Just discovered that a good SE got shutdown recently due to "poor business": http://productivity.stackexchange.com

I expect it is only a matter of time before Chess.SE suffers the same fate. So, this is the place for remaining users to share their thoughts on this matter.

  • 5
    IIRC, the OP started projecting the doom of chess.SE at least 5 years ago. Is chess as well-suited to the SE format as, say, coding? I'd say obviously not, given the evidence. But chess.SE has grown over time, and clearly serves some purpose to some group; maybe that will be enough for SE to keep it going, maybe not. But I fail to see the point of this post, especially from one who's made a total of 16 posts on the main site in the span of almost 6 years. Chess.SE has never been what OP wants it to be; but the OP also doesn't seem to be a party genuinely interested in the success of the site.
    – ETD
    Apr 9 '18 at 13:32
  • success of what exactly? I fulfilled my commitment wrt to the SE as proposed, but it has nothing to do with the celebration of mediocrity or experts of trivia.
    – prusswan
    Apr 9 '18 at 13:59

The lack of activity (in the form of questions and answers) wasn't the only reason Productivity (and another recent case, Startups) Stack Exchange were shut down. It also was because of the lack of moderation; Productivity had only one active ♦ moderator and Startups had none. A repeated call for help on the site's respective child metas didn't get a response.

A lack of ♦ moderator activity can be compensated by active regular users who perform moderation tasks like closing questions and deleting non-answers. (In fact, that's the preferred way of moderation; Stack Exchange is moderated by you !) The regulars here are doing (in my opinion, which should be taken with a grain of salt because I'm one of them) a decent job of keeping the site clean. But perhaps one of our moderators wants to chime in on this?

  • You cite numbers, but having good/adequate moderators to moderate bad/inconsequential content is a bad sign. Chess.SE does not meet the usual standards of expert participation, unless the site gets rescoped into NoviceChess.SE
    – prusswan
    Apr 4 '18 at 12:54
  • 4
    Not every Stack Exchange needs experts, sites like Seasoned Advice and Astronomy are mostly hobbyists.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Apr 4 '18 at 12:57
  • 3
    "But perhaps one of our moderators wants to chime in on this?" I'll just second Glorfindel's point that the ideal is for the community to moderate itself. A few years back, I (and the other mods as well) was much more active on the site than I am now; I'd say I haven't needed to be, because there is indeed a current crop of seasoned regulars who keep things going the way an SE site generally should.
    – ETD
    Apr 9 '18 at 13:20
  • As a side point: it might indeed be time for some new blood in the mods, especially since there are at this point plenty of folks who would handle the role well and who are much more active than the 3 of us at present. If someone were to advocate for such, I'd certainly support the notion.
    – ETD
    Apr 9 '18 at 13:20

a good SE got shutdown recently due to "poor business"

This isn't an accurate representation of the position of SE overlords. See the full statement.

The reason for shutdown wasn't "no profit", "low traffic" or "few questions": there are SE sites with less traffic and fewer questions asked than Productivity, yet they remain. If the call for moderators was met with at least a bit of enthusiasm, the Productivity site would still be here. See Graduation, site closure, and a clearer outlook on the health of SE sites

Chess has three moderators (appointed back in 2012) who still visit regularly: two in last week, the third visited two weeks ago. Flags get handled without unusual delays. And looking at the list of active users I see some that would likely step up, should there be a call for additional moderators.

Exit preparedness

First, there is Board and Card Games site, where chess is on topic. If this site had to shut down, I expect its content would be migrated there.

Setting up a new site on another platform is a large task but not an unimaginably huge one: the new platform could be, for example, Discourse. There are weeks between shutdown notice and execution: (Productivity had 3 weeks).

Existing content is an issue. Look for a Q&A platform able to digest SE content, including the chess notation parser. (I'm not sure one exists out of the box; one probably has to make modifications to open source Q&A software.)

Perhaps the most practical way is to set up a static site rendering the content of "Chess 2012-20xx" and start from scratch elsewhere. Jeremy Banks has an archival project for failed SE sites ("collapsed stacks"), for example Startups. If a static, browsable site exists, it can be used for references and also to draw some of the search engine traffic which can then be directed to the new site.

  • Productvitiy.SE has much better content quality, so citing lack of moderators is just an excuse. They point to vote activity, and that exactly is business/traffic for SE. The fact that they are putting moderation ahead of content, and that Chess.SE persists despite the poor content, should be cause for concern.
    – prusswan
    Apr 4 '18 at 13:01
  • 3
    Votes and traffic are quite different. Traffic comes mostly from random onlookers (90%). Voting requires participation. Example: Android Enthusiasts has lots of traffic and little voting activity in comparison. In any case, SE Community Team makes those decisions, and their goal is not having headaches due to non-moderated sites. It's not like Productivity consumed a lot of electricity on its own. The marginal cost of carrying an existing site around is negligible when that site moderates itself.
    – user7637
    Apr 4 '18 at 13:10
  • @prusswan some things can only be handled by diamond mods (e.g. comment flags, need mod intervention flag). Without those mods, a certain part of moderations basically die, and that will endanger the site's quality in the longer term.
    – Andrew T.
    Apr 4 '18 at 13:13
  • Ironically, Productivity.SE has less moderation issue compared to Chess.SE (which is mostly reduced to haven for novices, their content gives "headaches" to experts). The question of relevance was never resolved, as there is not a single question from here that cannot be asked on a leading chess forum. These may not be final reasons that lead to site closure, but surely they explain why content quality will never get any higher.
    – prusswan
    Apr 4 '18 at 13:21
  • 7
    Okay, we've established that you are unhappy here and the goal of this thread is to proclaim doom rather than learn anything about SE. I don't want to stand in the way of your pleasure, so go ahead: Chess.SE is doomed. DOOMED!
    – user7637
    Apr 4 '18 at 13:37
  • Chess.SE is not serving its intended purpose when it is reduced to a "Beginners section". The quality of content here is so low that half its population do not even realize it and continue to pat each other on their backs.
    – prusswan
    Apr 6 '18 at 17:25
  • 4
    @prusswan: please add some cool questions yourself to raise the tone
    – Laska
    Apr 6 '18 at 17:56
  • @Laska it is pointless since I am expecting expert content. and the SE failed in its original purpose to curate expert content. I might as well browse it like a regular forum since the votes are useless in establishing authority. At least on playing sites, you can get a gauge of everyone's playing strength.
    – prusswan
    Apr 6 '18 at 19:46

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