At the moment the stats on Area51 aren't all too promising. While we got through the definition and commitment phase with flying colors, right now the situation is suboptimal.

The number of users grows, but the number of "avid users" grows too slowly.

Also the number of posts (both questions and answers) per day is suboptimal.

What can we do to draw attention and attract new members and keep them interested?

Also: should the more experienced reverse engineers sit down and write some Q&A entries by themselves, i.e. answer a question they think someone less experienced might have?

7 Answers 7


I agree with Igor that it's a little too early. But there are some ways to improve the site I'd like to mention:

  • Ask and answer your own question, like you mentioned. I did that on my own level with Find out a Java class file's compiler version - it's encouraged!
  • Vote a lot! This helps users gain reputation, get access to more privileges, etc.
  • Spread the word! I don't think we have a twitter bot yet, so until then we'll have to do that work ourselves. Post, share, tweet, link, e-mail, invite, whatever!
  • 52% of the followers of the proposal have signed up for the beta. That's 59.7% of the committers. Perhaps another notification could go out to the users who haven't signed up yet? Also, a message to the 96.9% who haven't fulfilled the commitment yet could be helpful.

By the way, the visits/day benchmark at Area 51 is rising!

  • good points. Yes, the whole Q&A style thing answering your own question is what I meant among other things. For example I haven't been follower or committer, but instead got invited a few days into the private beta. The voting I am doing already, both ways. Although naturally sometimes I'll comment and not vote until an answer or question improves and I also downvote.
    – 0xC0000022L Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 21:25

I wrote a rather lengthy answer to this on meta SO that mentions a canonical answer to this question; I'm just linking to it here for reference and additional context.

tl;dr; Just keep promoting and working on the site as you have been, and stop looking at those stats so often.

You just launched into public beta, it's really too early to start analyzing data to the degree that you seem to be doing it. Movement at this point is going to be a little slow, and often seem random.

The next thing we'll be looking for are individuals in your community to serve as pro-tem moderators (is anyone missing there?). The job of a pro-tem moderator goes beyond just handling flags, they're also a liaison between your community and Stack Exchange. They have our ear and can bring us your ideas for promotion, concerns regarding progress and anything else that's needed to help you develop into a successful graduated site.

Addressing your idea specifically, you want to avoid seeding the site just for the sake of having additional content. During the private beta, you did a good job working to ensure that someone with a reverse engineering question would feel welcome and inclined to ask it here. With that said, if anyone has some really useful knowledge to share and no question on the site has provided an opportunity to do so, they should feel absolutely free and encouraged to ask and answer their own question - that's why the user interface supports it.

Right now in addition to Camil's great suggestions, the thing to focus on is making sure that anyone arriving here with a question receives a great answer in a relatively short amount of time. As that happens, you'll begin developing a small but effective evangelical following, bringing even more people to the site to ask their questions. It's important to treat each and every new user as if they might be that user, the evangelist that will bring 15 more quality users to your community.

And please, stop looking at those stats so often ;)

  • 1
    ♦: wait, how do you know I'm checking the stats so often? *g* ... alright, I'll try to check less often. But I'm really interesting in seeing this become a success :-Þ
    – 0xC0000022L Mod
    Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 6:59
  • @0xC0000022L Another thing to keep in mind is that if we see something worrying, we will bring it up here on meta. Your pro-tem moderators will also be able to see more detailed data, helping them identify promotional efforts that work the best. I wouldn't take more than a trivial look at the stats for at least another month, there's just not enough here yet for them to be very meaningful.
    – Tim Post
    Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 7:28

The good news is that this happens on every Stack Exchange site: a frenetic private beta, followed by a long slump, and then traffic slowly starts to pick up and then blooms.

The bad news is that the slump came very early after we went public. This site went through commitment on Area 51 remarkably fast, but many committers didn't turn up.

Advertise the site! We need users.

Post good content! Eventually, most new users will find the site via a Google search. Make sure your posts make them want to stay.


This happens to every site. You have high stats in private beta, these spike and then start dropping when you reach public as the initial novelty of it fades. You reach some great lows, and then it picks up again, slooowly rising.

It's too early to worry about stats. For now, the fact that you got out of private beta means that you're in an OK place :)

  • thanks for the comment. Good to know :)
    – 0xC0000022L Mod
    Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 4:32

A couple of things:

Thing 1 - Get the word out on security.se. They might have some users that could cross-pollinate.

Thing 2 - Encourage active bloggers to cross-post their article in a QA form.

Example - What if you could convince someone that does the blog articles for Fire-eye to post a question and analysis on a 1-day they found?

They could of course put links back to the original article that might cover more ground than just the question and the question would have to be well formed. It could be a win-win all the way around as long as it was done well.

  • Good suggestion, but could be potentially problematic if the blogger isn't well-versed with SE style posts.
    – asheeshr
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 1:15

I think you're asking this too early. We have barely opened. It's not unusual for some sites to stay in beta for months or even years. It will take time to fill the site with questions and answers and start bringing in search results. I don't think that filling it with whatever content just to bring up the stats is a good strategy right now.

  • I see what you mean. However, I think you may have understood me. I wasn't trying to say we should fill it with whatever content. But filling it with relevant content and answers to frequently asked questions could foster the community and bring in search results.
    – 0xC0000022L Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 20:29

Its too early to be looking at the stats. Beta is a very long process for good reason. Let things grow organically with some gentle pushes here and there. Its better to become a repository of really high quality content (that takes time and effort to generate) rather than quickly thrown together Q&As (that are just a compilation of easily available information).

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