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It's been 183 days since we launched; we're half a year old! How are we doing? What are people's goals for the site? Are we on track to meet those goals?

Please share any and all feedback.

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    It's hard to believe it's been half a year. There's a small milestone to be proud of. – Aza Jul 31 '17 at 8:04
  • s/I'm/We're – Gallifreyan Aug 1 '17 at 11:30
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Let's start with some stats about the site.

  • Questions

    We're doing pretty well with questions. Very well, actually. We currently have 1,030 questions - which is fairly good for 6 months. In fact, the SE site that is directly above is in the questions stats at the time of writing is Sustainable Living, which is 4 years older and has around ~200 more questions than us.

    Our question per day is about 4 right now. That's better than a lot of other beta sites. We're doing well with the number of questions. (Note that that's only the numbers. Not the quality.)

  • Answers

    With answers... not doing as well. We have 1,052 answers at the time of writing, and a 1.4 answer per question ratio. That's... not a lot, seeing as we have 1,030 questions. Our answered percentage is a mere 73%. This... could be better. We need to work on answering more... as long as they're:

  • Quality

    Out of 1,052 answers, 32 have a negative score, while 41 have a score of 0. Out of 1,030 questions, 22 have a negative score, while 24 have a score of 0. Overall, this looks good, but remember that sometimes bad content is upvoted, especially stuff from private beta.

    11 of those 1,030 questions have been closed.


  • Traffic

    We're fairly low on views. ~500 views a day. But I'd rather we have low traffic and have what traffic we do have contribute high quality content than be overrun with lots of low quality contributors. A lot of traffic is coming from stackoverflow.com (you need 5k rep to see that link), presumably from things like HNQ, but we've got some not insignificant hits from Google as well. Facebook also has apparently referred users to here 240 times - thanks, I guess, to whoever linked us on Facebook.

    I'm not seeing stuff from the Twitter account on the 2k tools, or from the Tumblr account, but the Twitter account has done some good things (such as attracting authors to here). I don't think anything has come from the Tumblr account yet, but that will come in its own time.


That was for the stats. Now, for some other things...

I think we've done a good job in educating the community here on certain things. For instance, @Hamlet has been working hard to make sure that we're educated on things like authorial intent and close reading, among others. Shout out to @Hamlet for your work in educating us!

We've been working on biases in Literature - specifically, the topic challenges help with this.

We've gotten some experts to join the site and participate, which is very good. We've got some very knowledgeable users. I think we could use some more, but for existing for half a year, we're not doing to badly.


The site scope has changed pretty drastically for some people since private beta. The site originally seemed as though it was going to be for minutia about works of Literature, much like Scifi.SE - focused on canon and 'word of god' answers. While these typed of questions about minutia are still on topic (and well received, I hope), the 'word of god' answers are now expected to show some basis for the conclusion in the text of the work itself.
This is good, because Lit is hoping to be considered a more serious and academic site than SFF... at least that I can tell, and it's doing a fairly good job that IMO.

My personal vision for the site is for us to accept all types of questions - 'trivia' questions about works, analysis questions, Story-IDs, and others - and accept them, well, and answer them well. I'm seeing a tilt towards analysis questions at the moment, which is perfectly fine - the other questions will come in time, and analysis questions are generally higher quality. I hope that someday we'll have a cite button next to share ;)


I'm pleased to say that after half a year, I've had to do almost nothing that really requires the diamond. It's a very well behaved community we have here, and I'm happy that I'm basically only deleting comments at this stage of our site's history :).

TL;DR: We're doing great - keep it up!

  • The stats may be slightly out of date, as I wrote this over a period of a couple days. – Mithrandir Aug 1 '17 at 18:24
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – user111 Aug 2 '17 at 18:34
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Our scope is evolving very well, and the "quality" (in my opinion) of Q&As is really good.

I'm very happy with how we're doing. First of all, I was very happy when my proposal was chosen as the first topic challenge. To have a Russian science fiction novel present here was a nice feeling, and definitely indicative of the site's commitment to exploring new literature.

Another thing was the warm welcome that was received by the comics graphic novels questions. I'm not only talking about the relevant meta, but also about the questions that we received, namely Shokhet's Watchmen question, which was very thought-provoking and interesting to answer.

Overall, I think we're doing well with the quality (as far as I can judge) to quantity ratio of our questions.

We were also able, in no small part due to Hamlet's initiative, to receive an extension to our maximum tag length, which will come in handy for our title tags. Speaking of which...

We have some unresolved issues

There are some discussions where we weren't able to reach a consensus:

  • Do we want to tag questions by the titles of books (part 2)?

    Those pesky title tags. Previous round round of this debate had no winner - at the time I'm writing this anti-title anwer is at net 6, while two pro-title answers are at net 5.

    This round is similar, except now less people seem to have voted, and the votes are more stratified, going from 1 to -1 to -3. The de-facto policy seems to favour the title tags (given the opponents of the title tags have been following it as well), but it doesn't remove the need for an explicit meta consensus.

  • References on specific pieces of literature

    Sure, we've now got a custom close reason for recommendations (maybe hastily, I admit), but this post discusses a different facet of the problem, which most likely doesn't fall under the ordinary recommendation category. Votes on the answer are not enough to be called a consensus.

  • What is the purpose of the myths tag?

    Same here - I doesn't seem to me that a consensus is reached.

It is possible to see the patten, isn't it? We have people raising points about the workings of this site, we've got people addressing those points... but then the process stops. We have good (I think), thoughtful answers and proposals, but they don't have enough votes. People need to vote on meta more.


We need more users, and they have to come outside of SE network

On the other hand (and perhaps more likely), it's quite possible that the low number of votes is due to the generally low number of users. We've been working on that as well - we have a blog and a Twitter, though neither are particularly well-known right now. Though Twitter has attracted a few authors, our Tumblr blog could use more contributors (right now there's just the two of us). We don't ask for much - just short reviews of stuff you've read recently (or not recently), or any other stuff (why not?).


Controversial complaint :D

On a somewhat related note, by setting high quality standards for our questions and answers we appear to have cornered ourselves as far as the example question in our tour is concerned (though I like our guidance, proposed by Rand al'Thor). The list of possible example questions is still empty, which means we're stuck with daffodils and unicorns (ugh).

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    Nice answer. I'm not too worried about the lack of consensus on some meta questions -- with the exception of title tags, most of these issues are relatively minor. And with title tags, one of the biggest issue with the tags was that tags couldn't be more than twenty-five characters, and now that this has been resolved I have a feeling people might be more willing to support the tags. At the beginning of the site's history, we had big problems finding consensus, but this seems to have lessened now that we have more experience with the Stack model. – user111 Aug 3 '17 at 22:01
  • Re your first two paragraphs - I agree it's good that these works are accepted on the site, but I'm a little concerned that they're becoming too dominant. The comics and russian-literature tags are both among our top ten tags; we have far more questions about Russian lit than any other non-English lit (even more than French and Spanish combined), and one particular graphic novel, the-sandman, has become the new 1984 with far more questions about it than any other individual work/series tag. – Rand al'Thor Aug 19 '17 at 10:20
  • @Randal'Thor Hehehe :D To be fair, with its 50 questions [comics] barely makes up 5% of our total 1085 questions. The main problem with 1984 was that is occupied a big chunk of our front page for some time; now that we get ~3 questions per day it's not a problem, and neither is The Sandman (I don't think we've had a question about it in two weeks). It may seem that some tags are too popular, but in reality we've been getting pretty diverse questions - if we look at our new tags there are plenty new authors and new works alike. – Gallifreyan Aug 19 '17 at 10:58

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