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Welcome to Software Development on Codidact!

Will you help us build our independent community of developers helping developers? We're small and trying to grow. We welcome questions about all aspects of software development, from design to code to QA and more. Got questions? Got answers? Got code you'd like someone to review? Please join us.

Comments on How can we grow this community?

Parent

How can we grow this community?

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Codidact's communities have a lot of great content that is helping people on the Internet. Our communities are small, though, and sustainable communities depend on having lots of active, engaged participants. The folks already here are doing good work; our challenge is to find more people like you so we can help this community grow.

This calls for a two-pronged approach: reaching more people who would be interested if only they knew about us, and making sure that visitors get a good first impression. I'm here to ask for your help with both.

Reaching more people

The pool of people interested in software development is huge. (I don't think I need to belabor that point.) My question to you is: where do we find the right people for this community? How do we make ourselves attractive to them, among all the other sites vying for their attention? You're the experts on this topic, not us. Where would it be most fruitful to promote Codidact? How should we appeal to them to draw them in?

Please don't give general answers like "CS departments" or "GitHub". We need your expert input to decide where, specifically, we should be looking. We are now able to pay for some advertising -- where should we direct it, and what message would best reach that audience? Can you help us sell your community?

Finally, some types of promotion are best done peer to peer. You are the experts in your topic; messages from you on subreddits or professional forums or the like will be much more credible than messages from Codidact staff. For these types of settings, we need your help to get the word out. If you know of a suitable place and can volunteer to spread the word there, please leave an answer about it so we all know about it (and know not to also post there).

Making a good first impression

Pretend for a moment that you don't know anything about Codidact. Visit this community in incognito mode. What's your reaction? If it's negative, what can we do about it? Some known deterrents from across the network:

  • Latest activity is not recent. This tells people the community isn't active. Anecdotally, we have lots of people ready to answer good questions, and on some communities, not enough good questions for them to answer. Can you help with that?

  • Latest questions are unanswered. This tells people it might not be worth asking here. Why are our unanswered questions unanswered? Are they poor questions in some regard? Unclear, too basic, too esoteric, just not interesting? Can they be fixed? Should they be hidden?[1]

  • Latest questions have poor scores. This tells people that either there's lots of low-quality material here or the voters are overly picky. If it's a quality problem, same questions as the previous bullet. If good content is getting downvoted, or not getting upvoted, can you help us understand why?

These are issues we've seen or heard about from across the network, but each community is different. What do you see here? What might be turning people away, and what could we do about it?

Are there things about the platform itself, as opposed to content, that discourage people we're trying to attract? If there's something we can customize to better serve this community, please let us know. If there are other changes in presentation or behavior that you think would encourage visitors to stick around, what are they?

Conversely, what is this community doing well? What draws newcomers in? I don't just mean the reverse of those bullets. What do we need to keep doing, and what might be worth highlighting when promoting this community?


  1. Should the question list not show some questions to anonymous visitors? What should the criteria be? ↩︎

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+23
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Increase exposure One way of increasing our exposure is to use Codidact as a source when answering on other forums. A …

2y ago

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By having decent source code formatting that isn't completely inferior to other sites like Stack Overflow. We might want …

2y ago

+13
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In light of another fiesta on a "competitor site", I poked my head in here again. Here's my twocents. When a ship sta …

1y ago

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Search engine optimization? I thought this goes without saying, but apparently we aren't doing too well there for so …

9mo ago

+16
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Just my two cents: 1. I found this community because of someone's username on Stack Overflow. That's probably a good …

2y ago

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As a (for now at least) casual user, I can report that a bad first impression is that there are way too many "500 server …

2y ago

+9
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I just submitted a proposal to DuckDuckGo here for a new "bang" for their search syntax. If approved: `!coddsw search …

11mo ago

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Never Too Late Due to, shall we say, recent AI-related hallucinations, pretty much everything that was possible PR-wi …

11mo ago

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After a few years of casually using stack-exchange sites and wandering around on coda-dict, I feel there are mainly thre …

11mo ago

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S.E.O. - Stack Overflow has fantastic SEO, and this is a self-feeding cycle. Currently codidact isn't adding json-ld o …

7mo ago

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I realize this might not be feasible, because course all of that hinges on the possibility to get some acceptable data o …

1y ago

+8
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Not having a single sign on option greatly increased the friction in adopting the site for me. This was further compo …

2y ago

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Emphasize and expand content that competitors fail at or deliberately exclude. This section of What type of questions …

4mo ago

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A note on first impressions: I really like that popup windows like when you click "react" are closed by clicking "re …

1y ago

+9
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This may be a minor thing to some but it's a huge annoyance / barrier to me - we need to change our scoring system to be …

2y ago

+0
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This is long, I apologize, but I hope someone finds my treatise valuable.[^diehards] StackExchange, while a great imp …

30d ago

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Give software.codidact.com its own domain Stack Overflow is by far the largest community on Stack Exchange and likely …

11mo ago

3 comment threads

Duplicate? (2 comments)
Super new casual-to-be user (2 comments)
I found a great Stack Overflow Clone (build before few days ago) in which he/she implemented nearly e... (6 comments)
Post
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Emphasize and expand content that competitors fail at or deliberately exclude.

This section of What type of questions can I ask here? is already a big deal, but it could be bigger:

Best practices, as long as clear "best" criteria are provided. Examples: fastest execution, least memory use, widest tool support for a target, IDE for a certain language and operating system

Software development is an art, not a science. Attempting to reduce it to black-and-white technical facts is futile and actively harms understanding. Stack Overflow's aggressive exclusion of "opinion-based" questions severely hinders the transmission of knowledge. A medium for transmitting the deep insights of long experience is something the world desperately needs, because formal education has always failed at it, and long-term professional relationships that create a business case for employers investing in their employees are a thing of the past.

Novices often frame a question as "What is better, X or Y?" This is a teachable moment. We can factually discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different solutions, the history of their popularity, and the real-world reasons you would choose one over the other. On SO, such a question would be closed immediately.

Edit: SO is now promoting their new Discussions site, a place for opinion-based and otherwise fuzzy questions, which is what this site should have been. It already has more traffic than this site. This makes me sad, because while I want such a site to exist, I don't want those jerks controlling it.

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3 comment threads

Agreed (3 comments)
The Q/A format is not fit for discussion (6 comments)
Art (6 comments)
The Q/A format is not fit for discussion

SO is now promoting their new Discussions site, a place for opinion-based and otherwise fuzzy questions, which is what this site should have been.

That is not what Codidact should've been. Codidact remains a Q/A site just the same way that SO is a Q/A site, and the Q/A format is unfit for discussion. Discussions are orthogonal to the main goals of both sites: a curated searchable and reusable repository of knowledge for current and future use. The goal isn't actually to be a teaching platform, but to be a resource for those looking to answers to their questions. Of course it's a goal that people will learn, but it's not a goal for us to be a teachers. That requires so much more than what is possible to deliver with this format, but most of all, it would require us to abandon the goals of a searchable and reusable knowledge repository.

I have been following the launch and development of the Discussions feature on Stack Overflow, and I can tell you one thing about it: it's doomed for failure, and the current state of it, is bad. It won't provide much value for future visitors. And when there's a lot of valueless content, it covers up the valuable content. I know from previous discussions with you that you don't believe in this idea, so I'm not sure how I can convince you that the best way for us to provide value to our visitors, is by having a highly curated database of content.

Novices often frame a question as "What is better, X or Y?" This is a teachable moment. We can factually discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different solutions, the history of their popularity, and the real-world reasons you would choose one over the other. On SO, such a question would be closed immediately.

And the reason why it's a good idea to not allow such answers on a Q/A site whose main purpose is value to future visitors, is that any answer to such a question, will require too much context about the question author. Because if you seek to answer this question, you cannot give a definite answer independently of the person behind the question.

There is however a very useful way that you can work with these questions on Codidact; generalize them, and write a canonical which teaches the reader in a general case; this way, you will ensure that the answer remains valuable for all future visitors, not just the single person asking the question.

But, I would be more than interested to actually see an example where you think that such a question works out on a Q/A site like Codidact. If the question author can precisely define the requirements for comparing them (in a way usable to future visitors), I have no reason to oppose such a question to live on Codidact. My impression is that you mean something wider, though. Like, a general "what is better" question, with no clearly defined bounds. That just doesn't work out here.

We should strive to always ask ourselves: "will this be useful to future visitors"? If the answer is yes, we should strive to find a way to preserve it on the site. If the answer is no, we have no reason to host the content, even if the question author can receive a useful answer here. Because that's not the goal of the site, to be a helpdesk. Asking and answering questions on the site, is only a means for reaching the goal of sharing knowledge with the broader group of people; those coming to the site to read, and not just ask.

If one cannot find an existing question, so one has to ask a duplicate, perhaps because it's so vague, or hard to search for, the question is of little use to us.

Kevin Krumwiede‭ wrote 4 months ago

Andreas from the dark caverns‭ I'm also advocating a highly curated database of content, just one that is positively curated instead of negatively curated. Flag "good" content and allow people to access it through an interface that only shows the "good" content if they so desire. This creates the possibility of multiple such interfaces to the same content, curated for different purposes and/or by people with different opinions about what constitutes "good" content. I'm not sure why so many people can't seem to wrap their heads around this idea.

I know what this site was intended to be, and I know its design follows that intention and is therefore unsuitable for discussions. I'm saying the intention was misguided. What's the point of an ideological clone of SO? Competition requires a differentiator.

SO Discussions is having some growing pains and might even be under attack from purists who are angry that it exists. But I've already seen some very good discussions there.