10

We're getting to the point in the beta where we should start trying to actively promote ourselves. Most of this is not so much a question as an informational post to let people know what methods other sites have found effective, but the last couple bullets are much more open-ended and feedback/ideas would be great. If you're uninterested in the general SE beta background stuff, skip down to that list


Each SE site is evaluated at the end of the beta -- for us, that's in 65 days. So far no sites have gotten to the end of the beta yet, so we're not sure exactly what that will entail, but it's important for us to get as many active users as we can, posting as many high quality questions/answers as possible.

Here are the current question/answer stats for all the SE sites in public beta:

Chart from Google Charts http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?chxl=1:|web|game|pro|food|dev|gad|photo|stat|math|home|geo|tex|ubu|money|eng|ui|unix|word|cs|apple|role|bike&chxr=0,0,6200|1,0,95&chxs=1,676767,8,0,l,676767&chxt=y,x&chbh=a&chs=600x200&cht=bvs&chco=A2C180,3D7930&chds=0,6200,0,6195&chd=t:1787,2020,653,1424,667,577,641,566,1019,448,417,717,947,922,590,211,382,375,251,310,375,169|2599,2547,1401,3657,2129,496,1737,1165,1769,709,861,1251,1632,1359,1278,845,798,581,433,520,1477,362&chdl=Questions|Answers&chtt=SE+Posts+by+Site

Naturally the older sites have a bit of an advantage; accounting for number of days in beta it looks like this:

Chart from Google Charts http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?chxl=1:|web|game|pro|food|dev|gad|photo|stat|math|home|geo|tex|ubu|money|eng|ui|unix|word|cs|apple|role|bike&chxr=0,0,120|1,0,95&chxs=1,676767,8,0,l,676767&chxt=y,x&chbh=a&chs=600x200&cht=bvs&chco=A2C180,3D7930&chds=0,120,0,120&chd=t:27,34,11,24,12,11,12,12,22,9,9,17,24,29,19,8,15,15,13,17,23,16|39,43,24,64,40,9,34,24,38,15,19,31,42,43,42,32,31,24,22,28,92,36&chdl=Questions|Answers&chtt=SE+Posts+by+Site+(normalized)

The average is 17 questions and 53 answers per day; we're just under that at 15 questions and 47 answers per day, which isn't bad at all. We're also doing well on users (total, normalized), all without having put much effort into promotion yet, so that's fairly encouraging


A post on the SO blog, A Recipe to Promote your Site, has a couple good ideas:

  • Let people know the site exists. There's a handy social networking box on the right side of the site:

    Screenshot of the social networking box

  • Post great questions and answers. We don't need to bribe people to stay on the site; if it's a great site they'll want to stay automatically. Great posts are also automatically featured on the trilogy sites (SO, SU, SF), in ads like this:

    Screenshot of a web apps ad

  • Take the great questions and especially answers you find and share them. Telling people "There's a Unix/Linux Q&A site" isn't nearly as effective as "There's a Unix/Linux Q&A site, and here are some of the awesome posts on it". There are buttons next to each question to share them on Facebook and Twitter:

    Screenshot of the buttons

    Don't forget to share great answers as well; they're probably more useful than questions when it comes to getting people interested in the site.

  • Think about events we can sponsor, conferences we can promote at, well-known names in the *nix community that are likely to be interested in the site and share it, etc. This one is much more open-ended and site-specific than the others, so feel free to post answers if you have specific ideas

  • Show your flair. There's a link on your profile to your "flair", which shows your current reputation on the site:

    My flair http://mrozekma.com/so-flair.php?site=unix

    I think tech-people are more susceptible than anyone when it comes to the need to amass large quantities of points, experience, reputation, etc.

  • ???. Are there any methods specific to a Unix/Linux site that would work well? Post them as answers here so we can discuss them

  • Is there any way you could update this with more recent numbers? I get the impression that questions have been slowing down significantly. – Steven D Sep 26 '10 at 16:46
  • 1
    @Steven I posted an alarming number of graphs on a new meta post – Michael Mrozek Sep 27 '10 at 0:15
  • That link seems to be broken. I'll search around for the post. – Steven D Sep 27 '10 at 5:44
  • @Steven It is temporarily, sorry; I forgot I'd commented here. I included some analytics information about our progress over time, and there was a question amongst the SE mods if I was allowed to release it, so I deleted the post temporarily. I'm waiting for feedback from the SO team, but I'm fairly confident it'll be fine, so I'll undelete it tomorrow once I hear back from them – Michael Mrozek Sep 27 '10 at 8:53
  • @Steven It turns out we're not supposed to release the analytics information yet, but I posted updated comparison graphs here. Sorry for the delay – Michael Mrozek Sep 29 '10 at 18:50
4

One thing I have just started doing is periodically mentioning SE on identi.ca. For those that don't know, identi.ca is a Free Software alternative to twitter. It supports "groups" and "tags." When I mentioned SE in the past, I've been sending the posts to the !linux (! is the group symbol on identica) group; however, we might also consider the !gnu group and the !unix group. Most of the people using identi.ca are free software enthusiasts so there are many people there that could make really great contributions here. However, people get easily upset over "group spam" so make sure what you post is really interesting and that you don't post too often.

3

I updated my Gentoo Forums profile signature to include a link to Unix SE. I stopped using it a while ago, but my name probably still comes up in a lot of threads, considering I had veteran status there. I also added a link to my blog.

2

When there is an unanswered question on SE, don't hesitate to poke someone on your irc channel to come help out saying "Here's an interesting question in your area of expertise, that you might be able to answer; Wanna give it a go?".

0

In Unix land, usenet is still pretty strong as well as its use is declining. However I fear directly promoting the site in appropriate newsgroups would be considered rude there. Any ideas?

  • I think the "Take the great questions and especially answers you find and share them" works well. Posting "Check out this website" is probably considered rude, but "Check out this really interesting question" isn't (and you get a badge, so that's fun). The same applies to Twitter, Reddit, etc.; links to specific questions are highly effective – Michael Mrozek Sep 30 '10 at 15:46
0

When someone asks a question on the mailing lists/forums/irc channels you frequent, give them a link saying "this might help".

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