There have now been four instalments of the Question of the Week, and it's time to review that. Going forward, we should decide:

  • Do we want to continue with a Question of the Week? If so:

    • What can we improve?
    • Should we switch from a weekly rhythm to another cadence, e.g. monthly or bi-weekly?

Background is that the community participation has been … spotty. Some weeks seem to have been fairly popular, but other weeks saw little participation outside of a core group. Understandably, there have been repeated calls to terminate the QotW.

My personal opinion is that the QotW is doing OK but not great. Participation seems to be highly dependent on the phase of the moon, but has consistently been at acceptable levels for this to continue. I'd just wish more people would post suggestions.

Aggregated Data for Discussion

Links and notes on influencing events:

Question votes over the week:

Q | S M T W T F S S | Total | Views
1 | 3 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 |     7 |   210
2 | 1 1 3 3 0 1 1 0 |    10 |   195
3 | 4 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 |     8 |   219
4 | 8 1 0 3 0 0 1 0 |    13 |   174

Votes taken from the question timeline, views read from the sidebar. Votes after the end of the week were not considered. Note that views are not shown over time, and therefore also include views after the end of the week.

Final vote distribution on answers:

Q | #A | Answers
1 |  3 | 6, 5, 4
2 |  4 | 5, 3, 3, 2
3 |  3 | 6, 6, 3
4 |  5 | 8, 4, 4, 3, 3

Suggestion count per user:

9, 4, 1, 1
  • 1
    Personally I don't get the point on it... meta should be used to discuss meta content about the site, and to me that doesn't include voting on a popular question. If you want to see that, go look at weekly questions sorted by votes or views.
    – Rachel
    Feb 9, 2017 at 19:03
  • 1
    @Rachel: you may take a look into the comments to Robert Harvey's question which started this.
    – Doc Brown
    Feb 10, 2017 at 21:06
  • 1
    @RobertHarvey: you brought this whole thing on the table, I am really curious what your opinion is now.
    – Doc Brown
    Feb 10, 2017 at 21:09
  • @DocBrown: So far, I like what is happening with QoTW. I knew when I kicked it off that it would be a slow burn. I'm also willing to participate in it a bit more if that's what it needs to get a better head of steam. After the site's name change, I wanted a way for people to understand what a good question is without relying on voting, which I consider a flawed metric. If you'd like more feedback than this, I'll post a complete answer here. Ask me some questions you'd like me to answer. Feb 21, 2017 at 17:36
  • @Rachel: ------^^ Feb 21, 2017 at 17:37
  • @RobertHarvey: thanks for your reply. Currently, I have only one question - do you think anyone else (except the usual suspects, including us) actually reads or is interested in what we elect as the QotW? So is it really worth the hassle?
    – Doc Brown
    Feb 21, 2017 at 22:49

1 Answer 1


I think it is worth running this initiative for a month or two more (and then re-check again).

Lately site community does pretty well on quick removal of inappropriate questions and as a result site front page shows mostly on-topic, reasonably solid, interesting questions. (Those less familiar with site history can take a look here to compare how it was different in not so distant past.)

This naturally gives us more opportunity and time to reflect on good questions, what makes them good, what makes some of them better than others:

Questions that are well-written, interesting, reasonably-scoped, and illustrate the kind of subject matter we'd like to see on the website.

So far it looks interesting and useful, at least to me. Studying suggestions and explanations given for these helps me better understand what makes a good question at this site.

Not to mention how much better it feels compared to the past when we were breaking our minds on why site is so polluted with coding help and career advice mess.

I haven't made up my mind on whether it is desirable to keep this activity for really long term but for next month or two I would really appreciate seeing it going on.

Speaking of too few suggestions, while your concern looks reasonable it is also worth taking into account that making these takes non-trivial effort.

First, one needs to carefully check quite a lot of questions prior to suggesting one. For example search shows 40+ "candidate questions" for this week, and it hasn't yet even ended. Next, one need to write a compelling explanation for why they believe the question is good, it is also not easy.

One thing that can maybe make it a bit easier to suggest is to provide readers with search parameters and URL to look through potentially worthy questions posted during the particular week, for example like this: created:2017-02-05..2017-02-11 closed:no locked:no score:1

  • 2
    Thank you for your feedback. You're right, focusing on the gems is more fun than complaining about a flood of crap :) Regarding suggestions, I have always included such a search link in the question in order to streamline suggestions, but I'll make it more visible in the next round. If the “why this question is good” explanation is dropped, I fear that (a) focus might shift from quality to popularity, and (b) people wouldn't know whether to vote for that question without visiting it, requiring more effort on their part. I'll see what happens when I make that part optional for next week.
    – amon
    Feb 10, 2017 at 11:28
  • found that search link in your recent question @amon! It is really hidden too much because prior to writing this answer I checked and couldn't find it. Make it better visible, yes please
    – gnat
    Feb 10, 2017 at 11:40
  • @amon ...another thing I noticed, maybe we need to try making the last paragraph "Vote for this meta question..." into comment and not inside the post. As of now it seems difficult to notice - maybe it will be more prominent for readers if displayed as a separate comment. This looks important because more active voting on QoTW posts increases their chances to get to hot meta questions (you probably noticed that this week it failed to get there, not good)
    – gnat
    Feb 10, 2017 at 21:57
  • I think the vote-begging should stay in the post and that it's more visible there than as a comment. I assume the lack of votes for the current Q is simply due to a lack of votes: people look for social confirmation and are more comfortable to vote on something that already has a lot of votes. (I also try to encourage suggestion votes by creating an illusion of choice by making at least 2 suggestions each week.) If there were a guaranteed three question votes on Sunday, the post would be “hot” and the problem would largely take care of itself, but you seem to be the only reliable voter :/
    – amon
    Feb 11, 2017 at 18:12
  • I won't insist, I really don't have strong opinion on that @amon
    – gnat
    Feb 11, 2017 at 18:25

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