I'd like everyone of you to be aware of the fact that some SE sites are being shut down.

What is our position? Today, April 26th 2012 our stats are the following (you can see the stats here):

statistics screenshot

It's still not enough. We need to seriously do something, and take a minute to consider this issue. I would like to avoid our site ending in that list of sites that are going to be shut down.

The main thing you can do is share. It doesn't matter if you don't have people in your friends list that are not studying Linguistics. Share questions, share the site on any place it can gain (even occasional) visibility. We have 90 avid users. If everyone of you brings only one person each, there will be another 90 and so on.

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  • 1
    RE: "We have 90 avid users. If everyone of you brings only one person each, there will be another 90 and so on." Bring in one new user, and bring in an avid user are different in my opinion. My suggestion would be to better understand why those 90 users are avid users and use that information to seek out more users like them. – blunders May 1 '12 at 13:24
  • Related SE Blog Post: A Recipe to Promote your Site – blunders May 1 '12 at 14:02

12 Answers 12


I think the /r/linguistics subreddit would be a great place to recruit new users. They are rather active (about 15 posts a day lately) and they have a large bank of subscribers (21,528 right now). We got a mention way back during the last surge of the private beta, so it definitely wouldn't be impolite to advertise again.

Probably about 1/2 to 2/3 of their content is Q&A-type stuff. Some of it falls outside of our topic range or standards, but a good number could be tuned up into great questions. I suggest we approach people who have asked good questions there, and ask them to either repost here or let us do it for them. We should offer them the opportunity first since (A) reddit is still by and large driven by the idea of "internet points" and (B) getting them to post it themselves is much more direct involvement. Otherwise though we post it under a special account. (We could also just have a team of question harvesters that rotate; I'm just concerned some might cry foul at anyone reaping reputation off the process.) Then we can go back to the original thread and let everyone know the discussion was ported.

We don't want to seem like "competition" of course, but I think as long as our purpose is clear that won't be a problem. StackExchange is about taking inquiries and maturing them into resources, so it's a wonderful partnership for a subreddit, which is more focused on casual discussion of semi-temporary topics.

  • Nice idea! Are you a user there? – Alenanno Mod May 4 '12 at 9:22
  • +1 @tdhsmith: Believe the focus on reddit should be traffic, not users creating accounts, given the number of users they have; meaning the "visit per a day" goal is in fact the hardest goal currently we've got to reach in my opinion. Not sure how we should do this, but believe it's important the goals of engagement be clear, and that we measure the performance of the engagement. For example, I believe posting answers to high-traffic questions and getting current top-ranked reddit members within the subreddit would be the most likely to produce traffic-based results. – blunders May 4 '12 at 13:37
  • Do you have the link for the promo of Linguistics.SE on Linguistics.reddit? The only mention I was able to find was the following on Why does English lack gender? -- though there are some mentions of English.SE and SO – blunders May 4 '12 at 13:46
  • @Alenanno: I am, but I would rather not directly associate my (anonymous) reddit account with one that is attached to my public identity, like SE. I'll gladly make a new one for SE publicity purposes, if no one else is interested. ;) – tdhsmith May 4 '12 at 18:47
  • @blunders: Strange because I can find them with the reddit-internal search. Maybe it has something to do with archiving. Anyway I found two -- one that links to the LinguistList posting (Not to direct folks away from r/linguistics, but...), and an even older link to Area 51 (Support Linguistics Stack Exchange!). – tdhsmith May 4 '12 at 18:52
  • @tdhsmith Well, it's not like you're doing something illegal. You can mention the site here and there, so the people can occasionally visit. Spreading the word is a powerful tool, but we must use it before it's too late! – Alenanno Mod May 5 '12 at 17:07
  • @tdhsmith: Given this is currently the most voted answer, is there anything I'm able to do to help? Ask in part because both the [Google Search](google.com/… and the Linguistics.reddit search appear to return no new post. Thanks! – blunders May 8 '12 at 23:15
  • @blunders: Unfortunately I'm travelling at the moment so I delayed posting. I will update with a link to the post, hopefully tomorrow morning (That is, morning for -6hUTC). – tdhsmith May 9 '12 at 4:00
  • @tdhsmith: Ok, just checking in, and offering to help. One thought I had, though likely won't be popular is to create a meta-linguistics page to welcome "new" users. Benefit of doing this are that anyone in the community Linguistics-SE community would be able to click the "link" button right below the question, and this would allow users to see how many people they're person refereed. Second, if that was combined with a bit.ly URL, then the click to the meta-linguistics per referral-link-url would also be trackable. Meaning each promoter would be able to see the click/join rate per url. – blunders May 9 '12 at 12:54
  • @tdhsmith: While not a meta-page, here's an example of what I mean. My Area51 proposal is here (285-view,13-joins), bitly-report here (143-clicks), joins-from-bitly (5-joins), and Twitter (74-followers) - point is this data give a much better feel for how and where clicks/joins are coming from. If I deploy a reddit campaign for ApccMentor, I'd know how it was doing too. – blunders May 9 '12 at 13:02

From my list of approaches for how to proceed from here:

Broaden the scope of the site. If the site needs new questions and new participants then allow new material in. This may mean a less rigid adherence to the FAQ, with the understanding that a good question may be deemed acceptable even though it may transgress the FAQ. The FAQ should then be amended to consider questions of that type in the future. That is, let the site content and moderation dictate the rules of the FAQ, and not have the rigid FAQ dictate the site content and moderation.

  • 1
    +1 @dotancohen: For the suggestion, though I would suggest that per "Broaden the scope of the site" answer, that the way this would be done be define within the answer. – blunders May 1 '12 at 13:41
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    Some points: broaden... where? :P We currently cover every field of the Linguistics world, even the "not pure" ones. So I don't know what else we could include... Besides, I don't think the FAQ is the "problem". The problem are the visits! We don't have enough new users income, that's why I always invite you to share the site even when you think nobody is interested. I talk about it even to people that might not be interested, but you never know. :) – Alenanno Mod May 1 '12 at 19:21
  • @Alenanno: Is it possible to see a list of the closed questions? That could give a possible direction. I am not saying to allow all of them to be reopened, but it will give us an idea of what people expect from the site. – dotancohen May 2 '12 at 4:39
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    @dotancohen Sure, you can either type closed:1 in the search bar, or go to the Spring Clean Up question. You can add material there. :) – Alenanno Mod May 2 '12 at 20:50
  • +1 my question about where constructed languages are subjects to academic studies was closed as alleged offtopic, while currently no other SE site is more appropriate for such question – Stepan Vihor Jun 5 '12 at 12:08

Looking at the user numbers posted in the body of the question, it appears 80% + of existing users are below 200+ rep.

Guessing that there are a number of users that are on the edge of reaching that goal, and if we were to find there profiles and upvote (for a reason, not just to game the system) - their questions/answers/comments/etc, this would address both the numbers, and a much more important issue, which is with reps that low, it's often hard to use the site.

I would suggest if such an effort was take, that it be divided among a number of users and done over time, not all in one day. Also, upvoting users with higher reps on other sites would likely have more effect because they're use to have the functionality that comes with higher reps.

  • I'd encourage voting more often yes, but I'm not sure that upvoting in a "systematic" way would be the best solution. Let's try and keep it natural as much as possible. :D – Alenanno Mod May 1 '12 at 19:13
  • @Alenanno: Please downvote the answer if you don't agree with it; not that I don't agree with you, I'm just adding "meaningful" options the come to me, and would only act on them if the community supported them. Might add that nothing about the effort to improve the sites core numbers is "natural". – blunders May 1 '12 at 19:16
  • I did but... The idea of upvoting is not bad per se. I tried, for example, to "lower" my standards and now I upvote more easily. It's just the "how" that I don't agree with, but voting is good!!! :D – Alenanno Mod May 1 '12 at 19:18
  • Voting is good, however voting on everything just to vote is not good. Good will be, if at least in beta stage more wide topics would be allowed, to allow more questions to vote on. – Stepan Vihor Jun 5 '12 at 12:09

Things we can do (also taking inspiration from this topic):

  1. Put the link on your SE profile (across all networks), in your signature in other forums, etc
  2. Mention the site in discussions with friends, on forums, etc
  3. Share questions using the appropriate button on social network sites or the site link.

...Any other suggestions? Feel free to add them to this list yourself.

  • I've had the "SE profile" link on my profile since I first joined Linguistics.SE - though never tracked the click-through rate. I would highly suggest that if there's an real effort to get users to do this that we track it. – blunders May 1 '12 at 13:14

Currently I've been using Area 51, and even have a proposal out a few days ago, and I've had a lot of success with Twitter so far.

Does Linguistics.SE have a Twitter account? If so, what has been the strategy in it's use, and what have been the results of it?

If there is no account, I'd be happy to define a quick strategy, and execute it.

UPVOTE IDEA TO SUPPORT EFFORT (Comment for action by me)

  • I think there is a Twitter account, but I don't think we have access to it... I'll ask about this to the upper-floor. :) – Alenanno Mod May 1 '12 at 19:10
  • @Alenanno: My suggestion would be just to create our own Twitter account(s) and not worry about having access to an "official" account. – blunders May 1 '12 at 19:36
  • @Alenanno: Any update on this, ask in part because of your request that I post to "social networks accounts"; I only have topical accounts, no personal accounts, though I'd be happy to find/engage/convert visitors to Linguistics.SE via social networks like Twitter; meaning I'd create accounts just to prompt Linguistics.SE. – blunders May 8 '12 at 23:28
  • About the twitter account, I think we do have it, but we cannot administer it, as far as I know. I received no feedback so far, I'll let you know in case I receive it! – Alenanno Mod May 8 '12 at 23:44
  • Downvoted idea because I already have a Facebook account and don't want to participate on more chat sites. – new QOpenGLWidget Jan 28 '19 at 23:02

I'd highly suggest links to promote the site all be tracked via some central system that allows anyone that's created a tracking link to see how the other links are performing. Maybe even require person to commit to a marketing strategy per link-type; meaning links would not only be tracked by user, but also be the marketing strategy they're using.

(Don't currently have an easy way to do this, but if there's interest of note on the idea, I'll figure out a way to make it happen.)

UPVOTE IDEA TO SUPPORT EFFORT (Comment for action by me)


It's already skipped to this:

New site position

This is a very old question but now it's been looking like this now instead of the old one.

(On the users tab, it says we have 14,031 total users and 469 avid users (including me) who have +200 rep.)

So, it looks like now we're in the position of very good sites and only have a 5% probability of shutting down.

  • Please don't bump ancient Meta discussions. – curiousdannii Feb 4 '19 at 22:34

From my list of approaches for how to proceed from here:

Ask questions that we already know the answers too, in order to build a strong backlog of reference content. That will help the search engines send relevant users to the site, and it will improve the impovershed "questions per day" metric. It will also increase the rep of many key users, which will help in the rep-related metrics.

  • My experience that the "questions per day" metric is easy to deal with, getting quality traffic and avid users is the hard part; meaning efforts would be better spent on those tasks, than content unless it's believed doing so will have an effect on those goals. – blunders May 1 '12 at 13:43

From my list of approaches for how to proceed from here:

Advertise. I have heard that users of PhysicsSE promote the site with T-shirts at universities and such.

  • This is nice, but how? I don't think we have the support for it, like from the SE Team. – Alenanno Mod May 1 '12 at 19:10

I can help improve the "questions per day" metric, but I cannot help much with the others.

However, I am very wary now of asking new questions. In this particular SE site I am motivated more by personal interest than personal knowledge, so I will be much more of an asker than an answerer, and even in that regard my knowledge is limited such that I may ask a borderline-offtopic question. The FAQ is still being developed, so new questions may be OT at the time of their asking but may then be allowed later.

Therefore I suggest taking one of several approaches, please vote on the linked answers:

  1. Pack it in.
  2. Advertise.
  3. Ask questions that we already know the answers to.
  4. Broaden the scope of the site.

Another approach might be to engage existing users by:

  • Create a list of all exist users that have posted questions/answers/comments,
  • See if they're still active on SE, meaning have signed on in the past day,
  • Find the questions/answers/comments the posted, and find a reason to engage them, AND
  • Point to a meta question like this via a global banner on the site

(I'd be happy to create the list writing a custom bot, though not sure that I'd be able to commit to reaching out to more than 5-users.)

UPVOTE IDEA TO SUPPORT EFFORT (Comment for action by me)

Re: SPAM-BOT: (dotancohen): The bot is used to pull together a list of users to engage, not engage them. My point of the answer is there's a list of almost 1000 existing users here, and using a bot I would be able to pull together a list of users that:

  • (1) have not visited the site in a month and posted a answer/comment/question
  • (2) have an answer/comment/question on the site (this will enable bring them to the site via a meaningful comment to said answer/comment/question)
  • (3) Have been on an SE site in the past day/week/etc (this means if a answer/comment is posted to them, they'll see it.)

After the list is together, humans would commit to engage these users in a meaningful way on Linguistics.SE -- one time, not more.

  • I don't like the idea of a bot reminding me of all new threads, but perhaps a bot that flags specific tags / keywords and only notifies of those would be handy. I see that each tag has an RSS feed, so I'll go through the tags and see to what I can subscribe. – dotancohen May 1 '12 at 14:21
  • I am also wary of bots, but as long as they are simply a tool to decide who to engage, I think it's a good option. As it stands, I had been inactive for several months, and someone recently commented on one of my old threads. Now I'm here again browsing vigorously and preparing some of my own questions and answers. So it definitely works. ;) I don't know how many viable "targets" there are like this though—probably only a handful of users. The payout might be better if we focus on getting new users in here, but if this is an easy project, why not? – tdhsmith May 3 '12 at 0:53
  • +1 @tdhsmith: Hmm, while pulling the data will take time, the most amount of time will be manually following up on the leads; meaning after the "target" user list is created, members will have to manually pull up the users profile, find a real reason to engage them, and do so. Are you willing to help even review/engage 5-users after the list is created? If so, I'll just create the list, since I really don't like waiting around for someone to do something. – blunders May 3 '12 at 1:38
  • I'd be willing to help with the engagement. – tdhsmith May 4 '12 at 2:08
  • @tdhsmith: Great, thanks! So, I've pinged one of the Linguistics.SE mods to request a green light. After I get it, I'll create the list, and ping you with a link to the full-list with an assigned "column" listing the users assigned to me and you. Again, thanks! – blunders May 4 '12 at 13:31
  • I don't think this is possible, read this answer by Robert. The asker had similar intentions, but the answer covers your question as well. – Alenanno Mod May 4 '12 at 18:16
  • @Alenanno: Thanks, and I agree with Robert, and that what the intent of my answer might be was unclear; see the update edit for more info. In my opinion, there's no reason to believe gathering the list of the users to engage might be in issue; that info is public, and there is no expectation of privacy related to that data. Also, for that matter posting meaningful answers/comments to an existing users question/answer/comment on Linguistics.SE is a goal of SE. It's the combination of the two that I'd like feedback on. – blunders May 4 '12 at 18:49
  • @Alenanno: I will direct message Robert, since I'd like to avoid getting ad-hoc feedback on the subject. Is it okay to CC you? Thanks! – blunders May 4 '12 at 18:50
  • What is not public is the email and that's the issue, I think. Sure you can CC me. :) – Alenanno Mod May 4 '12 at 18:55
  • @Alenanno: So, the general impression I've gotten is this is not something that should be done, is that correct? – blunders May 8 '12 at 23:11
  • @blunders I doubt it will be helpful, honestly. I think that a very helpful thing you can do and that takes really little effort is sharing questions in your social networks accounts. A lot of traffic comes from there, so let's not underestimate this fact. :) – Alenanno Mod May 8 '12 at 23:13
  • @tdhsmith: FYI, this effort on this answer appears to be dead. Again, thanks for the feedback, and offer to help! Cheers! – blunders May 8 '12 at 23:24
  • @Alenanno: Okay, please downvote the answer then, so it is more clear the answer is dead. Thanks! – blunders May 8 '12 at 23:30
  • @Alenanno: Might note that I decided to do an experiment on engaging users, and it appears to be working. Stopping the experiment, though thought I'd point out that my findings were that it works, but users don't want to know it's taken place; sort of makes sense, and follows the same pattern presented in this article, "How Companies Learn Your Secrets"; that being, Target mixes the direct messaging in with other messages so that it's not clear the consumer is being directly targeted. – blunders May 12 '12 at 14:34

Pack it in, and thank SE for all the fish. Maybe one of the other language-related SE sites can incorporate the field, at least partially.

SOURCE: dotancohen


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