There have been some questions similar to:

that aren't about productivity. These questions do show up and it might be interesting to understand why they show up and how we can deal with this leak in people entering our site. There are always going to be these kinds of questions, but I think some of those early in the mid of beta aren't a good sign.

Our site name is personal productivity, our intended public is people wanting to improve their personal productivity as stated by the FAQ. Some people might take the word personal to literal, others might find the description to vague and try a question anyway. I've asked Robert via a comment to try to put up our first draft FAQ, which might work out.

But what if it were the site name itself? Or wouldn't an on/off-topic fit the bill? Is the amount of such questions natural or are we somehow attracting the wrong people? What are your thoughts on this?

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I agree with Vic that varying definition of PP will cause sketchy questions to get asked, but I think the bigger problem is that there isn't a significant body of current questions on the front page that makes it immediately obvious to new people what types of questions are asked here and what the culture is.

For example, upon visiting SciFi.SE or Boardgames.SE for the first time (even though these are low-traffic sites by trilogy standards), it was pretty clear what types of questions are getting asked there, what types of questions get lots of up-votes and answers, etc.

Here, there not many questions, and the ones that exist don't have a lot of votes.

An obvious problem is traffic, but I think the root cause is deeper. Good content will bring people, so I see low traffic as a symptom not a disease. The real problem is that it's hard to think of good personal productivity-related questions. Perhaps the difficulty is endemic to the topic--as I've heard encapsulated in joking form several times:

it's ironic to think about people spending a lot of time at a site about how to be productive

And in fact we're finding that people don't, so perhaps in that sense the low traffic and question rate means that lots of folks who find productivity.SE already have their stuff pretty well settled and don't need to hang out here much. Sadly, this is a problem that I don't know how to solve.

So absent some revelation I think the best thing we can do is to remain vigilant about closing bad or off-topic questions, help new users to write good questions, evangelize the site via any means possible, and ask questions ourselves as often as possible.

Interpreted otherwise, you can't just ask a question on our site, it really has to be about a productivity problem in order to succeed. We are specifically looking for productivity problems, and I guess those alone are hard to find. I hope that we can expand our scope one day to something like life problems, or at least something in between. – Tom Wijsman Dec 12 '11 at 15:18
@Tom That's a good way to think about it. People have new an interesting programming questions all the time. Life creates those without asking. But a well-functioning personal productivity system/work-flow, etc. probably doesn't need frequent tuning that is so intractable that it requires outside support. Perhaps time will tell if volume alone is all that's required to get a steady stream of excellent questions, but I do worry about that being a chicken and the egg type of problem. – Adam Wuerl Dec 12 '11 at 16:17

I think it's natural because people have varying notions of what constitutes personal productivity. Ours is very solid, I think, being about tools and methods that.. well, increase productivity in a personal context. But people less familiar with these methods and discussions around them might think a variety of off-topic things fit the bill of this SE, like word processors and overall text in a computer, like the question you mentioned. Definitely off-topic, maybe it should be on SuperUser?

So given this lack of understanding by a good part of the population of just what exactly is discussed by personal productivity enthusiasts, I don't think there's much to do. Name change? Except for if merges happen (like with PD), I think the name's as good as can be.

Maybe a tagline / motto could help? For those that don't click through to the FAQ. – Tom Wijsman Nov 20 '11 at 15:52
Maybe it could indeed. How should we go about brainstorming and discussing it? Should probably have it's own question. – Vic Goldfeld Nov 20 '11 at 15:57
It's already there, but hasn't received enough attention I think. – Tom Wijsman Nov 20 '11 at 16:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .