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There seems to be a drop in usage after the red vertical line:

enter image description here

We had:

  • 59 posts and 33 questions in the "week of" 2 January 2022, and
  • 59 posts and 31 questions in the "week of" 9 January 2022, but

we have never had 33 questions in a week since 2 January 2022, and we've never had 59 posts since 9 January 2022.

What changed?

Edit: Since no one has offered any answers in the last 12 days, I'll offer some of my own theories (each in a separate answer).

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  • $\begingroup$ Is it possible that mods/senior users of major scientific SE sites use less redirection of computation oriented Q's to MMSE? $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Aug 13, 2022 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Poutnik I think it's the opposite. It's been happening more and more. Also, I'm wondering why there was a drop specifically after January 9th. If people did reduce redirection of Qs to here, why did it start/speed-up at that specific time? $\endgroup$ Aug 13, 2022 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ Another theory: I've stopped editing questions so much to bump up unanswered questions. This means the site has far less activity on an hourly basis (e.g. the last modified question right now was 11 hours ago), which means that people who used to check the site frequently will now find the site more boring since they might check the site 5 times without seeing any changes at all (before, they would see changes during each of those 5 visits). This leads to people's interest slowly waning away, and eventually leads to fewer answers and even questions. $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2022 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ Another theory: people are working from home less in 2022 compared to 2021 and 2020. Another one: people don't like the site culture, or have lost hope at staying near the top of the leaderboard, and have decided to step away (this could also have happened due to de-motivation, because the voting has certainly decreased significantly over time .. this would actually make a lot of sense since even after the initial bursts in activity going up to October 2020, we did have more posts in January 2021 than in January 2022 for example). $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2022 at 22:17
  • $\begingroup$ Also, maybe not as many HNQs, so fewer posts overall. $\endgroup$ Dec 3, 2022 at 21:28

1 Answer 1

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Power askers asking fewer questions


One possibility is that those who ask a lot of questions have not been asking as much lately.

At the time of having our Beta label removed in December 2021, the following users had asked the following amounts of questions (I'm only listing people who asked 25 or more by that time, and Green Jack):

User Qs asked by Dec 2021 Most recent Q Qs asked by 23 Aug 2022 Drop in activity?
Chi Kou 58 24 March 2022 64 Yes!
Camps 53 10 August 2022 56 Yes!
Hitanshu Sachania 43 25 September 2021 43 Yes but before 2022
Jack (orange) 40 8 July 2022 45 Yes!
Thomas 37 27 May 2021 37 Yes but before 2022
Megamance 33 12 August 2022 43 A bit
Tristan Maxson 31 8 July 2022 36 A bit
S R Maiti 29 21 August 2022 37 A bit
Tribal Chief 25 28 November 2021 25 Yes but before 2022
JensenPang 25 4 July 2022 26 Yes but before 2022
Jack (Green) 9 22 August 2022 69 No, it's the opposite!

All of our pre-2022 power askers have asked questions at a lower rate in the last 8 months compared to the previous ~19 months (or whatever applies to their join date). But we've also had a user who wasn't very active before 2022 and asked 60 questions after the Beta label was removed on 16 December 2021, though this deserves closer inspection), and we have a user who asked 26 questions after 9 January 2022 and only 1 before that. So there is indeed a reduction in questions from power askers, but the questions we're missing from them have largely been replaced by more questions from new power askers. This data indicates that there might be a general decrease in questions (and activity in general) from the pre-2022 user-base across the broader population beyond just power users. Also, none of this explains why there was a sharp decline since 9 January 2022.

Conclusion: The above data suggests that a decline in activity from pre-2022 users could account for some of the overall decline observed, but not much more than the rise of new power askers would account for, and it doesn't suggest anything specific about the sharp drop after 9 January 2022.

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