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How can we get more questions?

The question asking rate is quite low at the moment, we need to get more questions being asked?

I have seeded a couple of questions, but I think we need to try and increase the number of questions being asked.

Any thoughts on how can we can do this?

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Looking at the stats here, we're doing really well on the ratio of questions answered, and also the number of answers per question. We're low on avid users, number of questions, and number of visits - what I can't tell from this is how we're doing relative to other successful beta sites. Are these stats natural for this stage? Should we be worried?

Taking a more qualitative view - I'm really impressed by the quality of some of the answers we're seeing to questions. I think we need to be careful that we don't start chasing the numbers, and end up with a lot of poor questions. I'd say we're better off focusing on promoting the site to increase the number of users as a goal, rather than focusing on getting more questions.

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One thing that I've noticed is that all the questions that are being posted are assuming that testers are experienced, know terminology, etc. Should we start seeding questions that are more basic like "What's the difference between white-box testing and black-box testing?" "What is gray-box testing?"

While most of us on this site know can answer those kinds of questions in our sleep, for folks who are entering the software testing universe for the first time, these may be things that they want to be able to look up and research. If we start seeding some of these basic questions, perhaps we can prompt more users to ask more of those basic questions.

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    I would say that if something can be found in the first two or three google results, it probably doesn't belong here. That's not to say no one could ask it, because I hate to turn someone away, but asking a question here should involve research first, and if you haven't even done a simple web search for it, you're not holding up that end of the bargain. If something can't be found in the first couple results, then we have an opportunity to MAKE something show up in the first couple results. – corsiKa Jun 3 '11 at 15:26
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    I agree but ... wouldn't the goal be to make this site come up Q&A that are a) the first results in google and b) better content than the existing ones? – Bruce McLeod Jun 4 '11 at 2:52
  • No. I don't think it is for basic questions - we aren't here to rewrite the internets. I'd agree with @glowcoder - if someone comes in without even having bothered to ask a good question, they're not holding up their end of the bargain. We have plenty of questions like "what are good resources for beginners in <specific area> with <specific goal>" - that's the form questions for beginners should take, IMO. Point people at good resources, then they can come back with interesting questions that aren't answered by existing material, rather than trying to rewrite tutorials and references here. – testerab Jun 4 '11 at 21:36
  • @Bruce yes and no. If we can really improve upon an answer, okay I think we should. But if it can be improved upon, it's no longer a basic/beginner question. By beginner questions, I mean definitions and the most elementary of concepts. Typically, these can be answered in a sentence, maybe two. Now, we may end up answering a question with a beginner response by saying "Your problem is tough on the surface, but if you approach like ____ you'll find it's just a reduced form of elementary concept ____." – corsiKa Jun 5 '11 at 2:16
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Based on the high volume of Selenium questions I see, I suspect we would get a lot more questions if we made it clear that tool-specific questions were permissible.

One way to do that is to seed the site with such questions. Folks will see those and respond in kind.

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    I agree, as long as the questions meet the standard "Real job problem" criteria. – corsiKa Jun 6 '11 at 17:44
  • I must agree with this. I my self keep posting prob I encounter with Selenium and Test Automation. But then where do we mention that tool specific qs are permissible, so that visitors could see this announcement – Tarun Jun 8 '11 at 8:03
  • I am not sure about it, this high volume of Selenium questions made my visits here much less frequent. I know that Selenium is common and widely used, more then embedded system test tools but flooding with tools specific questions will deter others who are using less common tools. – Rsf Jun 29 '11 at 12:40
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It's a chicken-egg issue. Content requires users, which requires content.

Ideally, questions are those problems that we are actually dealing with at work today. The primary goal of Stack Exchange is to make the internet a better place - no small task. The niche it decided to fill is that of expert problem solving; specifically making it easier to put a question in a given topic in a venue where it can be answered by an expert, preferably multiple experts with multiple approaches. This is true across all the SE sites.

There's only one of the two aspects of that that we have control over: providing the expert answers. We can't force anyone to ask questions. For that, we can only indirectly influence the incoming questions with advertising and publicity.

These aren't complete thoughts, I realize. I'm trying to get a development project wrapped up so I don't have to come in this weekend :) I hope to update this with some more thoughts, but this is the start of what I have in my mind.

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