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Just moving on from Chris's question - how can we encourage more good quality questions?

Right now the site is running at about 3 questions a day. To be honest that is a lot more than I thought we would be getting. I'm really proud that the Buddhism SE community has come up with more than 1.3K questions in less than a year - most of which are thoughtful and engaging and have brought about some great answers.

However could we do more? Is there any part of Buddhist practice and thought that is unrepresented in our questions? Could established users ask more questions? Could we have themed weeks? Could we have a focused discussion in chat and see if any questions come out of that? Is there any way to bring the site to the attention to populations of users who might be bubbling up with great questions?

Or is 3 questions a day OK for us? I don't think there is any danger of the site been closed down because of it. Conversely I doubt there is any great danger of us graduating from beta at that rate either.

Any thoughts anyone?

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Glad to see this question here. :)

Our stats on Area 51 are good with the exception of questions received.

Needs Work – 10 questions per day on average is a healthy beta, 5 questions or fewer per day needs some work. A healthy site generates lots of good content to make sure users keep coming back.

With us at 3 questions per day, it makes it hard for newer users to establish rep. It's been discussed previously how we're sort of a low voting site. And trying to get votes by answering old questions is very difficult. A new user has a better chance of getting an up vote or two for a good answer to a fresh question. Plus, as noted above, it encourages all users to keep coming back.

I think it's a great idea to ask established users to ask more questions if they are willing. Drawing from my personal experience as a supervisor at work, it's always good to periodically do the thing you want other people to do to (a) demonstrate how it's done and (b) remember how really hard it is to do that thing so you'll be a little more sympathetic when others struggle to do it well! :p

For sure there is no need to seed the site with questions the OP doesn't care about. But with a little bit of thought, I generally find there is something I'd like to know a little more about, perhaps from a different tradition that I know little about. That gives someone else a chance to show their expertise and hopefully earn rep and the respect of the community. This is what I was doing with this question, [Why is Budai often associated with the future Buddha Maitreya? although it might have been too tough of a question as even Wikipedia didn't have much. But who knows...maybe we have a Budai expert on staff somewhere just waiting to shine. And I really would like to know. :)

As far as promoting the site, I know SE questions are sometimes shared on Facebook. Would it be improper to share them specifically to a Buddhist group page on Facebook or Google+?

Also, remembering to vote is really key in demonstrating what IS a good question or answer and sometimes voting is so low; everything just blends together. Plus it doesn't help when people don't get positive feedback for their good efforts or the tangible reward of earning rep and privileges. Is there anything like a banner than can be added to the site to remind people to vote? It always surprises me when I see people posting in comments about what a good answer something is but there are no votes cast on it. Likewise with accepting answers sometimes.

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    That kind of made me realize how I could try harder to put words to the questions I have. Thank you for sharing this Robin! -- and actually every other point you've made, I find them illuminating. – Thiago Apr 24 '15 at 1:14
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    So to summarize: * vote more often * ask some more questions (perhaps about other traditions) * mention on social media * and don't forget to vote! – ChrisW Apr 24 '15 at 10:11
  • A few other topics tagged site-promotion begin to discuss social media. My opinion is that anything which smells like spam is counter-productive. But a natural recommendation over an existing line of communication is OK. For example it's OK to post a recommendation on your own Facebook page if you want to. Maybe OK to post to a Buddhist group page, if other people in the group post things like that (i.e. if it's not breaking group rules) and maybe also you need to be already a member of the group yourself. – ChrisW Apr 24 '15 at 10:20
  • Like the cluetrain says, "Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice." – ChrisW Apr 24 '15 at 10:21
  • I like that. Thanks Chris. :-) – Robin111 Apr 24 '15 at 10:23
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    We do have a Facebook page already, in case it wasn't well known... – yuttadhammo Apr 24 '15 at 16:33
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Could established users ask more questions?

Please note this answer:

Personally, I find 'seeded' questions irksome; it's generally easy to see that the asker isn't really looking for an answer, so there is no sense of accomplishment in answering. It feels more like a chore, like editing Wikipedia or something.

Established users may ask questions, but I think they should be questions which you, personally, sincerely want an answer to.

Could we have themed weeks? Could we have a focused discussion in chat and see if any questions come out of that?

That's presumably for established users (since only an established user would know that there is a theme/week).

Here's an idea - we could do some kind of book study group:

  1. Collectively pick/choose a good book, preferably one that's available free-of-cost online
  2. Agree for 'everyone' who wants to participate to read one chapter per week: e.g. "This week, to start with, everyone read Chapter 1", or "... read the first 30 pages", or, something like that.
  3. If there are things in that week's section that you don't understand then ask a question about it.

Benefits:

  • People collaborate (perhaps in a Chat room) to choose a suitable book
  • People read the book
  • You'll understand the book because, if there's anything you didn't understand you can ask a question about and people will explain it
  • People are reading from the same book so we know a bit about where each question is coming from, how much detail to or prior knowledge to assume, etc.
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    A book club is an exceptionally good idea. I would be totally on for that – Crab Bucket Apr 23 '15 at 20:17
  • I haven't seen a book study group on SE; but a long while ago a group of people on a newsgroup organized a study (one chapter per week) of a computer programming language book, which I found helpful. – ChrisW Apr 23 '15 at 22:16
  • +1 I think I smiled when I read the book study idea. – Thiago Apr 24 '15 at 1:13
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    We could use our facebook page to advertise and organize a book club... – yuttadhammo Apr 24 '15 at 16:35
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    I made the mistake of asking a seeded question (I was interested in the answer but that's not why I asked the question) but I soon deleted it for the reasons above and partly because I became more deeply suspicious of artificial and concerted good. I would happily participate in more thoughtful projects, if able. – Dan Sheppard Apr 24 '15 at 19:13
  • Yeah, I answered what seemed to be a seeded question before. From the perspective of a person who answered, I can tell It did not felt good when I realized it could have been seeded, specially because it took a lot of work to answer. – Thiago Apr 25 '15 at 17:05

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