What is going on with 70-80% of the most recently (like 3-4 months) asked questions? I remember when I joined the first time, most questions really excited me and looked interesting from an intellectual standpoint. Nowadays, its all about "where can I get freebie data", gimme this, gimme that...has another website sprung up which where other quant geeks gather or has the world run out of quants, or have all questions been answered? ;-)


Nothing's changed; there have always been non-quants looking for free data online. There's been a recent surge in this, yes, but it's a lot better than what it was two years ago when every question was, "What should I learn to become a quant?"

This site will always be small. We're a highly specialized topic (like Theoretical Computer Science) with the added bonus of extreme secrecy as the industry norm. So it's hard to find knowledgeable people who will openly post about things that aren't even proprietary.

Compounding this problem, of course, is the sheer volume of outsiders looking in. This is what you've noticed. The extreme version of this is Quora, where every question is, "What programming language do quants use?" The moderators have been pretty vigilant to stop this, but there's really no way to change human behavior. People who want to post on a site they have no business posting on are going to do it whether we tell them to or not. My solution has been to readily suspend the repeat offenders.

  • $\begingroup$ Fair points made, thanks for sharing. And I notice that you put in a lot of your time to moderate. My comment only touched on my impression of the majority of new incoming questions. I like the site a lot and appreciate that you go to quite some effort to continue to hold up the site and its content to a fairly high standard. $\endgroup$ – Matthias Wolf Sep 18 '13 at 4:59

Why don't you set an example by asking a couple of new model, iconic, awe-inspiring, carved-in-stone-for-future-quants-generations questions? For, it's better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness...

More seriously, there was an excellent (though short-lived) initiative by @Tal Fishman some time ago, i.e. the Weekly Topic Challenge. Might be worth rebooting imo.

  • $\begingroup$ Re your former thought, there isn't just those two extremes. But it is noticeable that the prior frequent derivative related questions have all but disappeared. I myself ask quite a lot of questions at Stackoverflow and compensate by trying to answer questions here. To each his own. Re the latter part, I like the idea of a weekly topic, that there must be a challenge to decide on the topic is perhaps a little over the top just to adhere to the purest form of democracy. I mean you sometimes make a judgement call whether to close a question or not so why not just setting the topic for each week $\endgroup$ – Matthias Wolf Sep 18 '13 at 4:48
  • $\begingroup$ To add to your comment, I am well aware that everyone comes here with a different background. I myself am not a "hardcore" quant, I come from the trading side and believe I can add value in terms of issues surrounding managing risk and generating and analyzing ideas in a probabilistic and highly unknown environment of future states. On the other hand I deepen my knowledge on the programming side at the moment and thus tend to ask more on Stackoverflow and answer more here. Purely a function of knowledge domain and learning pursuits. I just voiced the impression of a drop in question quality... $\endgroup$ – Matthias Wolf Sep 18 '13 at 4:55
  • $\begingroup$ The weekly challenge idea works well, in my experience. Two notes: 1. Someone has to take the ball and run with the idea or it won't ever get started. 2. It can be discouraging to have a week or two with minimal response. Fight through it and I'm sure you'll see better questions. $\endgroup$ – Jon Ericson Sep 18 '13 at 23:12

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