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I read this post here in Poker Meta where the OP wrote

If this site is going to work on the stackexchange model, I think it's important to keep the questions definitively answerable.

It started me to thinking what is this Stack Exchange Model so many quote as though it is gospel. Here is what I found under Help Center > Our model..

Be nice.
What kind of behavior is expected of users?

How do I find topics I'm interested in?

What is "meta"? How does it work?

What if I see someone doing something bad?

How do I search?

Can I support my product on this site?

What are badges?

How do I format my posts using Markdown or HTML?

What if I need more help?

Why can people edit my posts? How does editing work?

Where can I post feedback about something that’s broken or an idea I have for a feature?

Did not seem like a real terse model to me, looked more like a FAQ. It definitely was more of a guide then a rule book, from its context to its wording.

I also looked at the topic of "Asking" in Help Center > Asking. This had a few rules but in essence was a FAQ and guide.

I am trying to wrap my head around what exactly a SE Q&A site is supposed to be. The discussions at Meta and Area 51 are great places to get a feel for what SE is about. At Meta there are thousands of posts about what works and what does not, many of the questions are answered with authority by SE employees.

At Area 51 it is interesting to read the proposal to see what works, what does not. And observe the process of a proposal coming to life or what looks like a good proposal being closed by SE employees or just fading away for lack of interest. At 51 there are around 500 active proposals, there have been thousands of proposals that have come and died.

Here it has been said that Poker beta is in trouble and may be closed at some time. The person saying so is a stack exchange community manager, so what he is saying is not an opinion but a warning that we are failing. It is important to note the a site in Beta is not a stack exchange site, it is a site going through the final phrase that will determine if it can be a stack exchange site.

So why is this site failing?

There are some reasons that are outside of our control. I will list some of them but we can't fix them. Poker is no longer a growth industry, many of the people whom might of been part of this at one time no longer will. Many websites with forums have simply gone away since the poker boom busted. One site, two plus two, has always had the majority of serious poker players the world over as active users. They are a very tough nut to crack, there users will remain loyal for the foreseeable future.

And I have digressed, so back to the model...

There is no model, the only hard and fast rule is that the site is an Question & Answer site. Within that context the proposal to leave beta must prove viable by having:

  • 15 questions per day on average
  • 90% of questions answered
  • a solid group of core users
  • 2.5 answers per question
  • 1,500 visits per day

    (To see how poker is doing click here)

The list above is not only the rules of becoming a full fledged SE site, it is the list of goals the people interested in the site must achieve.

This site is long in Beta and far from reaching the goals. Many users here have been to area 51 and studied hard at Meta taking the things they learned and applying it here trying to reach that goal.

However, all the things in Meta and 51 are opinions and not rules. SE will objectively remove this site if the goals are not achieved. While I am sure SE hopes that this site will resemble something like SO, and have designed the process for that. SE gives us a highly flexible means of achieving those goals. Simply put, they do not moderate we do.

This is the crux of what an SE site is, user moderation. Experts have the most privilege they earn the privilege because they are experts in the field. SE takes the bold step of being humble. They understand that all they know is that they do not understand the topic of any SE site as well as the people that use it do.

SE has not laid out any hard and fast rules about the nature of the questions and answers that we need here to reach our goals, they have only ruled that we need to reach our goals, or they will pull the plug.

Consider the differences in the nature of the questions and answers between these two sites. The Original StackOverflow and WorldBuilding that is brand new in a very strong beta phrase. Stackoverflow is the original SE site, there a good question is concise and has a concise answer. Most of what you might read about what makes a good question is based on a format that evolved at SO. At world building you will see that good questions almost always have many long opinionated answers. Worldbuilding has questions and answers in a format that is generally accepted at WB that would hardly be practical at SO. WB worked on reaching the goals, not to much on worrying about the questions fitting a format. They evolved to meet the goals rather then attempting to much constraint with best practices.

If we are to meet the goals here, we need to evolve the kind of Q&A site that fits the needs of our users. It is good practice in private beta and early in public beta to keep the quality high with questions, and base the notion of what that quality means, on sites that have succeeded before. Early is when the direction of the site is defined. After that early phrase working on an abstract of other sites rules to determine content for a site is counter productive. You make your own rules based on the realities of your users. You make the site work, when it is not working you try something different.

Poker is an excellent topic for a Q&A site. Every time a poker player sits down at a table questions arise, most of which could be written up and posted. Every time two poker players stand of to the side, go to a meal they are asking each other about poker. The very key to becoming a successful poker player is being inquisitive about the way you approach your own game and the way others approach the game.

Questions beget more questions in poker. Answers to questions are much more opinions then factually based. Good answers are rarely short. Best answers are rarely best answers for everyone. Good questions will often seem inane to some. Expertise in poker comes from a wide variety of people and is more often expressed as opinion then as fact. Valid facts are hard to come by in the world of poker, and good answers will be based on experience. Few answers accept those that address the most inane questions will be comprehensive. Poker Beta needs to evolve its own set of standards for poker questions and answers that meet the needs of the poker playing community rather then forcing Q&A's into the standards of other SE sites. This is allowed under the rules.

  • What would you like users to get from reading this post? – Toby Booth Nov 9 '14 at 1:47
  • I would like them to look around and consider possibilities – Jon Nov 9 '14 at 7:05
  • The 3 paragraphs starting at "This is the crux of what an SE site is", when you get past the raw mechanics of how the Q&A platform works, that's a really good overview of our model right there. – Grace Note Nov 10 '14 at 19:43
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While I agree that poker can be a good topic for Q&A, I think the poker stack exchange site was doomed from the start. I'd love to see it succeed, but...

Twoplustwo

It's the canonical great place to get poker questions answered online. It has discussion forums for all types of poker and for all skill levels. It has been around for many years and has an established community of experts and moderators. It is effectively an archive of all meaningful trends in poker over the last 10+ years. That's hard to top.

Quality questions

The premise of the Q&A model is that the questions are clear and concise and can be truly answered. In poker, this is tough, because unless the question author frames the parameter space really well, you get a lot of mushy questions whose answers are (or should be) all "it depends." This site seems to attract a lot of novice players, which is outstanding in many ways, but it leads to a lot of lower quality questions -- not because they aren't important topics, but because whole books can be (and often have been) written on the subject. The asker simply doesn't have enough background to know what a can of worms the question really is. Twoplustwo handles this by partitioning the site into specific message boards, and though generally unfriendly (the software and some of the participants!) it's usually clearer what the question's goals are. And the mods there are quick to move a thread that's misplaced.

Quality answers

It's just hard to answer a question that lacks proper framing, no matter how knowledgeable you are or how great a communicator you are. You end up spending several rounds in the question comments trying to clarify some points, whether because of poor wording or incomplete information. Then you eventually take a stab at it based on your interpretation of the question. Even if the answer has lots of value, it often is based on assumptions that aren't explicit, and then an answer is subject to the chatter in the comment section. All this is great and part of the process, but it longs for a more discussion-ish format than a Q&A, IMO.

What could make this site better?

Twoplustwo has its own insular community, and it's hard for newbies to feel welcome there. There is a lot of quality info there, much of it posted by a handful of regulars, and that's followed occasionally by a lot of sycophants who just want to agree with the first poster. That's tiresome. This stack exchange site has the potential for much greater appeal to new people, both through ease of use and through largely friendlier members. But, as you mentioned, the growth of poker is slow or negative since black Friday, and those new people are few and far between. If online poker makes even a minor comeback across the US, I think the audience for this poker stack exchange site will be there, but for now, the people who remain in the poker world simply know that twoplustwo is the place to go for this kind of discussion, whether they like it or not.

  • Quality Questions and quality answers need to fit poker, not SE so much. We need to find our own voice for our audience of poker players. and work really hard to let poker players engage here and become a part of this. They will get into SE, if we give them the time and leadership to adapt. It is more important to engage them, then it is to worry about the quality they have yet to learn. – Jon Nov 11 '14 at 2:56
  • As for two plus two, it will be a tough nut to crack. But like you said "though generally unfriendly". I know Mason personally, were not buddies or anything but we are acquainted, have had many conversations and email exchanges. Two plus two is his baby and reflects his personality, for good and bad. He has quirks, and better can be done then they do over there. This site will hit that tipping point, and I believe will become a preferred site for players. It is going to take awhile. – Jon Nov 11 '14 at 3:06

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