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As of recently, we've lost 3 of our 4 moderators. This means we only have 1 moderator left. Also, several people are expressing their concerns that things are dying around here.

With the recent mess over on SE, the growing inactivity of past regulars, and a presumable lack of people wanting to become mods, I'd say we're in quite a pickle here.

So what's next? Axtell? Because if that's the case, we'll be stuck in limbo for a while yet. We clearly won't be gaining new mods anytime soon and other sites just don't have the same community feel as CGCC does. Plus, we've worked so hard on getting this site where it is today.

I don't want to see this site die, so plausible options and suggestions would be appreciated. More concisely: do we stick with what we have? Or is it finally time that we jump ship and look further ashore?

Edit

If we are to stay, then I have a few more questions:

  • What are we going to do about getting new mods? I mean, I don't know how much @Doorknob can handle on their own.

  • Will the best of CGCC 2019 still continue?

  • What happens if more people leave?

If we are to go:

  • How long would building a new community take? I mean in terms of site reputation, community feel, resources, and getting it to the point where it is feels like CGCC.

  • What happens to CGCC?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related \$\endgroup\$ – Luis Mendo Jan 24 at 16:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ So I'm not the only one who thinks ppcg is on a mild downhill slide... \$\endgroup\$ – tuskiomi Feb 3 at 7:30
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I'm a bit more positive regarding CGCC

Do we stick with what we have?

I say yes.

Recent events with SE Inc. have been very unfortunate. I see reasons to disagree with the company, and how that can lead one to cease being a moderator, or to volunteer time for them.

But that doesn't mean we should leave this community. When we post a challenge, answer, or discuss in TNB it's not for the benefit of SE Inc. We do that for ourselves, for the community. And as for the questionable rules that are being imposed like the new CoC and the pronoun stuff, personally I haven't had any problem so far just ignoring them and following the "be nice" principle.

I like this community. I have met some really clever people here, had many interesting conversations, and a lot of fun. I would like that to continue. And I think it has to be here, not elsewhere. As I argued in another answer, there is no moving to another community. It would just be a parallel community, with a different culture, competing with this one. And I don't see how the new community would be better than this one, or even viable.

If we are to stay:

What are we going to do about getting new mods? I mean, I don't know how much @Doorknob can handle on their own.

I would see that as a problem of the company, more than a problem of the community; but of course the community would be impacted by not having enough moderators. I guess SE Inc. would intervene. Maybe staff would do some minimal moderation. I don't really know.

Update: A site could be shut down if there are not enough people to moderate it. With that knowledge, I think people may be more inclined to become moderators than they have shown here.

Will the best of CGCC 2019 still continue?

Yes, if we want. That doesn't require a lot of moderator intervention anyway. Nominations, votes and bounty-awarding can all be done by regular users.

What happens if more people leave?

People leave and people come, all the time. As long as there's a reasonable amount of people the community can go on.

If we are to go:

How long would building a new community take? I mean in terms of site reputation, community feel, resources, and getting it to the point where it is feels like CGCC

It would take long, and there's the problem of making it all viable (financial support? Volunteer work?).

What happens to CGCC?

It continues to exist and competes with the new community, appearing first in search results, and probably attracting more new users than the alternative community, at least in the mid term.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That's a very good point that an alternative community will never be the same as CGCC. I hope things work out around here. \$\endgroup\$ – Lyxal Jan 25 at 1:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd like to be clear here: I 100% agree with this answer, despite it being far more positive than mine :). This site may not die with the community starting to grow. The community will necessarily change (as a majority of it's users will likely be different). Whether that constitutes a "new community" (I do), is up to the reader. \$\endgroup\$ – Nathan Merrill Jan 25 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ With nearly all the community managers fired, do you really think that ppcg will stay the same? \$\endgroup\$ – tuskiomi Feb 3 at 7:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tuskiomi Probably not, but it’s hard to assess how big the impact will be here, and anyway the arguments in my answer still apply \$\endgroup\$ – Luis Mendo Feb 3 at 8:53
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Until a community is fully developed somewhere else, if you are unsatisfied with StackExchange,

I suggest that you contribute to an in-progress community's development on the side.

This is being talked about on Codidact, too.

See https://forum.codidact.org/t/a-proposal-split-the-team-launch-quicker/808

Though I haven't looked much at alternatives and I don't really do codegolf anymore, I am hoping that Codidact will develop into an alternative to SE.

I digress: Now, most of what Codegolf.SE is to me is memories, rather than active participation. I think that is still a good thing. I still have unfinished answers/projects for some tough questions/challenges, and I hope to complete them someday, such as inverting a PCRE regex in Python, or making an n-bit prime-checker in Minecraft.

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Or is it finally time that we jump ship and look further ashore?

If you do decide you want to move, we'd be very happy to host CGCC on TopAnswers.

I'll keep a tab open in The Nineteenth Byte if anyone wants to discuss the idea…


Update 25th Jan:

  • We have set up a private 'beta' community on TopAnswers — if it gets a handful of active participants they can choose to take it public when they want to (currently 3 have access)
  • A few questions have been added including these meta questions…

    • "Which challenge types and subject tags should we allow?"

      ![Meta Question

    • "How should voting work here?"
    • …and some actual Code Golf:

      Actual Code Golf

  • We've also:
    • added KaTeX
    • added special 'question types', instead of implementing 'labels' as special tags, as you have here on SE
    • implemented different voting rules per question type
    • agreed to add an answer summary list below the question post (and above the answers) for you to trial (a bit like the answer summaries on the question lists on TopAnswers — an example is the image above)
    • will be forcing DejaVu Sans Mono for code on Code Golf (other TopAnswers communities currently allow people to choose their own preferred font)
    • implemented sandboxing of new posts

Anyone who would like to join the private 'beta' should just sign up on TopAnswers and let me know with comment on this answer, or ping me in The Nineteenth Byte here, or The Tavern on TA

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the invitation! I'm excited to see where this project goes. I see you indeed had some discussion in TNB -- would you mind adding a summary of the main points to this answer? \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Jan 24 at 23:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ I look forward to seeing how topanswers turns out! \$\endgroup\$ – Lyxal Jan 25 at 1:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xnor thanks for the suggestion, I've added a summary and will try to keep it up to date \$\endgroup\$ – Jack says try topanswers.xyz Jan 25 at 8:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ You have to be 16 to use TopAnswers. You only have to be 13 to join Stack Exchange. \$\endgroup\$ – S.S. Anne Jan 25 at 18:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @S.S.Anne unless you live in Europe — my son James has kept very quiet about his age on SE since he joined when he was 13 until the day of his 16th birthday. It's all about European laws about data protection and minors. \$\endgroup\$ – Jack says try topanswers.xyz Jan 25 at 22:24
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We Can't Really Leave

I hate to say it, but this site's lifeblood is Hot Network Questions. Without HNQ, this site dies. Therefore, we can't leave. We exist because we are a cool little recreational programming site that gets traffic and new members from the fact that we are advertised on the biggest programming Q&A site in the world, plus the fact that any good question asked here is really good at gaming the HNQ algorithm.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ But we get less exposure to HNQ as we have less activity (fewer questions and fewer answers). \$\endgroup\$ – Bubbler Feb 3 at 7:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Bubbler I've seen just as many flash-in-the-pan challenges get 20 upvotes, 10 answers, and 12 hours of fame on HNQ as always. There's been less esoteric answers and less interesting challenges, but as long as there are some challenge writers and people on StackOverflow who know Python and JavaScript, we'll live on. \$\endgroup\$ – Stephen Feb 3 at 13:27
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Stick with what we have

Back at 2010 the site Code Golf had already been widely recognized. I feel that if we change a site to contribute to, then it would be confusing for new users who find this site seeing that nobody is contributing here.


In addition, there is no evidence that we need moderators for a golfing community. E.g. Axtell, Anarchy Golf (it doesn't have a concept of users), and codegolf.io seems to do perfectly well, despite not having a single user being a moderator. Therefore losing our moderators should not contribute to leaving this site.

Although that the comminities mentioned above are not very active, their inactivity is probably not impacted not having modetators. I feel that it's simply because they always find Code Golf StackExchange before they find other comminities, and Code Golf.SE is way more active than these other comminities, despite the fact that it's getting less contributions every time.

Answering the further questions

  • What are we going to do about getting new mods? I mean, I don't know how much @Doorknob can handle on their own.

As I've mentioned before, a Code Golfing comminity doesn't need moderators to do well. And @Doorknob probably won't need to do a lot, given this site's decreasing activity.

  • Will the best of CGCC 2019 still continue?

I believe that the best of CGCC 2019 will eventually be posted.

  • What happens if more people leave?

It's not going to affect the community. New users are always going to find this site and try to contribute with the holes left by the leaving users, like a cycle. We end up having all high-rep users not contributing, but we still have new users contributing.

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None

This may not be a popular answer, but this is the pattern I've seen in communities time and time again. Communities will grow, then they will die off. You will likely find remnants of the community in other locations (19th Byte/Discord/TopAnswers/Codidact/Other golf oriented sites).

Finding the community that feels the same will likely never happen. A large part of why this community "feels" this way is due to (A) the platform and (B) the individual contributors. A change in platform and a change in individuals will necessarily mean a change in community feel.

This is not a bad thing. Many of the communities I've participated on have gone (The Continuum, Nowhere Else & Beyond, Grooveshark, to name a few). But as new communities pop up I make new friends and continue to pursue my interests. I recommend you do the same.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess if more people decide to leave then I'll start considering going too. But I know I'm staying for the moment. \$\endgroup\$ – Lyxal Jan 25 at 1:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ While I think that the metanarrative that this answer presents is very likely true, I don't think that is any reason to do nothing. Similarly people have a tendency to die, but if you asked a doctor "It looks like your patient is going to die. What are you going to do?", "Nothing, people tend to die, I've known a couple of people that have died" would not really be an acceptable answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Ad Hoc Garf Hunter Jan 25 at 2:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PostRockGarfHunter There are times that doctors do say "There's nothing we can do". And in this situation, while I think that there is nothing to be done about the community (to keep it the same), there are things users can do for themselves \$\endgroup\$ – Nathan Merrill Jan 25 at 14:30
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Some people are no longer interested in golfing

There has been many people that left recently due to SE actions and drama.

However there’s also the natural circle of life that people get bored/tired of a subject and simply stop caring. This is my case. Other top contributors had left before (Martin Ender left way before all this drama)

TNB’s activity in the last year and more is extremely low compared to what it was in e.g. 2016.

This is not an answer to this question per se, just a reiteration that PPCG has been dying for way longer than the last few weeks of SE drama. IMO there’s no "saving it", and I’m not personally interested to do so. I had fun here while it lasted, that’s it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The fact that some people are no longer interested in golfing is not a symptom that PPCG is dying away. Some users go, others come. You say you don't have fun here anymore, but maybe other new users do \$\endgroup\$ – Luis Mendo Jan 24 at 19:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree. We've always had users come and leave but other factors are responsible for the slowing down of new people to CGCC. \$\endgroup\$ – Downgoat Jan 24 at 19:16
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So long as we wait it out, the death of the community is inevitable

I've been less active on this site lately. Despite being the only person to explicitly state that I would be willing to run for an election (and not for the purpose of abstentionism), I've felt a lack of incentive to continue visiting this site because the absence of a strong community takes away all I ever sought here - golfing isn't my only hobby, and I enjoy golfing against my friend more now that the community I once loved is no longer as alive as before.

That said, people leaving the community for similar reasons to me only furthers this cycle, and seeing how dead TNB is, users like me (who joined and became active because of TNB) will no longer be coming in, so users are leaving without people to replace them.

I say: give it a shot

StackExchange seems to be slowly more willing to move forward. There is obvious reason to doubt their goodwill (as a corporation, that's already dubitable, and compounded with their continuous actions, concern is very valid and grounded), but I don't want to just call off trying this site. I don't know much about Axtell but last time I checked it hasn't been much of an active initiative or extremely developed. So even if SE ends up proving too difficult to co-operate with us or CGCC ends up dying, I think we need to, at the very least, wait for Axtell to be ready to bear the load of the remaining community here before trying anything.

So, in conclusion, I think we should try to continue on this site and if we do decide to try to reignite the strong community once present, I would be more than happy to join back into the community and run for moderator since I have the time and the ability to commit, I just don't have the present incentive to do so as much as I once did.

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