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Before anyone worries, we're doing really well as a beta. Our stats are really good. This post is looking for ways to improve something we are already doing well, it is not prompted by any concerns on performance so far.

However having said that we do seem to have stagnated over the last month or two, overall activity has been flat or even slightly decreased and while we have a solid level of new content being generated it would be nice to see activity increasing.

Search traffic will naturally increase as we get more quality questions and answers, for example in a search for "should merfolk have vertical tails" we already have the first three links in the results page pointing to worldbuilding. On the other hand though as the site has grown it seems to have got harder for us to get into Hot Network Questions which previously was luring a lot of traffic our way.

Does anyone have any suggestions for ways to improve visibility or activity? Is there anywhere we should be spreading the word? Are there any banners or other similar material that we need?

Or should we just be patient and accept that it will take time to build up the site? The value of the site naturally grows over time as the pool of questions and answers increases and as more people become aware of us. Maybe we just need to give that process time to bear fruit.

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    $\begingroup$ What's also interesting is the "should merfolk have vertical tails" question has actually been raised up from obscurity by an edit so new visitors to the site are finding older questions - I find this encouraging! $\endgroup$ – Liath Nov 21 '14 at 12:28
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    $\begingroup$ Note this is nearly a duplicate of meta.worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/292/… but I've posted it as a separate question since it's now written in the context of the last month or so and since the actionable items there (the community promotion ads) has been done. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 21 '14 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ When you ask a question, make sure to phrase it in a way that will catch peoples' interest. $\endgroup$ – Shokhet Nov 23 '14 at 19:25
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I think that developing collaborative worlds to the point that stories and games are set in them will bring more awareness of the site. Recently interest in this seems to have dried up. I imagine it will need to hit a critical point of ease of use and breadth of content before contributions will grow sustainably.

It would also be good to see some worldbuilding based games as a way of sparking interest. We are still getting dozens of new users each day, so I think (as I said before) a big part of growing our community is hanging on to the new users we are already getting.

Don't underestimate what a difference it can make to say something encouraging or welcoming to a new user. Explaining something that seems natural now but isn't obvious to a new user can make SE a much more comfortable place to be. Even closing a question can be a positive thing if a helpful comment is added (new users don't necessarily know that putting a question on hold is often a positive thing, to give the question time to improve).

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While I expect this is obvious, everyone who belongs to a book site, author group, RPG site etc. have posted (or will post) links back to WorldBuilding. My suggestion is to grab (links to) questions/answers that you really like or seem to be relevant to the board you are posting on. There are a couple places I post links now and then just to help point things this direction.

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We could use some techniques they use in the commercials. While some might say it's a bad idea because we might end up with interesting but shallow questions, it might get more people on the site form the other SE.

We saw that poorly written questions received little attention and often bad comments. The question is often good but can't get the attention she deserve. Some even got closed as being off topic. Most of the actives users here will check the question even if it's clunky but people from the outside are less likely to do the same.

Ideally, we need to make questions interesting for a wide audience. Try to use words that will hit their imagination, that will inspire people. We should be doing this without changing the meaning of the question and avoid being provocative intrinsically.

  • Maybe using complete sentences in the title could be a good start?
  • Questions that are too long need to be edited in a way that the reader can quickly see what the question is about and separate the important information from the complementary information.
  • If the text is hard to read, I won't bother. Or I will say : I will read it later. The test need some editing but too much is not always better.

Another idea would be to analyze the text of the questions and see what words attract more people. However, this might be complicated and I'm not sure how useful it would be.

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  • $\begingroup$ "Questions that are too long" Can I add "Questions that are too broad"? I notice myself not taking the time to answer questions that are broad: they lead to answers that are highly speculative and can go in any direction. For me personally there is no real question to think (hard) about, I could just speculate away. Continued... $\endgroup$ – user3106 Nov 28 '14 at 9:20
  • $\begingroup$ ... continued: Examples from the starting page at this moment of writing: Example 1, Example 2, Example 3. $\endgroup$ – user3106 Nov 28 '14 at 9:20

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