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1:19 AM
Posted by Joel Spolsky on February 6th, 2012

Stack Exchange co-founder Jeff Atwood announced that he is leaving the company to spend more time with his family, including his twin daughters Maisie Jane (5lb2oz) and June Adeline (5lb 7oz) who celebrated their 0th birthday (and joined Twitter) last Friday, to the great joy of their parents.

It has been a great honor for all of us to have worked with Jeff over the last four years as Stack Exchange grew from absolutely nothing to a world-changing resource with over 30 million monthly visitors.

When I first met Jeff, I told him that when Stack Overflow was built, it would become a standard part  …

2 hours later…
3:43 AM
@StackExchange um, wow.
In other news, we've broken the 4000-question mark, B"H. Only 69 more answered questions until we break the more significant 4000-answered-questions mark.
Q: {How/When} Should we allow Purim Torah?

Isaac MosesGenerally, we expect all questions here to be written from the point-of-view of genuine curiosity, and we expect all answers to be genuine attempts to provide real information and analysis that directly addresses the question. Last Purim, in the SE 1.0 incarnation of mi.yodeya, we broke these ex...

1 hour later…
5:06 AM
Q: Will there ever be a Meet-up?

Seth JJust putting this out there. What are the chances of an official M.Y. (or J.SE) meet-up/tweet-up of sorts?

5 hours later…
9:42 AM
Q: Request for Closure

MbrevdaRecently, a question was asked which recommend "bypassing" some of the most important sanctifications in Judaism in favor of the exact inverse of what is in the spirit of the Torah. While there is nothing wrong with an innocent Halchic question, the OP seems to looking for simple and, frankly, fr...

9 hours later…
6:13 PM
@msh210 Are you there?
or @IsaacMoses too :D
@Alenanno Here I am.
@IsaacMoses Hello! I'm a mod from the Linguistics SE... I wanted to ask for some insight on the Challenge Weeks you do
@Alenanno Sure!
@Alenanno We actually recently changed the mechanics of topic proposals a bit. Our current method is written up at meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/441/…
@IsaacMoses Basically, I think we're going to make one but there's no prize available... Did you do something in particular to involve people without promising prizes? This is our first challenge, so we don't know how it will go. It can be that it'll be successful without any prize, but I want to be sure somehow :D
Yeah I saw that :D I saw it's working quite well
@Alenanno The basic assumption behind ours is that we have community members who are interested in contributing, but they don't have questions in mind, or when they do, they don't necessarily think of posting them here. So, we try to get a particular topic into everyone's heads each week, to hopefully jog their memory about questions on that topic that they've thought of in the past, and to attune them to noticing question-worthy things on the topic over the course of the week.
6:22 PM
@IsaacMoses I see... :D How many challenges did you do so far? And do you know the average number for asked questions?
@Alenanno Hi!
@msh210 Hello!
... If the assumption is correct, people will post questions thus inspired for the usual motivations, without additional, extrinsic motivations.
It makes sense. reflects
@Alenanno Comme ci, comme ça.
6:24 PM
@msh210 What were you answering to there? Didn't get it :D
@IsaacMoses, very nice answer re Fiddler.
@Alenanno "it's working quite well"
@msh210 I see... But from 1 (min) to 10 (max), how would you evaluate it?
@Alenanno It was doing better earlier. I suspect this is a combination of (a) it was a novelty; (b) it was better advertised (we used... what are they called? the notices that go atop every page. @IsaacMoses, help me out here, please?) until SE folks told us to stop; and (c) the topics were more interesting (I chose them in high-vote order, so the earlier ones were more interesting to people).
And probably other factors.
System Messages?
About the System Message... A new "calendar" feature is being taken in consideration, so in the future, the mods could use that for non-emergency announcements like weeks, etc...
@Alenanno Yes, I think that's what they're called.
@Alenanno Yeah, I've seen the MSO feature-request. We'll see if/when that gets implemented. I hope so.
6:33 PM
@msh210 I hope so too!
@Alenanno It's easy to run, so even if it's not particularly popular there's no harm done.
Well thank you both @msh210 and @IsaacMoses for the help! :D
@Alenanno You're very welcome.
@OtavioMacedo, hi.
@msh210 Hi, I was following the conversation
I'm a mod at Linguistics.SE, too
@OtavioMacedo Ah. Well, welcome.
6:38 PM
I should have introduced him before... :D
Well, I'm convinced
we should stick to our plan for the challenge week!
Thank you, @msh210
@OtavioMacedo Meaning, having such a thing even though there's no prize?
@msh210 yes
let's see what happens
@OtavioMacedo Good luck.
@Alenanno No problem. Sorry I disappeared for a bit. Phone call.
6:42 PM
@IsaacMoses No problem!
@msh210 thanks! :D
@msh210 :) Thanks. I happened to remember hearing that interview, so I googled for it and was not disappointed. I was quite proud of myself for coming up with that source.
@IsaacMoses Rightfully so, though late summer might be a better time for it.
@msh210 ?
@IsaacMoses Pride cometh before a fall.
@msh210 8^) 8^P
6:54 PM
Thank you guys for the help again, I'll see you around! :)
@Alenanno I hope the challenges are productive for you.
@IsaacMoses Me too! :D
@Alenanno @OtavioMacedo If I may comment on your set-up...
@msh210 Shoot! (figuratively)
@Alenanno "When you ask your question, post the link in the answer below, so it'll be easier for us to retrieve them" (a quote from meta.linguistics.stackexchange.com/q/247/228) assigns a little bit of work to each asker, slightly inhibiting asking. One person's gathering all the posts at the end of the week is not hard if they're all tagged appropriately (since you can sort the tagged questions by time). [cont'd]
7:01 PM
Yeah actually that is gone... I'll delete that comment... We were thinking, thanks to @OtavioMacedo proposal, to use an API... But I don't know how it works.
[cont'd] (OTOH there may well be some weeks when the topic at hand has no tag, in which case it's harder to find the questions. It might still be worthwhile doing it all at the end so as to remove the inhibition to asking.)
@Alenanno Ah, good idea (when there's a relevant tag). Thanks.
@msh210 Do you know how it works?
@Alenanno The API only works for launched sites, I think.
@IsaacMoses Oh, drat.
@IsaacMoses Ah...
7:05 PM
A few of us tend to collect links to challenge-related questions when we see them. It doesn't matter that much, since we're not picking winners or anything.
... Why are you bothering to pick a winner, BTW, if there's no prize?
if there's no prize and no winner, can we even call it a challenge?
@IsaacMoses Oh, I missed that (that you're picking a winner).
@OtavioMacedo Sure. "I challenge you to come up with cool questions about historical linguistics to populate our site with."
Then again, maybe we'd have better participation here if we had a bit more ceremony and a winner each week, even without a prize.
... I'd choose the winner based on something other than a random draw, though, to make the victory mean more. Most Q votes, most Q+A votes, most views, vel sim.
@IsaacMoses Yes, we were considering page views
7:11 PM
@IsaacMoses Indeed: maybe we should.
@IsaacMoses Or, as @Alenanno suggests over in the other room (and I'm copying here so future readers see it), more than one of the above.
@msh210 Careful. You don't know how many entries you're going to get. If they're all winners, then none of them are.
@IsaacMoses Good point.
@msh210 I'd say that we should pick one objective, simple measure and pick one winner based on it. We could reward the winner by putting a bolded comment on the winning question (which would, in turn, advertise the challenge to future readers)
I'm thinking maybe Q votes plus A votes would be a good measure. It captures the quality of the question itself as well as that of the activity it generated. Views, as you've observed before, are not a great measurement early on.
@IsaacMoses Good idea. Maybe most (views + net question votes)? Most views because we're looking to push the site, and most question votes because it's the sign of a good question. Net answer votes are important, but many a good question won't get a good answer in a week.
Votes, too, bias for questions posted early in the week.
7:17 PM
@IsaacMoses Have I?
@IsaacMoses Ah, true. As do views.
@msh210 I think so. Just smile and nod and accept the credit. It'll come in handy when they discuss pay raises.
:3303184 How would that work on J.SE? :-)
Hm, that didn't work. I was trying to link to:
in Linguistics, 54 secs ago, by Isaac Moses
@Aarthi Winner gets to coin a word, and everyone else has to use it at least once in the following week?
@msh210 s/word/Minhag/ ! :)
... or chumra
@IsaacMoses heheh, that could get fun
@msh210 Hey! I just re-invented the Chumra of the Week Club!
7:30 PM
I don't think random selection of a winner of the topic challenge, at least when there's no tangible prize, is the way to go (on J.SE, anyway). What do other J.SE folks think?
@IsaacMoses OTOH, given the stakes involved, it doesn't matter much if there's some bias. If people are desperate for the victory, let them exercise some zerizut.
@msh210 I agree. A simple, objective, value-related measure makes most sense to me.
@IsaacMoses Think waiting here for people to chime in regarding how to pick a winner suffices, or I should start a [meta-]meta post about it? I'm inclined to the former. (After all, the challenge is not an official thing by any means, so I don't feel bad about imposing us chatters' (or even my own) will on it w.r.t. how to pick a winner.)
@msh210 Honestly, you could just do it unilaterally. I doubt anyone would mind. If they do, they can always let you know via comment.
@IsaacMoses Okay. I'll wait a bit, though.
@IsaacMoses Do you know an easy way to count net answer votes for a question with many answers?
Otherwise, I think I'll not use it.
7:48 PM
@msh210 cf meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/770/… I'd just tally them in my head.
@msh210 How about Q votes + votes on top A?
... with either views or votes on second A as a tiebreaker
@IsaacMoses Hm, perhaps. Again, though, a good answer doesn't always have a good answer within a few days. What argument against views doesn't apply to the other measures?
@msh210 I suspect that votes and answers both differentiate significantly more quickly than views do, since the former come from regular site users, and the large numbers of the latter do not. Really, just Q votes would be fine, but you'd need a tiebreaker somewhat frequently.
@msh210 Don't worry too much about fairness. The stakes are very low.
Okay, makes sense.
My plan with respect to the weekly topic challenge is to start awarding a prize, which will be intangible (viz, just the ability to say you won). To choose a winner, my tentative plan is to choose the question highest in net votes on the question (with ties to be broken by net votes on the highest-voted answer or possibly by number of views). I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions.
@ShmuelBrill, pinging you, since you're in the room anyway, so you see the above (my last post here).
8:11 PM
@msh210 why not? I don't think it should be too complicated. It's that anyone is getting anything (not even a "badge")
@ShmuelBrill Okay, thanks.
2 hours later…
10:44 PM
@msh210 Mazal tov and yeyasher kochacha on becoming our first enbadged Research Assistant
11:29 PM
@IsaacMoses Thanks. Y'all should feel free to call on me if you need assistance with research. Or something. (Where do they come up with these names?)

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