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An earlier discussion made it clear that we need more participation. Personally, I feel that we need more high-quality questions first and foremost; the rest will follow. I've asked moderators on other SE sites about this. Here are a couple suggestions so far:

  • Post some of our best questions on quant blogs and forums. For third-party sites, please be a regular contributor there before linking back to us; otherwise it looks like spam.
  • Promote at conferences. The TCS SE have a tag for an up-coming conference so attendees can post questions about what they just saw.

Any other ideas?

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  • $\begingroup$ Is there any budgeting given from stackexchange to do paid marketing campaigns? $\endgroup$ – Philoxopher Mar 14 '11 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ @KerxPhilo SE has recently sponsored some community members to go to conferences. $\endgroup$ – chrisaycock Mar 14 '11 at 23:16
  • $\begingroup$ That would be huge for this site. With a little bit of budgeting, I think marketing done in search alone would be huge. $\endgroup$ – Philoxopher Mar 14 '11 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ Also, not to spam the comments here. I think with a growing number of questions and answers in this site, it will help a great deal. How you ask? Well the answer is Organic search! As search engines crawl the results and people search for the related more and more people will link into this site. I think the best way is to find a list of very interesting and modern topics that most people want answered. My two cents. $\endgroup$ – Philoxopher Mar 14 '11 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ @KerxPhilo Organic search is expected to be the prime driver of traffic of a mature SE site. See these analytics. Now you'll hopefully understand why I've had to close your questions about breaking into the industry; no professional quant would ever look-up something like that. $\endgroup$ – chrisaycock Mar 14 '11 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ @chrisaycock, makes sense :-( $\endgroup$ – Philoxopher Mar 14 '11 at 23:55
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This is a million dollar question, Chris

I run Quantnet.com since it was a tiny unknown community of a few dozen members to today where it has over 60K unique visitors monthly from around the world with the traffic doubling every year, I still don't have a formula.

There are untold number of hours spent by myself and our founding members to get the words about Quantnet out there, build a sense of community, generate contents. It took years. People move on and lost interest, but as leaders of the community, you have to work tirelessly and believe in it. It's easier said than done when you and every member has a full-time job in a highly stressful industry as finance.

We have been there before so probably I can give you some idea

  1. Get a group of devoted, passionate core members out there and start interact on other quant/trader community like Quantnet, Wilmott, NuclearPhynance. You guys are always welcome at Quantnet. In fact, I believe I have personally generated a few dozen members here when this site was still in proposal stage.

  2. Participate on those forums, be good members, helping out with questions, however basic. When you see a question that has been asked/answered here, link them. As it has been pointed out, do not spam. So many member of new websites out there try to join a forum, leave a post with a link and never come back again. That is not how you build a rep for your site. In my early years, when I was building Quantnet, I joined all quant forum out there and participated and contributed to their community. In fact, I was among the top 5 posters. I'm not sure if I have the same level of energy as before but if you are in this for the long run, you gotta do it.

  3. The good (or bad) news is that the quant community is very small. Good: There are less than a handful of sites out there with any good level of traffic. You can spread the work out among your group. Bad: since this site is very targeted, your audience will be extremely limited. Keeping those small audience come back will be a hard task

  4. Contact well known quants and traders who are known for being active online. I have sent a few emails to some practitioners that Quantnet has interviewed in the past.

  5. Since quant.SE needs to reach certain milestones in a timely manner, it has be done quickly. I would start with a core group of say 20 most active members here and ask each one of them reaching out to 10 of their friends who have not joined, asked or answered here.

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I don't know if it's the kinds of user you want, but I think you could also try to make yourselves known in universities.

I think that students sometimes have hard time understanding everything and would love to know the existence of such a "forum".

I personally ended my studies recently and started using the quant part of stack-exchange after I graduated.

I know that you might say that some students will post assignments questions and some questions might be trivial, but wouldn't it simply contribute to the overall content of the site?

Plus it would create an installed base of user for the future.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd love to see MFE and PhD students on here for serious questions. What I don't want are undergrads asking about balance sheets and supply vs demand. $\endgroup$ – chrisaycock Apr 14 '11 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ Then let's go for engineering school. I can give you at least 2 universities you might want to contact, I would be happy to help you as well. Financial Engineering is only a graduate program in my country (Switzerland) so you won't find too many undergrads. $\endgroup$ – SRKX Apr 14 '11 at 13:48
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First of all, I really like what SE.QF community currently is now. It generates very high-quality questions and answers than any other places. I am really glad to find this site through R-bloggers, and hopefully I can contribute to it.

I doubt you will like the following idea, but since currently there seems no other efficient way to market this site, let me just throw it out and leave the judgement to you.

I am thinking to market this site through many linkedin groups. There are tons of quantitative finance groups there but have very low quality in their discussion. Mostly spammed by head hunter, sales people, and news. Despite of low-quality content, there are still tons of members. But seriously I bet people was subscribing for group content like SE.QF, not those spammer. Introducing SE.QF there will definitely attract a lot of new blood from there.

However, even myself is hesitant to do that. I believe this site currently has high intensity of truly professional quants. New bloods from LinkedIn groups will definitely lower the pureness of this site. That's why I want to say something here first.

One possible solution is to be very selective. A good example is the SYMMSS ran by Attilio Meucci. Nice quality of discussion and questions.

http://www.linkedin.com/groups/SYMMYS-Advanced-Risk-Portfolio-Management-3825142

However, I don't know many group like this. If we really need to boost the traffic, we probably still need to advertise in big groups and will attract many not very professional people.

BTW, instead of broadcast advertising, an alternative is to answer people's questions there with a link to SE.QF (hey! your questions has been answered here), or even suggest them to ask here if nobody there answers (very common).

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  • $\begingroup$ Your last paragraph is the solution. It's like answer arbitrage. Post someone's question from a different forum, and then relay the answer back once it's available. $\endgroup$ – chrisaycock Oct 2 '11 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ I actually tried cross-posting a question here and in one of the larger LinkedIn quant groups. First, I'm not sure all that many people followed my links back here (though maybe someone here now can prove me wrong). Second, I actually got a few better answers on LinkedIn, but their engine didn't allow me to select the right answer or sort better and worse answers, so I still prefer the SE engine. I wouldn't worry too much about attracting some low quality users along with a few high quality users, as the engine is pretty good at weeding them out. $\endgroup$ – Tal Fishman Oct 3 '11 at 9:19
  • $\begingroup$ I am referring to this question. $\endgroup$ – Tal Fishman Oct 3 '11 at 9:21
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My impression as a newcomer to the site is that you have some very talented answerers but not enough good questions being asked. May I suggest that all users with a certain level of reputation (say 500 and above) who are already reasonably committed to the site, take it upon themselves to post at least one question per week. That way we can both draw in new users with knowledge on specific topics and improve the potential range of web search keywords which return this site at or near the top.

Second, this may be a whole new question, but I've also noticed that a number of questions asked a while ago have pretty poor answers, but once an answer is selected, there seems to be little incentive to improve it further. I think we should be more open to changing the accepted answer (if that's even possible).

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    $\begingroup$ I agree that we need a lot of good questions. I've tried to add a few of my own, but the truth is that I don't have any questions I can post here without "revealing my hand". As for your second statement, a question is closed when it doesn't meet the requirements of this site; ie., it's off topic or too amateurish. That's separate from a question that has an accepted answer. $\endgroup$ – chrisaycock Jul 22 '11 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ @chrisaycock thanks for clarifying the terminology. I guess what I meant to say is that we should be more open to changing the accepted answer (if that's even possible). As for you concern about "revealing your hand," that's fair, but then, I would just implore you and the other top users to please think just a bit harder about what very general questions you could ask, even if they aren't directly helpful to you but perhaps they are questions you have had in the past. $\endgroup$ – Tal Fishman Jul 25 '11 at 1:00

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