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Monica Cellio noted in this chat comment that participation on Mi Yodeya seems to be going down. She specifically mentioned traffic, questions/answers per unit time, and voting. This graph of votes/post over time seems to support this statement. I'm guessing that part of the problem is that regulars are not visiting/voting as much as they used to.

Monica suggests a competition in her message there. Does anybody have any ideas for contests or other ways to improve participation? I was thinking that some kind of reward for earning participation and/or moderation badges might be useful.

What does everybody think? Do people have their own ideas to improve participation, especially of our regular users who are no longer as active in recent months as they used to be?

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    We have to be more welcoming to new users: meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1714/… – Menachem Aug 15 '13 at 21:10
  • @Menachem I agree that we should definitely work on being welcoming to new users; however, the fact that participation is going down indicates that users who already exist are stopping to use the site. – Daniel Aug 15 '13 at 21:11
  • @Daniel I bet chat participation has increased over that period. – Charles Koppelman Aug 15 '13 at 21:42
  • @CharlesKoppelman So are you saying that we should use chat less? – Daniel Aug 15 '13 at 21:49
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    I know for myself that I try not to post an answer or question until I research it and find sources. It takes a while and I don't always have the time. – Menachem Aug 16 '13 at 0:22
  • I also think that people don't want to give half answers so the put them in comments instead of answers (I do this myself) – Menachem Aug 16 '13 at 0:23
  • I stopped participating because the general tone of the community seems to have changed dramatically over the past few years. There has been a marked increase in what I see as cynicism, sarcasm, snark, super-rationalism to the point that more mystical perspectives are ridiculed, and so on. I have no interest in participating in a community that once was very broad and now seems to me to be very narrow. – yoel Aug 27 '13 at 7:42
  • @yoel Would you post that as an answer? And maybe give some specific examples? – Daniel Aug 27 '13 at 13:27
  • @Daniel it doesn't really answer the question, though - it's not a solution, and I don't know how to frame it as one, as site users should feel welcome, imo, to participate as they wish. The fact that I don't like a sarcastic attitude towards traditional beliefs should not mean that others are not allowed to behave that way. As for examples, I would be extremely hesitant to cite any specific instances for fear of drawing attention to any particular user. – yoel Aug 28 '13 at 18:30
  • I will add that I think that there is a connection between my complaint and the issue linked by @Menachem - that is, some users seem to use excessive (and imo pedantic) requests for sources as a way of attacking, either for the sake of sarcastic mockery or ideological disagreement, traditional assertions. – yoel Aug 28 '13 at 18:31
  • Okay, I have an example now, from a moderator no less. Totally reaffirms that this site is not for me. – yoel Sep 17 '13 at 23:44
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Fairly early in the 2.0 beta we had a contest based on views; the idea was to publicize the site. That's not the problem we're trying to solve now, but it got me thinking about other contest possibilities. Last winter I saw a contest on another site where they identified badges that are tied to the kinds of growth they wanted, and people who earned those badges during the time of the contest were entered into a raffle for prizes (one entry per badge, and gold/silver counted extra). I was thinking that we could do something like that, with possible badges including the voting ones, Nice/Good Question/Answer (for posts created during the contest period), some of the moderation ones (like Custodian et al - h/t Daniel), and possibly others. This is a partly-baked idea yet.

I'm not sure what a good prize would be. In chat we discussed possibly tzedakah donations in the winners' names. Or, last time we did a gift card to an online Judaica shop.

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We could resurrect the weekly topic challenge as a way to motivate content. When we were doing those I found myself actively trying to think of questions to ask on the week's topic, things I did want to know the answer to but wouldn't have thought of on my own.

We can't use the announcement banner like we did before, but a featured meta post for the week would show up in the community bulletin on the main site. We should also try to comment on weekly-challenge questions, linking back to the challenge post.

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