Until recently, there's been a some concern about the quantity of questions and users. Sites sometimes get quiet...too quiet. But I'd like to propose that we need to shift to focusing on quality, even if it hurts our traffic:

Hermeneutics vs. Christianity vs. Judaism vs. Islam

It's hard to see, but the Christianity.SE line passed the Mi Yodeya line this summer and isn't looking back. As a community, we are now the size of Helena, Montana1. We are within spitting distance of gradutatin' and are nearing the end of a long beta.

Now what? Going forward, what can we do to make quality, not quantity, Job #1?


Footnotes:

  1. Or, less impressively, Cobija, Bolivia.2

  2. I was there!

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lol I have that EP :) –  wax eagle Sep 22 '12 at 0:38
    
Job 7 - is not man's life a drudgery? –  Peter Turner Sep 22 '12 at 3:18
    
Sounds like you want to implement a quota. –  Jim G. Sep 24 '12 at 22:05
    
@Jim G.: Not really. If we ended up with few questions per day, but 100% good questions, I would take that trade in an instant. If you look around at other Christianity sites encourage user-generated content, I'll get an idea of what I'm hoping to avoid. This is a special place and it will stay that way only if we work on quality. –  Jon Ericson Sep 24 '12 at 22:38
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2 Answers

Well, we need to be more critical, for one thing. Our self-evaluations show that we have reversed the trend, are asking more focused questions, and providing more support for our answers. We've developed some good habits and we have wonderful people in place to guide us into the future. However, we now facing a situation where we don't ask most of the questions. Rather, it will be folks who have no idea what Stack Exchange is or what our community is all about.

New users, rather then veterans, will be asking more of our questions. That means, we need to shut down bad questions, even if that seems mean at times. Maybe it would help to think of it this way: bad questions diverts everyone from the good questions. We want people to work on the good questions, not the bad ones.

One way to find things that need to be cleaned up is to use the fancy new Community Review Dashboard. There are badges and leader boards and it's actually kinda fun.

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I ask that we consider the difference between a bad question (one that shows little effort on the part of the author) and a question which "seems" bad but is a question that many people have about Christianity. After all, this is a place to ask questions about Christianity, no? However you may disagree, a question like "Do the big three monotheistic religions worship the same God" IMHO is valid since it's a question that many people have and would like to understand the orthodox viewpoint. –  user1054 Sep 22 '12 at 12:20
    
@Dan, couldn't you ask something like, do [Catholics|Lutherans|Mormons...] believe that Jews and Muslims worship the same God as them? I could give you evidence that we do then. But, Jews and Muslims have splinter groups just like Christianity and comparative religion is not the topic, so it's just too much to cover (at least not without being paid to cover it). –  Peter Turner Sep 22 '12 at 15:21
    
@PeterTurner Thanks for the tip. Maybe I'll revise that question and see what happens. However you know that question is going to be asked again. So deleting it only spawns the repeat event. –  user1054 Sep 23 '12 at 2:09
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Enforce the FAQ

Our guideline for on- and off-topic questions really could help us if enforced:

However, there are questions that are not constructive for the format of this site. These include questions asking for:

  • a survey of all Christian views on a particular subject
  • what the Bible says about a subject (unless you specify a doctrine/tradition)
  • advice on how to handle certain situations (pastoral advice questions)
  • whether some group or person is "Christian"

I think we've gotten past the final item—it was probably more of an issue when we were establishing ourselves as a community. But I see the other three pop up all the time. In order to illustrate the problem, I'm going look through our current front page for examples of each type. I'm not trying to pick on anyone, but I do want to bring the issue to light.

Survey questions

Bible trivia

That's plenty, so I won't link any more in this category.

Pastoral advice

My guess is that these are generally identified and closed quickly. The two above are teetering near the line. I provided the last VtoC on the preacher question. Perhaps this category should be a model for how to:

Fix them

I don't buy the Broken Window Theory, but if the FAQ is violated often on the front page, it will become irrelevant. Many of the questions above can be fixed with some editing. Some of them (the "Bible Trivia" ones in particular) could be migrated to Biblical Hermeneutics, where they would be on-topic and welcomed. But a few are not worth entertaining on any Q&A site. Those really should be closed and, eventually, deleted.

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I completely concur with survey questions, pastoral advice, and "whether or not X is a Christian" being totally off-topic - but I'm a little bit surprised about "Bible Trivia." The slave vs. servant question, in particular, is a biggie for John Macarthur. I could take or leave some of the questions, but I kinda think they do belong here (or on BH!). People reading the Bible have all sorts of off-the-wall interpretations. I'd rather an outlet where (a)people can can ask them them and (b)scholars can at least see what confuses people. –  Affable Geek Sep 24 '12 at 20:10
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@Affable Geek: Bible Trivia on this site can become a great question on BH. My preference is to move many of those over to the other site. I like the slave/servant question, but I'd like it better if it either: a) specified a particular framework for interpretation (such as John MacArthur's) or b) were migrated to BH where we are more focused on treating translation issues. –  Jon Ericson Sep 24 '12 at 20:20
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