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I just did some research on the rate of closed questions on this and other, similar sites. Of our most recent 50 questions, 19 have been closed. At least nine of those questions were asked by users with <50 reputation gained on this site. Based on the SE.com default sites ordering, this site is currently at about the same level as

  • Christianity: 10/50 closed questions
  • Audio/Video: 1/50 closed
  • Travel: 6/50 closed
  • Japanese: 0/50 closed
  • Parenting: 2/50 closed
  • QA: 1/50

I think it's fair to say this site has it much worse than other sites. Christianity is the only one that comes close, and that should almost be expected for a site on a topic which is naturally quite subjective, and is just 3 months old. The Judaism site has been around much longer, by which point they've basically sorted out what is acceptable, and they have just 3/50 closed questions.

I'm not sure what it is about our site that attracts the wrong kind of user. If you think you know, feel free to chime in with an answer. Until then, I propose that we request from the SE team that, for this site only, reputation be required before asking a question.

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    $\begingroup$ The beta Economics site also has plenty of "bad" questions. The moderators are not as disciplined about closing such questions down. If moderator policy is lax for other sites then it's not an apples-to-apples comparison $\endgroup$ – Ram Ahluwalia Dec 20 '11 at 21:14
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I'm not sure what it is about our site that attracts the wrong kind of user.

There are tons of get-rich-quick dreamers who have read about quants or HFT in the press and have thus decided that this is the "thing to pursue" without ever realizing the sheer amount of training required to do it. It's the exact same phenomenon that leads to wanna-be startup-founders who think they can build the next Facebook. That's why we get the same three questions every week. (On a related note, why do people think that becoming a doctor or lawyer is hard but becoming a trader or entrepreneur is easy?)

But the real question you should be asking is:

How do we attract the right kind of user?

On the last podcast, Joel said it's best to pursue people who are already typing about our field on the Internet. So if we could get solid bloggers or participants on other forums to try us out, that would be a start. It wouldn't dispel the noobs, but it would improve our closed-questions ratio.

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  • $\begingroup$ I absolutely agree we also need to attract the right kind of user. Any idea on how to convince the solid bloggers to try us out? At the same time, the rate of noob questions will probably not ever let up, it'll just be diminished relative to the whole if we can get more of the right kind of user, so it may still be worth imposing some rep requirement. The bloggers could probably get whatever rep minimum we establish very quickly by answering any question, even one that has already been answered. $\endgroup$ – Tal Fishman Dec 19 '11 at 16:44
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I don't think we should require a minimum number of points to ask a question. Filtering questions is low-cost whereas the arrival rate of questions is costly in time. Let's avoid the type II error of implicitly screening high quality questions because a user did not have a prior account.

On another note, attracting bloggers and other professionals may be a matter of identifying the appropriate expert and emailing them. I noticed @olaker's question on rates and sent a note to Mark Joshi who wrote a chapter on the topic. Mark was generous enough to respond to a well-posed question. Before I was aware of QuantExchange I would reach out to Grinold's, Joshi's, Meucci's, etc. of the world directly to have my questions answered with success. As long as the barriers to responding are low, I don't see why such authors wouldn't opt to answer their questions in a format such as QuantExchange.

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  • $\begingroup$ Although I believe many of them will not have too much time to contribute to this site. $\endgroup$ – SRKX Dec 22 '11 at 16:47

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