Watching the site grow on Area 51, our visits per day and the number of questions asked per day are rising steadily. But what I've noticed one number that doesn't change is the answer ratio (It's consistently at 1.6).

One reason I think is that most everyone tends to stick to certain questions that they answer, and our core userbase isn't big enough to have much overlap. So we simply need more users who answer questions to get more answers on each question.

But I think part of the reason is that as soon as an answer is posted, we all comment on it to have that person add to it until it's a single answer that contains everything. This tends to work well unless the topic is pretty open to differing opinions I think.

I kind of like that method, because it builds a good, solid answer that is approved by multiple people. It's problematic though because looking back at the answers, after the comments are all deleted, it just seems like the question is ignored once there's an answer posted.

As nice as it is to have one answer that covers everything, should we be focusing more on writing alternate answers instead?

  • This one turned quickly into site graduation topic :) Feb 14, 2014 at 21:05

3 Answers 3


Multiple answers is much better.

Short as a comment, but posted as an answer, because I feel so strongly in favor of multiple answers.

  • "Short as a comment, but posted as an answer, because I feel so strongly in favor of multiple answers." Oh yeah? Then convert your comment here: pets.stackexchange.com/questions/2248/…
    – JoshDM
    Feb 14, 2014 at 16:32
  • @JoshDM - Haha, good catch, but there's rules to follow on our main site. Oneliners don't qualify as answers. This meta site is different ;) Feb 14, 2014 at 20:45

Where I can add an answer that adds to what someone else has already said, I will. I think others are following the same technique, since most of the questions I've answered have other answers.

I don't think we need to be overly concerned at this point: this is the kind of topic that tends to get a relatively small number of definitive answers as opposed to a whole lot of different possible correct answers (like, as JoshDM says, Stack Overflow, which gets so much activity it's almost impossible to follow unless you're actively filtering to the tags/topics that interest you).

(I'm pretty active in the sqa stack exchange site, and that's been in Beta for several years now - it's another topic that tends to lean towards smaller numbers of answers as well as relatively few questions)

  • How is a site in beta for years? I don't see the purpose of not simply qualifying it.
    – JoshDM
    Feb 14, 2014 at 14:45
  • Apparently Parenting, which could be considered a sibling topic, is still in Beta, because it doesn't get a high daily question volume: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/4861/parenting Some of these sites simply won't get the droves of questions that, say, a programming site would.
    – JoshDM
    Feb 14, 2014 at 14:50
  • 2
    @JoshDM That is not correct. The decision to graduate is not a numbers game. The volume of questions has little to do with graduation. See When will my site graduate and Does this site have a chance of succeeding?. Feb 14, 2014 at 18:12
  • First link is blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/10/when-will-my-site-graduate ; the one you posted has an errant ].
    – JoshDM
    Feb 14, 2014 at 18:46
  • @JoshDM - I suspect it hasn't been qualified because it has a very low number of questions per day: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/2241/…
    – Kate Paulk
    Feb 17, 2014 at 12:20
  • @KatePaulk More important than the questions/day: there's only one 10k user on the site, and only one more user who is close to 10k. They don't graduate sites unless the site has enough high-rep users to run on its own, without relying on moderators for all of the self-regulation tasks. That's the same primary issue (imo) holding back parenting. On a side-note, you should vote more on sqa if you want it to graduate. A lot more. ;)
    – Beofett
    Feb 19, 2014 at 19:26
  • @Beofett - I'm trying to vote more, now I see the effect it has. SQA tends not to get many votes cast for some reason.
    – Kate Paulk
    Feb 19, 2014 at 19:47

Well, here's the thing: some of these solo answers are way comprehensive, and it's quite tough to add a second one.

Our options are to either say, "well, that's the way it is" or strategically target questions with less than 3 answers and add an answer if we haven't already (or, I guess, a second answer if you've already answered it once).

Granted, this isn't StackOverflow where there are 4^7 different programmatic solutions to concatenating Strings and everyone wants their say, so we do have that to consider.

Follow-up questions for thought:

  • Should this be brought to the forefront with the go-live evaluation committee?
  • Or is it something they've already taken into consideration?
  • Are the Area51 stats unrealistic for a site like this?
  • Is this possibly an aspect of having a small user group and the situation will remedy itself with the recently obvious growth?

That being said, I'm actively following the "add an answer" tactic; here are four results of that recent effort:

  • I agree, some of the answers are comprehensive to where they actually do cover everything.
    – Spidercat
    Feb 14, 2014 at 5:59

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