Quantiative Finance has been in beta for about three years now. Despite not all stats being excellt I would like to argue in favour of graduating the site.

Question to the relevant SE-staff - What is the site lacking that hinders graduation?

First some comments on the stats:

Low number of questions per day. Seeing how quantitative finance is quite a narrow field averaging 5 questions a day for three years is great. Other forums dealing with this topic don't even get close to that.

Answer ratio Often there is only one answer and there is not much added value in posting a second. (E.g. if someone asks what some Bloomberg abbreviation means ) Unlike in programming where a problem can be coded up in different ways or in math where there are multiple approaches on a proof.

Percentage of answered questions Some questions are indeed very hard to answer. For example if they are on some concrete quant finance paper that one would need to read completely in order to be able to provide counsel. Also with some of the higher rated unanswered questions the discussion in the comment section already provided part or the entire answer (e.g. this one). What is more often a link or the mention of a certain paper suffice to answer a question (or to point one in the right direction) – thus the users just post it in the comments (a pure link-answer or a one-liner don’t really make much sense)

The site has been consistently performing well for three years As already mentioned quantitative finance isn’t as wide a topic as programming or mathematics. This is why it will never reach the volume and mass of StackOverflow or MathOverflow. At the same time the site’s participants and moderators have been diligently working on producing high quality content and answers on difficult topics. A lot of information provided on Quant SE would be very hard to come by oneself. The site has a very committed user base and a stable and also high visits per day rate.

Graduating the cite will make it grow – why ? The cite is used by a lot of practitioners in the quantitative field. Some users even use it as a valid reference on their Linked-In profiles etc. On the other hand many will have misgivings about investing time and effort into a community that might not survive for long. Graduating the cite will make it more appealing for professionals -> these will be more likely to participate -> more users -> mote content etc.

  • $\begingroup$ Wanted you to know I'm working on some feedback for you -- you aren't just shouting into the wind. :) $\endgroup$
    – Ana
    May 22 '14 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ @AnaHevesi very kind of you - I think it might be very very helpful if someone pointed out what we need to do in order to move forward. $\endgroup$ May 22 '14 at 21:46

Quant's performance is impressive in light of other resources out there. The overall size of the greater quantitative finance community, and the often secretive nature of the profession are important factors as well.

That catch is, we're only dealing with Quant within the Stack Exchange network and we have to compare the site's performance to itself, not anywhere else on the internet. So the advice below comes solely from that vantage point:

  • Stats don't equal community. @EnergyNumbers said it pretty well -- stats are indicators which we use to try and observe patterns around community activity and to some extent, content quality. We don't rubber stamp site graduation based on numbers. The numbers themselves aren't the goal, creating the best body of Quant knowledge on the internet is. Which brings me to my second point...

  • Obsessing over stats, or graduation, is dangerous. It tends to lead a site to take their focus off of quality. So long as the body of knowledge being created on a site helps make the internet a better place in some way, we're willing to let it take the time it takes. We've begun approaching the beta period as though a site might spend a good deal of time there for exactly this reason.

If you're looking for actionable ways to improve self-governance and ownership, increasing voting, and using meta to resolve questions around the site's direction (like you're doing now), might be good places to start. Honestly though, if you'd like to see Quant evolve, don't worry so much about graduation. Focus more on keeping quality high through collaborative efforts within the community.

  • $\begingroup$ isn't there a way to allow beta sites to create at least some sort of individual disign. I must admit the "beta" in the name isn't all that bad but the design - it just looks like some cheap template. Why not allow for our own logo at least - an own emblem is well known to foster a sense of community etc. $\endgroup$ May 29 '14 at 7:28
  • $\begingroup$ Not right now there isn't. However, the Community Team has been discussing how this might work in the near future. $\endgroup$
    – Ana
    May 30 '14 at 19:01

The stats are neither here nor there, really - they're just a bunch of proxies that date back to a rough idea of what a prospering site might look like, back in 2010. As an occasional lurker who rarely dips in, it seems to me that what's missing is a cohesive community:

  • The site is under special measures: privileges are currently set at super-low private-beta levels. I don't know why, but I'd speculate that it's probably because high-rep users either rarely visit the site, or rarely engage in the janitorial tasks of voting to close, delete and reopen.

  • The level of involvement here on meta is very low.

  • Chat is almost silent.

  • There were only five participants in the most recent of the quarterly self-evaluations.

Together, these make it look like a site with contributors, but without a vigorous and growing community who understand how Stack Exchanges prosper, and what's required to make them thrive and grow.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Please take into account that the moderators here a quite effective and do their job very well !! Only because people don't have time to chat it does not mean that they don't care. Questions are usually answered very fast and the answers are mostly correct. The overall quality is also above average. $\endgroup$ May 22 '14 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ also most people here (me included) are quite happy if they manage to find the time to answer the questions at all. Over the years the community produced solid content - which is evidenced by the quite constand number of daily views ;) $\endgroup$ May 22 '14 at 21:56

I am a very new user of quant stackexchange, and I probably do not have the experience to make such an answer..however, I feel that a lot of the quant questions (especially stochastic side of things) tend to be asked and answered on math stackexchange and I think this has its benefits and disadvantages. As a purely mathematical context, yes MSE is great, but sometimes the answers on there should give some context to financial mathematics (I may edit with examples), and as such should have a primary home here..maybe some of the more "senior" guys on there should migrate over those type of questions?

So my rather small efforts is to post comments to make that particular user more aware of this gem of a site. I have successfully managed to get a couple of new users on to here that way. I may go further and garner opinions on the MSE meta site also.

In closing I would like to say I do hold this site close to my heart :)!



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