As we can see in area 51, robotics.SE is lacking users (and as a result questions/day and visits/day). I am guessing once the 90 days public beta test finishes, this site wouldn't be in good enough shape.

Everyone will be a parent one day, but roboticists are very few, so in some sense it's not fair to apply the same standards to both such websites. Nevertheless, the activities on this website have gone much lower that when the beta started.

Besides the fewer number of people interested in robotics, there is also the problem that most questions end up being very specific to a certain hardware or algorithm, and therefore generate smaller number of answers as one would like.

I would like to start a discussion regarding the survivability of this website. We have been talking about how to promote the website, but clearly that hasn't been enough. We could try to convince SE that given the nature of this website (requiring high specialization), we need more time, or smaller requirements. However, I do think that the site is not active enough.

What can be done? Is this website doing good for roboticists as much as graphics design is doing for designers? If so, how should we make SE understand that this website is good, even though their statistics say otherwise? If not, how should we make this website more appealing to people?

From my experience in stackoverflow, hard questions that require expertise are not that many, but most questions are the googleable type. In robotics.SE, we don't really get the second kind of question, so even though the questions here are fewer, the noob-aside part of this website will be as good as stackoverflow (even better since its not cluttered by easy questions). I don't want to see this website go!

  • $\begingroup$ I think the current number of answers/question is not a problem. What we are lacking are suitable questions. I believe many others, as well as I, check this site now and then for any new questions to answer. There are definitely users with knowledge around here, we're just waiting for good questions. $\endgroup$
    – ronalchn
    Dec 12, 2012 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ Even flourishing beta sites like Raspberry Pi are soul searching on this issue. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Booth Mod
    Dec 12, 2012 at 15:58

2 Answers 2


Whoa whoa whoa.... It's waaay to early to worry about those stats. The site is still pretty young, we don't even have pro tempore moderators yet. Those stats are based on what a site should look like in ~1 year. Parenting and GraphicsDesign are years old, they have nurtured a strong community in that time. Aside from that, as you mentioned, they're of a different type. Their target communities aren't similar to ours.

We might want to aim to be slightly better than the Raspberry pi site (screenshot for future reference) when we reach that stage, but that's not too important either. A site that's close to us in age is Genealogy. It's better in some areas, worse in others, but it's overall at pretty much the same level.

Also, 90 days is the minimum of a public beta (I think). It generally goes on for a year-ish (can go on for 2-3 years as well).

To be clear, we need not worry about the stats. But, those stats are an indicator of where we may want to improve. What I see is that we have a good bunch of active users answering questions, BUT we aren't getting that many new visitors asking them. So, we need to advertise, as well as asking questions ourselves (though it's not necessarily a good idea to "seed" the site with questions you already know the answer to. The intention here is to get some awesome posts that people will find via Google.)

I recall some talk of removing those stats in their entirety--they aren't that helpful in the end (they made sense initially on area51, but now we have all kinds of sites springing up). Anyway, when area51 gets revamped (no date on that yet), we may have something more tangible to worry about ;-)

Btw, never compare a site with Stack Overflow. It's at a completely different magnitude, and it has a hard time keeping quality up. It's better

  • $\begingroup$ I was under the impression that 90 days is a deadline, given area 51's statements such as "on pace for xx users at 90 days". It's a relief knowing they wouldn't cancel the proposal for robotics.SE! $\endgroup$
    – Shahbaz
    Dec 12, 2012 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Shahbaz: Nah, that's just extrapolation, nothing more :) $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2012 at 15:02

Your sense of alarm over an impending deadline are unfounded. There is no "failure to meet Area 51 requirements" and there is no 90-day deadline. Each site has a unique scope and audience, so trying to compare traffic statistics to larger subjects is also without basis. Also understand that all sites fall off after their opening spike before they start their trend towards normal growth.

I don't mean to derail any discussions aimed at improving a site, but before you start on an incorrect premise, you should probably read this blog post to clear up some misconceptions.

Anytime you find yourself answering the same question over and over and over and over … blog post time. This is that blog post.

From the blog post: Does this site have a chance of succeeding?

  • $\begingroup$ Can't believe this happens on so many betas! :)) Perhaps changing "on pace for xx users at 90 days" to "on pace for xx users at 90 days (not a deadline)" would clear the confusion up! $\endgroup$
    – Shahbaz
    Dec 12, 2012 at 15:38

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