After a long discussion I had with the moderator oW_ about the community status in Data Science Site, I decided to gather some ideas and propose them here.
Note: My personal view is that a moderator should act as an Ambassador. Someone who will be responsible to promote and activate the community. Not just accepting/rejecting questions. However, I fully understand that it is just my personal view and behaviour that one should not demand from local staff members.
Let’s start with the ideas now
#1 Create useful content
Even if this is the first one, it’s not the most important. We already have enough questions and answer, but it’s something we can do in parallel. When we have knowledge of something useful, but there isn’t any related question already on the site, we can ask it, wait for 2-3 days and if there isn’t any decent answer, post the answer ourselves. This is something we did in Open Data SE.
What we achieve with this: Improve Google Ranking of DS SE and increase the traffic to our site.
#2 Reduce the number of unanswered questions
If we all try to answer 1-2 questions from the unanswered list every week, we will manage to keep it low.
What we achieve with this: It’s not about the number, but make users feel that there will always be an answer for them.
#3 Guides and Tutorials
We can have community-wiki guides about specific parts of the daily routine in Data Science SE. It’s doesn’t have to be long, endless documentation. It can be in a format of QnA. For example, how should I judge if I should vote to close a question? Create a step by step guide of what a user must examine. Giving links to the Help section, adding screenshots and comments.
What we achieve with this: We help users to contribute to the site. We don’t let them find the right way themselves.
#4 Special Days - Datathons
We can schedule it that once every x months, we create a community event with a specific target. For example, we will try to answer all unanswered questions with that specific Tag. We promote it inside DS Site and outside in social media. We have an open call for anyone to participate.
What we achieve with this: Participation. Any user wants to feel that is part of a bigger community. Let them feel it.
#5 Special Days - Self-promotions
I think I saw it in the past in another Meta site. There is one special day every month where a user can promote a project related to Data Science in a meta question that started by a mod. It shouldn’t be a link promotion, but a short-medium post about how this project is related to DS. It’s not necessary that users will promote their own projects. They might do any interesting project they found.
What we achieve with this: We create an extra bond between users and DS Site. Also, they have an extra reason to visit Meta.
#6 Chat rooms
We don’t use chat rooms at all. We don’t have to do it when there is a long comment discussion. We could have different chart rooms for different generic subjects (about Data Science) and promote the discussion there as well.
What we achieve with this: We keep users more active during their session here
#7 Site promotion
I put this one last since it’s not something that anyone might want to do. Promotion of the Data Science SE in other places. Last February, I did promote the website in two big communities outside of Stack Exchange. I made it clear that the link is not an affiliate, I don’t have something to win from this and ask for specific actions. Here is a screenshot of one of the posts I did.
I believe that the results of those two promotions were big enough. If we check the number of questions/answers during that period we can see a change in the trend.
Those were some of the ideas I have to improve this community that we all love. Please use the answers to either add feedback on those specific ideas or suggest another one that you like. It might be better if we decide to coordinate one of those, to do it through a chat room since it might need a longer discussion.