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The rate of visitation of Politics SE seems to be fairly low, as is to be expected with a new stack. It seems that there are a few community members who account for almost all of the traffic, with a few other "drive by" questioners, who ask one question, and often never hang around or revisit to see if there is an answer.

This has several consequences:

  1. We're not really generating a variety of content that will draw in traffic.
  2. Only a narrow type of questions are getting asked and answered, which reinforces the narrowness of Politics.SE
  3. There are few opportunities for newer community members to answer questions, or participate in other forms of community development.

One tactic I have been considering is asking questions which, in all likelihood, I could find out the answer to with a little Google-fu because politics is my day job and I already have a pretty good understanding of the issues, not because the question is trivial, or in some cases already have an answer in mind. If the question isn't answered in, say 14 days, I might even answer it myself, just to increase content, but let others answer to give them opportunities to contribute to the community. With a topic as broad as politics, there are hundreds of thousands of simple questions which are not available here, and which could make good SE Q&As, but waiting for those things to arise organically may allow the Stack to die on the vine.

Would this be helpful or unhelpful? Is there some norm on SE against this?

  • my 2 cents: (too lazy to find Meta references, so just a comment): Posting questions you know the asnwer to (and even answering them) is explicitly encouraged by SE. Posting trivially googleable easy questions on the other hand is a bad idea as it brings the quality of the site down and repels experts even more than not having many questions would. – user4012 May 20 '16 at 18:31
  • Good to know. I'll update the question to clarify that I am not talking about trivially googleable questions, but rather things which my existing expertise makes relatively easy to find, because I already know most of the info (i.e. I know which scholars work on these issues, or what databases have the answers.). Exactly the type of questions I would expect to find answers to in SE. – The Pompitous of Love May 20 '16 at 19:36
  • Sadly, Politics.SE is actually pretty old. The first meta question (presumably from the closed beta) dates from 12/2012. Three and a half years later, it's still not a jumping place. – Bobson May 26 '16 at 21:07
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Asking questions that you already know the answer is sometimes viewed as cheating. Be careful about that. Asking questions where you could find the answer with more difficulty than a single internet search is generally okay. You will often write better questions if you actually want the answer.

Note that some people already find the site overly US-centric (may already be obvious to you). You may want to concentrate on questions with more general applicability. For example, questions on political theory rather than practice. Or on upcoming elections in other areas.

My advice would be to try to hold yourself to higher standards on these kinds of questions. Quick two-sentence questions don't really work for this. Substantial questions that encourage people to learn more in order to answer them do.

  • I would like to point out that "is sometimes viewed" means "... by some people not familiar with SE policies or ideas". E.g., while you may encounter that attitude, the people holding that attitude are in the wrong, not the poster. – user4012 May 24 '16 at 19:32
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I personally find that -- as someone who used to be very interested in the nitty-gritty of politics but has lapsed a little of late -- many of the questions require the sort of research I don't know how to do. I might suggest we begin posting questions which we could quite easily research ourselves, but do not actually know the answer to yet, then do the research if we have to?

Also, perhaps a Community Wiki on methods of political research would be useful?

(I'm aware some of my questions aren't exactly easily answerable in themselves).

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