With reference to How are we doing? and Why does this Beta have a problem with question frequency?, plus the fact that we are now on day 2320 in Beta and are still lagging on some stats, I'm wondering if we will ever get out of Beta. In addition, the update on Warning about answers that just copy online sources can hardly be a good thing.
Concerning the stats, 6.2 questions per day is someway short of the 'required' 10, and we are also lagging on answer ration (current 2.2 versus the 'required' 2.5). On the other hand, I noted yannis' comment "You shouldn't take the Area 51 stats too seriously; they are just indicators of the site's health, and not the only things that matter towards graduation." in response to the question Why does this Beta have a problem with question frequency?.
If yannis is right (and he's been around for a while), we probably shouldn't worry too much about the 'answer ratio'. I would hope, also, that the SE powers that be would note that many questions here have one or two really good answers, and that any additional answers are unlikely to be more than repetition, spam or relevant 'scraps' which are better filed under 'comments' than 'answers'. I'm struggling to see how, for example, the following would benefit from more answers:
- How do historians and linguists know how to pronounce the names from non-phonetic scripts?
- Was there really a Communist presidential nominee or political party in the 1876 election?
- Did ancient Rome have slave hunters?
- Would colonial Maryland have been tolerant to all religions?
QUESTIONS PER DAY
'Questions per day' is probably another matter as we are someway from the target. Among the possible solutions to this might be:
- Be more supportive of new users' questions. Much has been said on this recently and although I think we definitely need to do this, we don't want the site flooded with sub-standard, poorly researched questions either.
- Ask more questions ourselves. Although we do need new members to keep the site alive and 'fresh', old members should be much better equipped to ask 'quality' questions. That said, the best questions tend to stem from a genuine desire to know something rather than trying to 'force it'...
- Upvote questions more. No, I'm not recommending bribery (see below 'On the last point...). Nor am I suggesting an indiscriminate upvote on anything that doesn't deserve to be closed, but there is a clear imbalance between the number of upvotes on questions and upvotes on answers (not to mention that answers get 10 and questions only 5).
On this last point, reputation is particularly important for newbies: it's needed to the get privileges which allow them to participate more actively on the site in the long-term (which will make it more likely that they'll stay). However, asking questions doesn't seem to be nearly as good a way to get reputation as riding on the coat tails of popular questions by giving short answers which (due to the sheer number of views) have a good chance of picking up 2 or 3 votes (4 to 6 upvotes on a question) even though they don't really add anything that hasn't already been said.
The A - 10 / Q - 5 vote policy applies to all sites, and I've no reason to doubt that for most SE sites its a good policy. On History, though, I beg to differ: a good question can easily take longer to research and formulate than a good answer, especially if you are not already well-informed on the general area of the question. We can't change SE policy, but we can change the way we vote on questions.
COPYING ONLINE ANSWERS
There does seem to have been an increase in this and, if Robert Cartaino feels the need to update an old post on this, perhaps we need to pay serious attention - or am I misunderstanding something here?
This 'question' is already far longer than originally intended so, to get to the point:
- How are we going to increase the number of questions without compromising quality?
- Should we be worried about the amount of block copying, even from non-Wikipedia sources?
- How will (1) and (2) impact our chances of graduating?