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This is intended to be 'neutral'- not implying that the answer is 'yes it would', or 'no it wouldn't' - just asking the question.


Music Fans doesn't currently seem to be functioning very well, and hasn't been for some time. The active community of subject experts on the main site doesn't seem well-matched to the number and type of questions being asked, and the meta community in here is very quiet.

Sites like movies and sci-fi indicate the possibility of successful arts appreciation sites on SE; maybe a site along the lines of music fans could be doing a lot better?

Could a closure and reopening (via the Area 51 process) allow the remaining user base here to use their collective experience to try again? Apparently, the Literature site has undergone just such a relaunch.

If no, what will fix the current problems? Just patience and time?

If yes, how might the site be scoped differently to create a better-balanced site in the future?

Answers and comments on this SE meta question have some suggestions for what could be done with existing high-quality content.

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    Why would someone downvote this question? Our community suffers enough of trolls downvoting almost every question and discouraging new members, there is no need to discourage people on meta. – Bebs May 2 '18 at 14:17
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    How Area51 works has just been changed: area51.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/27938/… – Dom May 10 '18 at 14:11
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    It's not good when one of the moderators doesn't even visit the site anymore. – pacoverflow May 14 '18 at 20:40
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One word: Quality

This site currently has a huge quality problem that no one wants to address and we've at multiple points of the site have chosen quantity over quality. The results is what is currently here. Whether we start over or continue, quality needs to be addressed.

If we decide to start over, the quality of questions we accept will not make it out of the definition phase. If we continue as a site, we'll fill up the site with low quality questions since we don't have any kind of standard for questions and it's only going to get worse with time.

In the private beta we had much higher standers than we do now, even before considering the ID questions now that make up a majority of the site's new questions and it worked. The only reason we changed it was due to not that many questions coming in over time which is expected of new SEs. Right now we have a lot of questions, but an almost zero retention rate of new members. They get there question answered and leave forever because we only draw one off questions. It's these questions along with the lack of actually letting question that deserve good answers quietly get a bad answer upvoted.

It takes time and effort to get and keep a community, just allowing anything turns away experts who would participate if it weren't for all the low quality noise.


tl;dr; Fix the quality and we'll have a site. Keep the quality the way it is and we'll keep having a ghost town or no site if we reboot.

  • My recollection - possibly wrongly - is that we were (as you say) stricter at the start, but participation fell off sharply anyway, and continued to fall for so long that it didn't seem likely that keeping the rules as they were would cause that trend to reverse. Of course that may have been the wrong decision... – topo Reinstate Monica May 3 '18 at 16:45
  • but it seems to me that on a 'music fans' site do need a reasonable baseline number of active participants, because music 'fandom' is such a wide topic that a small base of experts isn't going to be able to cover everything well - and perhaps that's specially true the higher we raise the quality bar. – topo Reinstate Monica May 3 '18 at 16:46
  • @topomorto Participation was fine, the number of questions per day way not. We had a QPD of under 1, now are QPD is just under 2, but we have less participation. – Dom May 3 '18 at 16:51
  • By participation I primarily mean quality posts being made (not just visits), so I'd generally equate low QPD with low participation. There was definitely a time around when this meta post was made that the rules basically remained in place, and yet very little activity was going on. – topo Reinstate Monica May 3 '18 at 17:04
  • @topomorto again that was due to a lack of incoming questions not participation. – Dom May 3 '18 at 17:07
  • Steering away from the word 'participation' then (which we seem to understand slightly differently), what kinds of activity were going on at a reasonable level at that time, if not questions? – topo Reinstate Monica May 3 '18 at 18:04
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    @topomorto voting, answers, meta participation, and chat participation. QPD while being important, can be low on a starting SE. Even music SE right now is under the 10 QPD metric. Right now even though our there are more questions per day, there's less people trying to take care of them. – Dom May 3 '18 at 18:23
  • Yes, you need a balance between questions being asked, people answering the questions, people interested in those questions and answers, and whatever the on-topic scope of the site is deemed to be. IIRC the concern shown in that meta post was partly because that balance already seemed to be getting a bit out of kilter - but I'm sure everyone's perception was/is different. – topo Reinstate Monica May 3 '18 at 22:59
  • @topomorto the concern was solely QPD because we had a lot of participation back then, musicfans.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/203/…, there were a total of 12 votes on this question within a year and many other on the the answers 3 original answers. Now we have 3 votes on this question and only a handful of users chiming in on this topic. It's also pretty clear in reviewing the old meta posts that this prediction came true: musicfans.meta.stackexchange.com/a/45/7 – Dom May 10 '18 at 20:16
  • It's certainly true that ID questions didn't save the site. – topo Reinstate Monica May 10 '18 at 20:40
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I would have to say "no".

Creating a new SE site is a huge proposition fraught with problems, and the purpose of the beta period is to allow time for a community to form and for the community to figure out how to create workable solutions for those creation problems.

While we are definitely not anywhere near ready to graduate, I think we have made credible progress towards creating a community and towards solving some of the site's more serious problems. We have what appears to be a workable policy for ID questions, something I wasn't sure we would ever manage. The visit rate appears to be stable and growing.

So overall, I think the best way forward is to work on identifying weak spots and working to fix them, rather than try a reboot, where there is no guarantee that we would even get back to where we are now.

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    Thanks for the reply. My personal observation would be that this site has always struggled for 'community' - in the early days there was a lot of interest but also a lot of polarisation between different viewpoints; as time went by, some of the conflicts disappeared, but so did many of the active users. The visit rate could be the ace in the hole - maybe it will slowly be rekindled. – topo Reinstate Monica Apr 11 '18 at 20:42
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I think it might make sense to close and relaunch as a site with a wider scope, such as "Music, Dance & Theater Fans" or "Performing Arts Fans." There are a lot of things to love here, but we're starving for questions. I don't see that changing outside of a wider scope. There's just not that many burning music-fan type questions people have except for the much-hated identification questions, and there's a fair amount of good competing resources out there.

Conversely, there's a lot of overlap between the performing arts, so it makes sense to combine them, and I get the sense dance and theater fans might be under-served, in contrast to music fans.

  • Thanks for the reply. "Performing Arts Fans" certainly sounds like it could be a solid proposal. – topo Reinstate Monica Apr 11 '18 at 20:45
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    Our scope is already pretty wide and we're not addressing our quality issues. An enlarged scope will suffer the same fate regardless of whether it's anew in area 51 or not. – Dom Apr 12 '18 at 17:59
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    @Dom In my opinion, we've lowered our standards for questions largely because we get so few of them, which increasing scope could in fact address. Given that the quality of our answers is generally reasonably good, I don't think low standards are the primary reason for the low question volume. – Chris Sunami Apr 12 '18 at 18:08
  • @ChrisSunami a lot of our content was low quality before we expanded our scope. There's a lot of bad, wrong, little detailed answers with up votes. Our current featured question also outlines this problem as the OP even says "this isn't the answer", but there are two upvotes for the answer. – Dom Apr 12 '18 at 18:11
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    @Dom That answer is upvoted because it matches the majority of the details in the question, and it specifies those and includes a link. That's about all we can expect for an answer to an ID question. It still all comes back to the fact that we're starving for good, high-quality diverse questions. If three times the scope nets us three times the questions, that might be enough to make us more viable. – Chris Sunami Apr 12 '18 at 18:19
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    @ChrisSunami Up voting bad quality or wrong answers is not a cure for low quality nor will it attract the high quality questions we want nor will expanding the scope and not trying to enforce a quality policy. The same problems will reveal themselves in a bigger scope because we aren't addressing them now. And if that is a high quality answer for this site, then we need to change our mindset. – Dom Apr 12 '18 at 18:23
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    @Dom Why don't you post a competing answer? (i.e. that we'll get farthest by addressing quality) I don't think there's anything more to clarify here, we just happen to disagree about what would and would not help this site. But after all, that's the whole advantage of the multiple answers format and voting mechanism. – Chris Sunami Apr 12 '18 at 18:47
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    @Dom quality I totally agree that a site needs to attract high quality questions and answers, but on its own, I doubt that being stricter with quality will achieve that. It's also important to build a community feel (something currently lacking here) and ensure that there are enough expert users to answer those high-quality questions. That's why I asked this meta question - what's the route to getting to the point where there is something of a community of experts here? – topo Reinstate Monica Apr 13 '18 at 11:23
  • Ultimately, The SE model is about solving problems - so we have to think, what kind of problems can we solve that other sites aren't already much better at? – topo Reinstate Monica Apr 13 '18 at 11:40
  • Meh, that "solving problems" line can easily be misconstrued to rule all kinds of less practical sites out, I wouldn't get too hung up about it. Sites likes Movies & TV, Science Fiction & Fantasy or Literature don't really solve any practical problems in the way Stack Overflow does (the former even less so after finally getting rid of ID), yet they manage fine. There is totally a place for discussing music on SE, especially when opening towards analysis more next time (although Literature might have used the chance and tried to fill that void by now). Neither is the word "expert" to be taken too literal. – Chris says Reinstate Monica Apr 23 '18 at 20:40
  • @MajorTom I include 'I don't know such-and-such' as a productive class of 'problems' (where such-and-such could be very broad indeed). In a previous life on this site I strongly argued to allow 'discussion'-type questions - musicfans.stackexchange.com/questions/196/…, for example, is one of mine. – topo Reinstate Monica Apr 25 '18 at 21:20
  • @MajorTom - whaddya reckon: musicfans.meta.stackexchange.com/a/432/5605 – topo Reinstate Monica May 19 '18 at 9:02
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My main concern with this site is, that most question are really basic, and I actually nearly can't benefit from it. (I studied piano, so my music knowledge is probably high.)

For mathematics there are two sites: one for math-students, one for math-professors, and the difficulty of questions on the professor site is supposed to be much higher. Of course this also leads to problems, since there are two sites for the same topic, but in my opinion it works quite well.

Maybe one could also start a professional-music-SE site with questions specifically aimed for and by professionals.

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    Have you been to music.stackexchange.com ? (For musicians) – topo Reinstate Monica Jul 2 '18 at 18:40
  • @topomorto I thought I am at music.stackexchange .com. Thank you for the reply. I will delete this answer immediately. – tommsch Jul 3 '18 at 6:58

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