Create areas of on-topic scope that don't require real 'expertise'
(FWIW I'm not suggesting that SE sites have to be 'non-expert'; clearly SE does have some good expert sites. I'm trying to work out how we get to a functional scope from the point we're at. I have also wondered elsewhere whether we actually can do that.)
For any SE site to work well, there needs to be one or more clear areas of on-topic scope within which people want to come here and ask questions, and for which other people want to come here and answer them (and are capable of doing so). My opinion is that this site didn't really achieve that. Let's look at what's on-topic:
- The history of songs and musicians/bands/artists/composers/songwriters/etc.
- Song meanings and the origins of lyrics
- Terminology used in the music industry
- Use, explanation, and history of music technology, devices, and media
- Information about music memorabilia and the collection of it (e.g. “How rare is X?”)
All these seem fair enough - we had lots of good questions along these lines, and there's undoubtedly potential for many more. The problem here though is that for it to be worth coming to this site after googling and failing, there needs to be a good, high-participation community of experts here who know stuff that google doesn't. The only time we had anything approaching that was at the start, driven by the initial excitement of site opening; things quickly faded, and I don't see how it's going to build up again the current state of things, based on the above on-topic scope.
The site has tried identification questions with mixed success, and I can see the logic in throttling those back. But the question then still remains - what kinds of question do we want that will attract and maintain a user base of people who can capably answer those questions?
One possible area of investigation would be opening up to more questions that aren't really 'expert' questions. I'm thinking of the success of sites like parenting, the workplace, and interpersonal skills; most of the answers there aren't 'expert' in nature at all, just someone's experience. So perhaps we could brainstorm and see if we could find some music-related types of question that would be similarly open to 'non-experts'.