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We all love Chess Stack Exchange, but there is a whole world of people out there who need answers to their questions and don't even know that this site exists. When they arrive from Google, what will their first impression be? Let's try to look at this site through the eyes of someone who's never seen it before, and see how we stack up against the rest of the 'Net.

The Site Self-Evaluation review queue is open and populated with 10 questions that were asked and answered in the last quarter. Run a few Google searches to see how easy they are to find and compare the answers we have with the information available on other sites.

Rating the questions is only a part of the puzzle, though. Do you see a pattern of questions that should have been closed but are not? Questions or answers that could use an edit? Anything that's going really well? Post an answer below to share your thoughts and discuss these questions and the site's health with your fellow users!

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Don't mean to be harsh on beginners, but a good number of beginner questions tend to show up and getting more attention than they deserve. Either the site tends to attract beginners or is not attractive enough for more serious players.

For example, this question indicates a lack of knowledge in what constitutes sufficient mating material, which is only a wikipedia page away even for casual players.

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I like the site very much, but I think it inevitably get to a point where it will be hard to find new interesting questions as many will be already covered, and for the ones that are hard to exhaust, these will be very hard to google (yes, google is a verb).

I will post my analysis here, covering some of the most common types of questions:

  • questions about rules: very little questions can exists about this category, I believe no more than 40 (bad), and they are unlikely interesting, the only ones I think are worthy of existence are castling, en passant, and tournament related questions.
  • questions about a specific game/position/puzzle: we might learn from them, some can be very cool and instructive (good), but near impossible to search via search engines, so the only way to find them will be pure luck or by browsing inside the site (bad).
  • questions about historic events or people: very few people are interested in the history (bad), and the ones who care, they already read the whole bio on Wikipedia (bad), so we should not expect these kind of questions to generate much traffic (bad).
  • questions about openings: these might be hard to cover all (good), everybody has problems with couple of openings (good, for the healthy of site), our memory isn't very reliable (good, for the healthy of site), engines will likely give poor best-moves on openings without using opening books so people need to actually research this kind of questions to get reliable answers (good).
  • questions about XY vs X endings: I think that many sites cover this one very well, but they often don't show you how the trick is done (good, for this site), so having it shown in a PGN viewer is very neat (good), however the number of this kind of question is very limited (bad)

Also, if you are:

  • new to chess: (bad) you might read or ask about chess rules, but without the intention of becoming a future visitor or user of the site
  • average at chess: (good) these kind of people will be the majority, they will get stronger though (bad, for the site), but will hopefully get hooked to the site and the badge/reputation system enough to keep visiting and help newcomers in their path of getting stronger.
  • awesome at chess: (mmm?) you will hardly find anything useful here, maybe some historic questions and the fun of helping people. (hope these are enough incentives to keep returning to the site).

The more I analyze the information, the more fear I have of this site not surviving the beta, I know chess is infinite and impossible to be fully understood, but the questions can quickly get repetitive and covered, with exception of specific cases (which are anyways impossible to google)

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Final Results

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