Update as of May 26th:

We need more users and more questions. But there's no lack of competence, after all, 99% of all questions have a answer and we have a answer ratio of 3.0. But we only have 5.4 questions per day when we need 15 and we have 750/day visitors when we need 1500/day.

So my idea is that we set up some type of competition (IT Security related) awarding rep or something similar. Maybe have a weekly question that we have a high award on this question can be everything from what is wrong in this security model to a old unanswered question to.

Please post your suggestions!

Today we have 100% closed questions; it's sad :(

Edit!

Stats of how the site is doing can be found @ Area51. You can also find stats of all sites at StackExchange - All Sites.

Current lists:


Suggestions to improve quality:

  • Keep on creating great content!
  • Help new user review. And be nice to them so they stay! (learn from AviD's comments, its never too late to be a little nice!)
  • Vote! Why? Read the blog
  • Chat! It's always fun to talk to like minded people The DMZ is open for everyone and if you have 20 rep you can also write in it!
  • Recruit the pro's! (Read about how on the blog)
  • Share this site! use the social bookmarks!!!

Promotion suggestions:

  1. Contests. What type of contests you'd like to see? suggestions:
  2. Sponsor user to conferences. Read more
  3. Give away licence for software for getting x questions, or y links viewed. suggested licences:
    • Burp Suite
  4. Try to get a reciprocal deal with some book vendors, in which highly-rated users get to pick books which they are willing to review at some suitable site (presumably not here).
  5. Enabling original research.
    • assuming delivery can be done quickly, a "hot" product (i.e. one in the news, having an incident) gets sent to someone who is willing to do the research on it, and come up with the definitive information. ie. send an iphone / PS to someone who will do the detailed research and find out the actual situation, instead of relying on FUD. Still limited to specific niches, but could work.
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In addition to the comments below, @AviD, @Graham and I have followed discussions on meta.so and the Teacher's Lounge to get ideas and to make sure we are doing the 'right things' - but I think everything that we come up with is right. Awareness is all about doing more of everything:-) We are doing okay though - follow the stats (although it would be good to have a proper graph app so we can visualise turning points...hint...hint) –  Rory Alsop May 3 '11 at 11:38
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7 Answers 7

As per Robert's answer regarding competitions, have a look at this one over on Gaming meta. We don't have exactly the same environment (high profile game releases which SE can send to individuals on release date so they can get some Q&A in on the critical first 2 weeks of a game) so we need to think a little differently.

  • I think we have already shown there is a value proposition around sponsoring individuals to the relevant conferences. So keeping on doing that works, in my view.

In the DMZ we have discussed some other options

Rewards for getting x questions, or y links viewed (in addition to your badges - announcer, publicist etc):

  • Licence for software, eg Burp Suite

But what could work here is enabling original research and information in response to an incident (which is how the big media activity happens in the security field)

  • assuming delivery can be done quickly, a "hot" product (i.e. one in the news, having an incident) gets sent to someone who is willing to do the research on it, and come up with the definitive information.
    ie. send an iphone / PS to someone who will do the detailed research and find out the actual situation, instead of relying on FUD. Still limited to specific niches, but could work.

Can you think of other ideas in any of the 3 category types described?

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+1 for quoting me ;) –  AviD May 4 '11 at 8:32
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Excellent question! A few stats:

(bear in mind it's been 167 days, and we often let betas go on indefinitely if they are producing great content. Quality is, as they say, Job One.)

Also refer to Robert's post here:

http://meta.writers.stackexchange.com/questions/221/what-happens-now

But if that's TL;DR, in general help us grow your site!

  1. Share great questions and answers
    http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/announcer-booster-and-publicist-badges/

  2. Vote, vote, vote
    http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/10/vote-early-vote-often/
    http://security.stackexchange.com/users?tab=voters

  3. Love and reward your new users for being awesome!
    http://security.stackexchange.com/review
    http://security.stackexchange.com/users

  4. Try to attract experts to the site by helping them get answers, too:
    http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/04/helping-the-experts-get-answers/

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So your suggestion is to just use the usual techniques to spread something over the internet. And be active and vote a lot. –  KilledKenny Apr 28 '11 at 14:57
    
@WZeberaFFS - the actions which seem to have the best bang for buck for us so far have been tweeting/posting questions related to conferences etc with high volumes of online discussion. For example the 2 BSides conferences and Infosec had a frenzy of tweets, and if we insert into that and even get a fraction of a percent, it makes an immediate difference. See how fast our Q per day went from 4.2 to 6.2 over the last month –  Rory Alsop May 3 '11 at 11:34
    
stats are looking good, and I see the RPG site is about to go live with stats not too different from ours. Any thoughts on how we look from an SE team perspective? –  Rory Alsop May 26 '11 at 8:12
    
@rory incredibly handsome, as always! :) We have a number of potential launches in the queue first, so I'd say just keep doing what you're doing -- given high quality core Q&A, everything else follows naturally over time. –  Jeff Atwood May 26 '11 at 8:16
    
:-) cheers! –  Rory Alsop May 26 '11 at 12:07
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Following up on Jeff's answer:

Reminding everyone (whether it is by contest or something else) to keep using the site and asking questions is a great way to keep everyone in the habit returning again and again and using this site in their day-to-day work.

Community Promotion Contests

I am compiling ideas for contest of this nature. It will be a bit of a "playbook" of community promotion contests to keep the site energized and help it grow. I'd love to hear some suggestions from the community about what type of contests you'd like to see. We have resources to support this sort of thing. Whether it is some sort of funding or back-end development or database support, post your ideas here!

Promoting more quality questions is a strong step in the right direction; You need those questions to bring in new users. But don't wait on us. You already have a source of high-quality questions here! The real effort that is going to promote healthy, organic growth on this site is using those questions to attract more users.

We find that highlighting your most intriguing questions is the best way to bring new users to this site. Those social bookmarking tools (Facebook, Twitter) are invaluable to highlighting your most intriguing questions and bringing new and interested users into this site.

So a few things: keep the quality high; That is the most important goal at this stage. And use those social bookmarks!

Social Bookmarks

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Jumping on the recent spate of national 'cyber' competitions, the site could partner with one such organisation to provide a platform for discussion of their challenges (solutions, etc.).

For example, Cyber Security Challenge and US Cyber Challenge.

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I suggest trying to figure out some sort of reciprocal deal with some book vendors, in which highly-rated users get to pick books which they are willing to review at some suitable site (presumably not here). The book vendor gets exposure and a knowledgeable review, and the user gets a book.

I've been in several computer-related user groups which had deals sort of like this. The vendors regularly sent free books to those groups at which users regularly sent in reviews. Even simple reviews seemed to be appreciated.

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wondering about this one... we aren't a review site, but there must be some way to work something around new security books. –  Rory Alsop May 9 '11 at 10:40
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T-Shirts! We need em, I'd buy em to give em away. People love that kind of stuff. Giving them away for achieving certain goals would also be a great idea. It serves the double purpose of giving a geek something he wants, and getting the idea out there. A badge holder/clip would also be well accepted, and give people a reminder whenever they badge through a door.

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Good idea, get @Thomas his 10K tshirt! –  AviD Jun 10 '11 at 7:19
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Currently (mid 2011) Area 51 shows two areas for improvement: questions per day, and visits per day.

Questions per day

There is an easy fix for this, get core users to contribute questions. Currently Area 51 reports 170+ users with 200+ rep. If core users contributed a question every 14 days that would add an average of about 12 questions per day. Contributing a high quality question every two weeks is not too burdensome. It could be done informally or formally. Informally, an awareness campaign to the core users to contribute. Formally, a site mechanism to indicate days since a user asked a question, and or gentle reminders to contribute questions.

Visits per day

How about reaching out to academia? I don't know if anyone here has connections to a school or university, but those studying Computer Science, Engineering, Information technology, have lots of questions to ask and need resources to improve their knowledge and understanding.

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