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It's been announced that this site will graduate. That's great news and it's a testament to the hard work that our community has put into maintaining quality content, especially given how this site could have turned out. Looking at the Area 51 metrics, all the numbers are pretty good. While there are still areas we could stand to improve on, none of them are serious issues. However, there is one thing that bothers me about our graduation, which is a number that's pretty easy to overlook:

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We currently have only 16 users with over 3k rep. While that's more than 3 times the "excellent" level criterion, I still think it's too low for a graduated site. It's not a problem now, because most of the important privileges are way lower than that. But once we graduate, the Close/Reopen Vote Privilege will be raised to 3k rep. That means that there will only be 16 users on the site with that privilege. Currently, by contrast, there are 73.

16 seems rather low to me. If you include the moderators (I expect we'll continue to have at least 3), that would be only 13 regular users to cast nonbinding votes. Of those 13 users, 3 haven't been seen in the past week (some longer than that). That's not a huge problem, but we can't count on them to be regularly voting on these things. So realistically, there'll be something like 10 users who can cast nonbinding close votes. We'll still need 5 votes to do anything though. So basically, except in the very obvious cases (which mods can handle on their own anyway), it will be quite difficult to close anything without a strong consensus. Practically speaking, it may just happen that mods start closing things once they get 2-3 other close votes, but I'd rather let the community handle this as much as possible and reserve moderator intervention for the exceptional cases.

It's not clear to me that the transition from 73 close voters to 16 will be a smooth one. It could create problems for us at least until we get more 3k users. I don't know how long that will be, but I expect it would at least be a few months, if not longer. It would also mean that even a single user at this level leaving the site would have a noticeable effect.

For comparison, of the 10 most recent graduated sites, only the oldest 3 had fewer than 30 users at this level when they graduated. The average was 33.8 at the time of graduation (more than twice ours), and the lowest was 23. We'd be far below any of those if we graduated today. Admittedly, we aren't graduating today, but I think we should consider this on the premise that we will graduate relatively soon, and if it turns out to take a while, then the problem may correct itself. In any case, I fully expect that eventually we'll have enough 3k users that closing/reopening question will never be something we have to worry about, but I'm not sure we're there yet.

So, with regards to this situation, here are my questions:

  1. Is this actually a problem, or am I just paranoid? It could be that we've reached a point where we don't need so many close voters, e.g. if the current high rep voters are already mostly handling it.
  2. If this is a problem, is there anything we should do about it? If so, what? The only things I can think of are requesting to delay our graduation (how long?) and voting more (how would we encourage this?).
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  • I haven't even got that much reputation. If they graduate the site, there will be no way that I will be able to do anything else on this site and it will probably take me a year just to reach 700 reputation. – Izumi-reiLuLu Mar 7 '14 at 4:58
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    @MiharuDante While this isn't directly related to the questions I was asking, the best advice I can give you for gaining rep is to answer questions in which you're an expert. Once you get a few solid answers under your belt, they tend to accumulate rep without even doing anything. It's not that hard to gain over 100 points from a single in-depth and well-referenced answer, especially for popular series. – Logan M Mar 7 '14 at 5:09
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    It's actually not that easy to get a lot of rep here. In order to answer a question, you often need to have seen the show. And then for the most part, only others who have seen the show will upvote you. Personally, I've seen over 200 shows. Once a week there will be a question on one of them. A subset of which I can answer. Of which only another subset am I able to get there first before someone beats me with what I wanted to say. – Mysticial Mar 7 '14 at 6:31
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    Personally I think our questions/day ratio is more of a concern than the amount of high repped users considering the visits/day. – Toshinou Kyouko Mar 7 '14 at 15:14
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    @ToshinouKyouko Our Q/D numbers could be improved, but I'm not convinced it's a critical issue. For comparison, we've actually been getting more questions per day right recently than Movies & TV SE, which nonetheless has 35 users at 3k rep and hasn't graduated yet. – Logan M Mar 7 '14 at 17:49
  • @MiharuDante: it's also worth noting that (most?) means of gaining rep here aren't related to the moderation privileges as well. – Maroon Mar 7 '14 at 23:28
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If this is a problem, is there anything we should do about it?

Yes. Get your house in order! And don't forget to vote!

There are enough folks with enough privileges right now to do a thorough spring cleaning. Get rid of crap, up-vote hidden gems, elevate good questions and bury mediocre ones. Start here

Those 180 users with 200+ rep? You can all vote. Up and down. This is one of the most important privileges on the site, the one that effectively controls all the rest... So use it!

If you follow this advice, by the time y'all graduate you'll have a site that doesn't require large numbers of high-rep users... But you'll have plenty of them anyway. So get to work...

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  • Excellent post. Just curious: What do you mean by, "bury the mediocre ones"? – Killua Mar 8 '14 at 16:53
  • Downvote, @eric - make sure you're ranking them lower than the exemplary ones. – Shog9 Mar 8 '14 at 17:08
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I don't think that the lack of close voters will be a problem with our current community size.

With our current amount of questions and the (what I see passing by) bad questions that need to be closed down I think we would only need about 10 people at the max until we grow some more. Most of the active close voters right now are already above the 3k rep and generally think about closing things in the same way.

That does not take away the fact that we can indeed use more close voters for the future. We don't know when a big load of people will get interested in the site, and a certain degree of bad questions will most likely follow.

How to improve upvoting:

Right now I get the feeling allot of people skip questions most likely won't know a answer to, or just skip certain post all along because they are not about a series they know anything about. This leads to well known series such as Naruto/One Piece/Bleach to receive tons of upvote's, while the less known series are left in the dust.

With this my suggestion is to draw more attention to smaller series by adding bounty's to them.

Drawing more attention to questions is hard. And I know there are allot of people out there that are just sitting around there trying to get their reputation high enough to be able to do more in the community. There for Bounty's will certainly attract a certain degree of activity in some lesser known series.

I haven't even got that much reputation. If they graduate the site, there will be no way that I will be able to do anything else on this site and it will probably take me a year just to reach 700 reputation -Miharu Dante

How are we going to do this?

Were should these bountys come from ? I would suggest high rep users. Or if possible through the Community user. Right now we got the community user bumping a post once in a while for more attention. Is it not a option to let the community user put a bounty on certain questions as well?

So my final conclusion: Right now it is no problem, but we should improve our voting through bounty's to prevent it from becoming a problem.

I am open for discussion on this topic as well, so feel free to comment on this or mention me in the chat and ill pop in there.

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