How should we behave and what behaviour should we encourage during beta specifically in order to make our site successful?


I have never before (knowingly) participated in a beta, but this is what I have heard:

  • Vote often & smart
    Apparently only relatively feq users have voted significantly often so far. We need to seed reputation so we have members with moderation privileges soon. Also, heavy voting encourages new members to participate and demonstrates that people care.
    Of course, we should vote honestly, i.e. upvote good contributions and downvote clearly unuseful ones. This also serves to define our scope and comfort zones further. We should also take extra care to explain downvotes for the same reasons.
  • Ask questions
    We have lots of (good) answers, but we need to keep good questions coming. I have not idea how to make myself produce good questions, but well.
    Remember to come back and accept (one of) the best answer(s).
  • Edit to improve
    It will be a while until most people know their way around the system (in particular Markdown and LaTeX) and we have a good idea how to tag questions. Therefore I expect we will have to edit a lot in the beginning, and everybody should participate to their best knowledge.
  • Answer Questions
    This should be obvious but needs to be said.
  • Accept the (or a) best answer
    This has to be done for many of the questions we have so far!
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I don't know if “vote like crazy” is that important during the private beta; it tends to create questions with a disproportionate number of votes. That said, if nobody gets the Suffrage badge today, we're doing it wrong. $\endgroup$ – Gilles Mar 7 '12 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ I see two easy ways to ask good questions here. One is to post exercices from a textbook, but many textbook questions are of limited interest and are best left to be asked organically. A way to seed the site with non-research-level yet interesting questions, even if you're a researcher, is to ask questions well outside your domain of expertise. $\endgroup$ – Gilles Mar 7 '12 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for @Gilles' comment. To encourage users to vote like crazy is like asking them to vote blindly, especially on topics they're not familiar with. I'd say 'vote responsibly' instead. $\endgroup$ – Janoma Mar 8 '12 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ I thought I covered that with "Of course, we should vote honestly.". Trying to clarify. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Mar 8 '12 at 20:28
  • $\begingroup$ True, but I still wouldn't ask people to vote like crazy if this will be interpreted as vote everywhere. $\endgroup$ – Janoma Mar 8 '12 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ I changed the bold phrase. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Mar 8 '12 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ what's weird is that theory-ish questions are dominating the site: it seems to indicate that more publicity is needed to expand the audience ? or is it just a function of the private beta being populated by committers who came via math and cstheory ? $\endgroup$ – Suresh Mar 9 '12 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Suresh I think both can be true. Naturally, if the most active users now are theoretically inclined people, they will naturally attract the same with higher probability. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Mar 9 '12 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ What about seeding questions? (i.e. you might know the answers already and still you ask them). $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Mar 9 '12 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Aryabhata Is a possibility. Would you answer a question you have seeded yourself? $\endgroup$ – Raphael Mar 10 '12 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Raphael: If no one is forthcoming with an answer after say 3-4 days, I would. $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Mar 10 '12 at 0:39

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