8

Today, I took a look at the site analytics for Mythology Stack Exchange.1 Here is a graph of the number of posts per day, from our launch in late April to the present, mid-September:

Here is the same graph with a spline trendline I added:

The continual decrease in total posts should be apparent - and yes, to anyone who is wondering, the same trend exists for individual questions and answers. The graphs are going a poor job of representing the graph I borrowed here, even accounting for the fact that the x-axis denotes a long period of time, in general.

Here are some more statistics:

  • We're tied with Mathematics Educators and Coffee for the third-lowest number of questions per day at 0.5, ahead of Martial Arts and Community Building.
  • We're at third-lowest for traffic, ahead of Open Source and Community Building.
  • We're at third-lowest for number of users, ahead of Computer Graphic and Portuguese Language (yes, now Community Building beats us at something important).
  • We're at "Needs Work" for three out of the five Area 51 statistics.2

Mythology Stack Exchange is slowly - ever so slowly - shrinking.3

This is not a good thing, because unlike certain other quantities - national debts, mortality rates, and the number of Hercules' labors - traffic and posts-per-day are quantities that we do not want to shrink. We want them to rise, if at all possible, while retaining the high standards of quality you've come to expect from the community at Mythology Stack Exchange.

There exist today few problems with no solutions, and I rather think that this situation is not one of those problems. So I'm asking you, the users of Mythology Stack Exchange, to answer me this: How can we increase activity here? What can we do to help Mythology Stack Exchange grow?


EDIT: Our stats have gotten slightly better. In particular, our visit is per day is up to ~280, which is pretty good. Obviously there is a lot we could and should do to improve, but at the same time we have been making some progress.


1 See Proposed micro-privilege: site analytics for more information about site analytics, which are available to users on beta sites at 5k rep. They are not the same as the moderator analytics, which I will not use here.
2 Many of us know that the stats are misleading, and Robert Cartaino has been the biggest proponent of getting them changed/modified/buried-in-any-unmarked-grave. Still, they have some non-negligible merit here.
3 I am not implying that the site is in any danger of closing. This is, to the best of my knowledge, not the case.

  • 1
    Maybe this is a sign I should finally get around to asking all the other questions I have about the Kalevala... – Ixrec Sep 21 '15 at 7:22
  • @Ixrec yes please. Unfortunately, I don't think our members know much about the Kalevala to answer your questions, so someone will need to do some research to answer them. – user62 Sep 21 '15 at 15:59
  • HDE: the reason why I edited your question was because I can not read the footnotes when they are that small. Could you please edit your question in order that people with bad eyesight can read it? – user62 Sep 21 '15 at 23:40
  • @Hamlet Sorry about that; I've seen superscripts/subscripts used countless times before and I didn't know that was a problem. I'll fix it. – HDE 226868 Sep 21 '15 at 23:42
  • @HDE226868 don't worry about it. Do you have any ideas about increasing activity/responses to my ideas? It's a little bit disappointing that this question doesn't seem to have attracted that much attention. – user62 Sep 22 '15 at 23:23
  • @Hamlet I have some, but I'll have to talk about those tomorrow. I'm busy tonight. – HDE 226868 Sep 22 '15 at 23:32
8

I suppose this is a good place to talk about why I left Mythology.SE.

There are two main reasons I left:

  1. I began to feel like the majority of questions were either asked by me, or answered by me.
    • We must have a core community of people invested in producing content, otherwise it's just a waste of everyone's time. With just half a question per day, that means that not even one person is even trying anymore.
  2. I felt that we made some poor decisions narrowing site scope.

We put a lot of energy into making various things off topic, and we set the bar really, really high for answers early on. As a result, we made it extremely difficult to ask a question, and going into the old first sources of myths to find answers is really hard, trust me, I know.

I was one of the strictest proponents of high site standards early on, and I think it's quite clear that I've been proven wrong. Participating in a site like this one, or SF&F, or Movies & TV, etc. must be fun, or no one is going to do it. We set rules that made it not be fun, and now no one comes.

So, my $.02:

  1. We need to broaden site scope, try things out and see if they actually make the site crappy before banning them
  2. We need to make this site more fun for the people who want to be here already, so they continue to participate / ask / answer questions
  3. We need to reach out / advertise to other sources and possibly rebrand the site somehow.
  • I strongly agree with half of what you said, and have questions about hte other half. 1. I began to feel like the majority of questions were either asked by me, or answered by me. I completely agree: no one is really making an effort to ask questions. For example, in the last myth of the month, I was the only person to ask questions about the myth. Even more troubling, I've been the only currently active user to respond to this meta post (no one else has voted or written a comment). – user62 Oct 5 '15 at 17:13
  • 2. I felt that we made some poor decisions narrowing site scope. I'm a little bit confused by this. For example, with fictional mythologies, I'm not sure (a) why anyone would want to ask a question about the mythology in the game of thrones site when there is also scifi.se, and (b) we haven't actually closed any questions because of that rule, so it doesn't seem to have any impact on people leaving. – user62 Oct 5 '15 at 17:17
  • 3. Participating in a site like this one... must be fun what made the site fun for me was citing sources, although I am aware that isn't the case for everyone. I suppose there is an argument that the sourcing requirements should be relaxed: do you have any ideas about how to do that without letting people post crazy answers. – user62 Oct 5 '15 at 17:20
  • 3
    Finding good sources was fun, for awhile, but eventually spending an hour on every answer just started to be more work than fun. Overlapping site scope isn't necessarily a problem, there's tons of overlap between Programmers and SO, Programmers and Open Source, Mathematics and Math Overflow, etc. – durron597 Oct 5 '15 at 17:26
  • it's not that the scope overlaps, it's that we never received any questions about those topics, and I don't think anyone would want to ask a question about those topics on our site. And I understand that citing sources can be a lot of work: do you have any suggestions on how to reduce the requirements? – user62 Oct 5 '15 at 17:39
  • 4
    I'm glad to see someone else also think the restrictions and demands placed on asking and answering are hurting us. I agree with the points on site scope too. – Semaphore Oct 5 '15 at 18:34
  • "I was one of the strictest proponents of high site standards early on, and I think it's quite clear that I've been proven wrong." - I agreed with the same position, so it's clear that I was wrong, too. It might be worth re-opening the issue. – HDE 226868 Oct 6 '15 at 0:37
  • 2
    If you have questions that stride the borders of our current scope, go ahead and ask them. I never understood why people felt the need to raise all these Meta discussions about poor hypotheticals during early beta, instead of just asking their damn questions. So, again: If you have good questions, go ahead and ask them. A lot easier to decide if we like them or not after we actually read them. – yannis Jan 26 '16 at 9:31
2

Yay! Someone else seems to care about this.

School started, so I have a lot less time to contribute to the site. I can't write/answer questions every week. However, I have experience starting/promoting websites, and I have a lot of suggestions as to how we can promote our website. It would be wonderful if someone with more time than me could put these suggestions into action.

Sources of Traffic

We have two problems: people in the Stack Exchange network don't seem to be interested in mythology (so we can't recruit from within the network -- our community promotion ads haven't been that effective), and people outside the network don't know we exist. We need to promote our site outside the network, and I have a few suggestions for doing this:

Google

I would like to invite you to take a look at the question "Symbolism of Ixion's Punishment". It's a good question because it has really good answers, but it's also good for our site for a different reason. If you google a phrase like "ixion punishment meaning," our question is the only result that actually explains the meaning behind the punishment. If you are studying greek mythology and want to learn more about ixion, you will probably find our website, and feel really grateful that we answered your question.

Unfortunately, we don't get that much traffic from google because we only have ~320 questions. If we could get more questions about topics that don't have a lot of coverage on the web, I bet we would get a lot of traffic from people researching mythology (whether casually or seriously). Unfortunately, this means that we need high-rep users to ask questions -- questions from low-rep users are much more likely to already be answered online.

Other websites/blogs

It would be great if we could convince blogs/website owners to link to us.

Voting

A few days ago, I asked the question Symbolism of the "Temple of the Rose Cross". It only got two upvotes, and HDE 226868's answer only got one. It may not be the best question I've ever asked, but I still think it's interesting and helpful to anyone reasearching the topic in question.

I'm mentioning this because voting like that (or rather a lack of voting) might discourage people who care about reputation from coming back. We should make sure to reward good questions/answers with bounties and votes.

  • 1
    I would write more, but I have to go (I don't have that much time to dedicate to the site right now). Hopefully this answer is useful to someone. – user62 Sep 20 '15 at 23:44
-3

Simple answer.

Define the word Mythology and present it on an easy to find page. This would avoid every other post from being put on hold because someone doesn't like someone elses definition of the bloody word Mythology.

For the love of Cthulhu...

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