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12:09 AM
6 people? It's a party and everyone's invited!
I find my experience on TW vs. regular StackOverflow to be night and day. My highest rated answer on SO:
3
A: ChartWrapper is not displaying the graph

jmacStrong suggestion: always try to debug your own code first. There are oh-so-many careless mistakes in there that could be easily caught if you used firebug or the like to catch errors. Error #1: DashBoard -> Dashboard Wrong: new google.visualization.DashBoard(document.getElementById('chart')).b...

My highest rated answer on TW:
There is something very wrong with this.
64
A: Boss does not answer questions

jmacGive a man a fish... If you ask me what the current rate between JPY and USD is, I can tell you (about 95 JPY/USD). If you need to know the same thing again next week, or next month, and I'm not around, what will you do? It may be efficient in the short-term to just tell you to use 95, but long...

 
Try frequenting the VBA tag on Stack Overflow ;)
 
I put about 3 times the effort in to an answer on SO than I do on TW, yet the amount of acknowledgement is far far far lower.
I even have the 'unsung hero' badge on SO
I suppose these are meaningless in the long-term, but I find it absolutely ridiculous that something I can spit out in 3 minutes with no research on TW is somehow deemed more 'valuable' than the slew of highly detailed researched/tested answers on SO
 
@jmac well don't forget rep is mostly meaningless
and popular questions give you a lot of up-votes regardless of how "good" the answer otherwise might be
be careful too, that post currently has 2 delete votes :P
your answer might disappear ;)
 
delete it if it must -- I will survive
was the answer decent?
ah, that was my "condescending on new employees but make it sound like sagely wisdom" attempt
Those answers are a dime a dozen. I like my headings though.
Bible to Dr. Seuss -- that is a quality progression.
 
formatting and overall style of answers here plays a large role in which ones get upvoted
which naturally makes sense, given the environment
 
12:26 AM
Formatting is always good form, it's one of the great things I've learned from working in Japan
form > function in many cases
 
@jmac indeed
 
I love the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament. Does this make me odd?
Proverbs 3:35, "The wise shall inherit glory; But shame shall be the promotion of fools."
 
@jmac I guess it depends on what you do with it as to whether I think you're odd ;)
@jmac I read from Proverbs nearly every day
 
Proverbs 12:23, "A prudent man concealeth knowledge; But the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness."
I was a religion major -- no idea what I'm supposed to do with all this knowledge
(it certainly doesn't help with employment)
 
@jmac I suppose what you are supposed to do would depend greatly on your perspective on the Bible itself...
 
1:03 AM
It's a great piece of literature at the very least!
Lots of tremendous advice as well
 
1:25 AM
For this question on the meta, are we just supposed to edit in things ourselves? How does it work? I suppose with edits anyone can revert it later, but I don't want to step on any toes...
1
Q: New Users Guide

enderlandThis is a work in progress. Now that the FAQ has be changed as per this post, I think we need a guide on "how to ask a question / write an answer" section here. Also, I'm not sure how to best do a work in progress on these sites... I plan on reducing content from here to make it less TL;DR as ...

 
 
1 hour later…
2:39 AM
@jmac Pretty much, it's community wiki, so anyone can edit.
@enderland - I went ahead and put the intro back at the top. With the randomizing answers, it seems to make the most sense at the top.
This looks like a great start. I feel like we should focus on the advice type questions, since that is what our recent discussions have focused on. Any tips that would help users improve those posts would be helpful.
In other words, I picture the target audience as "people who are asking questions for the first time and who need help wording them so they won't get closed or downvoted."
 
 
1 hour later…
3:47 AM
@jmort253 Thanks -- I fiddled with the "TBD" what makes a good answer to get things started, but hope others will fine-tune it. I have trouble determining what is a good question it'd seem, as a bulk of my rep seems to be on closed questions
 
 
2 hours later…
5:24 AM
If anyone is here, this is a good question to nip in the bud:
-1
Q: How to deal with a colleague trying to belittle and insult me?

workerBoyTwo days ago,I was talking to a colleague.He was talking about increments.He said that the company we are working in gives good biannual increments.So I said smiling that I am going to get a good raise at the end of the year.He became angry.I don't know why.He said only people who are very very g...

(I voted to close, I would recommend others to do the same, it is a rant to end all rants)
 
 
2 hours later…
7:40 AM
How to ask a high quality question?

^This is a statement, not a question. Anyone adverse to my removal of the question-mark? Or change to a grammatically correct sentence?

If we're using it as our example it really should be high quality itself
 
All good with me
though I don't think I have much say in the matter
(for what it's worth)
 
Ironically i reformatted the one about the answer which says formatting is important
 
Are you saying I should practice what I preach?
That sounds like a lot of hard work ;)
 
:P It WAS formatted, just seemed really bunched up, so i spread it out a bit to make it easier on the eyes
 
It isn't showing up as edited for me
did it just get entered in to the queue?
 
7:54 AM
Still working on it
is it ironic that the section saying to proofread your answer before hitting post, is wrong?
There we go @jmac
 
Which part is wrong?
 
Before it said
Before hitting "Post Your Answer" read through your question
 
Wahahaha
Excellent catch
I have the short term memory of a goldfish
and the eyes of a mole
 
it took me a few read throughs to spot it
i kept reading it thinking something's not right, didn't catch it til i started editing!
 
I just followed my instructions and read through it once
Perhaps we should add another point, "Find a good copy editor"? ;)
 
8:04 AM
:P nah that goes without saying, thats what the community and the edit button is for :P
hmm, though i dont like that it now claims @jmac 's answer is predominantly mine, just because i moved some words xD
 
It's okay, you deserve the credit
proofreaders don't get the credit they deserve!
@SpikyBlue We should call it the "SpikyBlue memorial FAQ" in honor of your contributions
 
@jmac i wish, my main contributions here are edits, flags and comments, all the things you get no rep for :P
 
Rep is overrated. Want me to give you a +1000 bounty on something? Or is that against some sort of rule?
 
@jmac im not bothered about rep, its only because i havent hit the minimum for some of the tools
ill be more useful once i hit that number
 
@SpikyBlue Ah, I thought you were above 2,000, no?
I just topped 3,000, and that seems to have given me absolutely nothing of merit
or maybe I'm confused and it did
 
8:17 AM
@jmac not quite, 1.8k
@jmac nothing new at 3k, something new at 3.5 though
 
I already have more privileges than I know what to do with. The only ones I like are being able to click on a rating and see the breakdown, and the ability to see deleted posts.
Those ones are fancy!
 
@jmac thats my most used one! sometimes some answers get upvotes and you jus tlook at the answer and wonder why anyone would upvote that
@jmac i saw an answer earlier that suggested throwing a tantrum and getting a coworker fired, and it was upvoted...
 
8:40 AM
@SpikyBlue Link please! I want to see that. Man -- that has got to be a classic answer
 
@jmac will find it for you in ten, adding some answers to the New User Guide
 
Thanks
 
@jmac feel free to get revenge and review my answers :P
Three sections added, commenting, flagging and editing
Next up, voting, deleting, chat etiquette and meta
 
@SpikyBlue I'll reformat it so it's 61% jmac ;)
 
8:56 AM
@jmac :P right, time to do some actual work for my job, be back in 10
 
 
3 hours later…
11:32 AM
^^^ @jmort253: Why did you delete my post?
@jmort253: My answer was an entirely legitimate way of dealing with the situation.
 
11:44 AM
@JimG. The legitimacy of an answer isnt the only factor in deciding its fate
 
 
1 hour later…
1:06 PM
holy notification overload
@SpikyBlue I actually think particularly bad answers which are still "ok" from a quality perspective should remain heavily downvoted as a "don't do this" suggestion
 
@enderland I agree, they serve as a great reminder of what not to do, and the comments usually explain why. Also, if the person who owns the answer changes it from a "you should do X", to a "You definitely shouldn't do X and here's why", it would probably recover and get some upvotes.
 
1:21 PM
@enderland I agree. @jmort253 - @enderland is correct.
 
@JimG. that being said, your "answer" probably doesn't exactly fit those standards
since it completely ignores the "why" while giving a really poor suggestion
 
1:36 PM
@Chad if I have to explain how to use books, I think perhaps I was overestimating the capabilities of these future visitors. I said "Books, magazines, websites, forums, conferences, etc" where others said "mentors" and yet those other answers were useful and I should have taken 3 or 4 paragraphs. I'm not seeing any consistency in this thread or others. Ok. The votes are not important anyway - perhaps someone will find some value here. Perhaps not. — Joe Strazzere Apr 19 at 9:55
 
@maple_shaft I specifically worded my comment to not be focused on any industry but rather be generic. I can't help you interpreted it from your perspective (although this is the purpose of a generic comment like that, so anyone reading it applies their work environment to see examples which might apply). — enderland 2 mins ago
 
^^^ @Joe Strazzere LOL!
 
lol, this is ironic to me, after specifically taking all software references out of a comment I make, someone still reads it as software based
 
1:51 PM
@JimG. I upvoted that answer a long time ago because I fully agree with the answer that "While it might be nice for your direct manager to be interested in furthering your career, ultimately it's up to you."
That said, I think I may have misunderstood the question a little bit, and in the case where the managers in the company are expected to help out with employee career development, this answer is not very useful at all and Beth's answer is much better.
 
I'm partially looking for a general question which is basically "my boss doesn't support career development what can I do?" because we get that question here a lot and it'd be nice to have a comprehensive question/answer for it. — enderland Apr 18 at 16:34
 
2:06 PM
I think the New User Guide on meta is great, however don't forget to only fill it with information that would be relevant to a new user, so ideally they only have to read something short to understand the site before posting their question. Stuff like how to Edit or Flag might be better off as part of a separate meta-faq post :)
Even the "How to Comment" might not be necessary... instead maybe just leave one line explaining what comments are, and linking to a separate meta post in case they're interested in reading more
 
@Rachel my intent with that post was a brainstorming/rough draft and a "to be finalized later" post
 
PS. do we have to have a gigantic image in there??
@enderland Ahh sounds good to me :) I was thinking it was meant to be the new user guide because of the title
 
yes :| no, i would reduce it if I could easily :)
@Rachel nah, I'll move for it to be locked eventually and all the content transfered to a new "final" post eventually
 
@enderland Ok. First glance seems OK, but tldr for new users.
 
@Rachel I've not looked at it since I posted it yesterady :) I just got about 20 notifications so I'm assuming people are doing stuff...
 
2:11 PM
I'm thinking it should be "welcome, here's what we're about and here's how we differ from other Q&A sites and/or forums. We also have standards, and we apologize if we come across as hostile because of them. If you're here to post a question, read this first. If you're here to post an answer, read this first. To learn more about our sites, read these pages <<link to About page, FAQ, and Meta-FAQ>>"
And that's it.
(Of course, not using those exact words)
 
i suspect when it's all said and done there will be a small percentage of hte total words
 
It keeps the thing short, to the point, and increases the chances that someone will read it before posting
 
I'm fairly ruthless when it comes to editing out content and making it less words
("it" referring to anything I edit)
 
@enderland Good :) Because we really only want to be giving new users with the bare minimum they need to accomplish the task they're attempting to do, or it will get all tldr and they'll just ignore it :)
 
Just an FYI, if you are writing a bounty text, realize any custom text you enter WILL be lost whenever you do any other action on that page (upvote, comment, clicking links, etc)
 
2:22 PM
@enderland my bad :P
 
wow, bounty text turns into a garbled mess
 
So we think i went overboard on the user guide?
i thought it was meant to be a useful place to nudge users towards
as in you can nudge them towards any chapter and have it be useful to them
perhaps i misinterpreted its purpose
 
@SpikyBlue I think you have some great content there, but I think much of it deserves it's own meta-faq post dedicated to it. New Users should really only be presented with the information they absolutely need to know to use the site.
For example, instead of explaining how/when to use comments, just let them know comments exist and what they're for in a single sentence or phrase that includes a link to a more detailed post about comment usage.
 
3
Q: How can I approach career development with a boss who doesn't seem to support this?

enderlandI really enjoy my current job. The team is friendly, my manager is friendly, and the work is challenging, interesting, and fulfilling. Because of this, I have no interest in leaving this company or necessarily quitting my current position. The thing is, I don't feel like my manager is interested...

Man does custom bounty text look AWFUL
 
@Rachel thats what the FAQ is for is it not?
and the about page
and that page users are presented with when they first sign up
we have a plethora of 'basic' knowledge places, i thought the user guide was supposed to be more comprehensive
 
2:38 PM
I want the user guide to answer the "omg you guys are mean and have high standards THIS SITE SUCKS" people
 
@SpikyBlue The FAQ is for Frequently Asked Questions, and contains a lot of data that is irrelevent to a new user who is looking to post a question or an answer, which results in it becoming tldr and ignored
 
@enderland and lots of people are confused by comments, flag usage, edits etc
@Rachel and the other pages that already detail basic info?
 
@SpikyBlue I guess I'm more interested in focusing on the "you guys are mean and have high standards" not the more detail stuff
 
@SpikyBlue Which one? The About page is very similar - tldr with a lot of (imo annoying) eye candy
 
Seems pointless to call it a user guide when it focuses on one area but ok
 
2:39 PM
(although it is a huge improvement on the FAQ for new users)
@SpikyBlue Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but I thought that meta post was going to be more like the one Skeptics has, but with more details on how to post good questions and answers
 
@Rachel yes
 
Ok, i will roll back and delete my irrelevant information
 
nah don't do that
it's a work in progress
 
I just dont see the point in splitting up the information, distributing it over 10 or so pages, forcing users to have to click and load through each different page and post just to learn. I dont see why we need to make it so difficult for a new user to find a nice clean place to easily see what is and isnt on ok for a range of topic, just for the sake of having a 2 sentence answer so it isnt 'too long' if anything thats more likely to force them away
 
lmao just got a "what should I do?" career question from a friend
LOLOOL
 
2:53 PM
@SpikyBlue You have some good content there, but the idea behind the New User Introduction was just to provide a very short introduction of the site to new users, with only the relevant information they should know to use the site, and then give them links to learn more if they're interested
 
@Rachel ok
 
@Rachel Good stuff! Thanks!
 
This is something I really think SE should supply, but they don't. They're slowly getting there, but not there yet
The new About page is pretty to look at, but appears long and irrelevant at first glance. Who cares about votes or reputation when you want to post a question? And once you "dismiss" the popups or banners they give you (which many users, me included, do quickly because they're obnoxious and in the way), its not immediately apparent where you can find that information again
 
@Rachel And why would they respond any differently to the meta post? there is nothing to enforce these rules. Unfortunately they dont even need to adhere to the suggestions because there are people who will answer regardless of its poor quality. Why would they focus on writing a good one when they arent punished for a bad one. They still get what they want, and thats where the issue lays, they have no reason to do better
doesnt matter how short or conscice the advice is, if they can knock out a poor question in 30 seconds and get an answer thats all that matters to them
 
3:21 PM
@SpikyBlue Most people want to do what is "right", but I feel Stack Exchange does a poor job at educating users about what is "right" for using their sites. They have some extensive writing about what you should and should not do, but they don't present that to the user in a manner in which it will likely be read.
Much of the information is hidden on meta, or displayed in areas that are typically ignored by the average internet user, such as the "ad zone" in the right side bar, or in banners and/or popups that interfere with what the user is looking to do.
The end result is a lot of extremely long documents that rarely get found and/or read by new users before they post something
 
@Rachel which is why i dont get why the user guide should be restricted to just answers and questions. Whilst questions and answers are a large part of the site its not all its about. i feel the user guide should be THE place to go for those people who do want to do things right
 
@SpikyBlue It makes sense, but there's so much content there that you'd end up with an entire Meta-FAQ all crammed into one post. It would be better to simply extend the Meta-FAQ to include very basic user information, and keep our New User Introduction as short as we can.
 
@rachel and put the rest of the information where?
 
The How-to-Ask and How-to-Answer sections could actually be moved into their own Meta-FAQ post, because they can be quite extensive, but since most new users join the site to ask or answer a question, I'd be OK with a new-user-friendly how-to-ask and how-to-answer section being included in the new-user-introduction.
 
@Rachel In my experience, folks who want to post a question don't care about much else.
2
 
3:32 PM
@Rachel Lets put it this way Rachel, all the information is needed, correct? your suggestion is to put it all in their own posts. That solves nothing, we have all the information, but all over the place, how is that different to putting it all in one guide? Wether its in one place, or all seperate there is the same amount of information
 
@Shog9 I'd agree with this (though grudgingly so)
 
@Shog9 But most users who want to post a question don't understand that we have requirements for posting questions
Users want an Answer, and if we tell them clearly and concisely (in a non-tldr manner) that you must write your question in a specific way to get an answer, they'll attempt to do so
 
@Rachel That's not because they couldn't if they wanted to. The easiest way to figure out what's appropriate is... Well, just to look around at other questions.
 
@Shog9 But it's not immediately apparent that that we have question standards. Most forums don't have standards, and Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers don't help either
 
@Shog9 well not really if the other ones are closed and n00bs don't realize what "closed" means
 
3:35 PM
@Rachel it is immidiately apparent, we present them with an entire page detailing how to use the site, then again with Faq's then again with the community, then again with example questions, then again with downvoting poor ones, upvoting good ones,
 
@SpikyBlue the idealist in me wants so bad to go "yes!" to this
 
@enderland That's why it's important to delete most closed questions after a while
 
if they refuse to accept advice then giving them more isnt going to solve anything
 
@Shog9 I'm talking about the immediate ones - which show up as active/new
 
@Rachel I don't think Y!Answers gets crap because they don't have standards. It's crap because, by default, folks ask crappy questions.
 
3:36 PM
@Shog9 and because they are encouraged
 
@SpikyBlue Once again, it's very tldr and it interferes with them asking their question. When most users want to post a question, they don't immediately think "how should I best phrase this question to meet this site's standards and get the best possible answer", they just think "I need an answer!!!1!"
 
@Rachel and get pissed if it's downvoted or closed
since all the OTHER questions they see are equally crappy
 
@Rachel tl;dr isnt good enough. if they cant be bothered to read a single page, why do you think they will be bothered to write good questions or answers?
 
The point is, users don't intentionally post bad questions on here. They want an answer, and don't think that they have to formulate their question in a specific way to be considered "acceptable" and get an answer.
 
@Rachel Correct: folks don't set out to write bad questions. Neither do they set out to write good questions. They have a question, and the site promises them a chance at an answer - so they write it up, in whatever fashion is efficient for them, and wait for that answer to arrive.
 
3:40 PM
@SpikyBlue It's not just the tldr factor. It's also that it resembles many other "here's the information we're required to give you" or "here's a manual on the site" things they see online and have to click "I agree" or some such before continuing, and it's getting in the way of what they are trying to do (Ask Question)
 
I want a post I can direct people to when I close/downvote awful questions which answers "why did this happen"
right now, our FAQ and about pages do NOT provide this
 
The first time I posted on reddit, they gave me a single link that could not be missed since it was the only thing on the white background: "Read this before posting".
In addition, that link went to something that short, concise, and was only relevant to posting a new post
 
I actually tend to think that most guidance becomes important after a new user has asked their first question, when it has gone unanswered, or been closed/downvoted/spat upon... At that point, there's at least a slim chance that they'll be receptive to strategies which are less efficient for them, but hold a greater chance of producing results.
 
We need something like that.
 
@Rachel im beginning to see your point, make it as simple as possibble to learn what is good
 
3:42 PM
@Shog9 that's my point exactly
we don't have that right now
 
@Shog9 But by then, they've had a bad experience with the site already, and produced bad content for the site
 
@Rachel I've seen Reddit; how many folks who do not have your temperament do you think actually read that?
 
@Shog9 Better to be clear up front that "hey, we have rules!"
 
@Rachel 99% of pepole won't read FAQs or abouts
 
But i still think the main issue is poeple who answer bad questions. People then dont need to follow the guidance, they got what they want already
 
3:43 PM
@enderland FAQ = "Frequently Asked Questions". About = "About our founders and our History". Neither immediately make me think "new user guidance" or "manual on how to use the site"
 
We can post as many guidelines as we want, but as soon as people who answer ignore them, then the guidelines fall apart, because noone is adheriing to them
 
To be clear: I'm absolutely in favor of putting good, helpful information in front of the folks who are willing to read and follow it. But I don't have any illusions that most of the folks showing up fall into that category.
2
 
@Shog9 This
 
I think I'll just let @Shog9 articulate my viewpoint for the rest of this convo :) Seems to be 100% aligned with mine
 
@Shog9 I agree, but you'll get more users reading it if you keep it down to a single line ("Read this before posting", or "New User? Click here") instead of presenting users with a page or more of content
 
3:46 PM
@Rachel i see your point now, whilst all the information IS needed, its too easy to overload the users with too much information, pushing them away with our thousands of subjective rules
 
@Shog9 I think I side with Rachel here. In this case the default train of thought for this type of site is forum rules. We are not a forum so we have the responsibility to make sure the users are aware before they begin to participate. slapping their hand after they make the mistake is not conducive to attracting repeat visitors.
2
as evidenced by our high 1 and done rates
 
@Chad but no one reads that documentation ahead oftime anyways
 
@enderland That is because everyone is used to clicking iagree, I accept, OK
 
@Chad yeah? well that represents 99% of the people coming here - we need to have our plan for maintaining quality here based on THAT audience, not a hypothetical and mythical "will read and adapt post quality" user who doesn't exist
 
Right or wrong if we put important information in the please ignore the fine print page, then are asking them to ignore it.
@enderland They exist and appear to be the ~1% of the users who become avid users
 
3:52 PM
@Chad I disagree
 
@chad which is pretty much us in chat...
 
@enderland People post a question here because they want an answer. If they know their question might not get answered because of the way they write it, they'll take the time to post a better question. We just need to catch their attention with something short/brief that alerts them that we have rules/standards and they should make themselves aware of them so that they have the highest possible chance at getting an answer.
 
I think most people mess up on this initially
 
@enderland With what? That ~1% of our users become avid users?
1% retention is horrible. I would expect that a site of quality would have return of at least 10%.
 
@enderland And it's true that no one reads documentation before trying something, but chances are they do read the "WARNING: READ THIS FIRST" section before attempting it, especially if the "read this first" section is short, concise, and tailored to them
 
3:55 PM
@Chad where are you getting your figures from?
 
My nether regions :p
 
facepalm
seems thats where most questions come from too
 
1% comes from the link that was posted a few weeks ago by normalocity
its under 1% but not by much
 
ok, ill see if i can find it, i dont remember seeing it
 
@Rachel I suspect this is nearly only true of users who have encountered sites with stricter policies in the past (ie not the majority of people)
@Chad that the people who become 1% users are those who actually read that material at first - I know I didn't necessarily at all
 
3:58 PM
@enderland No they are the ones willing to tolarate the slap on the hand and get better... or just keep their getting hand slapped and then complain they do not understand the downvotes ala (workplace.stackexchange.com/users/7777/joe-strazzere)
I think we should make users take an easy test to show they understand the rules before posting a question or answer
 
@Chad I'm one of these people... I've learned SE through trial & error (and some hand slapping) and for some reason I'm still around...
 
@Rachel I think we all are
 
which is why some sort of "read this and automatically become a good poster thing is pointless
it's necessarily going to be retroactive on a "oops, you messed up, here's how to fix it and why you messed up"
 
I think if we take the time to teach people what is constructive and what is not acceptable then it would pay huge dividends in both user retention and site quality.
 
FWIW: TWP has 6.4K registered users, of which 683 have more than 150 reputation on the site. Ignoring the folks who reached 150+ but are not currently active, that's about 10%.
That's slightly better than Stack Overflow.
 
4:09 PM
@Chad I agree, but don't think preemptive education or "read this first" types of work stands any chance of doing this
 
@Shog9 how many of those have more than one post?
150 is easy to get with a single post if you started with 101 which I Think most of our users have
@enderland I think if we have a document that has everything that a new user needs to understand how to ask good questions and provide good answers then some users will find it easier to adapt.
 
@Chad Out of 6629 users, 705 have more than 1 post on the site.
4668 have no posts at all
 
wow cool I swore the numbers Normalocity posted showed less than 1% unique visitors return
 
oh, visitors?
That's a whole 'nother story
So, for the past 28 days, the number of new users on TWP amounts to about 0.9% of total new visitors.
For comparison, that number is 0.4% on SO
 
Jim
So lots of non-user traffic? or lots of non-new-user traffic?
 
4:16 PM
@enderland The point of a one-line "read this before posting" link is that it tells the new user that we have rules and standards, which is not something that exists on many forums on the internet, and is not immediately apparent to new users. Due to it's shortness, it is likely to get read, unlike an entire "Here's what you need to know about the site" page
 
SO is different. It is a gimme da codez site :p
It is hard to ask a good low knowledge question on SO that has not been asked and answered
low knowledge = question that the average user knows the answer too not requiring expert or niche knowledge
 
@Jim lots of traffic from folks who are not, and do not become users, yes.
@Jim (you can view these stats directly, btw)
@Chad the retention rate on SO is actually kinda high
 
@Shog9 High compared to other SE's?
 
right
 
@Chad Are you kidding?
@Shog9 Absolutely.
 
4:21 PM
@JimG. that is what the :p means...
 
Now, on TWP, new visits as a % of total visits is about 57%. On SO, that's more like 15%. So we're not really comparing apples to oranges here - SO has already captured a pretty big chunk of its potential audience.
 
@Rachel But you've actually improved SE with your pushback as well; and this shouldn't be underestimated.
 
@Shog9 Do you know what its retention/new vistor% was at the 1 year mark?
 
@JimG. I have? O.o It would be nice to think so. I often consider myself a great idiot-test because I am stupid enough to have the "new user" experience with most things, but usually intelligent enough to figure out where I went wrong and articulate that to those in charge :)
 
@Chad you mean new users as a % of new visitors?
 
4:24 PM
@Chad It probably wouldn't be comparable because the SE site rules have changed considerably since SO was first created
 
@Shog9 yes
 
Around 0.2%
 
I suspect we also get a bonus since SO has a user base that we kind of leech off of for new users. They go to SO and see our questions in hot questions and get nosey
but it is interesting... I thought we were doing bad but maybe not
 
@Chad I suspect this is absolutely the case
 
Something to keep in mind: on SO, traffic from search engines amounts to well over 90%, and has for most of its life. On TWP, that's about 71% right now, up from 60% only 6 months ago - the bigger your library of relevant, searchable content gets, the larger that % should be.
 
4:29 PM
I still fear for graduation because I see what it does the the quality of questions on other sites and we have a quality problem already.
 
@Chad It's all about the New User Education and Experience :)
Established users probably don't have nearly as many questions as new users, so we need to care for our new users better
 
@Rachel You don't Think that downvoting their first attempt at a question into oblivion is good for retention?... me either.
Maybe we could have a downvote penalty on new user questions and a heftier one on answers to discourage piling on.
 
@Chad why do you think I want a resource which I can link people to when this happens....
 
@Chad SO does still amount to a pretty big % of total traffic to TWP, but it's down a lot from what it was - 6 months ago it was 23% and now it's about 8%. The total number hasn't dropped much, but it has dropped - while the total number of visits has gone up considerably.
 
@enderland I thought you were on the side of we do not need a new user helper
 
4:33 PM
@Chad Downvoting their first question is fine, providing the user understands the site's rules. Currently, I don't think we do a good job and transmitting the information that we have rules to new users, and at clearly pointing out what those rules on
 
@Shog9 I do not mean just SO, I mean people who have an SE account.
 
@Chad we need a retroactive "omg I'm so upset you closed and downvoted and disagreed with my awesome question you guys are terrible people"
 
The recent Meta posts to update the FAQ and create a New User Introduction are a great start though
 
Which only exists because of the success of SO
 
New user helper:
1) Slap 'em around a bit. Slapping is an important form of communication.
2) If they stick around, let them know what they need to do to avoid future slappings.
@Chad Let's face it: SO traffic dwarfs everything else. The referral numbers from the rest of the network are really not very interesting.
 
4:34 PM
@Shog9 That is basically what we do :p
 
Hi Peter, I'm not sure I understand the physical violence part of your answer? It's just not clear. Are you saying that one should become confrontational based on physical characteristics of the other person? — jmort253 17 hours ago
 
@Shog9 I would have thought programmers would have been higher
 
^^^ @jmort253: You decided to keep this one open, but delete mine.
 
@JimG. It is completely a personal vendetta.
 
@Chad Programmers probably would have been higher if it had been allowed to stay true to it's original scope which matched it's name :p
 
4:39 PM
@Rachel Indeed. // And I'm still not entirely sure why that even happened.
 
So aaanyway... Lemme just leave you with this thought:
The size of your potential audience here is huge - bigger than SO's. The chance that you'll capture a significant % of it isn't great, but even if you only get a tiny fraction you'll still be a pretty big site. And achieving that hinges on creating questions and answers that can be found and used by folks searching the web.
Don't get too hung up on user retention, and don't ever let it get in the way of keeping quality as high as possible: there are millions of potential users, but they'll never find their way to you if you don't put something good out there for them to find.
 
@JimG. I understand why now. They want a higher quality of Q&A site, one based on facts and experiences instead of discussions, opinions, polling, etc. As scoped, the site was more for discussions and opinions. TWP is the same way, but I think if we do a good job at clarifying our scope to new users and staying focused, we can avoid what happened with Programmers
 
@Rachel Did you read Jeff's "Tie Fighter" blog entry? codinghorror.com/blog/2013/02/…
@Rachel For me, it pretty much nullified his position on that whole NPR debate. In a sense, he was acknowledging the worth of NPR (as it was constituted).
@Rachel But for whatever reason, it felt "impure" to him, so he decided to change it.
 
@chad what I want is to address the problem which happens here consistently.

1) new user comes and posts a poor question OR answer
2) this poor question/answer gets downvoted, commented on, closed, even maybe deleted
3) new user finds site hostile/mean/frustrating

This is all "enforced" by a set of expectations which is currently 100% tribal knowledge - ie it's not defined anywhere except in this channel, and even then, very loosely. So whenever there is a "I don't get it, help me" or "this is frustrating what are you tryign to do?" question the only answer is basically "well that's how t
 
@JimG. I did, but I prefer Q&A to actual forums. SE has a good idea with their sites, but I'd love to see Q&A expanded for a community only (without such strict rules on question quality), instead of being strictly based on a topic. Maybe tie it in to a social network of some kind, like Google Circles
 
4:47 PM
@Rachel Oh me too. Totally.
 
I'm still in contact with some former P.SE users about such a site, but last I heard it was delayed a bit due to some changes they wanted to make. We had originally hoped to have an alpha site this month
 
@JimG. notprogrammingrelated.com is available... You should grab it, set up a Discourse instance, and see where it goes...
 
@enderland I want something to stop the first step from even happening. It should be: User comes to site and gets an extremely short one-line sentence warning them that we have rules and they should read them. User reads a very concise article directed specifically at them, and posts a better question, thus stopping #2 and #3 from happening
 
@Rachel I actually would love to use a site like this as an internal resource for my company to start populating a solid database of questions/answers... :)
 
I would, but I'm not convinced that Discourse is going to catch on. I have enormous respect for what Jeff Atwood built with StackExchange, but I think Discourse is suffering from "Second System Syndrome". — Jim G. yesterday
 
4:50 PM
@Rachel oh, I want that too, but I doubt we can actually change that part of how SE works
 
@JimG. Of course it is. I mean, it's built on Ruby for pete's sake! But it's also open-source, so you do kinda know what you're getting into.
 
@Shog9 Two things for me: 1. I'm a HUGE StackExchange fan. 2. I don't have the energy to actively moderate something like that.
@Shog9 True. :)
 
@Rachel actually is this idea feasible? I think comboed with a good, short, concise "we don't wnat crap" type meta post this could be VERY helpful - at least it'd mean I don't have to feel bad when people whine...
 
@enderland I think that is a great idea. But I think when i come back and find my question at -5 and comments saying how horrible i am(I know that is not what we say but it is how they are taken) I am not going to bother clicking your "why I am a horrible person" link
 
@Chad well, I guess I generally don't downvote questions until the user says "no I want to be against site policy" or after some comment/edit exchange happens :\
 
4:58 PM
@enderland No but we seem to have a number of users that like to be able to pile on
 
@Chad well this is true of all SE sites I think
-8
Q: How to deal with a colleague trying to belittle and insult me?

workerBoyTwo days ago,I was talking to a colleague.He was talking about increments.He said that the company we are working in gives good biannual increments.So I said smiling that I am going to get a good raise at the end of the year.He became angry.I don't know why.He said only people who are very very g...

that's a decent question at core (sure the user WANTS it to be focused on ranty things)
 
sometimes that works in favor of us as we try to corral bad questions but with new users they do not see the need to not pile on.
 
-1
Q: How to deal with a coworker who is a troll?

FunnelcakeI have a coworker who seeks to bicker endlessly about topics large and small, acts condescending about any decision that is not his, seeks to extend squabbles ad infinitum, and is the last person to whom anyone (except his fans in management) would go for advice because he's hyper-critical of any...

 
@enderland And I have not downvoted.
 
same with this one (which has 2 reopen votes, unfortunately)
@Chad nor have i (lol)
 
5:00 PM
@enderland Users see bad question and pile on because there is no penalty to pile on questions... They do not pile on answers, which is where we need them piling on
@Shog9 What does ruby have to do with anything?
 
@enderland Without getting SE involved, the only thing I can think of is place the one-liner at the top of our About and FAQ pages, which goes to a MSO post (the New User Introduction post)
I'd like to create a MSO proposal for replacing the huge long "read this and click [I've Read This] to continue" with a one line "Read this before posting" link (in a non-ad, non-popup, non-banner area too!), but it'd take too much time right now to explain both what the proposal is, but also why the existing content isn't as effective as it could be
Would be easiest to demonstrate it in small scale such as on TWP first if we could :)
 
@enderland That one could be closed as dup of "How do I deal with an difficult coworker
48
Q: How can I deal with a difficult coworker?

joepaI have a member on my team who acts like a boorish pig. He "borrows" my belongings without asking, almost as if he's entitled to it. Last time, I had some snack on my desk and he just took it to his desk and started eating it. People around me were in such a shock and I didn't want to start an ar...

 
5:15 PM
@Chad I don't think so, the 'difficulty' in that question is more focused on the stealing stuff vs the "he's a tool" problem
 
@enderland Same problem different troll
 
@Chad all the answers don't really apply though
 
@enderland Because they dealt with the specific problems instead of the general.
I think I am going to vote reopen and then advocate slapping his wife :p
NM I deceided to vote to delete the question... there is nothing savable.
 
 
2 hours later…
6:52 PM
I flagged this comment can someone please delete it workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/11220/…
mr fox's comment can be as well as far as I am concerned
 
@Chad That last paragraph for your answer is pretty bad...
it basically is telling the OP to make assumptions about their manager, and then go out of their way to mess with them and the company. I would not want that kind of advice on the site
 
7:22 PM
@JimG. Just trying to clear up some of the clutter on that page so the posts don't kick over into Community wiki mode. I left Peter's post because it's new and he hasn't had as long of an opportunity to edit.
If you want to edit yours, just let me know and I'm happy to bring it back.
 
@jmort253 OK. Thanks.
 
7:54 PM
@Rachel Actually it says if you are the exception... Then you make sure that instead of saying no you just do not help or hinder them
Anyway I do not care commments are not for chat or being an asshole
So please remove them.
 
8:54 PM
6
A: Why is ignoring emails acceptable in academia?

enderlandThe Problem People who are super busy don't have the time to spend minutes first reading, then processing (and/or rereading), then responding to your email. This is simply life, there is only so much time in a day, and some people have way more constraints on their time. Spending lots of time p...

I feel like this answer should be useful here somewhere too
 
9:12 PM
9
Q: Ex-employee / founder misrepresenting role in software company

John SmithIn 2007 I began writing a small piece of software, at the start of 2008 I packaged the software up as a product and started selling it. For the next 9 months it grew slowly and I asked a friend to join the informal "company" to help out. The software sales continued to grow and with my friends he...

From the close queue I think I might want to close this question but hell if I'm going to read all that...
@enderland I'm sorry I ignored your email, I just don't think a postmodern examination of the effect of performance art on chimps is a good thesis.
 
 
2 hours later…
11:11 PM
@BenBrocka I think the email post should be linked to that other question you didn't want to read:)
 
@enderland touche
 
11:35 PM
@Rachel Excellent point -- we could have this animated paperclip that floats on the side of the site and gives helpful contextual advice, like, "It looks like you're trying to ask a poor quality question! Would you like to read the FAQ?"
Man, I think I'm just in the wrong time zone to participate.
 

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