Efforts are being made to 'spread the word' (see here) thru bloggers and society mailing lists.

Unlike most of us currently participating this early in the beta, most genealogists I know don't come the tech community and are not that tech savvy. My admittedly unscientific sampling of a few members at a recent local genealogy meeting led me to believe there was a hesitancy that needed to be overcome before they would join and ask a question of their own, even though they all were passionate about genealogy, clearly had appropriate questions, and had done significant research of their own. My local society does not have a Q&A on their site (hopefully genealogy.se will obviate the need for one) but I have found answers to my research questions in another society's site that does have a Q&A site. This led me to wonder if we could increase our membership by helping those individuals who had unanswered questions on that site and others like it. If we answered a question they were interested in, they would be more likely to join in.

For example the Essex Society of Genealogists has their own Q&A with many unanswered questions. I think it's obvious that it's appropriate if asked by the person who had the original question. Is it appropriate for someone else to re-ask some of their questions on genealogy.se? If their question was answered, they would more likely to participate going forward. Conversely, the 'stand-in poster' would not have the context nor the passion for the original question, although stand-in could communicate with original ESOG poster and refer them to genealogy.se.

The questions on the ESOG site are obviously real questions that for the most part should be in-scope for genealogy.se. So the real question is whether it's appropriate for someone other than the ESOG poster to repeat the question on genealogy.se as part of the membership drive.

  • I think appropriateness of using questions from other sites is a great question, even without any discussion of "needing" them. There are some questions I've seen that I would appreciate an answer to, but don't know the ethics of asking them here.
    – Jeni
    Oct 31, 2012 at 12:05
  • 1
    Duncan, one suggestion. Start by fixing the Mayflower question first. This will give you some practice in how to present your questions from other sites so that the community doesn't reject them. I think that will give you, and others, the experience to see how to present those questions as real problems, which equates to better quality. Good luck!
    – jmort253
    Oct 31, 2012 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


This can be an effective means of gaining notoriety for a site if you approach it with the right mindset. Instead of setting out to simply "re-ask" questions on this site, look for ways of helping experts as a means of gaining notoriety of this site. That doesn't mean raiding forums, but seeking out to bloggers and other experts you can help right here.

From the blog post — Helping The Experts Get Answers:

Reach the right kind of publications and bloggers. Make sure that the key experts in every field know about the site; not just the “Martha Stewart” big names; we want to talk to the people who go to these conferences.

But how do you reach writers, bloggers, and other notable experts in the field?

Help them get answers to their questions, too!

When you ask (and answer) those questions, be sure to close that loop and bring what you learned back to the real world. Let people know what you are doing right here by helping them with their problems. That's how this works.

And for the love of god, stop flippin' watching those largely meaningless stats in Area 51. This site is doing fine. You know because users are asking good questions, getting good answers, and generally having a good experience with this site. How do you have a "precipitous drop" when you've been open for two weeks? Yeesh, already.

  • 5
    I was just going to post that last part in an answer. It's easy for people to get hung up on the stats instead of just focusing on great Q&A. Build it and they will come.
    – jmort253
    Oct 31, 2012 at 15:29

I think the proper way to increase the number of questions is to get more users.

We want real questions for real problems from real users. We want those users to see the answers and learn from that. If they find this useful, they will continue on and tell others about it as well.

Our questions per day is going down because most of us here are experts, and we have more solutions than problems. We will soon need to attract more of the real folk and get them to participate by asking about their problems.

So instead of spending your time trying to think of questions to ask, I invite you to spend your time publicizing the site. Head over to Coordinating Publicity and do your part.

If you frequent ESOG, then why don't you add a post there and say that you notice all the unanswered questions at ESOG. Tell them there's a new Q&A site that has experts there that will attempt to answer their questions for them. Doing so might get a number of them to come over and trying it. Just make sure you make it a personal-type invite and nothing that looks spammy.

  • 3
    I heartily endorse the view that we don't need questions so much as we need people who ask questions. Don't focus on the content of other sites; go after the users. We are not selling fish here; we are offering masterclasses in angling that necessarily involve some great catches.
    – Fortiter
    Nov 1, 2012 at 5:07

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