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We all love Physical Fitness Stack Exchange, but there is a whole world of people out there who need answers to their questions and don't even know that this site exists. When they arrive from Google, what will their first impression be? Let's try to look at this site through the eyes of someone who's never seen it before, and see how we stack up against the rest of the 'Net.

The Site Self-Evaluation review queue is open and populated with 10 questions that were asked and answered in the last quarter. Run a few Google searches to see how easy they are to find and compare the answers we have with the information available on other sites.

Rating the questions is only a part of the puzzle, though. Do you see a pattern of questions that should have been closed but are not? Questions or answers that could use an edit? Anything that's going really well? Post an answer below to share your thoughts and discuss these questions and the site's health with your fellow users!

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Honestly, the biggest thing for me is spelling, punctuation and grammar. I don't spend much time on this site - I'll read maybe once every few days while eating lunch, possibly for a bit at home in the evening - but the thing that I notice consistently is that a lot of answers, even ones that are otherwise good, have a large number of spelling mistakes, typing mistakes, poor grammar, etc.

It's an easy, but also very important, thing for the regular users (and I by no means consider myself one of those) to fix, but there has to be a concentrated and continuous effort to do so. In addition to the content of a post I'll also look at the way it's presented. And, to be blunt, if a post is riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes I automatically assume that it's worth less than others.

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    Not everybody is a native speaker;) – Marc Palm Sep 20 '13 at 14:19
  • Everybody has to take action here. I try to do my best in editing and fixing posts, but as I am not a native speaker myself I can only correct postings to some degree. German punctuation rules are quite different from the English and I always mix them up. – Baarn Sep 23 '13 at 16:51
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Final Results

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  • Is this good or bad? – Baarn Aug 28 '13 at 10:58
  • I'd say bad, as our highest scoring one is a nutrition question. – user4644 Aug 28 '13 at 18:15
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    I'm not sure how it compares to other beta sites, but on the whole it looks pretty bad. 70% scoring 0 or less definitely isn't good. – Anthony Grist Aug 29 '13 at 10:40
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Why not create a FAQ in the beginning of a page with links to the corresponding questions?

Many question appear repeatedly like "How can I gain weight", "How can I get big fast", etc.

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  • I think this should be a question on its own. Could you post it as such and elaborate a bit more what you mean? – Baarn Sep 23 '13 at 16:52
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I am going to be bluntly honest. I have used stack since its inception. I have been coming to this stack site for a month. That being said this site strays far from what I have come to expect from a stack site. The first few days I went through a lot of questions that interested me and for most of them I have a professional background in. My reaction on most of the upvoted answers I saw, was "Huh?"

Why the Huh's?

  1. The main reason is that there are a lot of answers given with little to no expertise and no real world experience. The answers obviously come off google searching and copying and pasting different articles off of the web. What is funny is that I have seen several comments that this is wanted and appreciated. The experience a user gets from an answer like this is similar to using a language translator to write a book in another language. It just doesn't make sense. And when you see answers like this upvoted from the "community" (I put that in quotes on purpose) then you think the "community" is full of crap.

  2. The "community". Which on this site consists of 5-6 individuals with very little experience in fitness. They vote for each others posts, even offer edits to an obviously full of crap post, gang up on people to close out posts, close posts for any type of ailment by telling people to see a dr, gang up on a new user that doesn't not copy information from another fitness site... Now there are a few very experienced people who have excellent information to share. But this is not the norm you can expect from an answer. The "community" detracts from the few experts on the site with its overload of invoting. Can't offer suggestions because I guess this site doesn't get the traffic to counter this issue.

  3. The closing things out as duplicates. Mentioned this before but this has to end. There are specific issues and wants people have. If we are giving general advice the site is useless because 95% of the questions asked can already be put in a general bucket.

  4. The "go see a dr", "go see a PT", "go see whoever"... The person is asking a question on the site to be answered. OF COURSE they understand they can see a doctor for an injury. Then they wouldn't ask a question. I answer a lot of question on DIY stack site. One of the big issues we had at the site was there were a lot of people saying "hire a licensed electrician", "get a plumber", "get a licensed contractor" - that is COMPLETELY useless advice unless there is an extreme situation. Maybe 5-10% of the posts deserve this reaction. But since the "community" on this site says it for any injury or issue who knows if it warrants serious medical attention? Certainly not the person asking the question because the "community" thinks almost everything should get medical attention. Also many (most) people do not have access to a doctor or PT or psychologist so advising that treatment is a bit snobbish.

So the there are three things I see that could happen.

  1. Close down the site. Without experienced answers you are regurgitating stuff from other sites with no other insight - completely useless in my opinion.

  2. Do something to advertise the site better so that there are more users. This should knock the inexperienced answers down where they belong and will promote people to give proper answers with insight. However this still has an issue because a majority of big topics have been asked/answered and the "community" will close these new questions as duplicates.

  3. Hire a staff with a fitness background to oversee the site until it turns the corner.

It is one thing to deal with overzealous moderators on the stack sites that think they own the site - that basically always happens. What makes this situation different is most of these moderators know little about the subject.

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    You should start a meta discussion on each of your bullet points, so people can comment, answer and vote separately on them. I won't comment on any of them here, as that wouldn't lead to anything constructive. – Baarn Aug 24 '13 at 21:20
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    Unless you have access to the voting data, you're just making blind accusations. Furthermore, its very likely that the most active users also post and/or read more answers, so those who post frequently have a higher chance of a getting an upvote and those who read more are often likely to upvote more answers (regardless of which one). – Ivo Flipse Aug 25 '13 at 8:28
  • @IvoFlipse - as far as the voting I am using the comments section to make that assumption - I doubt a person makes a positive comment or says +1 without making an upvote. Also you can see how many votes a user has cast on a historical basis. -- Also thanks for the down votes for an opinion "community". – DMoore Aug 25 '13 at 15:29
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    A downvote on Meta means I disagree with you, well consider my downvote as a sign of massive disagreement – Ivo Flipse Aug 25 '13 at 17:08
  • No problems with down votes at all. I figure that my opinion is taking a dig at a lot of the people answering questions and I figure on getting TONS of down votes. But the fact is the purpose of stack is to have great questions and great answers, answered by experts in their respective fields. I could answer most questions on most stack sites by investigating/studying but I don't because I am not an expert in those fields. Again I think people on this site are missing the point. They think it is fun to "earn points" even when they have no background in a question area. – DMoore Aug 25 '13 at 17:13
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    Points 3 and 4 aren't simply user preference; they're well-considered StackExchange guidelines. Look up the blog post on duplicates, or the discussions on medical advice. As for 1 and 2, well, the whole point of SE is that people doing the work of programming/working out/learning physics exchange what they're learning. It's not supposed to be a top-down view from the experts, however you define them. In my case, I try to share what little I've learned from examining my own lifting, sports, and conditioning. If you consider that a copy-paste job, well, sorry but I'm not sorry? – Dave Liepmann Aug 29 '13 at 10:10
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    @DMoore do you really compare plumbing problems with health problems? Sorry, but it makes me think of the "Gentelmans guide to amputation". For medical question the only valid answer is "go see a doctor". Ask a doctor how he likes symptome-googling pantients that come with their own diagnosis based on forum opinions. As for our answers, if you find them lacking, edit them, or leave proper comments. I saw none of those. Also, one does not have to be a professional to give basic advice on basic topics. I dont have to have a degree to inform someone on why should he include protein in his diet. – K.L. Sep 5 '13 at 12:33

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