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We all love Philosophy Stack Exchange, but there is a whole world of people out there who need answers to their questions and don't even know that this site exists. When they arrive from Google, what will their first impression be? Let's try to look at this site through the eyes of someone who's never seen it before, and see how we stack up against the rest of the 'Net.

The Site Self-Evaluation review queue is open and populated with 10 questions that were asked and answered in the last quarter. Run a few Google searches to see how easy they are to find and compare the answers we have with the information available on other sites.

Rating the questions is only a part of the puzzle, though. Do you see a pattern of questions that should have been closed but are not? Questions or answers that could use an edit? Anything that's going really well? Post an answer below to share your thoughts and discuss these questions and the site's health with your fellow users!

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We're on the right track.

I was impressed with the quality of the questions and their answers. In October 2014 I answered 'satisfactory' on most questions. This time I voted 'excellent' eight times and once both 'satisfactory' and 'needs improvement'.

I was surprised, because I have the impression we're getting quite many questions that are at least border-line in the sense of Subjective Questions: Deciding what we want as a community.

Probably there are (at least) two reasons for this:

  • Only open questions are selected
  • These border-line questions tend to get a lot of traffic and a lot of activity, which means they come up on the homepage a lot. Typically many new users come to these questions and have their say. These questions normally have a higher answer rate, and tend to get poor quality answers. When selecting a random question the quality of its answers is thus better than on average.

So, also I am very interested in how the discussion at Subjective Questions: Deciding what we want as a community will end and I would like to encourage anyone to participate in the discussion there, as it's a major decision we will have to make at some point.

Question evaluation

The self evaluation always gives a bit a twisted view of the actual situation, because only open questions with at least one answer are selected. The evaluation works well for evaluating answers, not for evaluating questions. I will provide some statistics here for question evaluation:

Questions without answers

We currently have 253 open questions with no answers. That is a pretty good score on over 4000 questions in total. Over the last months:

March: 30
February: 11
January: 16

It's only the second of April, so the higher number for March probably doesn't mean anything, and this score is quite good. 16 unanswered questions against around 100 questions with an answer (see below) is also a good score, I think.

Closed questions vs open questions with at least one answer

March: ± 40 / ± 130
February: ± 20 / ± 110
January: ± 40 / ± 100

I'm not sure how this is compared to other sites. I think that once we've sorted out what to do with subjective questions, we will have to close less and can edit more.

  • I was personally very impressed that here are so many wise men ( really ) with broad range of knowledge and they give me materials to learn. If you allow me, on the contrary, sometimes the scope of the question even by the well educated people is not so clear to me. Throwing what you know all into one basket is not happy for me to read. – Kentaro Apr 17 '15 at 11:37
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I found most of the questions/answers as excellent, the rest as satisfactory. The questions I viewed were fairly specific most of the time; only about 2 had any duplicates at all asked elsewhere on the internet (at least according to Google search), and while some of the answers could have been improved, when there is no alternative elsewhere then that makes our answers at least satisfactory (again, as long as the answer was decent, even if it could have been improved a bit).

I'm happy with where we are now, I think we just need to iron out exactly how we handle subjective questions and I think we'd be ready for graduation! :)

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Final Results

Net Score: 6 (Excellent: 7, Satisfactory: 4, Needs Improvement: 1)


Net Score: 5 (Excellent: 7, Satisfactory: 2, Needs Improvement: 2)


Net Score: 2 (Excellent: 4, Satisfactory: 6, Needs Improvement: 2)


Net Score: 1 (Excellent: 5, Satisfactory: 3, Needs Improvement: 4)


Net Score: 0 (Excellent: 5, Satisfactory: 3, Needs Improvement: 5)


Net Score: 0 (Excellent: 4, Satisfactory: 3, Needs Improvement: 4)


Net Score: -1 (Excellent: 3, Satisfactory: 4, Needs Improvement: 4)


Net Score: -4 (Excellent: 2, Satisfactory: 4, Needs Improvement: 6)


Net Score: -5 (Excellent: 0, Satisfactory: 6, Needs Improvement: 5)


Net Score: -8 (Excellent: 0, Satisfactory: 3, Needs Improvement: 8)


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