10,000 Questions

2011-10-26 by . 3 comments

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Gaming hit 10k questions yesterday, and what’s most impressive about that number is actually how small it is.

If you look at the site directory sorted by questions, you’ll see that Gaming ranks at a measly #11 in the Stack Exchange network by total number of questions.  That’s not bad since we’re up to 68(!) sites, but it’s not exactly blowing everything else away.  It’s a solid site, but not quite on its way to overtaking that other Q&A site.

It’s only when you start looking at traffic that things get interesting.  Sorting by visits per day, Gaming jumps up to #6 — not too shabby considering that four of those are the original sites that had some serious advantages when they launched.  In fact, it would be #5 if iOS5 hadn’t just come out and temporarily catapulted Apple to the #5 spot.

So Gaming has lots of traffic with relatively few questions.  What happens if we look at pageviews per question?  I decided to run the numbers, and the results were surprising:

Gaming is #1!  Hooray!  I knew I liked this site for a reason!

Why does this matter?  It means that Gaming is working.  One of the biggest misconceptions people have about the Stack Exchange network is that we’re building a question-answering service where people type in their questions and get an answer.  If we were doing that, then the average number of people helped per question would be 1 and we’d need hundreds of millions of questions and answers just to keep up.  Instead, on Gaming the average number of people helped per question is 827.

Our goal with the Stack Exchange network is simply to make the Internet a better place to get expert answers to your questions, and Gaming is doing that.  Every day, thousands of people Google their gaming questions and land on our site.  Instead of having to sift through pages and pages of forum posts, they get their answer right away.  We have now improved the Internet in 10,000 different ways, but we can do much, much more.

When I look at Gaming, I see loads of high quality questions and answers.  I see lots of organic search traffic that means we are not just helping ourselves, we’re helping the Internet as a whole.  And I see enormous potential: we have only begun to scratch the surface of the games that are out and are coming out.  All we need is more questions.

So get out there and ask questions!  When you get a new game this holiday season, think about anything that seemed confusing or unintuitive to you and ask it on the site.  Chances are, if you find it confusing then hundreds or thousands of other people do as well.  And if you go on to figure out the answer yourself, go ahead and answer your own question.  You’re not helping yourself, you’re helping the hundreds of poor saps digging through pages of forums trying to find the answer.

And in the meantime, we over here at Stack Exchange headquarters are starting to think a lot about the Gaming site and how we can boost it up to the next level.  We have a bunch of ideas, ranging from obvious to downright crazy, so stay tuned to the blog and meta.gaming for more info.

For those who don’t know me (which is probably most), my name is David Fullerton.  I am a software developer / manager at Stack Exchange by day, gamer by night.  At work, I manage the teams responsible for Careers 2.0, Area 51, and stackexchange.com.  When I’m out from under the whip of the slave drivers, I play mostly PC but some console games, usually strategy and RPG: League of Legends, Team Fortress 2, Final Fantasy XIII, Civilization V, Dragon Age, Starcraft 2, and Minecraft are all games that have sucked up a significant amount of my time in the last year.

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  • Kyle Cronin says:

    In fact, it would be #5 if iOS5 hadn’t just come out and temporarily catapulted Apple to the #5 spot.

    We’ll see. Ask Different got a sustained increase in traffic after the Lion launch, and it’s possible we’ll see the same this time as well – though the iOS 5 release happened over 2 weeks ago, we’re still seeing daily visits in excess if Gaming’s 24k.

  • Not to be a detractor, but you have to remember two things:

    • Pageviews don’t equate directly to help; it just means that you are getting the pageviews. The question might not directly relate to the searcher’s problem. Chances are that you are helping a good many people, but pageviews can’t be equated one-for-one with people helped.

    • The answers might not always be right. Yes, the SE model helps promote more correct answers through crowdsourcing, but that doesn’t guarantee the right answer.

  • yx. says:

    glad to see the visitors/day has shot up to 126k

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