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# How can we grow this community?

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Codidact's communities have a lot of great content that is helping people on the Internet. Our communities are small, though, and sustainable communities depend on having lots of active, engaged participants. The folks already here are doing good work; our challenge is to find more people like you so we can help this community grow.

This calls for a two-pronged approach: reaching more people who would be interested if only they knew about us, and making sure that visitors get a good first impression. I'm here to ask for your help with both.

## Reaching more people

The pool of people interested in scientific exploration and science-bounded imagination is large, from authors to game designers to folks who are insatiably curious about future possibilities. My question to you is: where do we find those people? You're the experts on this topic, not us. Where would it be most fruitful to promote Codidact? How should we appeal to them to draw them in?

Please don't give general answers like "science fiction clubs". We need your expert input to decide where, specifically, we should be looking. We are now able to pay for some advertising -- where should we direct it, and what message would best reach that audience? Can you help us sell your community?

Finally, some types of promotion are best done peer to peer. You are the experts in your topic; messages from you on subreddits or professional forums or the like will be much more credible than messages from Codidact staff. For these types of settings, we need your help to get the word out. If you know of a suitable place and can volunteer to spread the word there, please leave an answer about it so we all know about it (and know not to also post there).

## Making a good first impression

Pretend for a moment that you don't know anything about Codidact. Visit this community in incognito mode. What's your reaction? If it's negative, what can we do about it? Some known deterrents from across the network:

• Latest activity is not recent. This tells people the community isn't active. Anecdotally, we have lots of people ready to answer good questions, and on some communities, not enough good questions for them to answer. Can you help with that?

• Latest questions are unanswered. This tells people it might not be worth asking here. Why are our unanswered questions unanswered? Are they poor questions in some regard? Unclear, too basic, too esoteric, just not interesting? Can they be fixed? Should they be hidden?[1]

• Latest questions have poor scores. This tells people that either there's lots of low-quality material here or the voters are overly picky. If it's a quality problem, same questions as the previous bullet. If good content is getting downvoted, or not getting upvoted, can you help us understand why?

These are issues we've seen or heard about from across the network, but each community is different. What do you see here? What might be turning people away, and what could we do about it?

Are there things about the platform itself, as opposed to content, that discourage people we're trying to attract? If there's something we can customize to better serve this community, please let us know. If there are other changes in presentation or behavior that you think would encourage visitors to stick around, what are they?

Conversely, what is this community doing well? What draws newcomers in? I don't just mean the reverse of those bullets. What do we need to keep doing, and what might be worth highlighting when promoting this community?

1. Should the question list not show some questions to anonymous visitors? What should the criteria be? ↩︎

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## 5 answers

You are accessing this answer with a direct link, so it's being shown above all other answers regardless of its score. You can return to the normal view.

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Under "Making a Good First Impression", a few mechanical notes from someone just making the transition from WB.SE to Codidact -

• Question titles should probably be at the top of the page, instead of the bottom

• Login from another community (for example writing.codidact.com) does not work - I must login from a community that I am already a part of (such as scientific-speculation.codidact.com). I suspect when I subscribe to writing.codidact.com that the problem will go away, but haven't tried it yet.

• No help page (that I've found so far). Figured out that $$La^T_Ex$$ markup requires two dollar signs, instead of one, from experience with TiddlyWiki. I'm not sure how someone else would figure it out.

• Latex rendering is a little slow. I think this may be intentional that the preview is replaced with code as I type, and returns back to preview if a second passes without a keypress. But it IS different, and may be offputting to some people. Might be better as an option (and maybe it is; I haven't looked at settings yet).

• Can't drop images in by URL.

• It doesn't appear like there are any accepted answers. It's a bit hard to tell if debate is closed, or still open, on a particular question.

### Positives

• I like the copyright information on each post. It's nice to be crystal-clear what reuse restrictions are.

• I like the "react" feature, although I haven't used it yet.

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#### 3 comment threads

Thanks and some answers (4 comments)
MathJax (1 comment)
logins (3 comments)
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The issues here are largely the same as with the Outdoors site, including the imported content. My answer to your question in Outdoors mostly applies.

A few differences to note:

• The recent rash of dumb or lazy questions doesn't apply, since we've had barely any questions.
• It's harder to find a good question here. Too many are just silly, seemingly asked without even considering basic high school physics.
• The Rigorous Science category makes no sense. The description is worded so that even I am afraid to ask anything there. As with other low-volume sites, splitting content into different buckets makes the whole site look more empty than it already is.
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#### 0 comment threads

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Two ideas, prompted by a question I submitted recently. (About the chemistry of PVA glue.)

Firstly, the topics are too narrow and exclude many, quite possibility the majority, of likely questions. In the case of my glue question there was no topic that seemed even remotely appropriate and I came very close to not asking rather than risk misapprobation for being off topic.

Secondly, a week has passed without my question getting any response.

To improve the situation I think that every possible question should be acceptable somewhere. At first I thought that a catch-all topic should be created, but on consideration I wondered whether it might not make sense to abandon the concept of topics entirely and instead to rely on tags or text filters so that classification becomes the responsibility of the person searching, either for answers to questions or questions to answer.

I don't know what the relationship between Top Answers and CoDidact is, but it seems to me that they should be combined, on the premise that a single, maximally inclusive, knowledge base will be more useful than one made of several isolated categories. It would also look less like a pale imitation of Stack Overflow.

With regard to getting answers, I would be a bit surprised if there is no one in the community who could answer my glue question, but somewhat less surprised that such a person would not be watching a topic which exists mainly for authors of speculative fiction to explore plausible scenarios.

Again, I think that dividing questions into topics works against you. The multidimensional nature of tags should make it easier for experts to extract the questions that they are able to answer. If you have the resources you might even look at the possibility of automatically identifying people who might be able to answer a new question based on their passed answers.

Later addition

Because the "How can we grow this community?" link was in a separate panel and I had seen (apparently) the same link in another community, I assumed that I was commenting on Codidact as a whole, not just a single community. Where I have used the word "topic" above I have been referring to a "community".

To give my opinion clearly, I think that Codidact as a whole would be better if the communities (and I think the term itself is inappropriate, the purpose of Codidact is to collect knowledge, not foster interpersonal relationships) were replaced by a single "Life, the universe and everything" community with tags (have you considered allowing tags to be given a weight?) to indicate the nature of each question.

As an example, it is quite easy to imagine a question that involves aspects of mathematics, music and physics. Forcing such a question into a single category increses the probability of it not being seen by a person who could have answered it.

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#### 1 comment thread

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I don't see a Facebook page link. Any other social media. Simply having a presence there will give some people more trust. Occasionally making a post when a new forum or feature is enabled would be cool.

I have not spent much time here because so much regulations to achieve perfection instead of letting people ask and answer questions.

Marketing is a popular way to gain followers. That needs funds. Having opt in adverts would be a inoffensive way of gaining a small stream that can pay for a few Google adverts.

I suggested before that there could be a forum where advertisers can post their adverts and then critic here pick them to pieces based on how offensive they are. This way advertisers would gain free critique and they gain free exposure in exchange for paying for views.

A way of formalising the hatred that people have for advertisers.

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#### 1 comment thread

Trust through Facebook presence? (1 comment)
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Advertise on Gab

Gab.com is an environment where very little advertising is happening (so what you spend will be visible), and the audience is almost completely people actively looking for alternatives to the products they are currently using.

They claim 15 million unique visitors per month

https://news.gab.com/2021/08/05/advertising-on-gab/

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#### 0 comment threads

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