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Our site is now approximately five years old and it has come a long way since then. About two years ago we have graduated, which gave us a very big boost in all our statistics. Since then there have been the occasional ups and downs, unsurprisingly correlating with the academic calendar.
Voting and page views are slightly down in July and January. However, I have great news: The trend is pointing steadily upwards. I don't want to go into too much detail here, I just want to say thanks to everybody who has participated in the last years making this a great place to ask about chemistry. Just a few numbers because there is the occasional worry about increasing traffic. We have currently about 400k total page views per week (5 week average) and since the public beta phase there have been 23 million references through search engines (90%). Direct traffic still accounts for about 7% of the traffic, which is due to all of you who contribute.
Lastly and most importantly: Voting is way up. As previously noted, there was a huge surge in all stats before graduation. I am very happy to report that we are now consistently (three month average, for about a half year) achieving higher levels than at graduation, currently totalling at about 7000 votes per month.

Voting is important, especially with a growing site. The influx of new questions that seek answers has about doubled since then, unfortunately answers can barely keep up. As such, voting is important to curate good questions and reward good answers.

Now we are heading towards our biggest experiment yet and suspend the homework close reason. I think it is a good time to look back and remind us of what we have already accomplished. At this point I'd like to encourage you to pat yourself on the back. Therefore I'd like to close this part with a big

Thank you.


The second part can be ignored for the most and is only included for the purpose of creating a baseline for the experiment. I will share some of the question-close-stats. For those who have achieved the 10k moderator privileges, you can find it here. Since the experiment will run for about a month I have chosen the 30 day data set. Therefore in May there were

  • Questions Closed: 378
  • Questions Asked: 984
  • Close percentage: 38.41 %

Closure statistics

  • Close reason, no. closed (% of total), no. edited (% of closed), no. reopened (% of closed), no. edited and reopened (% of edited)
  • too broad, 55 (14.55%), 8 (14.55%), 2 (3.64%), 1 (12.50%)
  • off-topic other (custom), 11 (2.91%), 2 (18.18%), 0, 0
  • off-topic homework, 174 (46.03%), 11 (6.32%), 3 (1.72%), 2 (18.18%)
  • off-topic medical, 5 (1.32%), 0, 0, 0
  • duplicate, 45 (11.90%), 4 (8.89%), 3 (6.67%), 1 (25.00%)
  • unclear, 72 (19.05%), 10 (13.89%), 2 (2.78%), 1 (10.00%)
  • opinion-based, 9 (2.38%), 0, 0, 0

Gems from the custom close reason (please don't use those):

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because.
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because u cnt type&its hmwork
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because I've had enough of this kind of post. Clean it up. Read the site guidelines. Or go elsewhere, where screenshots and clips from your phone are welcome.
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because because it's an aldehyde.
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because although the visual effects are exciting, the question itself is homework-y
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because 1) It's better suited on the Physics.SE (I'm not saying it isn't Chemistry) and 2) It smells homeworky ಠ_ಠ
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because ... what the heck?!

Let's end this with a quote by the not-very-often-around-anymore LordStryker

Lets face it. Chem:SE has had its fair share of moments from its infamous drama to its shining moments. We graduated. We've made it. Its been quite a journey (if I may say so without sounding overdramatic) but it certainly has been quite... the... journey... .

And without any further ado, the homework close reason has been deactivated and the experiment is in effect.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Should I be flattered that 2 of the gems from the custom close reason are mine? :) $\endgroup$ – Todd Minehardt Jun 1 '17 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ @ToddMinehardt I think I now have to vote to close something because reasons. $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py Jun 1 '17 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for doing this! $\endgroup$ – jonsca Jun 1 '17 at 23:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Todd The last two are mine too ;) $\endgroup$ – paracetamol Jun 2 '17 at 7:13
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There is something here I find bothersome. I know that wading through and editing lower-quality questions can be frustrating and distracting, but I have seen an uptick in unprofessional comments on posts, not just the ones in the custom close reasons above. Yes, it may be in good fun and well-intentioned, or you feel the impulsive urge to yell at your computer screen, but be more professional. We are all nice, but many question comments are now variants of the "dump" problem.

Assuming best intentions, if I asked a question and saw one of those close reasons as a comment, I'd be pretty upset and might not want to come back. If you've "had enough of this kind of post", then maybe you should take a break from the site. Just because the Internet provides some measure of anonymity doesn't mean forgetting manners is acceptable.

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    $\begingroup$ On the one hand, I kind of agree. On the other hand, many of those questioners have already decided to forego the accepted mores of this site in an attempt to get a quick answer to a homework problem, likely never to return unless we keep feeding them answers. Life is short. The 'newest' question view already is full of junk that should be closed. Sigh. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Jun 1 '17 at 20:26
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    $\begingroup$ This is true. Are most of those askers ever going to contribute? Probably not. Do they care about "u cnt type&its hmwork" appearing as a comment to their question? Probably not. But I was taught "be nice to strangers". Some of these comments are insulting, in my opinion. $\endgroup$ – pentavalentcarbon Jun 1 '17 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough, particularly since those were custom reasons that required a little more effort than Off-Topic/Homework. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Jun 1 '17 at 20:35
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with your observation and to be honest I have probably dropped a couple such comments in the past as well. (Hopefully a long time ago.) So, I can see where people are coming from, but of course that doesn't make it acceptable. If you see these things, feel free to flag as not constructive. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Jun 1 '17 at 21:49
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    $\begingroup$ I couldn't agree more. It's almost always easier to just be polite than to think up snarky responses to get some laughs. A couple things to remember: 1) A new user has never before done whatever annoying thing they've done, it's their first goof-up, no matter how many others have done the same thing before. 2) Being mean just because one is hidden by the internet is a bit like road rage; it's easy to slip into because there is no face-to-face. But if someone heard you were a chemist and asked you a lame question, how would you respond in person? Rant over, thx again for this needed post. $\endgroup$ – airhuff Jun 3 '17 at 0:25
  • $\begingroup$ @airhuff Turns out that I will be the one that needs a break. Too many people are still VTC'ing with bad comments, and my comment flags on them are getting declined. So I think I'm done for a while. $\endgroup$ – pentavalentcarbon Jul 3 '17 at 2:54
  • $\begingroup$ @pentavalentcarbon , yea, there remains much frustration here. Still, I (and of course many others) would miss your contributions to the site and hope you will reconsider, or at least return soon. If not then peace, take care, live long and prosper, etc. Seriously though, hope to see you back...cheers. $\endgroup$ – airhuff Jul 3 '17 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ @pentavalentcarbon I didn't notice these comments here until today, but I did actually notice a couple of your comment flags which were declined – actually, after those flags were declined, I separately cleared the comments as I thought they were NC. To be honest, comment flags are a perennial problem. I've messed up numerous flags by fat-fingering them, or by not investigating context thoroughly enough, or by just misunderstanding the flaggers' intentions (which is not always easy to discern, when all we see are some predefined categories which aren't exactly black and white) [...] $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Aug 15 '17 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ (cont.) and one of us might agree that it is NC, while another might disagree, and in the end it just comes down to who handles the comment flag. And once somebody clicks accept/decline, there's no way of changing the outcome, even if we later decide that we screwed up. My point is, especially with the more subjective cases like NC/rude, it's generally not worth placing too much attention on declined comment flags - it doesn't always mean that you're in the wrong - it just means a mod had a differing opinion at that point in time, and mods' opinions are not necessarily superior. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Aug 15 '17 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry I wrote this multi-paragraph wall of text, I'm not trying to correct you or anything like that. Just that it's always been a problem (we've had multiple issues with comment flags/comment deletions) and I kind of needed to let it out. Like all users, mods make mistakes too and many of our decisions are subjective in nature (all of us! We are human after all - not robots.) and I wish that some people here would understand that and not always put us on a pedestal. :( Maybe I should just make a separate PSA on meta about this... $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Aug 15 '17 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ @orthocresol Sorry I worded that poorly. Ultimately the issue was not "oh no, my comment flags are getting declined, time to raise a stink", it was doing over a dozen reviews a day, which readily shows a lot of the (IMO) poor behavior of some of the site's regular users. The current solution is to stop reviewing. $\endgroup$ – pentavalentcarbon Aug 15 '17 at 22:57
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I didn't mean to tell you off for complaining either or anything like that. It's just... I don't want it to make people wonder what they did wrong. Unlike flags on posts, there's also no text box for us to explain why we decline a comment flag. Anyway, yes, it's clear that some regulars get away with snarky, or otherwise belittling comments. We generally cull these comments when we see them, but I'd like to do more about it, too, and probably my laziness is to blame for the lack of conspicuous action so far. Thanks for helping, though. I appreciate it. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Aug 16 '17 at 5:37

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