We have been at "needs work" (below 5) on number of questions/day for a little while now, and today we finally dipped below 1500 visits/day.

This can be attributed to finals week at some schools right now, so I'm not saying the sky is falling. However, what would you suggest is a good cutoff where we should take action to improve the quality of the site (question contests, commitments to ask questions, etc)?

Stats here: http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/64216/mathematics-educators

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ As you mention, I assume everyone is very busy with finals right now (I certainly am). We should take some action over the summer to improve the quality of the site -- in my mind, the biggest problem continues to be the shortage of K-12 teachers. A question contest would also be fine, but it will probably attract more attention if it starts after finals are over. $\endgroup$
    – Jim Belk
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ Is there a link where we are able to look at activity, visits per day? I think short term up/down shouldn't be taken as a trend, as so many factors come into play. $\endgroup$ Commented May 13, 2014 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ Hopefully an SE employee will be able to answer this. As to how we can increase content, there was a large push during the early phases to get new users. I see no reason this should stop! Mention it to other potentially interested faculty etc. $\endgroup$
    – user37
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 23:56
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    $\begingroup$ @JoeTaxpayer I've added the link to the area 51 page where you can see the stats for the site. We started out above the "healthy beta" levels in all categories and stayed there for a long time. $\endgroup$ Commented May 15, 2014 at 0:08
  • $\begingroup$ The number of visitors per day seems to be dropping at the moment - now down to fewer than 700. The number of questions per day is fluctuating around 2.5, give or take. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 19:31

3 Answers 3


Regarding questions on data. Moderators get somewhat detailed data, but with the info we should not share the specifics (I will try to check what exactly this means but prefer to be rather imprecise for the moment). But roughly:

  1. For the number of questions per day, things are somehow rather stable (except for the peak at the very start), some days it is 2 some other 5, some none, some 7, and so on. This is also rather easy to find out form public info, visit https://matheducators.stackexchange.com/questions?sort=newest and focus on the date when asked in the list.

  2. For number of answers this progresses pretty much parallel with the questions with the factor of 3.something given on the beta site.

  3. For the views, we have huge swings. I think, lately, we just happend to have no "big" question that became popular in the network or elsewhere. But this is a bit random. Recall we count visits in very low thousands here. Yet SO just a click away has, 3 to 4 orders of magnitude more visits (almost 7 million). A question being somewhat persistent in the hot-list with an interesting title can have a significant effect. Likewise for things becoming popular on reddit and alike.

Generally, I think we should not worry that much about such figures (though as commented I understand the sentiment too). Finding a few more knowledgable people that become active on a regular basis in the long run is more important than the current views.

As a general info http://stackexchange.com/sites#traffic gives all sites sorted by traffic. There are some sites around since years that have less views than we.

  • $\begingroup$ My concern is that visits is now down to 800/day. $\endgroup$ Commented May 18, 2014 at 3:10
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    $\begingroup$ There are several things to consdier. First, the site was essentially down recently, so this can be a bit of an artefact. Second, some (especially Brian Rushton, AFAIK) advertised the site on reddit and alike quite a bit. I believe from a chat conversation that he does this less recently and also that he has less success when doing it (which feels normal as the site is not very completely new anymore). As said, I am pretty sure one popular question would boost this number again (while not changing much substatntially). Yet, it is always a good idea to promote the site. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Commented May 18, 2014 at 8:13

As mentioned in the comments, we should not worry much at the moment. There may be many contributing factors, like the time of the year, but I think most important is that we do not have enough users, especially as Jim comments, not enough schoolteachers.

Fact is, we asked our questions when the site started and now it is natural that some time passes till we get new questions.

Some fluctuation is normal, for example on other sites which were also populated mainly by academics activity on weekends is significantly less then on weekdays.

Personally, I do not like forced questions (like contest...) because they are somehow not honest. We need more users who ask their honest questions.


First of all:

  • We should worry about saying "we should not worry" because it just hides the problem and doesn't help us to think about a solution as soon as possible. Such an approach is really dangerous for the future of this forum. We should not ignore such a clear (and expected) problem.

What is the solution? I hope these may help:

  • Question Contest: It is very useful! I strongly recommend such a contest. Please commence it as soon as possible. A contest for each 3 months seems good.

  • Motivate guys from other SE forums to contribute in MESE: It is clear by title. Use Meta forums to advertise MESE everywhere in SE forums including MSE, MO, philosophy.SE, etc. See my previous related post here.

  • Expand the domain of subjects: As well as any other social subject, education in general and math education in particular are related to a wide range of aspects of humanity including economics, sociology, politics, culture, psychology, philosophy, etc. Define new types of on-topic questions. There are many interesting fundamental questions in these areas. Don't restrict questions of math education to questions of math classroom!

  • Avoid unnecessary close votes: The last but not the least! In my point of view silly close votes are biggest problems of MESE and the main reason to lose established users and discourage new users. It is important to note that a question about math education is not a question about maths! It is impossible to define all concepts and provide all details in a math education question. In such a question the subject is always board in some sense and so you will have a degree of opinion based answers. Also some questions carry some particular teaching ideology or point of view. In these cases one should be very careful about voting to close such a question just because he/she don't like the question. "I don't like it" is not a good reason even to down vote or add a negative comment to a question if it is reasonable and well-stated.

Remark: See my meta question history to find examples of each point which I mentioned above.


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