Greetings from Stack Exchange HQ! We have been assigned to evaluate Cross Validated and recommend some methods for making it even better. Please note that this is a more hands-on evaluation, and is not related to the Community Quality Evaluations already done on sites. This is a distinct evaluation project designed to quantify the community and health of the site and recommend ways for you, the core users, to improve it! Yay quantifying and evaluating!
Let’s get right to it--your site is doing really well in a lot of key metrics! Your sites gets good traffic and has a good base of users. It also appears that Cross Validated has a lot of solid content. You have engaged users who care about the site and the quality of content on it. That is awesome. These are qualities and behaviors common to good sites, and we’re pleased to see your site doing well at them.
However, according to our metrics, these areas of the site need improvement.
- Answer ratio: Cross Validated is hovering at a 78% answer rate, which is the lowest of the sites we evaluated. We understand that ‘statistics’ is an incredibly broad topic covering many fields of study, but we also believe that in order for this site to flourish on our model we need to find a way to increase the answer ratio.
- Voting Ratio: this is tied to the previous item, but it is still an issue and one we have addressed before.
- Chat: Activity in your chat rooms is almost non-existent. Chat is a feature we believe strengthens and reinforces community and fosters positive and helpful communication between users.
- Lots of viewers: Unusually, perhaps, Cross Validated isn’t suffering from lack of views, but we believe it is suffering from lack of "quality of viewers". There is probably a better way to phrase that, but the upshot is that we need to get some more experienced eyes on the site.
Here are resources and ideas for improving the site and community:
- Reach out to your real life networks. Share the site with your co-workers, students, TAs, professors, etc. Share the site and invite your smartest, most knowledgeable stats-crazed friends. Referral Badges are awesome (just saying!).
- Chat Events! Whether they are weekly topical events or daily check-in times, increased chat usage is an easy way to increase the appeal of your site to new and experienced users.
- Social Media Networking: Cross Validated doesn’t really suffer from lack of views, but it seems like most of those views are primarily from the ‘homework’ crowd and aren’t going to do much to improve that answer rate or improve the breadth of knowledge in our sites. Use your personal social networks (twitter, tumblr, FB, stats messageboards, etc.) to promote the heck out of this site to the people you know would enjoy CV and be helpful resources to the community. We are not advocating spamming everyone you know. However, you, the current passionate community of Cross Validated probably have some contact in some network with the next generations of users, if you know anyone else in the field.
I want to make it clear that none of these suggestions are required. They are merely suggestions for actions that we believe help to grow and sustain your community--things we think will work and help.
We are relying on you, the core user community to implement and spearhead these efforts. Our position and expertise allows us to evaluate our sites, but YOU are the users. You know the site and we want to enable you to improve it.
If you, or other core users of Cross Validated, have any other ideas of what can be tried to improve on these metrics, or any other element of the site you see as problematic, please leave an answer to this meta post. Our team will be working with a selection of sites for the next several weeks and you can feel free to reach out to us directly via email for support.
This improvement push has grown out of a larger effort to create a model for judging the health and potential of each of our sites taking into account all the relevant data we have about your site. Please let us know if there is a metric you think we are missing.
Finally, we know you are excited about the potential for our sites but please keep this meta post focused on things you, as the collective community, can do as opposed to feature requests or larger branding campaigns. We want your ideas, so please make them separate meta posts so we can keep all these discussions focused!