Although it seems like we have only just started, in private beta years we've been doing this a long time. How are we doing? Is there anything that we should be doing but are not yet? Are we doing anything we shouldn't be?

Are there any specific things we need to improve? Any topics that need more questions? More activity on meta? More upvoting? More downvoting? Question closing? Tag wikis?

What do we most need to focus on at present?

  • 2
    I feel like this is too broad, and is still really early. Wait about a week before you ask this. There are other questions with some of these concerns.
    – Zizouz212
    Jun 24, 2015 at 23:12
  • @Zizouz212 In a week, we might be in private beta! However, I completely agree that we need some more time for this, and that this is a bit broad.
    – HDE 226868
    Jun 24, 2015 at 23:38
  • @HDE226868 I'm confused...
    – Zizouz212
    Jun 24, 2015 at 23:39
  • @Zizouz212 What do you mean?
    – HDE 226868
    Jun 24, 2015 at 23:40
  • With the emphasis on the in?
    – Zizouz212
    Jun 24, 2015 at 23:40
  • Oh, just emphasizing that addressing this question in terms of being in private beta might not be good in a week.
    – HDE 226868
    Jun 24, 2015 at 23:41
  • @HDE226868 I'm guessing you meant that in a week we might be in public beta.
    – Air
    Jun 25, 2015 at 1:05
  • @Air Ack! My bad. Yesterday was not a good day for me.
    – HDE 226868
    Jun 25, 2015 at 20:34

2 Answers 2


In terms of quantity, we're doing fine. A private beta should produce about 100–200 questions, and we already have 84 as I write, 63 of which are not closed.

But quantity is not everything.


Almost half the questions are tagged . Not all license-related questions have this tag, so more than half of the questions on the site now are about licenses.

I'm not seeing OS.SE as a distinctive site. What does this site cover that Programmers doesn't?

If OS.SE is to succeed, it needs to work on carving out a scope that is useful to its intended audience and that is not better covered elsewhere.

Question quality

The private beta should be a time for expert questions. I'm not seeing many expert questions. Our most voted questions (e.g. 1 2 3) are topics that have been covered many times on the Internet. Many questions — in particular questions about licenses — are novice-level. Novice-level questions have a place on Stack Exchange, but not really in a private beta. If the private beta doesn't lay the grounds for expert content, the site will never become attractive to experts.

If OS.SE is to succeed, it must not bore experts away.

Answer quality

I see a lot of answers that do not demonstrate a solid knowledge of the topic. Again, licenses — OS.SE seems to convey the uninformed programmer's view, not the IP lawyer's view.

If OS.SE is to succeed, it must produce better answers than what can be found elsewhere on the Internet. Not distorted summaries of a poorly understood blog post.

  • I think we should broaden the scope a little bit, and figure out why nearly 25% of our question are getting closed, it could be scope problems, problem with the questions themselves, or even a lack of understanding of the site by the community.
    – Zizouz212
    Jun 25, 2015 at 1:47
  • 1
    @Zizouz212 The community defines the site… I'd say it needs to find or make the scope, rather than understand it. This site has a clear audience — maintainers of open source software and other works — but my ideas about scope always end up with topics that are better covered on Stack Overflow (using tools such as version control), on Software Engineering (software project management), on Project Management (general project management), on [community.se] (community management), etc. What benefit do we achieve by bringing these topics in one place? And if that leads to worse answers, it isn't worth it. Jun 25, 2015 at 1:56
  • I agree with the issue on site scope. Can we just make a big canonical on meta so that everyone can get together and establish it?
    – Zizouz212
    Jun 25, 2015 at 2:05
  • 1
    @Zizouz212 What do you mean by “big canonical”? If you're thinking of “what questions are on/off-topic?”, in my experience, that's messy. It's better to have one thread per topic. Jun 25, 2015 at 2:08
  • Just a single post, likely comm-wiki, so that it will be the official go to as to what belongs here. If there are disputes, then they should go to separate threads.
    – Zizouz212
    Jun 25, 2015 at 2:08
  • 1
    @Zizouz212 That's something to do after the scope is settled — and there's already a place for it in the help center. While the scope is being settled, it's best to have one thread per issue. Jun 25, 2015 at 2:15
  • Perhaps, but I think one of the main hurdles here is that everyone has their own initiatives to go after...
    – Zizouz212
    Jun 25, 2015 at 2:16
  • Regardless, there's still a few more days to settle down, and then things can change if we feel the need during the public beta...
    – Zizouz212
    Jun 25, 2015 at 2:20
  • 1
    @Zizouz212 in my experience, getting everyone together in one place has no impact on how quickly consensus is reached. It is often counterproductive as it's too noisy, subject matters are too broad, and people just argue past each other. Jun 25, 2015 at 3:47
  • 1
    What's really bad is not that there are a lot of poor and novice answers, but that many such answers are receiving significant numbers of upvotes and hardly any downvotes. If we had lots of poor answers with no votes, that would be worth discussing but not that big a deal. Upvoted bad answers send a clear message that the site is not for experts, but for amateurs.
    – Air
    Jun 26, 2015 at 21:21
  • Gilles - while the editing is appreciated, might I suggest you spread them out a little?
    – ArtOfCode
    Jun 28, 2015 at 23:01
  • @Snowman Why? The existence of another site isn't a good reason to make something off-topic. If those questions are good, they should be accepted on ProgSE as well as OS.SE. If they're bad, they shouldn't be accepted on either site. Jun 29, 2015 at 6:54

I disagree that quantity is on our side, and I fear that, once the FAQ are out of the way, new questions that are not duplicates will plummet. Only time will tell, but I think it's premature to think quantity of questions won't be a problem.


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