15

As long as we keep our question rate at ~2 per day, this site won't be successful. We need many more. We (people who read this) should probably ask more questions, not just answer them.

But what kind of question can we ask? There are only so many rules questions to ask (although it might be a good idea to mine old Arbiter's Notebook questions from ChessCafe to see if we can do better at answering them), and many other questions are subjective / hard to give a definitive answer to.

We could go for more high-level, hard chess content. More questions like What are the key ideas for white in the Keres Attack (Sicilian Scheveningen)?, or especially a recent question that had a position and asked how black could equalize in it (part of opening research). I can't find that question, perhaps it was deleted, but it noted itself that it was unlikely to be answered -- the reason why is clear, it would actually be hard work for a strong player to find a good answer.

Another idea I have is to do a series of questions on basic endgames -- start with basic mates, then K+p v K, working up. So that if someone has an endgame question that boils down to a drawn K+Q v K+c-pawn-on-the-seventh endgame, we can point to a question/answer where it is explained why that is a draw.

Another is to think of famous positions / moves (e.g., Shirov's ...Bh3 in the endgame) and ask why exactly is that the best move.

And so on. We need to ask more! More ideas?

  • 5
    More 'evaluation of this position', 'evaluation of my play' questions? – resgh Feb 28 '14 at 8:22
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    More questions is a good idea. I will post an answer a bit later. On top of that, we (active users on the site) should upvote more! A quick upvote will motivate new users to ask more questions. This can turn into a positive chain reaction! – Rauan Sagit Feb 28 '14 at 15:53
  • evaluate my game position? Well it could go wrong, for example few days ago I wanted to post a game that I played recently, to see how black could defend his position, but I discovered that I made a mini blunder that would allow black to be just fine, I rather analyze my games on engine so I don't look stupid here :) and if we keep posting positions where blunders are obvious then the quality of the question would be bad – Lynob Feb 28 '14 at 21:23
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    @Fischer often, people post questions at other SE sites (e.g. Stackoverflow) because they made a mistake and they are asking for the correct way. I guess the big difference is that in chess, we have engines. Still, other players can help you "think correctly" in order to arrive at a correct conclusion next time. And that is something an engine cannot do. – Rauan Sagit Mar 1 '14 at 15:39
  • Checkmate questions are probably good too! – Rauan Sagit Mar 2 '14 at 0:41
  • Check out talkchess.com/forum/index.php (discussions about chess programming) maybe step by step those users will start using Chess SE for Q&A on such subjects...? Also, perhaps we can get ideas for questions from that site! Cheers. – Rauan Sagit Mar 20 '14 at 9:14
  • I'll try and ask one per day, even if it is just "What would you do here" (I'll upload a picture of a good split in the direction of a game during the middle) or something, even if this is just a daily chess problem! – Alec Teal Mar 26 '14 at 2:52
  • Can we ask help to solve a puzzle? like this – Mr_Green Mar 31 '14 at 7:42
6

I think the site needs more popular questions. This can make the site more active.

Here are a few possible topics

  1. Famous players and their games
  2. Getting better at ... in chess
  3. How to use ... software

In addition, we users can

  1. Upvote more!
  2. Tag more (3-5 tags on all questions)
  3. Answer quicker!

Edit 2014-03-10:

I think we need more visitors (via e.g. Google searches).

more visitors => more users => more questions

Edit 2014-03-19:

To get 10 or more questions every day, my prediction is that they have to be of the type "please analyse and help to understand this position". It is clear that the number of unique positions in chess is huge. While new questions of other types probably will not show up more than 2 times a day. If this site can become the "go to" resource for analysing your positions and getting "lessons learned" from them, then more questions of this type will start showing up.

To ease this process, it is probably worth to invest more in the game viewer and make sure it works really well for posting, viewing and exporting games. Perhaps it is possible to plug in an engine, too...? One question mentioned a JavaScript engine, is it possible to plug it into this site?

So, the message is

More questions of the type "help me analyse / grasp this position"!

5

I appreciate your effort to endeavour to improve the site. I feel that the reduced no. of questions may be due to the heavy moderation. However, this has both positives as well as negatives so I will not comment further. I also feel that the question and answer format itself has limited scope. People would be more interested in posting a game they recently played and discussing it in a thread. Overall, the site can improve by allowing users to post articles rather than questions or answers. A discussion area can also be introduced where the quality can be monitored by either upvoting or downvoting a post. Coming back to your main question regarding the type of questions, how about a complete series of questions on openings? Persons answering each question should outline the main ideas behind the opening and post the first 5 - 10 moves of the opening in the graphical format which can be played back and forth. Answers to such questions would be valuable as there is a scarcity of free opening data on the net.

EDIT: I think there are some incompetent people as moderators. The website should hire and appoint its own moderators rather than allow anybody to become a moderator. A person who is a good answerer need not necessarily be a good moderator. Recently, one of my questions was put on hold by some incompetent moderator. - What are some good middle game plans or strategies?

  • +1. Very very good answer. I especially like the idea for articles! Best regards. – AlwaysLearningNewStuff Mar 10 '14 at 23:42
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    guru, if you think that question was closed inappropriately, why not start a new meta thread about it stating your case? As with everything at the site, a decision about it is ultimately in the hands of the voting community, and if you get support at your meta thread, your post could be reopened. As it was, 5 members of the community thought your question was much too broad (see Remco Gerlich's comment) and Andrew concurred and closed the question. Again, if you'd like to make a case for its reopening, just start a thread about it here on meta. Nothing is set in stone ... – ETD Mar 29 '14 at 1:16
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    +1 for pointing out that heavy handed moderation deters users from posting new questions. Perhaps since we are looking to increase the number of questions per day, we should look to limit the number of questions closed unnecessarily. – Lumberjack May 7 '14 at 18:05
4

Edit: Some time after this post was made, inline comments/annotations were implemented on the main site, so what follows is now obsolete.


I agree that more questions about famous (and even not-famous) positions or moves would be a very welcome addition to the site. Moreover, this is a potentially quite abundant source of meaty and interesting questions, as the number of chess positions open to non-trivial analysis is essentially limitless.

One current problem that limits the potential here, though, is that it can be very difficult at the present time to give satisfying answers to truly involved analysis questions of this sort. At the risk of beating a dead horse, the reason for this difficulty is that there is currently no good way to incorporate verbal explanations with trees of variations on the site. In particular, the inline comments/annotations feature of the PGN viewer isn't active on the site right now. If it were to be made available, the ability of our users to answer such questions well would increase dramatically, and I think would lead to more such questions getting asked as well.

So one way to potentially increase the question base would be to vote in support of that feature request, as the SE team is more apt to act if there is a clear indication of support for the implementation from the community.

  • I know this post of yours is quite old, but can you edit it to acknowledge that your request for inline comments has now been implemented? It would help people stumbling upon this post sometime in the future. – NoseKnowsAll Jul 13 '15 at 19:10
  • @NoseKnowsAll, done. Thanks. – ETD Jul 13 '15 at 19:55
3

I quite enjoy reading questions about recent games played by the community. You know the sort. "What could I have done differently to capitalize from this position?" Or "Where did I go wrong with this game?"

1

As a person with zero percent knowledge of chess. It's sometimes hard to understand the terms and discussions going on, here. Maybe it's a good idea to use clear or plain language in the answers or questions. This will help Chess SE to attract beginners like me :p.

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