feelings to pull out Civ 4 and see what questions I have. – C. Ross Aug 31 '10 at 12:38
  • Sounds like a good plan @C. Ross, sadly I don't play any of those games any more, so I don't have any questions myself... – Ivo Flipse Sep 4 '10 at 20:58
  • @Cross check out fall from heaven 2, while you're at it. It is one of the best mods for that game and really gave it a second life for me. – tzenes Sep 5 '10 at 0:44
1

Now, if we remove the original three from the equation, you'll see it's not that bad. (the three had a dedicated launch, and questions moved, while we're also competing indirectly against other area51 generated sites.)

What we've already proven is that we're able to cater the new games, and provide a place for existing games.

During the time we're in beta, only one single big game has been released, and we're answering the questions for it.

I expect we need more new big games to release, for us to grow significantly, and as a result, show our value to existing communities.

Don't expect us to eat existing heavy communities (yet), but expect us to be an additional value to those communities.

I want to see how the holiday season goes, I expect some growth there.

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    I'm not saying I disagree, but I can't think encouraging diversity is a bad thing regardless – tzenes Aug 28 '10 at 19:49
-3

Honestly, this is a market where growth could be exponential. I'd argue that with the popularity of SE and gaming anything less than that should be considered a failure. With that in mind I look at the chart and I see it becoming linear in growth.

I've thought about this and I've come to a conclusion. The way this site is run is destined for failure. Everyone wants expert gamers answering expert questions but, in this desire they lose the ability to see what the market for gaming actually is and how continual growth is a good thing. What percentage of gamers are actually experts? I'd argue less than 15 percent, based solely on how many gamers I have played with in the last 25 years (I'm willing to call it fair representative sample). How many of them will actually come here? Not many. Why? because most of them already have their niches and cliques.

At this point this site comes across to me as: "You can come here and lay your question down before the top 10 of us and if we deem it wise enough we will permit the possibility of an answer." This isn't just me either. I've had friends that used to come here, they actually committed to the beta when I did. They are long gone because of how questions were being closed and how they disliked the mentality and usefulness of this site (their words). On that note, I think I am leaving with that too. I do not wish this site to fail, I thought it was a great idea at first but, it appears to me that unless the direction of it is altered to what a community will actually flock to then failure is inevitable. And I am too busy to be on a failing project.

CorvinuS/Corv1nus/BlackSunshine007/BlackSunshine/Punk1n/Punk1n5150/PunkinHead out.

  • 1
    Sorry, but I seriously disagree that this site won't attract new users, since we already attract 5k views a day. Also, our site is very highly ranked on Google and also indexed almost instantly, so there's always going to be users draw here by simply stumbling over us – Ivo Flipse Sep 4 '10 at 21:03
  • To be fair, only a small percentage of any userbase are experts. – Brant Sep 11 '10 at 6:24

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