I've been active on Chem SE for about 6 months. My perception is that things have changed significantly over that time. It seems to me that there were

  • more thought provoking questions 6 months ago
  • more answers to these questions
  • more comments and dialog
  • more voting on questions and answers

I'd appreciate hearing how other folks see it, especially those who have been around for a longer time. Maybe the moderators have some data that might be relevant. I realize that things are always changing, but to me, the trend is worrisome. I'd be relieved to hear that this is some cyclical pattern that has been seen earlier. If the trend is real, what can we do to turn it around?

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    $\begingroup$ Keep in mind that 6 months ago was during the summer where people may have likely had more time to engage and participate on Chem:SE. I, personally, haven't had much time to devote due to school and work. $\endgroup$ Nov 13, 2014 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ Do you sense any change over the last couple of weeks? The semester is dwindling, but there is still a high number of (marginal) homework questions being posted. This hasn't escaped our notice, though (as others have mentioned below) I think that there is a seasonality effect on every site, and we just have to weather it through. I will be keeping an eye on this. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Nov 30, 2014 at 12:25

3 Answers 3


This is partially due to the semester thing @LordStryker mentioned. More people asking homework during the school year, less of the regulars being active.

Also, we've grown. Thought provoking questions are always harder to come by, and with growth that means that they will proportionally grow — homeworkish questions and easy stuff will grow much more.

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    $\begingroup$ I think this is totally due to the semester. There's much lower signal-to-noise, and many of us have less time to post research-y questions because of teaching and other obligations. $\endgroup$ Nov 13, 2014 at 19:54

The website analytics is available for chemistry.stackexchange.com

I'm including the last year of traffic from Quantcast. It's clear that there's ~3x the traffic since the summer, with an onset of September. It's not hard to extrapolate that this is from students asking for homework help and concerns that the professor is wrong. (And sometimes that's true.)

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    $\begingroup$ "and concerns that the professor is wrong". We can thank @Dissenter for that. :) $\endgroup$ Nov 13, 2014 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ Precisely... :-) $\endgroup$ Nov 13, 2014 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ We've been getting a lot of new visitors as well, which is a blessing (more traffic) and a curse (more one-shot posters needing homework help). I think if we retain even 10% of the one-shot posters, they will eventually bring more detailed questions to the site. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Nov 13, 2014 at 23:26

As a relatively new, and increasing frequent, user of SE: Chemistry, I can say that what brought me here originally, was trouble with homework. But, what continues to bring me here, is the thoughtful questions, answers, and discussions. Not every question is one that engages me, but every once in a while, I come across one that excites me, and reminds me of what attracted me to chemistry in the first place.

As for trends, the other answers here have addressed things that I totally agree with: Seasonality, maturing of the forum, onslaught of new users.


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