It has come up several times recently (more than usual) that PPCG differs from most of the other Stack Exchange sites in that it's not a Q&A site. People don't come here to ask a question because they have a problem, people come here to solve recreational challenges. The most valuable contribution to this site isn't people using their free time to solve others' problems, but using their free time to think up interesting challenges for the enjoyment of others. This entire post rests on the premise that we are not by any definition a Q&A site. If you want to contest that, please start a separate meta post.
So the actual problem is that the entire site (and more importantly the onboarding experience for new users who don't look past all the standard texts and don't know about PPCG's "special" role in the SE network) is saying "this is a Q&A site, get help here if you have a problem and show what you've tried". I think that's why the "beta" label is more appropriate here than on any other ungraduated site. And given recent developments maybe it's time we actually talked about where those discrepancies are to see if something could be done about them.
Of course, every time someone brings up the "we're not a Q&A site discussion" that is always accompanied with "but SE isn't going to pour any dev hours into custom code for PPCG, so tough luck". And while it's probably true that we won't get large amounts of customisation unless this community becomes a seriously big player, there are some simple things like changing some standard texts that might not be much effort and would already greatly help improve the overall experience here. Plus, SE most definitely isn't going to spend any time on features that were never requested because we thought they wouldn't ever implement them anyway.
So the idea of this post is to discuss how the site could be improved for the way PPCG as a community uses it, and in terms of how we're not a Q&A site. The idea is to do this in the form of potential feature requests. Each answer should be one suggestion for an improvement to the site. These can be discussed in the comments and if they get some support they can get their own feature-request which can then be linked from here. By doing this "staging process" for feature requests relating to the Q&A issue, I hope that this post can act as a hub for them and we can post them in a more organised/coordinated fashion that increases the chances of us getting any of these things at some point in the future.
Note that this isn't about sorting out the gritty details of every single potential feature request like specific phrases and things like that. Those can be discussed when a corresponding feature request is posted later on. This is about suggesting which parts of the site could be improved (and roughly how), as a community brainstorming session, so we can see how they might work together and focus on pushing for the feature requests that seem most promising and urgent.
Please do not repost things that have already been asked about on meta. Existing feature requests related to the Q&A issue include:
- Increase reputation awarded for questions
- Could PPCG benefit from a new sorting mode for answers?
- Could self-answered questions be "unanswered"?
- Should we increase our post character limit to allow substantial stack snippets?
- Let's customise the "How to Answer" pop-up
- Count question score toward tag badges