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I'm Pops, one of the Community Managers at Stack Exchange. We on the SE team announced some changes to graduation a few months ago that applied across the network. Those of you who follow such things may be wondering how Arduino SE is doing in the "new system," so I'm here to give you an update based on a recent CM evaluation.

tl;dr: Arduino has been doing pretty well! There's a lot of good information in the Meta SE post I linked above, but the most important point with respect to graduation is this: our primary criterion for evaluating sites is now the number of new questions received per day. You're bouncing around ten questions a day (sometimes less, but sometimes more), which we consider pretty strong.

With that said, we're still not quite ready to consider you graduated. The primary reason is the lack of high-reputation users on the site. Although we're currently making some changes to the processes of graduation, all fully graduated sites will ultimately still have their reputation requirements for various privileges (e.g. editing, voting to close, voting to delete) increased from public beta levels, as described here.

As I write this, Arduino SE isn't home to a single user with 10k or more reputation points, which means that nobody would be able to vote to delete or undelete posts after the change in privilege levels; your total number of users with at least 3000 rep is barely enough to agree to close any question; and there aren't that many more at 2000 rep, who would be able to edit. Community moderation is an integral part of the design of Stack Exchange sites, so we really need to see more users who would be able to take those actions to consider the site for graduation.

Aside from reputation, there are a couple more minor concerns. For one, your "percent answered" rate is among the lowest in the network, which has been addressed here on meta before. However, all of the "worse" sites are either already graduated or special cases, and the community discussion about the problem — though sparse — has led to at least one good potential solution.

The other issue is that the scope of this site doesn't seem to be 100% set yet. Just a couple weeks ago, there was a moderately popular proposal to merge this site with a few others, and the friction with EE about where to ask hasn't completely dissipated. We're not too concerned about this, since Arduino is a fairly well-defined topic, but you as a community do need to decide soon whether you want to make any major changes, because after graduation is too late.

I hope this rundown has been useful for you. If you have any ideas or comments, leave 'em below!

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For one, your "percent answered" rate is among the lowest in the network ...

Would you be able to clarify how to fix this? I went through some old questions (as you noted) and found:

  • Some of them are "impossible" to answer. For example, we ask "which Arduino?" and get no response.

  • Others were answered, but in comments.

  • Others were properly answered, but the OP did not accept the answer.


Can you explain what we can do to reduce the percentage unanswered, to get a fairer score?

  • For ones with outstanding queries, does "vote to close" or "flag for moderator attention" help? In other words, do closed questions count as unanswered ones?

  • I can of course copy and paste a "comment which answered the question" into an answer, at risk, of being accused of taking someone else's credit.

  • What do you do with questions which have a perfectly valid answer, which the OP doesn't bother to accept?


I have a feeling that if I sit here and "vote to close" 300 questions I'm going to be told to "stop doing that, it's annoying". Maybe not.

The thing is with these sort of questions (and I see this on the Arduino Forum as well) that people want their questions answered today - and they even spray the same question onto:

  • Arduino Forum
  • Adafruit Forum
  • EE StackExchange
  • StackOverflow
  • Arduino StackExchange
  • Personal messages to anyone who has a lot of posts

Then when they get an answer somewhere they lose interest in all the other places they asked. Their job is done, they move on. Meanwhile we have an unanswered question because they didn't provide basic information.


Can you clarify exactly what makes a question show up in the "unanswered" list?

Obviously:

  • No answer (but not closed?)

However what about:

  • Answered but answer not accepted
  • Answered with upvotes but not accepted

Suppose I go and answer 50 questions with no current answer. Does that reduce the list by 50? Or do I have to hope the OP accepts the answer, and/or that two (or more?) other users vote up my answer?


(Added)

I chatted with your mods for a bit, because I did suspect that your topic might naturally lean towards a lower answered percentage.

Yes, quite. Some of the questions are about some of the newer Arduinos, connected to some interfacing chip we may not have heard of, and from that to some new-fangled GPS gadget just released last week.

So the chances that some, at least, of the questions are hard to answer is high.

It's a bit different to (say) Cooking SE, where people are unlikely to say: "roast pork? - never heard of it!".

... advocated gaining reputation by improving on others' incomplete contributions ...

I've been going through some of the old questions, and as far as possible (which isn't all that far) converting what appear to be "accepted" answers (in the comments) into real answers. I've naturally given credit along the lines of "As so-and-so posted ...".

  • 2
    Answering your last question first, because it affects the others: the SE software considers a question "unanswered" if it has neither an accepted answer nor any upvoted answers. (There's actually a reminder of this definition in tiny print in the sidebar of the main Unanswered page if you ever need to look it up again.) So, as long as a question has a decent answer posted, the community can get it out of "unanswered" status with a single vote, whether the original asker is super active or abandoned the site right after posting. – Pops Aug 24 '15 at 17:56
  • Before I posted this progress report, I chatted with your mods for a bit, because I did suspect that your topic might naturally lean towards a lower answered percentage. They didn't disagree, and that's fine; as I mentioned, most of the other sites near the bottom of the pack are also graduates. (They're no secret; you can check them out at the all sites list.) So, no need to go on a closing spree (which would indeed be annoying). Voting more may do the trick, and is good practice anyways! And now for the other solution I alluded to... – Pops Aug 24 '15 at 17:56
  • Long ago, when Stack Overflow was just opening its doors, Joel Spolsky (one of the co-founders, and current head of the company) actually advocated gaining reputation by improving on others' incomplete contributions. Of course the community quickly decided that was rude when done to "steal rep," but I don't see anything wrong with improving the unanswered percentage by reposting some comments as answers, if they are suitable standalone answers. Might help to give the commenters a chance to do it themselves first and/or use CW. – Pops Aug 24 '15 at 17:56
  • I've responded to your comments in the main reply. Thanks for clarifying. – Nick Gammon Aug 25 '15 at 4:10
  • the SE software considers a question "unanswered" if it has neither an accepted answer nor any upvoted answers - what if I upvote my own answer? Is it answered then? I found an unanswered question pop up a moment ago. I thought my answer was reasonable, but it sits there with no upvotes, no acceptance, no comment even. Should I upvote it to put it out of its misery? – Nick Gammon Sep 1 '15 at 6:09
  • The system doesn't let users upvote their own answers. If it did, everyone would, both because it'd mean rep for free and because why would you post an answer if you didn't believe it was good? If there's a consistent pattern of good answers not getting upvoted, then that is a serious problem with site culture that needs to be addressed. – Pops Sep 1 '15 at 14:12
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After reading Design-Independent Graduation is on for early September! I have another response. :)

I see from Area 51 that we are now getting 10 questions a day.

Thus the main issue for not graduating is:

The primary reason is the lack of high-reputation users on the site.

I gather from the link above that there is some talk about gradually raising privilege levels (or maybe just deferring the time it is done). Isn't this viable? I gather that, right now, the privilege levels are 20% of that of a full site.

And, of course, not many people have 20 k privilege (like, zero). However as time goes by, people who consistently ask or answer good questions will get increased privilege. It would seem reasonable to let us graduate, then bump up the privilege levels at (say) every 4 to 6 months, until they reach the levels of the fully graduated sites.

eg. 20% / 40 % / 60 % / 80% / 100% of normal.
  • 2
    Now you're getting into better-as-a-separate-meta-post territory, but this has been discussed before. (Don't have a link handy at the moment but if you're really interested I can dig for one later.) My first reaction to a "sliding scale" for privileges is that it would be horribly confusing to users, both in the sense that there would be poor consistency across sites, and that people would show up to a given site and have a privilege one day but not the next, and have it again the following day, then lose it again later on... – Pops Sep 1 '15 at 14:19

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