# We've been in beta for 1129 days.

Don't you think it's time we get out?

We seem to be in a similar situation as Code Review. We don't have enough users with sufficient reputation to gain privileges like voting to close and delete. Here's some quick analysis I did with the API (the percentages are out of total users on CG):

15067 total users
0 users above 20000 rep (0.000%)
4 users above 10000 rep (0.027%)
13 users above 5000 rep (0.086%)
35 users above 3000 rep (0.232%)
59 users above 2000 rep (0.392%)
142 users above 1000 rep (0.942%)
297 users above 500 rep (1.971%)
589 users above 250 rep (3.909%)


(come on, I used up half my API quota for that, give me some credit ;))

As you can see, if we graduate,

• only 59 users will have edit/suggested edit review privileges, greatly reducing site quality
• only 35 users will have close-vote privileges, making bad stuff stay open longer
• only 4 users will have vote-to-delete privileges, making deletion nearly impossible by the community
• no users will have trusted user status, making the community unable to delete answers or questions asked within the past 2 days

Those numbers are quite bleak.

# I want to take action.

We've each got 40 votes a day. Let's all use them to our advantage. Vote up any fun or interesting challenge, and any good solution, preferably ones with explanations. We can make a visible change in the general reputation levels, a change possibly enough to escape the beta phase.

However, remember to only upvote quality posts! If you vote up anything that moves, your votes become meaningless and even detrimental. Exercise proper use of downvotes as well.

I have a modest goal. 3 trusted users (20k), 10 deleters (10k), 80 closers (3k), and 120 editors (2k). Here's a data explorer query to check on our progress. And here's another one to sum up all total rep (not counting 1 and 101-rep users). Here's what we've got so far (updated every time data explorer is):

  Date     20k  10k   3k   2k  Users            Rep
3/01/2014: 00%, 40%, 44%, 49%; 2709 users with 811511 total rep
3/09/2014: 00%, 60%, 50%, 56%; 2878 users with 877078 total rep
3/16/2014: 00%, 60%, 51%, 58%; 3009 users with 927459 total rep
3/23/2014: 00%, 60%, 55%, 62%; 3096 users with 968873 total rep
3/30/2014: 00%, 60%, 59%, 63%; 3127 users with 991182 total rep


If we get these percentages up to 100, we just might get out of beta. For comparison, let's check the stats for Code Review.SE:

3/01: 33%, 60%, 46%, 43%
3/09: 33%, 60%, 48%, 45%
3/16: 33%, 60%, 48%, 48%
3/23: 67%, 60%, 49%, 48%
3/30: 133%, 70%, 51%, 48%


Can we beat them? Yes we can, if we are determined enough. If we get our rep levels up high enough, we can and will get out of beta.

I have one final message for you.

# Let's do this.

• On the whole I like this suggestion and can get behind it, but ... what in the world makes the denominator for your percentages there? – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Mar 2 '14 at 5:11
• @dmckee "I have a modest goal. 3 trusted users (20k), 10 deleters (10k), 80 closers (3k), and 120 editors (2k)." – Doorknob Mar 2 '14 at 5:17
• I meant the very low percentages in the code block at the top. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Mar 2 '14 at 5:18
• @dmckee Ah, that would be total users. – Doorknob Mar 2 '14 at 5:19
• Total users of what? Stack Exchange? Or unique visitors to CodeGolf? – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Mar 2 '14 at 5:20
• @dmckee The total amount of users registered on code golf. I suppose maybe I should filter out 1 (or 101)-rep users... I'll do that tomorrow morning. – Doorknob Mar 2 '14 at 5:21
• I hit my daily vote limit twice a couple days ago, but there isn't enough new content to do it every day :(. I have been voting on almost every question and answer posted. – user10766 Mar 2 '14 at 5:44
• I just hit my limit again today. I still can't seem to earn vox populi though. – user10766 Mar 2 '14 at 5:49
• @user2509848 You need to vote more on questions. – Justin Mar 2 '14 at 8:30
• Just wondering: why have you used the API? At the alltime reputation league of PPCG, you see all rep data that you have now in a simple table at the right side of the page. – ProgramFOX Mar 2 '14 at 16:07
• @ProgramFOX Ummm, because... I'm not sure :P Oh well, now I know that! – Doorknob Mar 2 '14 at 16:46
• If 3 people upvote this, Doorknob will have 10k! – TheDoctor Mar 4 '14 at 18:59
• @TheDoct No, because this is meta. – Doorknob Mar 4 '14 at 18:59
• And so the race begins. For Code Review!! – syb0rg Mar 11 '14 at 13:55
• Just to mention that CR now has all their 20K and 10K users, and that last week CR got +1 in the 2K cluster (and so many more coming up!), PCG 0. Mwahahahaha! – Mathieu Guindon Apr 14 '14 at 19:35

# Languages

Please, people, don't downvote someone because their language can beat yours. I have never won a contest yet, but it is still fun to participate.

# Newcomers

I notice that now that I have more rep, I get a lot more upvotes; I only got 1 vote on my first 4 answers. I see this happening with other people now too. We need to welcome the newcomers with more upvotes to make them want to participate, not give them extra trouble to earn their rep.

• And, by the way, downvoting newcomers is a very efficient way to ensure that they are unlikely to come back, so we really should not do this. – Victor Stafusa Mar 2 '14 at 23:42
• Agreed on both points in your post. I never downvote answers for being in a more succinct language than mine. That's just petty bad sportsmanship. I want my best to contend with the best others have to give. As for newcomers, I think we should use comments and edits to help them toward better questions and answers before carpet-bombing them with downvotes. That too is fundamentally about bringing everyone to their best level. – Jonathan Van Matre Mar 3 '14 at 5:57
• Do you have any evidence that anyone does that? – Peter Taylor Mar 3 '14 at 14:37
• @PeterTaylor Yes, TheDoctor downvoted Doorknob's post here because it used GolfScript: codegolf.stackexchange.com/a/22493/10766 – user10766 Mar 3 '14 at 16:20
• Yikes. BTW I've looked a bit at your second point, and I wonder whether a significant part of the reason you got so few votes on your first answers is that they were to questions with over 60 answers. Very few people are going to read every single answer looking for ones which are worth an upvote. Even with an objective criterion, a new answer which significantly beats all of the previous 60 sometimes fails to gather more than one or two votes. – Peter Taylor Mar 4 '14 at 8:45
• I'm usually upvoting all other people's answers on questions where I also have an answer, unless their answer is wrong. – SztupY Mar 4 '14 at 10:14
• @PeterTaylor Possibly. I really gained rep with the code-trolling movement. Then I earned the Association bonus. Ever since, the more I post, the more rep I get (of course). – user10766 Mar 4 '14 at 16:14

## Be a page 2 voter

One thing I have noticed is we often get newcomers adding to questions where the answers have spilled onto page two. Answers linger down there in the depths getting no votes.

We can make the site a little more welcoming by deliberately reading page 2 (or 3 or 4) and voting on some answers there.

• Or just sort by "active" – Doorknob Mar 4 '14 at 0:34
• Basically impossible while browsing with the Android app. I simply can't find a "next page" button, and no way I've seen to sort answers. Maybe I'm just blind. – Geobits Mar 4 '14 at 1:22
• I think this one is important. – Tim Seguine Mar 6 '14 at 19:25
• @Doorknob It is clear from the voting patterns that most users do not use the alternate sort options. – Jonathan Van Matre Mar 6 '14 at 19:33

That is my opinion. Initially I was making it a comment, but it quickly became too long for a comment.

People should try harder to hit the daily vote limit and chase the Vox Populi badge. Go on, read the questions and answers and use your upvotes in what you think is good. Do not reserve your upvotes only for the "best of the bests".

## Don't forget to vote in questions

Instead of thinking in "why should I upvote the question?", think in "why should I not upvote the question?".

## Think twice before downvoting

No, do not think only twice, think a third time!

By observing some fenomena occurring here, I conjecture that there are cases in this site of people who does mass-downvoting, since I already saw cases of questions where every answer has at least one downvote and they got the downvotes in a narrow time span. I really can't think how this can be a good thing.

If you look at my profile in the main site, for example, you will see that I very rarely downvote anything. If I think that a particular question or answer is stupid, I will just ignore it or maybe post a comment, and reserve the downvotes only for cases that are really-really deserving them.

On the other hand, I already saw people here that posted more downvotes than upvotes, and I really think that this is just wrong.

## Do not be a ninja downvoter

In another community that I participate, this was discussed on meta in the first days of private beta. Somebody post an answer, and in less than a minute it already has a score of -2 (and no, I am not exagerating, in that case it reached -2 votes in 53 seconds), and it was not a bad answer after all. Give time to the person to edit it. Add a comment pointing what do you think that is wrong and give time to the questioner/answerer fix it.

I already saw cases here of "I never vote on user-xxx answers", or "I always upvote user-xxx answers", or "I always downvote user-xxx answers". This is simply unfair.

If you are willing to downvote, explain why. Getting a random downvote from nowhere without any reason or any explanation is a bit annoying. Getting more than one without a single word about it, is really annoying and frustrating.

## Try to observe other people reputation caps

EDIT: [Removed, not practical and possibly counter-productive].

## Do not spoil other people fun

I will devote some long text in this because I think that this is the most serious issue here. It is directed specially to closers and I know that a lot of people will disagree.

A question has already some, lets say, 15 answers, and people are posting more new answers. The question and the answers are getting upvotes, people are improving their answers and suggesting improvements in other people answers. But then, it is needed just 5 people to spoil the fun of everybody and close the question only because of a minor problem, or worse, just because of something that the closers think that is a minor problem, but it is a no issue afterall, and then the fun of everybody is spoiled.

I already saw at least 3 cases of a question being closed, reopened and closed again, which make me particularly angry at some people which insists in closing questions for no real issue afterall.

Closing a question which does not have a very serious problem is a disrespect not only to the questioner, but to every people that answered it seriously or are wishing to answer it.

And I already saw cases of questions being closed without a real reason (closing just for the sake of closing), in which the first closer chooses a random close reason in the close menu and other people do follow him sometimes without even reading the question. People closing questions just because they think that they are boring (this is no close reason), or closing question just because it can't be done in their favorite programming language, or even more stupid reasons.

Someone may argue: "We closed because it had a problem and this is to give an opportunity to the OP fix the question". This is red-herring, the OP has the opportunity to fix it without closing. Closing a question punishes much more the answerers than the questioner. And reopening a question is something very hard to do. Further, even if it managed to be ropened, it probably already lost its momentum and is ruined.

Someone may argue: "Even if this is a popularity-contest, it is a duplicate of a two-year old code-golf question which have radically different restrictions". This argument is simply disguting, idiotic, annoying and possibly evil, and sorry this is not a joke, this is real. This only serves to reinforce my feeling that people are just closing for the sake of closing using some lame excuse just because they can do it, and makes me wish that a "downvote the close-reason" button existed. I will not post links to questions where this happened to not expose the names of the closers and because this is off-topic to this actual meta-question.

How to address this issue: Try to be a lawyer for the question, not for its closure. If the question is salvageable, try to save it, preferentially before it gets closed. If it was already closed, try to fix it willing for a reopen. Lets keep closed only what is really unsalvageable and unworthy.

EDIT: [Removed, not a good idea, or at least a very debatable one, and maybe possibly counter-productive].

## Do not scare newcomers

Most of newcomers don't know the rules yet, so if a newcomer post a question or a answer that is not in a good format but still clearly shows a visible effort to try to participate, instead of ignoring, downvoting, closing and/or deleting, suggest improvements or, if possible, edit the question/answer to fix any issues. Further, newcomers are much more motivated by a few upvotes than long-established users, so lets motivate them.

Especially, in case of newcomers questions, they are motivated not only by upvotes, but by actual answers too.

## Explain why do you close-vote

This could looks like obvious, but unfortunately it is not. If, after reading the long previous section about close-voting, you still thinks that a particular question should be closed, explain why. I already saw at least two questions that already had some answers and were closed without a single word from any of the closers, and it was not closed for an obvious reason (like spam or homework) nor were closed for being a duplicate. Just after that it was closed, some other user who did not close-voted posted a comment like "I think that the rule xxx is a bit underspecified", so ok, fixed this in less than 30 seconds by editing.

If you think that a question is worth, post an answer if you can. Don't need to be that great answer, but this gives you opportunity to get some upvotes for you.

And, even if you are initially not thinking in that great answer, it is possible (uncommon, but possible) that in the middle of the development, you do figure out a smart trick that makes your answer actually a great one.

When other people see your answer, they might get some other ideas for themselves, and think: "Hmm, this guy solved the problem with the X method using the A language, but I think that the Y method is better in the B language, so I can beat his answer. Will upvote him for the idea that he unintentionally gave me."

Edit:

## Reward hard work

It isn't frustrating when you work hard to produce a good answer, and do not get a single upvote on it?

So, please, if you see some answer where the answerer clearly worked hard to produce it and did the best that he/she could, why do not upvote it?

Edit 2:

This was suggested by @DigitalTrauma, I will just post his comment here:

If you do downvote, please check the post later for useful edits and re-evaluate your vote.

• I almost never downvote. I just don't upvote if there is a problem. – user10766 Mar 2 '14 at 23:05
• @user2509848 Exactly that! Good to see that I am not the only one. – Victor Stafusa Mar 2 '14 at 23:40
• If you do downvote, please check the post later for useful edits and re-evaluate your vote. – Digital Trauma Mar 3 '14 at 0:07
• @DigitalTrauma Yes, incorporated your comment in my answer. Thanks. – Victor Stafusa Mar 3 '14 at 0:19
• @DigitalTrauma the annoying thing about that is that if I don't check the post soon enough after it is edited, I have to edit it to change my vote. I actually have done this a couple of times. – Justin Mar 3 '14 at 1:33
• "Upvote to counter-downvotes" No. Just no. Vote your evaluation of the content. Either a post is worth your upvote or it is not; what other people think of it should have no influence on that. Likewise on caring about other poeple's rep-cap: what are you trying to do, keep them from getting the epic badge? Maximize their rep? Is it about the rep? – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Mar 3 '14 at 3:54
• @dmckee About the upvote to counter downvotes, that is why I specifially posted unfairly downvoted. I.E. I judged that the question/answer is not bad and do not deserve so many downvotes. About the rep-cap, the intent is to maximize people rep and never prevent someone from get a badge (in fact it is more about helping get the badge than preventing), this is save the upvote for tomorrow since the user already hit the rep-cap today. – Victor Stafusa Mar 3 '14 at 4:39
• @dmckee I edited those parts. Is it better now? – Victor Stafusa Mar 3 '14 at 4:48
• Excellent principles overall, but I join @dmckee in thinking that other people's rep cap is not something you should have to concern yourself with, nor is counteracting other people's votes. I think those two are even counterproductive to Doorknob's proposed mission to improve participation and advancement on the site. If someone believes they need a multivariable equation with data like SuspectedSpitefulDownvoteCount and VoteRecipientLikelyRepEarnedToday just to make a vote decision, they'll to be less likely to vote because it feels like a chore. Vote your opinion, plain and simple. – Jonathan Van Matre Mar 3 '14 at 6:04
• @JonathanVanMatre Ok, removed those two points, you two conviced me. Those two are very minor points in the overall, so it is not productive to waste energy on them anyway. – Victor Stafusa Mar 3 '14 at 6:19
• @dmckee Edited the answer and removed the two points. What do you think about it now? – Victor Stafusa Mar 3 '14 at 6:19
• This should be at least 6 separate answers so that the independent points can be commented on and voted on independently. – Peter Taylor Mar 3 '14 at 14:36
• Regarding Avoid ad-hominem voting, I notice that VBA hardly ever gets votes.... EVER. There are times when I'll post nearly identical answers in VBA and then in another language, and the other almost invariably gets more votes. It's not just USERS who don't get votes, but also languages. I realize VBA is not likely to WIN any code golf challenges, but since votes don't count towards winning, I see no reason NOT to vote if the answer is good. /end_personal_rant – Gaffi Mar 6 '14 at 13:52
• -1 for being anti-downvote. – Aaronaught Mar 24 '14 at 0:30

# CodeGolf Site activity:

The above chart shows me that you guys have had a huge surge in activity since December (maybe Grace is right about the )

As part of the CodeReview crowd that is interested in graduation, I have been putting together a bunch of SEDE queries that are useful. Many of them are documented in our SEDEWonderland post on CodeReview meta. Others you can find in my profile on SEDE under my 'favourites'.... other queries are also used in our regular graduation/progress reports.

While I want CodeReview to whip the pants off CodeGolf (one is about writing great code, the other about, well, writing illegible drivel ;-), I do have some answers on this site, and I want the best for all ;-). I am interested in developing SEDE queries that can benefit all sites, whether graduating, new, or otherwise.

So, if you have an interest in getting statistics from the database that can help you understand your site's status, progress, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Then drop me a note (comment here?) or find me in the 2nd Monitor (CodeReview Chat room) and we can work on something (if I don't already have it ... )

Edit: I have created the new chat room for general SEDE discussion now too.

• <strike>I'm pretty sure we haven't really had 5600 questions asked in a week. What's the scaling for the various datasets?</strike> Ah, sorry, got confused by similar colours. – Peter Taylor Mar 11 '14 at 15:42
• @PeterTaylor just to check I am in the right ballpark... I put together this query ... then I realized you are confusing Vote count on answers with plain answer count – rolfl Mar 11 '14 at 16:36

## Brevity is the soul of bit

In essence, the site needs two things to prod it on to a higher level:

• More participation
• More and better content

More participation gets us the things Doorknob and Victor are on about: more rep for everyone, so everyone can have access to more active roles in the community, and a more engaged community in general.

More and better content is essential to make that happen. There are only a finite number of questions on which to vote, and only a finite number of users voting on them. More voting will slam on the accelerator of the machine, but it's content that puts the fuel in the tank by drawing in more users, more voters and more answers.

There's a frequent complaint of "not enough questions" around here and that needs a remedy. In addition, there's a gulf between our hot questions that get attention on the network and the not questions that mostly get no attention outside the core membership.

More voting, yes.

But also more content.

More hot, less not!

• Unfortunately, the questions that are featured in the 'Hot Questions' are not the best questions. They're the easiest or most trivial questions which more people can answer. More answers in a short space of time is what pushes a question up the hot questions list. – Gareth Mar 3 '14 at 9:13
• That's worth noting, though. You see the same thing on Project Euler, for example. There are some quite trivial questions, but those serve to get people on the path of doing questions, and suddenly they have wandered down a rabbit hole where they are increasingly challenged. What I'm suggesting is that our idea of what is "not the best question" should perhaps soften when it's a question like codegolf.stackexchange.com/questions/21835/… that will help to advertise the community. – Jonathan Van Matre Mar 3 '14 at 13:43
• But people see questions like the one you've mentioned (a question that I think is terrible, incidentally) and think that those are the types of questions we want to see here. People should be coming here to see ingenuity, not jokes. [popularity-contest] and especially [code-trolling] are in danger of turning this site into reddit, and that would be a terrible shame. – Gareth Mar 3 '14 at 13:57
• @Gareth OTOH, [code-golf] comprises 70% of all questions here. Plenty of people can't (or just don't) golf, but would still participate for puzzles, contests, and challenges. There has to be a middle ground, otherwise you just get a clique of users who just answer each other. – Geobits Mar 3 '14 at 19:11
• @Geobits While [code-golf] has historically been the main challenge type here, there are others with proper objective winning criteria: [code-challenge], [king-of-the-hill] and [fastest-code] to name but three. One of my problems with [popularity-contest] is that it is not really objective. If I gave 100 independent adjudicators all of the answers to a question and the winning criterion and they would all give me the same answer as the winner, then that's an objective winning crterion. If the adjudicators would all give different winners then it's not objective, it's subjective. – Gareth Mar 4 '14 at 10:32
• @Geobits Perhaps one of our problems is that not enough people post questions of the objective-but-not-golf types for people who don't have any interest in code-golf. – Gareth Mar 4 '14 at 10:35
• @Gareth I understand your point. I guess the part I don't agree with is that all questions have to be totally objective to fit the SE model. Sites like EL&U and TW have great questions, but plenty of them are subjective. – Geobits Mar 4 '14 at 12:43

# We did it!

Assuming the goal @Doorknob set with:

• 3 trusted users
• 10 deleters
• 80 closers
• 120 editors

is still valid, we did it! We currently have:

• 4 trusted users, (Martin Büttner, Doorknob, Howard and Peter Taylor)
• 14 deleters
• 94 closers
• 160 editors

Doorknob's query for reference.

## Now I suggest we finally step up to take our rightful place at the side of the other sites!

• You seem to have mistaken one user's personal goal for a target set by the StackExchange team. This whole "mission" thing was only ever childish imitation of Code Review, born from a senseless rivalry, hence the playground point-scoring in the comments. Any real "Hit this and you graduate" target would be posted by a member of SE staff, probably Grace Note. – Peter Taylor Jan 18 '15 at 8:47
• @PeterTaylor I am aware that this was not an official goal which we strived to achieve. But, as stated in Area 51, all criteria for a successful beta page are met by this SE (except for questions/day, but those standards do not apply to this site). I have a good feeling that we are ready for graduation, since not only the quantity but also the quality criteria are met by this community. PS: Congratulations on also crossing the 20k mark :D – ThreeFx Jan 18 '15 at 10:48
• The only thing left (according to Area 51) is getting more than 5 (their goal says 10) questions a day. I asked around, and this will require a LOT more traffic. But then again, we have a bunch of people, with a bunch of ideas... – ASCIIThenANSI Apr 18 '15 at 21:06