I was just posting a question to Server Fault and I noticed that activity is reasonably light there. I expected there to be far less activity than Stack Overflow as it hasn't been around as long, but it seemed a little too quiet still for its age.

That got me wondering if Server Fault and, to a lesser extent considering it's youth, Super User had similar uptake acceleration to Stack Overflow or whether usage had plateaued, stalled, or even started declining. Are there any stats on this and if it is that one of the sites is struggling to gain momentum, what could be done to give them a healthy push?

  • You have to consider what belongs on those sites; you definitely can't expect them to have similar traffic. Programming has a much wider following than things sysadmin related, and most sysadmins get their start from programming. How many people wake up in the morning and go "Gee, today I want learn how to set up a linux server" without already knowing how to program in at least one language? – Ian Elliott Jul 27 '09 at 14:10
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    Coincidentally, I know more people who can get up a linux server who can't program than those who setup a linux server AND program. – TheTXI Jul 27 '09 at 14:14
  • I think there is some misunderstanding. I don't expect the sites to be equally popular, which is why I chose the metric of uptake acceleration, which does not imply the same level of popularity, just the same rate of increase (5% of 10 is not the same as 5% of 100). – Jeff Yates Aug 23 '09 at 20:57

Hard to compare apples to apples, since Server Fault is a fundamentally smaller audience -- but it's a focused one. Example and Challenge: find the Joel Spolsky of the sysadmin world.

I expect Super User to grow much more rapidly, since the subject matter is less niche. Everyone's a computer "expert", in their own mind, at least.. :)

  • I agree that you can't compare the number of users but the rate of growth should be a reasonable indicator, right? Like what percentage increase there is. I'm very interested in how we could encourage uptake - if we could. – Jeff Yates Jul 27 '09 at 14:19

I don't have any stats personally, but I can say that just by looking at the question amount on SuperUser vs. ServerFault (SF = 9273, SU = 2478) that SuperUser is going to grow in much much faster terms than ServerFault. I am not sure if it will be able to maintain its "speed" so that it would ever catch up with StackOverflow, but the broad subject matter and general user populace that it could attract should prove to be a very potent "fuel" which would prevent it from necessarily stalling out.

  • Yes, Super User (even in concept alone) would appear to have a greater uptake and growth rate. I don't expect either site to catch up with SO - I was more considering the growth rate and what we could do to encourage uptake on the other sites, if we could. – Jeff Yates Jul 27 '09 at 14:16

Some of my ideas, I realize they will never be used but I will post them anyways.

  1. Link to serverfault and superuser in the header section of all 3 sites so they seem more connected
  2. In the search box for all the sites, have a dropdown, where you can pick which site/DB to search
  3. Use a single login for all 3 sites

If that were to ever happen, then each of the 3 sites would then be more like a category to each other, they could still retain there seperate URLs but still appear to be networked together much better then they currently are.

Thats my .02 cents

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