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Thread seeding

Joppy

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Mar 17, 2016
256
I noticed that when a new Stack site is made, they "seed it" by opening a number of threads which contain common questions within that topic. The question is artificial in the sense that the questioner likely knows the answer already but helps to attract attention. On MHB there are sticky threads, which seem to have a similar effect/purpose though perhaps they are a bit limited.

Anyway just a thought. Creating such threads wouldn't really require much effort and can appear whenever a member recognizes a common/popular questions that might not have been addressed already on the forum. Or, if it has been addressed it could be "dressed up" a little bit. Also, some senior members may take for granted the wealth of intuition and knowledge they have at disposal, and it's always good for others to see questions from them.
 

Jameson

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
4,010
Hi Joppy, interesting idea. So if we made a brand new site then I get the concept of loading it with some content to help momentum. For us though can you give a specific example to help me understand? Is the goal to threads or to share original content?
 

Joppy

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Mar 17, 2016
256
Hi Joppy, interesting idea. So if we made a brand new site then I get the concept of loading it with some content to help momentum. For us though can you give a specific example to help me understand? Is the goal to threads or to share original content?
It's about attracting new users to the site by providing answers to popular questions within each topic offered in the forums. This way there is an increased chance that a potential user searching for such a question winds up at MHB. Of course that is already possible as things are, but I would argue that relying on new users (questioners) to seed the threads isn't as productive because it requires thoughtful thread titles, correct use of tags and so on.

On the other hand, suppose you are a lecturer and notice a common question among your students. It would make sense to create a thread about that question, and answer it yourself if you feel like you have a good explanation. But it also encourages other members to chip in with their perspectives. The issue is figuring out what a "popular" question is and checking that it isn't an overly exposed one. For instance, "Reasoning behind $0^0 = 1$" or "Why $0.9999... = 1$" are perhaps too common to bother attracting attention from.

But all that really depends on the members already present. I think for some, forums are just a place to help others in return for being able to revise old topics and solve interesting puzzles etc. as opposed to making the forum more popular. AFAIK, it is precisely the reason of popularity and content that almost all MHB members participate in a several math forums in order to get their "dose" of whatever it is they get out of it.

All speculation of course :).
 

Jameson

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
4,010
Ok thank you this was helpful @Joppy ! What we have planned in the works soon is to start up a blog that shared original content. Although it’s not the same idea I think it’s goal is partially similar. We don’t want to do anything just for traffic but this will help hopefully in a couple of ways, one of which is showcasing content.
 

Joppy

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Mar 17, 2016
256
What we have planned in the works soon is to start up a blog that shared original content. Although it’s not the same idea I think it’s goal is partially similar.
I agree. Blogs are great and in my experience, contain some of the most useful information. I think it is because they sit in between the level of formality required in say a book or lecture notes, and a loose conversation with someone on a blackboard.
 

Jameson

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
4,010
Well said! I’ll update you here when we start the first one. Appreciate the idea. Keep ‘em coming please whenever you feel like sharing. :p
 

castor28

Well-known member
MHB Math Scholar
Oct 18, 2017
238
Brussels, Belgium
I used to contribute to the Ask Dr Math site since 2003. This site is now discontinued, but the archive is still on line.

We had some pages with reference information, for example a FAQ section, and a list of formulas.

These may contain some ideas for what you have in mind.
 

Jameson

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
4,010
Hi @castor28 , great idea! We are planning on a blog that will hopefully function in a similar way. I think an FAQ is a great idea though.