Note: data for graphs are taken from this query

Pet's Site Graph

Here is the graph of our voting activity in the last year. As you can see, we have our normal jumps whenever a question hits the hot list, but overall the trend seems to be going downward.

Compare this to some of the other betas that were opened around the same time as Pets like:

While the other sites' graphs show some spikes in voting, their general trends are either stable, or seem to be relative to their user growth.

So what's going on with our graph?

We've had several comments and meta discussions recently about whether or not we should be closing questions or whether the quality of our questions are up to par, and that we've just generally started downvoting more than usual. While I don't agree with the premise of some of the questions, I do believe we are having some sort of problem, and that new users are starting to notice.

I want to propose a solution, but right now I'm not sure exactly what the problem actually is. And I think in order to effectively work towards a solution, we have to first address what it is that needs fixed.

I know most people won't want to share their reasons for voting, and in any case voting activity can be based on a person's mood that day. But I wondering if anyone has any insight as to why our voting activity is going down. Maybe you've noticed some general trends on the site that could be causing it.1

What problems are we facing that could be keeping people from voting?

1 In hopes of helping people share their honest opinions without having their name attached to it. I've put together a survey. The survey is completely anonymous, so feel free to share anything you feel like. I'll post a summary of the responses I get at the end of the week as an answer, so that no one should even be able to guess who wrote the responses.

  • Can you tell if there is a relationship between views and votes? (specific to individual questions) Oct 31, 2014 at 18:26
  • @JamesJenkins I'll see about setting that up. It'll be a while before I have something ready though.
    – Spidercat
    Oct 31, 2014 at 19:25
  • I can't give details, but the graph you're showing doesn't really line up with the graphs that moderators have access to. We're spiky, but the month over month smooths out a bit better. Having said that, I share a similar concern that we're losing stickiness.
    – Joanne C
    Nov 1, 2014 at 2:22

1 Answer 1


Here is a summary of the answers that were collected last week:

What brings you to visit Pets.SE? What are you looking for in the site?

  • Looking for information about pets people own.

  • Also looking to share information about pets people own (answering questions).

  • Quite a few people also enjoy looking through questions about pets they don't have, just to learn more about them.

What are some things that you like about the site?

  • There's a strong community without a lot of unrelated chatter.

  • There's often questions/answers that are interesting to read.

  • There's a lot of opportunities and potential to learn new things, and the quality of the format is higher than other Q/A sites.

What are some things that you don't like about the site?

  • People who ask questions can be too vague sometimes, especially with health questions, and that they don't return most of the time to get their questions answered.

  • People who ask questions don't respond to comments, so potentially good questions get closed (possibly leading people to think that those questions are off-topic).

  • There are a lot of answers that aren't very good.

  • Some of the questions aren't interesting, but that could just be poor wording/format/grammar.

  • It should be noted that a couple people didn't have anything to share in this section.

What are some things that you like about the questions on the site?

  • A lot of questions are clear and well-focused, so they get answers quickly.

  • People who ask questions and are engaged in the process push people to write more complete answers.

  • They're more useful than other Q/A sites, and more to the point.

What are some things that you don't like about the questions on the site?

  • Some of the questions aren't very good and aren't interesting.

  • The questions tend to be oriented towards the US so any mentions about legal issues might not apply.

  • There might need to be a better way to handle the health questions so that they're addressed right away that they need to see a vet. Right now it depends on who is available and willing to write an answer first, which might not be fast enough sometimes.

What are some things that you like about the answers on the site?

  • Clear and helpful.

  • There are some outstanding answers that anticipate problems that weren't asked about originally.

  • They all have their own, unique, ideas.

What are some things that you don't like about the answers on the site?

  • People could be more active in answering questions.

  • There are occasional, unsavory, answers that appear, but they usually get deleted pretty quickly.

  • Sometimes answers can be kind of rambly.

  • There are short and opinionated answers that don't do anything to convince people that they are the right answer.

What are some things that you like about the other users on the site?

  • People are friendly and passionate about pets, and try to give good advice.

  • Users clearly care about building the site and its content.

What are some things that you don't like about the other users on the site?

  • People don't vote much.

  • It would be nice if people stuck around and engaged with the site more.

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