The short answer is we are doing a beta. This means a couple of different things to me, we are testing our concepts, and we may be modifying our concepts to become usable. Please go to area 51 to look at the progress of Poker Beta. You will see that we are not doing well at all. Our beta is on a path to failure.
Before I get into my narrative as to why we need change and suggest the changes I think we need to make, let me give you my abbreviated poker resume. I dealt and played my first hands of poker at The Western Hotel in 1986. Since then I have worked long stretches at The Las Vegas Hilton 1987-1990, and The Mirage (1990-1998), Wendover Resorts (2010-2014). I have worked as a dealer, a brush, a shift supervisor and as a consultant. I have also worked a couple WSOP tournaments and a few other poker rooms.
I am a player. At the Hilton and Mirage dealers could play on the clock. Most of my time at these places I spent more time playing then dealing, and made more money playing then dealing. The big advantage doing that is you had all the advantage of employment, and when the cards went bad you had an instant job. I have also played for periods of time without a job, and have filed taxes as a professional gambler.
I have been a hobbyist programmer since sometime in the 80’s. In 1996 I put up a website about poker. From then until September of 2006 most of my energy went into my websites. I have sat at over a hundred final tables at the WSOP with a press pass taking pictures and writing about the action and the players. I was the first guy to take a digital picture and include it with the results online at the WSOP. I was the first guy to place results online in real time, using a cell phone at 14,000KBs to connect. I also had a successful poker forum called Poker Clan, maybe some of you were there. It was one of the first poker forums behind two plus two. So from this context I believe that I just might be able to impart some wisdom to you that might help all of you reach your goal of having a viable questions and answers site about poker on Stack Exchange.
Our biggest problem is that we are to elitist. Starting from the description “site for serious players and enthusiasts of poker”, to the scope of moderation, this site is just not attractive to most poker players. Moderators and users have a much too narrow concept of what kind of questions belong here. My general observation is that you want a lot of real intelligent questions, and that a bias is toward math and higher language sort of things like calculated risk, implied odds, outs, hand histories and that sort of thing exists on Poker Beta. The current context here simply does not address the typical poker player. And even worse it does not address the questions of someone that is online researching poker. We are not meeting one of the basic rules of Stack Exchange, we are not making the Internet a better place.
I urge you to change the description of the scope of the site to simply “for enthusiasts of poker”, and adjust your mindset to answer all questions in that context rather than the more elitist nature that prevails currently. Most poker players do not fit the description of serious poker player. The game for most players is a past time. Don’t take this in the wrong context, all players are serious about the game to some degree, most are not serious to the degree that really serious players would consider them a serious player. Serious Players in your site description is limiting this site, and the term serious poker player in your moderating mind sets is going to kill this site.
We need to open our minds to find value in the more inane questions that come from new users, and newbie poker players. This is simple customer service, these people are our customers, if you blow them away they are not coming back, they will not become members of the community and thus this site will quite rightly go away. It is our job to frame questions sensibly, to get the customers meaning to a question. We are experts we are supposed to know what they are getting at even when they are not sure. Moderators here, please relax, the questions that are really horrible are obvious, you close way to many questions that have value or you simply do not understand. Let these questions stay for a while, and often you will find that something in an answer makes the question clear, or someone whom understands can edit it to be legible.
It is our job to answer the simple inane questions. Too many questions go unanswered because the question is not considered on topic. True “what is shoot the moon” is off topic, what I am saying is you need to put these questions on topic and within the scope, because these are the kinds of questions that people who are poker enthusiasts need to ask and have answered. Any simple question that is on topic about poker in almost any context should be answered here. We do not have the audience to be elite about what in the world of poker we want to talk about. We will never attract the kind of people that will become experts here if we blow them away. The best experts I had at Poker Clan started asking silly questions like a four year old. Questions I am sure would have been moderated out of existence here. One of these users was on the cover of Poker Player as an upcoming player to watch. One of these players was able to put together a team of players and make several millions at the WSOP (They put me in the 1500 hold-em playing for 60%, it was a short day *sigh.). The point being these questions are important to the future of Poker Beta as a useful and viable site. These new people often will become experts, and add to this sites future and growth in ways you cannot even imagine. Quite blowing them off and making them feel stupid. Answer the question and let the context of this site expand to include those at the beginning of the poker learning curve.
If you have questions to the OP asking in the comments is just fine. However discussing the merit of a question belongs in Poker Meta, not in the comments. It’s just plain rude and offensive and a giant turn off to most new users.
The nature of questions vary from each Stack Exchange site to the other. The nature of answers also vary as well. Poker Beta is not StackOverflow or exactly like any other site on stack exchange. Often questions on other sites need to be rather terse and exact, as the answers will be. Often these questions are closed and deleted because the answers can be to speculative, based on opinion rather than fact, or are too broad. My experience is that great poker questions and answers, (great being useful and informative), come from a lot of discussion that can be more argument and speculation then technical. People in Stack Exchange are typically technical, but technical is not always the best way to address an answer in poker. Poker has too many variables to fit neatly into a technical answer. (We had a thread several hundred posts long at poker clan that asked the best way to play pocket nines, everyone had a better understanding of how to play pocket nines. No particular answer in that thread could say exactly how pocket nines should best be played). Any “technical” question about poker is so dependent on known and unknown factors that any answer is going to have to be speculative and opinionated to offer any kind of relevancy. Answers can never have anything approaching perfect accuracy. A strict application of terse rules from Stack Exchange will never filter Poker down to making the Internet a Better place with Poker Beta. (Rather that is a good argument for killing Poker here or not is up to Stack Exchange.) Each poker question of any depth is going to be a discussion, any answer is going to be extrapolated from the discussion rather than from a direct simple answer. The point being is we need to open our minds to getting questions clarified and answered rather than doing what we have been doing which is not addressing the needs and wants of poker players here.
You guys really aren’t about poker here you are about some elite subset of poker. You do not have enough experts and balance here and it is adversely narrowing the scope of this site to what a handful of moderators, whom I dare say are not likely world class players or experienced in the industry, think what a good question and answer site might be. Proof is in the pudding here about rather are not this vision is succeeding. If you want to succeed here you will need to include all poker players and the questions they ask, you will need to expand your horizons and become tolerant of those people who asks questions from a different perspective then you. If you can’t do these things this site will never have enough content to attract those 1500 visitors a day you need to get out of beta, it will never attract enough users that will become experts, it will never become something that is useful on the internet. It will never become something that is competitive with two plus two or attract many people from there. It will never be a good place to post a question and get a good answer about poker at.