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I noticed that at our Area 51 page, the number of questions per day is listed as 4.9. Though we aren't yet old enough that it gives us a rating, this is in the "Needs Work" category. We also need work on visits per day, answer ratio, and the number of avid users, though the last is likely to be satisfied eventually. The only category that we are up-to-par on right now is % of questions answered, and even then only barely.

However, the calculations seem strange. According to our site statistics, we've been in beta for 19 days, and generated 245 questions and 349 answers. That comes out to 12.9 questions per day (still just "Okay", but quite a bit better) and an answer ratio of 1.4 (slightly worse). It seems like there may be some weighting of more recent data stronger than older data, which could explain this discrepancy.

How are these statistics calculated? Is it weighting more recent data more strongly than older data as I suspect? If so, we might just be at a particularly bad time of the year, and hopefully traffic will pick up once the holidays are through, or it might be a sign that we need to bring in a lot more users and generate a lot more content if we want to survive.

Also, should we be worried about these low numbers at this point in time? Recently I've been spending a lot of my efforts trying to attract newcomers to the site, but if the number of questions per day is a more immediate concern, I and the other users can put a greater focus on generating more content and less on other things. If we have enough good content, new users will come on their own, but this is clearly a slower method than bringing in new users and letting them generate content.

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The Area 51 averages are calculated over the last 2 weeks. Hover over any statistic in Area 51 for details:

"4.8 questions per day on average over the past two weeks"

I wouldn't worry about it too much. The holiday season is typically painfully slow for sites in general. But you should not be dwelling or agonizing over these numbers in any case, particularly so early in your development. From here on out, that's not your job.

The task at hand is to compile a great collection of knowledge on this subject. That's about it. That means asking intriguing questions when you have them, really knocking out (and constantly improving) some great answers where you can, and to vote early and often… to encourage better answers and to recognize and motivate those who contribute their hard-earned knowledge and experience here. There's some meta governance that goes with keeping the site moving in the right direction, but that's about all there is to it.

Those Area 51 stats do not represent some sort of “report card” filled with pass/fail grades. That's not how it works. You're only concern should be to provide a great end-user experience to those who come here for help. Planning specifically how you are going to optimize those numbers usually leads to unwanted behaviors — usually to the detriment of the site. Just focus on quality, and the numbers will follow.

Have a look at the blog post below. Hopefully it will put those numbers — and how little they actually mean as an end goal — into perspective:

Does this site have a chance of succeeding?

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  • This makes a lot of sense, and alleviates some of my concern. Thank you. – Logan M Jan 1 '13 at 21:28

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