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How to make the StackExchange-like aspect of this site more obvious

asked 2015-02-14 23:54:06 +0000

Gamonics gravatar image

I'm seeing a great many users here with good questions about i3, but it seems like an awful lot of us are struggling with this site because many of us cannot up-vote any questions until we first attain 10 karma points. This in turn requires that someone up-vote one our questions or answers. There is a vicious circle happening here because it seems like too few users understand about the importance of voting and answering questions in the answer field.

I'd like to propose that one or more of the more karma-rich users spend some time up-voting some of us karma-poor users' questions and answers to make the use of this site more friendly to everyone.

But I don't know how to make that happen. Can anyone answer my question on how to do that?

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This is a common complaint.

TonyC gravatar imageTonyC ( 2015-02-15 00:45:57 +0000 )edit

Thanks for your comment, but... you're not up-voting my questions? If you up-voted this or my other question, then I could post screenshots... and increase the odds that someone can help me troubleshoot this problem. I'm confused. With your current karma, I'm thinking that you must be able to vote..

Gamonics gravatar imageGamonics ( 2015-02-15 01:14:02 +0000 )edit

Me upvoting more isn't going to fix the problem in the long term.

TonyC gravatar imageTonyC ( 2015-02-15 20:52:59 +0000 )edit

Thanks for your vote. :)

Gamonics gravatar imageGamonics ( 2015-02-15 23:56:07 +0000 )edit

I would have upvoted this, but of course I don't have enough Karma. Like almost everyone else.

faust gravatar imagefaust ( 2015-03-30 12:58:13 +0000 )edit

3 answers

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answered 2015-02-19 08:54:35 +0000

Adaephon gravatar image

updated 2015-02-19 10:17:19 +0000

I would have to agree with ANOKNUSA: Not having enough karma to vote does not prevent to use this site. You can ask questions and you can give answers. You can even reward other users by accepting answers to your question (and get 2 karma yourself in return).

The bar for up-voting on this page (10 karma) is already lower than the bar on StackExchange (15 reputation). Also you get 10 karma for an upvote on a question here while you only get 5 reputation on StackExchange. So you need only a single up-vote or an acceptance to get up-voting permissions here.

And yes, not that many users have voting permissions, 414 out of 24795 or 1.67% (see also this answer for some older statistics, compared to about 23% on StackOverflow (about 3662200 Users, 820008 with up-voting permissions). But I think this is mostly the case because not that many users have posted anything here. 1113 questions for 24795 users make an average of 0.045 questions per user. Compared to an average of 2.4 questions per user (8880950) on StackOverflow this is a big difference, not only in absolute numbers. Even if you take into account the answers (1557) this makes only an average of 0.1 posts per user. So if one completely ignores that many users posted more than one question or answer at a maximum 2670 users have done anything which even could be awarded with karma points. But in fact a third (521) of all answers were posted by the top 10 users, 300 of them by the top 3 users alone. So it is probably more relistic

All other statistics aside, I think the most important - and the only that should count - is that 998 of 1113 questions, nearly 90 %, have been answered at least once. A lot of the rest had to be closed for some reason or got at least comments. And that is what this site is about, users providing answers about i3 to others that need them.

The karma system comes second. It is a nice - and important - motivation but not the main purpose of this site. It is also a saveguard against spammers and other undesirables. For it to remain a motivation and saveguard every up-vote including the first one, needs to be earned by showing you want to contribute to this page, by posting good questions and answers. Handing out up-votes like candy for mediocre to bad posts (which, by the way, would be heavily down-voted, flagged, closed and deleted on StackExchange) just to increase the numbers of users that can vote does not really motivate me.

Would I like to receive more up-votes? Yes, of course. But then again I reached 10 karma (up-voting rights) within one day, 50 karma (down-voting rights) within 10 days, 200 karma (any permission mentioned in this FAQ's FAQ within a month, 500 karma (I think there are a few more permissions that are not mentioned to be had ... (more)

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Well, I can't comment in a meaningful way on your very thoughtful answer because the comment field is so severely limited (to 300 characters) in this site.

Gamonics gravatar imageGamonics ( 2015-02-26 16:26:00 +0000 )edit

I think this also contributes to people using this site like a discussion forum as (IMO) you did in your answer here by reiterating ANOKNUSA's answer rather than submitting an independent answer. I mean no offense, and I'm loving i3, but I do think this site could be improved if more people...

Gamonics gravatar imageGamonics ( 2015-02-26 16:27:44 +0000 )edit

...(1) understood about voting, and (2) had adequate karma to be able to vote, and (3) if the comment field was longer. (e.g.'s comment field length is 600 characters). But I acknowledge I'm new here, so I'll refrain from "farming karma." And I'll try using TWiCEiRC too.

Gamonics gravatar imageGamonics ( 2015-02-26 16:52:34 +0000 )edit

answered 2015-02-19 01:20:48 +0000

ANOKNUSA gravatar image

I'll be frank: The best way to earn karma on this site is to ask or answer interesting questions that aren't already covered in the excellent i3 documentation, or can't be figured out with a simple web search. i3 is hands-down the best documented and one of the most popular window managers I've used, and I've used over a dozen. This site should serve as a forum and repository for the more interesting things that can be done with i3, not a dumping ground for the same old mundane and inane queries. Karma typically comes from questions that garner lots of views or lots of votes. As you may have noticed, you can even earn karma by showing some initiative and posting an answer to your own question. As it is many questions are asked here that have already been answered here, or have answers in the i3 User's Guide, or can be answered with a two-minute web search. A fair number of questions have little or nothing to do with i3.

i3 is aimed first and foremost at power users, those willing to invest time and effort into learning more about how to get the most out of their systems. Getting the most out of i3 means a little creative thought and some homework. I personally think this site should reflect that in how people earn posting and moderating privileges. Not having karma doesn't keep people from posting here. It poses a barrier to spammers and to people who are more liable to simply post a question and then twiddle their thumbs while waiting for an answer, people likely to take more than give. It encourages people to think carefully about their issue and figure out how to properly articulate it, to communicate with people as best as possible. The only real barrier to entry here is the need to exercise a little patience and self-motivation.

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Thanks for your answer. While I agree wholeheartedly with your GENERAL philosophy on how people should be using this site, I disagree with some points. For example, "As you may have noticed, you can even earn karma by showing some initiative and posting an answer to your own question." Not true 4me.

Gamonics gravatar imageGamonics ( 2015-02-26 16:12:38 +0000 )edit

And when I wanted to ask a question that required posting an image, I was unable to do so before gaining 10 karma points. Thus, having low karma did prevent me from participating in a meaningful way here. It also prevented me from being able to VOTE which is the essence of any SE-like site.

Gamonics gravatar imageGamonics ( 2015-02-26 16:16:01 +0000 )edit

My mistake. You receive karma if you answer your own question *and* the answer receives an up-vote from another user. Otherwise people could just farm karma.

ANOKNUSA gravatar imageANOKNUSA ( 2015-02-26 18:39:45 +0000 )edit

The restriction on images keeps SPAM away; forces users to articulate their questions; and helps keep users from asking inane questions about the interface that are answered in the User's Guide (What's this red line in the window? What are these characters in the titlebar? Where'd my worspaces go?)

ANOKNUSA gravatar imageANOKNUSA ( 2015-02-26 18:44:09 +0000 )edit

True, and I think that's ok; perhaps even a good thing (not sure how big a problem spam is here). But it also prevented me from posting images that were necessary to [my question](

Gamonics gravatar imageGamonics ( 2015-02-26 19:04:58 +0000 )edit

answered 2015-02-15 23:55:37 +0000

Gamonics gravatar image

updated 2015-02-27 01:56:24 +0000

In the long term, I think the best way to solve this problem is for all experienced users to make a point of explaining in comments (this is the place people new to SE-like sites usually reply) to people who have karma=1 about voting. Each user has something like 30 votes that they are allowed to cast each day. It doesn't really take very long to review 30 questions or answers and cast a vote. Even skimming questions would allow one to make a quick judgment: good question/bad question or good answer/bad answer.

As this site is a fairly new site with a rather large number of new users, experienced users should (IMO) mostly be up-voting all questions unless they are really poorly worded or spam. At least until the traffic starts getting to be high.

In the short term, I think the best way to solve this problem is for all experienced users to cast all 30 of their votes every day so there aren't so many questions (even years old) posted by users with (still; years later) only karma=1. At this point, having such a large number of new users with karma=1 even years after posting their question is a pretty clear indication that this community is really struggling to survive.

UPDATE (this is all meta-information):

In light of ANOKNUSA's and Adaephon's answers, I'd like to elaborate on what I think may be a problem at this site and what I think may be a good solution to it. All I'm trying to do with this update to this answer is try to make some slight improvements in this community. I'm not trying to offend anyone or to fix what some may believe is not broken; I'm only trying to offer a new perspective and suggest some improvements. Please note my frequent use of the phrase, "I think", meaning exactly that (it's what I think): I'm not pointing a finger at anyone or trying to annoy or put down anyone. Just trying to suggest some improvements to this Q/A community. I apologize in advance to anyone who is offended or annoyed by these suggestions. I think i3 is by far the best wm I've encountered in 20 years of using them, and I'm sure I'll be a part of this community for many years to come, so I'd very much like to avoid offending anyone.

First, I readily acknowledge that i3 is targeted at power users. And I'd also like to explain that I've been doing Linux sysadmin (mostly for my own personal servers, desktop, and laptop computers, but also on a limited basis in professional settings) every day of my life for the last 20+ years. I've also used OpenBSD and FreeBSD for various tasks. I've installed and maintained a wide range of free software tools like BIND, NFS, Apache, the Cyrus IMAP ... (more)

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I usually avoid posting in a discussion like manner on this site. But the thing is that your question invites discussion and opinions rather than straight forward answers. IMHO you question would have been closed on SE for being manly opinion-based and/or off-topic (it is not about i3 but i3-FAQ)...

Adaephon gravatar imageAdaephon ( 2015-03-04 10:52:02 +0000 )edit

But as the comment fields are rather limited and as there is no meta-board like on SE, I decided to leave it open and also post my own answer rather than editing ANOKNUSA's. Mainly because I think the my main point differs a bit from ANOKNUSA and I did not want to infer my opinion being his.

Adaephon gravatar imageAdaephon ( 2015-03-04 11:04:53 +0000 )edit

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Asked: 2015-02-14 23:54:06 +0000

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Last updated: Feb 27

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