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5:24 PM
Anyone around?
@Dori @IsaacMoses @sheegaon
No one seems to care much about the meta questions. Or, perhaps, like me, they do care, but simply have no good ideas.
I'm talking about the ones.
I'm worried that this site will be shut down to lack of traffic. I'm tempted to offer a large bounty (200?) (on any answer I choose) to the first user to get the Booster badge. Think that would help any?
Oh, and I just posted meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/363, by the way.
5:48 PM
@msh210 Don't worry that we'll be shut down due to lack of traffic.
@IsaacMoses Right; thanks for the reminder.
:1881548, @WAF and I were discussing a contest idea: Have contestants each claim a Question to promote. At the official beginning of the contest, a mod notes down the current view count and favorite count for each claimed question. After some period (1 - 4 weeks, probably), points are awarded - 1 for each additional view and N (>1) for each additional favorite. Winner gets a tangible prize.
@msh210 Thanks.
@IsaacMoses No problem. Note the lack of actual content. :-/
@IsaacMoses Should the question have to be the claimant's?
@IsaacMoses Interesting idea, I like the idea of promoting an actual "community" in this way.
@msh210 Well, it's a step. In general, though, as you've observed, we basically fail at motivating the hamon 'am to participate in meta initiatives. It's probably going to have to come down to a very small core doing essentially all the major promotion work.
5:55 PM
@IsaacMoses What do you think of my Booster bounty idea (in addition or instead)?
@msh210 No. Just something the claimant finds interesting. The idea is that the claimant would then use social networking and whatever other tricks available to get eyeballs on that question, some (small but non-zero) percentage of which would convert into more readership of the site. (You deleted your question about points, but to be clear, I meant contest points, not rep points.)
@sheegaon The inspiration for this idea was these contests that camps, etc. do where contestants try to get people to "Like" their videos on Facebook.
@IsaacMoses (Yeah, I got that, afterward; hence the deletion.)
@msh210 I like the idea of the Booster badge as a cheaper-to-implement version of the same kind of contest. I'm not a big fan of gaming the rep system and awarding bounties for purposes other than appreciation of a particular answer. I'd be more in favor of offering a tangible prize for the first Booster.
@IsaacMoses That blog post mentions that most of a successful site's traffic should come from search engines. Towards that end, shouldn't we perhaps brainstorm the kinds of popular (but high quality) questions that people are searching for? Perhaps this means skewing questions towards what's topical lately.
@IsaacMoses I'm more willing to give up 200 points. By the same token (no pun intended), a potential recipient would likely be gladder to receive a tangible prize.
6:00 PM
... the advantage of the contest idea is that it (hopefully) concentrates a bunch of people's activity and gives people a hope of winning if they can just beat the others, even if they can't bring in 300 hits in 4 days.
@msh210 We could possibly get SE funding for prizes.
@sheegaon Well, it's hard to get General Public to ask specific types of questions.
@IsaacMoses Good point.
... A hybrid that offers two prizes, one for the winner after N weeks and one for the first person to achieve Booster, could work.
@msh210 I'm talking about core users asking topical questions that they may already know answer to but are currently being talked about.
Q: Idea: Weekly topic challenges

Isaac MosesAfter enjoying this question and the responses it prompted, I thought, "It'd be great to have more questions about interpreting the Shabbat songs. I bet people think of them all the time when singing and then forget about them." What if we featured a weekly topic challenge - a call for questions...

@IsaacMoses Since a contest of the sort you suggest would have to start as a meta post, and people will be most interested if you mention the prize initially, a prize must be chosen before starting anything. Therefore, if funding is needed (as opposed to merely desired) for the prize, then talking to SE would have to come first.
6:05 PM
@msh210 It's hard to get the public to do anything specific. The best we can do is nudge and hope.
@msh210 Yup. One thing I've been thinking about is trying a pilot run with a small self-funded prize (e.g. a $20 gift certificate) to prove the concept, give people practice, and shake out any bugs, then use that in a proposal to SE for funding for a more substantial prize.
@sheegaon "this" = "that the site does not show up in top search engine results when someone searches for a topic related to Jewish life and Judaism"?
@sheegaon I'm not convinced that this is the case. I've come across quite a few searches on which we have high billing.
... more often than not for niche topics
@msh210 yes
@IsaacMoses Sounds good. Mention that intent when initializing the first contest so as to whet appetites....
6:09 PM
most recent find: [virgo torah] and most reasonable equivalents
We're the second hit for "יושבי דביר" (for me: Google personalizes results).
@msh210 Indeed. "The more participation we get in this run, the better prize we can try to fund for the next!"
@IsaacMoses Right
@IsaacMoses do SE network sites benefit from the prominence of other sites in search engine rankings?
@IsaacMoses We're not in the first 100 Google results for virgo elul though (for me).
6:13 PM
@msh210 Not sure how popular either of those searches are to begin with, so not sure it helps.
@sheegaon I'm pretty sure that's a big yes. See prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php for Jewish Life and Learning (5) as opposed to for torahmusings.com (3). The latter has much more readership.
@sheegaon SE sites do best at "long tail" information: Lots of individual niche topics for which we have some of the best content on the net.
@IsaacMoses In that case, the problem is not inbound links, but topics and specific questions.
@sheegaon ... and simply number of questions.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are many fewer people Googling for the average Jewish topic than there are for the average DIY topic, e.g., or the average topic from other SE sites. Almost all feasible SE communities have natural base populations that are larger than the set of observant Jews.
... it's quite possible that our ideal mix skews more toward regular readers, returning for the sake of learning, and less toward Googlers than other sites' do.
@IsaacMoses Valid point, but it could still help on the margins.
... there is much less of a concept of learning for its own sake in pretty much every other SE discipline.
@sheegaon No question about that. The number of Googlers is still very significant.
6:21 PM
For example, right now R"H is coming up, and when typing shofar in the google search box, apparently the most popular second term is "shofar sound", so can we come up with a high-quality expert level question on the shofar sound (so far we have just one, and it is not about the sound per se)
@sheegaon (That is NOT a high-quality question!) So, do you think we should try implementing this: meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/281/… ?
@IsaacMoses Did not mean to imply that specific question was high-quality, just that it's the only one on the site about shofar sound at all!
@IsaacMoses Not necessarily something so formal, just a concerted individual effort on the part of those here who care to ask and answer topical questions.
@sheegaon (Right. I was just thinking of a more likely search term if one wanted to find the Jewish perspective on Virgo. It may actually be less likely, though.)
6:24 PM
@sheegaon If it's to be concerted, it might as well be organized in public.
@IsaacMoses Related, that is also a worthy idea, lots of worthy ideas abound.
... but why not start with this private challenge: Let the three of us each think of and ask a high-quality shofar question within the next week!
@IsaacMoses That is exactly what I have in mind.
@IsaacMoses Deal. B'li neder. And I'll try to include the word sound. ;-)
Q: What is a standard way to transliterate Jewish prayers?

yydlWhen it comes to pronouncing hebrew in Judaism there are various customs involved. E.g. Chassidim pronounce words one way, Litfish another way, and Sefardim yet another way. Is there a standard way to transliterate Jewish prayers into English where all these three would be taken into account, or...

^^^ Boy, is he ever asking for it.
"Dear SO, What is the canonical text editor?"
@msh210 @sheegaon OK, Rabotai Nish-al! Thanks for the energy. Talk to you guys later.
6:35 PM
@IsaacMoses Yep, thanks. Do want to discuss the contest more at some point.
6:46 PM
@msh210 How about this: Contest announced by this Motzaei Shabbat. Claims made by and contest starts at midnight CDT Tuesday (monday night). Contest ends and winner announced exactly three weeks later (Oct 4, during 10 Yemei Teshuva). Prize is $18 at alljudaica.com (judaism.com has a prettier certificate but a cursory investigation indicates that the former has better selection)
... or four weeks, to Oct 11, and the prize is a Sukkot present.
@IsaacMoses Good. What about ----v
49 mins ago, by Isaac Moses
... A hybrid that offers two prizes, one for the winner after N weeks and one for the first person to achieve Booster, could work.
@IsaacMoses A gift certificate is best, I think.
... I'm willing to put up the $18 this time and at least the announcement. I'd welcome volunteers to do parts of the work (the initial and final tallies).
@msh210 I'd say let's reserve that bit until we can (hopefully) offer a pair of larger prizes.
@IsaacMoses Fair enough.
@msh210 I meant a certificate as a Sukkot present.
@WAF, when you come around here, please see what you think of the above.
@IsaacMoses I'll gladly tally, if the hour set for tallying is one in which I can do it. Midnight CDT this coming Monday night should be doable, I think. I don't know about the proposed end-hour, though.
6:53 PM
... Sukkot, after all, is the main traditional Jewish gift-giving holiday.
@IsaacMoses Ah. I suspect three weeks is long enough.
@IsaacMoses Is it?
/me didn't know that, I don't think.
@msh210 Thanks. Think about it and pick a time by Shabbat.
@msh210 On the 3 regalim in general, you're supposed to give meat and wine to men, clothing to women, and candy and nuts to kids - whatever makes people happy, if I recall some chazal statement correctly. Sukkot is the most oriented toward simcha, so I'd expect it to be the primary instance of this.
... and don't worry about the end too much. We'll have time to pick someone to do that tally, and if one of us can't, another probably can.
I can likely start the contest Monday during the work day some time. Will that be long enough for people to stake their claims? Let's say, 4pm CDT? If so, let's say that as a definite.

Or better yet, indicate it will start "during the CDT afternoon" and I'll edit the meta post to indicate when I've done it.
@IsaacMoses Mods not eligible, I guess?
@msh210 I'd say we should set a deadline and indicate that the actual tally may occur at any point within four hours after that deadline, at the discretion of the judges. Probably for both ends. How about Tuesday afternoon? I'd like to have it open for an entire workday and weekday evening.
@msh210 Makes sense.
@IsaacMoses I don't know that I'll be able to start it Tuesday. Maybe Wednesday or Thursday. Monday will work, though.
@IsaacMoses That makes sense. ("set a deadline and indicate...")
7:02 PM
OK. I'll see if I can get the announcement out before COB tomorrow.
@msh210 Would you like to pick a deadline?
noon CDT with a six hour window?
@IsaacMoses For claim-staking? Yes, that's fine. You may wish to put it in EDT terms, though, for the metrocentric among us. :-) (Also UTC or Israel time.)
@msh210 OK, I'll announce 20:00 IDT / 13:00 EDT / 17:00 UTC.
3 points per favorite?
Thanks for putting it together (and sponsoring the gift card).

Just a suggestion: Don't buy the gift card (until a winner is announced) unless you're willing to spend it yourself. The winner may not be willing to give you his address, in the end.
@IsaacMoses If it's 1 per view, then I think 3 per favorite sounds good, I think.
@msh210 My pleasure. Yeah. I'd order it to be delivered directly to the winner from alljudaica when the winner is chosen.
Is there a way to see the view-count while looking at the question, or do I need to find the question on a list (e.g. by searching for words in its title)?
7:11 PM
@msh210 Let's try it and see what happens. We can look at analytics after the fact and try to guess the relative value to us.
@msh210 It's in the right column near the top under the tag list on the individual question page.
@IsaacMoses So it is! Never noticed that. Thanks!
@yydl hi! Anything suggestions re the above?
@msh210 Just got here, still catching up.
@yydl I know, I meant thereafter.
@msh210 I was just wondering, given our current state of growth, would doing all these promotion "thingies" be a solution to the underlying problems (undefined), or simply a bandaid?
@IsaacMoses Not sure what you mean?
@yydl People can get pretty emotional about their favorite pronunciation schemes.
7:25 PM
@IsaacMoses Oh. While not my intent, it may become a byproduct...
@yydl I don't think we'll find out until we try one. It'll be pretty apparent from the analytics before, during, and after.
@IsaacMoses But why isn't regular long-term growth working? Where did we go wrong?
And also what is our current "loyal visitor" rate? Do people generally return?
@yydl Who said it's not and that we did? We are, in fact, growing slowly.
So why the sudden need to push? Giving out gifts sounds a bit drastic.
... and no one ever guaranteed that the population would just naturally grow over time without any effort on our part to that end.
@yydl I don't think we have that number.
7:28 PM
@yydl I suspect the main problem is that people in the JL&L community haven't heard of the site.
@yydl These are things we've been contemplating for a while. Whenever we actually get one off the ground successfully, it'll seem sudden. The prize in question right now is pretty nominal.
Indeed. So gifts won't necessarily help. A big problem is explaining to people why they should come here. Especially, since the Internet itself is a somewhat avoided place
That was @msh210
@yydl This gift is not for a new visitor. It's for someone who promotes content from the site to many other people.
@yydl There are lots of observant Jews online, and only a very small fraction of them have heard of J.SE or SE in general.
@yydl What Isaac just said (his last two posts).
@IsaacMoses Well how can we get them? Why is SO notorious in the programmer world and J.SE so unknown?
At the end of the day, why should someone come here? (my elevator pitch question doesn't quite answer this)
Q: What's Our Elevator Pitch?

yydlReading this blog post: Tell us what your community is about in one brief sentence! So what's our one-liner?

7:32 PM
@yydl SO got a tremendous bootstrap advantage because it was founded by two major programming bloggers. If (e.g.) Gil Student was running J.SE, I'm sure we'd have a large portion of his readership.
@yydl Probably in large part (a) because SO is older, and (b) because programmers are more connected than even the general orthodox Jew who uses the Internet.
@IsaacMoses Ah, I didn't realize.
Okay. So let's say I know people (and I do know lots of people). How can I convince them to become active on the site? And more importantly, what are the best demographics to attack? I could easily tell someone, "hey, there's this cool site that I love" but at the end of the day, he'll maybe visit once and forget.
@msh210 I got some favorable mentions from a few bloggers and ran an ad on hirhurim, but really, the only name behind m.y was mine, and I had no existing audience to drive to it. That remains the case now. (Given that you and WAF aren't trading on your names.) In fact, the only reason our Area51 proposal got completed was that Joel Spolsky (one of the aforementioned major programming bloggers) was promoting it to his blog and twitter followers.
@IsaacMoses My name has no value to trade on.
@yydl Show the people a piece of content that you think they'll find interesting. Explain why. Repeat.
7:37 PM
@IsaacMoses Well anonymity on the net is important for me. And aside from my twitter account, I'm pretty "quite" on the net. But, on the other hand, who am I
@msh210 :) I was being polite.
@IsaacMoses Also, if any of them has a question, "I know a great place to ask that".
@yydl FYI, you can edit posts in here. Click to the left of your message.
@yydl Best demographic: people who share your interests.
@IsaacMoses and are online.
Q: Please post links to J.SE content on other sites!

Isaac MosesThis is not a question; this is a request: Please post links to content from this site on other sites! If you look at our statistics on Area 51, it seems clear that we're doing a great job of getting people's questions answered (as always), but what we need to bump up are the number of people r...

7:40 PM
@IsaacMoses If we look at how I found out about the site: A friend of mine for yeshiva was shmoozing with me on Shabbos, and told me about "this site I use called miyodeya". He tried to pitch it to me. I argued back "well, there are lots of forums that already do just that". He said go on it and you'll see. I took the bait, and then boom -- I realized you were using Stackexchange (I had already heard of stackoverflow). As a progammer, I felt that the idea for a Jewish SO was awesome...
@yydl Sure, do that too. We could come up with standard pitches, but the real effective pitch, person to person, is what you find valuable and think the other person will, too.
Also, I have already pitched my idea to some other guys I know in real life, and telling them, I'm yydl on the site. One of them follows your twitter feed (i.e. he's read-only). Another, just doesn't find it fascinating. A third is afraid of the whole ask-a-real-rabbi problem.
Here's the important thing to keep in mind: Each time you mention the site to someone or tweet about it or whatever, you probably won't see any immediate results. However, if you do it a lot, one time, one person may decide to check out the site, get hooked, and produce > 200 pieces of valuable content. That one victory that you might not know about will be a major benefit to this community.
I suppose I could only keep trying. I think the biggest bridge is getting them to ask that first question.
... also, promoting individual questions to people who may find that interesting spreads Torah, regardless of the impact on this community.
7:49 PM
Some of my previous questions have actually come from friends who don't wanna post them themselves.
@yydl ... or become a regular reader, either by visiting repeatedly or by subscribing to our RSS feed, our Twitter feed, or our email newsletter. I suspect that anyone who reads stuff here regularly will eventually be tempted ask or answer something.
@yydl It sounds like you've already been doing a great deal of evangelism. Thanks!
Another big difference between offline and online advertising/promotion is the effort it takes to fulfill. I.e. click vs. remember to visit later.
(BTW, read-only folks should consider subscribing to the email newsletter. It's an automatically-generated weekly "best of" digest.)
@IsaacMoses My pleasure. I am really impressed what's being done here. We might not realize it now, but it's BIG
@yydl :)
8:41 PM
@IsaacMoses my submission: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/9878 :-)
@msh210 that's really neat! Now I'm disappointed that I don't even know about such tid-bits, the best I could do is judaism.stackexchange.com/q/9876/766
@msh210 Nice, but you didn't say the magic word!
@IsaacMoses I couldn't get it in without straining. I went for fluidity over SEOity. Note that I did use "heard", which Google might possibly pick up on as related.
@sheegaon Good question....
@msh210 It was the obvious question, which may help pull in some folks this time of year. Now one more shofar question, not necessarily sound-related, and your average googler will be hooked!
9:01 PM
Q: How should a neophyte learn to play the shofar?

What steps should a person take to develop initial competence in shofar blowing? Are there online or other training materials available? Any tips specifically for a neophyte?

^^^ I'm not counting this as mine. I was going to ask something similar, but the auto-duperator found this old question for me, so I decided to just refresh it a bit. I'll yet come up with something of my own.
Oh right:
Q: How should a neophyte learn to play the shofar?

What steps should a person take to develop initial competence in sounding the shofar? Are there online or other training materials available? Any tips specifically for a neophyte?

Spot the difference ;^)
@IsaacMoses LOL!
@sheegaon I wonder, though. 'Sound' may be searched for with 'shofar' generally, but practicing Jews I know (which of course is a small sample) tend to use 'blow', never 'sound'. So if we're trying to attract JL&L-type folks, then going by what appears most on Google might not be the right way to do it....
@msh210 Seriously, folks, I think we should focus on quantity and real quality and mostly let SEO take care of itself.
@msh210 Yeah, and also I think that googlers searching "sound" may be looking to actually hear the shofar.
9:09 PM
@IsaacMoses Yeah, hence my choice of fluidity (above).
@IsaacMoses It was actually just meant as an example. Seriously, though, I think it would help in many ways to ask R"H questions around now, since soon people will be searching for them and it would be nice to have a ready set of solid answers awaiting them.
@sheegaon No matter when they're asked and answered, they're in the repository to be searched. Asking them now just gets the attention of the people who look at the front page of the site or follow one of the feeds.
... but by all means, now is definitely the right time to be talking shofar
@IsaacMoses I know, but rather than trying to build up our repository of Pesach questions right now, I think now we should focus on R"H, then Y"K, Sukkot, then Chanukkah, etc. I'm sure this community also has a natural maximum throughput for quality answers to questions, so it would be most helpful to just add questions as the season comes up. People are also probably learning these things IRL right now, so maybe questions and answers are on their mind anyhow.
@sheegaon Absolutely.
Q: What to think about during each shofar sound

Isaac MosesThere are all kinds of meanings traditionally associated with the shofar blowing, as well as with each of its individual sounds. During the Rosh Hashana service, we have many sets of repetitions of the different sounds, associated with different parts of the service. It seems that it ought to the...

Okiedoke, @sheegaon. See you in a couple of weeks B"H for a Yom Kippur challenge.
(note that I got "sound," "call," and "blow" in there)
9:33 PM
@IsaacMoses Be'ezrat hashem!
@IsaacMoses Well done!
@sheegaon Thanks!
Does the question on participating in C.SE have the potential to solicit information the C's will consider offensive?
GTG, look forward to discussing further later.
@sheegaon Yes. So does pretty much anything in . We just have to be honest and tactful about it.
@IsaacMoses nice :-)
@IsaacMoses The question itself may be offensive, let alone what it elicits.
@msh210 Comes with the territory. I am not concerned, as long as J.SE is characteristically mature about it.
@msh210 Thanks!
9:56 PM
@IsaacMoses Like I said
10:09 PM
@sheegaon I wouldn't worry about that, we get much worse from atheists all the time than I can imagine that turns out. (I'm from C.SE and stumbled upon your chat transcript by accident.)
@dancek Thanks for the reassurance. One thing you can be pretty sure you won't see is us trying to convince you to give up Christianity.
@IsaacMoses :-)
... which I presume is part of what you get from atheists.
@IsaacMoses I know, and yes, that certainly is something atheists try (I guess you Jews get the same kind of treatment from them)
@dancek Not nearly as much, due to the fact that we're not on their minds (in the non-Israel Western world) as much as the majority religion
10:18 PM
@IsaacMoses I see.
... but yeah, Judaism gets plenty of hatred too from various uncouth online atheists on some other forums I've been to.
@IsaacMoses it's expectable when half of Dawkins's arguments against Christianity apply to Judaism too.
as an example
@dancek Yup. And I've seen plenty who've got the overall ethos of "religion is the root of all evil" and point to [what they see as] the worst wrongs perpetrated by adherents of each religion (e.g. 9/11, the Crusades, and evil, evil, Israel)
@dancek TTYL. Thanks for stopping by.
@dancek I think the closest we've come (in my memory) was judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/8857, and that wasn't proselytizing at all, just a question.
(The initial comments there are on an earlier version of the question.)
@msh210 well, I meant more in general, not on SE. Christianity.SE has had a couple of trolls, though...
@IsaacMoses thanks to you.
bye y'all, feel free to come over sometime :)
10:42 PM
@dancek bye, thanks

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