Elsequestion it was said:
Guess what: if your site is full of crappy questions, your site sucks - even if they're not highly-ranked by your own users, folks are finding them via Google, and that's where the vast majority of your readers are coming from. You can work to fix that - as painful as that process is - or you can bury your head in the sand and blame it on all of those stupid people from elsewhere. If you think "hot" questions are a serious problem for your site's quality, then you're already ignoring a much bigger problem. Blaming someone else is easy and fun for the whole family - but it doesn't fix anything.
This struck me as a bit odd and I'd really like to see some numbers to back it up, that the active community on the site is the one pushing the questions that are popular and being raised as issues as to why hot questions are problematic.
It's one thing if it's the core group on the site that is pushing these questions into troublesome popularity, it's quite another if it's people who are less involved in the community and the core group lacks the ability to keep it from growing too popular.
It would be really nice to get a "how many of the up votes came from people who hit the question via a hot question rather than from google". I am not sure the problem is folks finding them from Google... and without the ability to find the questions that are outliers from anonymous and low rep feedback (typically from Google?) it becomes difficult to identify the question people are finding from the Google that should be protected.
I would like to see some stats that are broken down by:
- Answers given (i.e. out of "20 votes, 15 of them were from people who have answered 0 questions")
- Days active out of the last 100 days
For the following questions that are ones that are currently or have been outlierly popular:
- SuperUser: How are pseudorandom and truly random numbers different and why does it matter?
- Workplace: What is a 'friendly' way to let managers know that having good developers is a privilege?
- Programmers: How has an increase in the complexity of systems affected successive generations of programmers?
- SciFi: Would the One Ring even work for anyone but Sauron?
- English: Is there a non-sexual phrase for sleeping with someone?
- StackOverflow: Why is “except: pass” a bad programming practice?
(I'm trying to get a sampling of sites where I recall the question being 'hot' and relatively recent so the data is 'fresh')
To an extent what needs to be distinguished and identified is "does the core group within the site have the tools / ability to be able to clean its site up or protect itself from the added popularity these questions bring?". I hope that the numbers from the above could give some added data and insight into this. Do we need to protect things faster? Would The association bonus should not enable users to vote on every site help reduce the extreme scores?
For context on the core group, please read A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy by Clay Shirky. In particular pay attention to "Three Things to Accept" #2 and #3, and "Four Things to Design For" #3.
Members are different than users. A pattern will arise in which there is some group of users that cares more than average about the integrity and success of the group as a whole. And that becomes your core group...
The core group has rights that trump individual rights in some situations... you can see examples of how bad an idea voting is when citizenship is the same as ability to log in.
...you need barriers to participation. This is one of the things that killed Usenet. You have to have some cost to either join or participate... Now, this pulls against the cardinal virtue of ease of use. But ease of use is wrong. Ease of use is the wrong way to look at the situation, because you've got the Necker cube flipped in the wrong direction. The user of social software is the group, not the individual.