The pleasure of giving

It’s a yearly tradition now, where I go on about how the best part about being a moderator in Stack Exchange network of sites is when you get to donate to any charity of your choice from the short list.

Nothing has changed. Despite the many awesome things that I get to witness in the community, the one thing that gives me utmost happiness is when I click the ‘Submit’ button to the “Giving Back” Charity form after making my selection. The pleasure, I feel, is more with the person who is giving rather than with the person who is receiving.

And so, this year, I have chosen to donate my share of $100 to Doctors Without Borders (MSF – Médecins Sans Frontières) and feel quite good about doing so. Thank you Stack Exchange for giving me this opportunity.

Read more about Stack Exchange giving back 2016.

Ask Ubuntu moderator election is now underway!

We are in the midst of our 5th moderator election to add more firepower to our existing mod crew.

In the 6 years that Ask Ubuntu has been around, nearly 230,000 questions and 300,000 answers have been posted on the site, with the daily traffic clocking a whopping 487k visits as of now.

These numbers will only go up from here and to support this growing community, we are expanding our moderator team to accommodate two more. As is the policy with Stack Exchange network of sites, the new moderators will be added to the existing team and not replace them.

If you have a minimum of 300 reputation on Ask Ubuntu and think you can do a good job, consider nominating yourself for the role. The nomination phase itself runs for 7 days, followed by a week of primaries and then the actual election. People with 150 reputation are eligible for voting and I encourage them to vote for candidates that they think are most suitable for the role.

If you have any questions about the election process, you can ask them on meta. Discussions about the election can be had in the chat room too.

If mod work is not your cup of tea but you’re still looking for a way to help, you can always help us answer the incoming new questions. Featured questions would be a good place to start.


UPDATE:

Ask Ubuntu moderator election 2016 is now over and the following community members have been elected as moderators:

My little contribution to Doctors without Borders

It’s always an honour and a privilege to be a moderator in a Stack Exchange site. Every December, the company offers to make a $100 donation to a charity of our choice on the behalf of us moderators. It’s a touching gesture and one that I am proud to be a part of.

Some of you may remember my donation to Wikimedia foundation back in 2013 and I regret to admit that I missed the donation offer email in 2014 amid my inbox flooding. But no such thing shall happen again and I remembered to stay on top of my inbox this time around.

I made up my mind to choose Doctors Without Borders because of their selfless act of service, who don’t mind putting themselves in risky zones just to do what they love doing the most — helping people, regardless of their political stance.

Such compassionate people have to be encouraged and I will use this opportunity to do exactly that. So, thank you selfless doctors of Médecins Sans Frontières for your contributions to the humanity and thank you Stack Exchange for making me feel good about myself.

Read more about Stack Exchange giving back this year.

Ask Ubuntu – In the year 2013

Before I get anywhere, let me convey my thanks to slhck for his help with the data visualization and his awesome R skills.

Having got that out of the way, let’s look at some stats involving Ask Ubuntu in the year 2013. There is no real purpose in this exercise other than whetting my appetite for numbers.

Let’s start with the big picture. At this point, I should state the data points are not cumulative and represent the state of the site during that period of time.

d_m_deleted_closed

The total number of questions asked has almost tripled since 2011. Number of questions not being deleted has quite a linear growth as well. Remember, “questions” are deleted on Ask Ubuntu for a variety of reasons, including spam, offensive content and rants among others.

percentage

The percentage of questions closed to total questions asked has decreased over the years but the questions closed as duplicates has increased.

d_m_deleted_closed_2013

Breaking 2013 into months, we can see there are two peaks around 13.04 (2013-05) and 13.10 (2013-10) releases.

And what about the answers?

d_m_answers

There is a steep increase in the absolute numbers of questions with zero answers. Questions with accepted answers has taken a hit and so does questions with multiple answers.

d_m_answers_2013

In the various months of 2013, yeah.. we have work to do on that. Yet to fully recover from 13.10 release.

How goes voting?

One of the selling points of Ask Ubuntu (being a part of Stack Exchange network of sites) is that it is community regulated (via votes among other means). 2013, however, is not a year of voting on Ask Ubuntu.

d_m_score

Despite having more questions asked compared to 2012, the number of questions with at least a positive score has decreased. Questions with 3 or more votes have decreased sharply as well.

Questions with no positive score have skyrocketed. Guess it’s time to pull our socks and vote more. Want to help? 🙂

d_m_score_2013

The monthly breakdown of 2013 seems to suggest a general decrease in votes as well.

Questions and traffic

For a site that is currently getting about 260k views per day, the following might be surprising.

d_m_views

50% of the questions asked in 2013 don’t have more than a 100 views, which is not particularly appeasing. It seems not a lot of questions are getting enough eye balls and are adding to the growing tally of tumbleweeds on the site.

d_m_views_2013

Making the truth more obvious since the 90s.

Scores, views and answers combined

d_m_views_score

More page views clearly increase the possibility of a question getting either a vote or (hopefully) an answer.

d_m_views_score_2013

The last couple months of 2013 have a higher number of lowly viewed questions. Guess they need a little time to garner more views.

If any data wiz out there wants to play with the data, here’s the spreadsheet. And that would be all from the numbers department this year.

Giving back 2013

You know what’s the best part of being a moderator on Ask Ubuntu? Not the great informative posts. Not the fun and frolic around the community. And definitely not the many flags. The former two comes very close but don’t quite beat the best.

Every year, Stack Exchange makes it a tradition to donate $100 to charity on behalf of each moderator in the network. Back when I was just merely a contributor to Stack Exchange, I needn’t an invitation to spend my time and energy on the site. Already sold by their policy of making Internet a better place, I was on the site every other day learning new things and teaching others what little I knew.

So, when I first heard about Stack Exchange’s “giving back” program in 2011, I secretly started hoping I became one of the moderators on the network. Stack Exchange’s repeat of the program in 2012 further fueled my desire and I threw my hat up for the business in the next elections in February 2013.

Luckily enough, with the blessings of the awesome community, I became one of the community mods on Ask Ubuntu and I continued my contributions to the site and the community.

Relatively engrossed in my commitments to the community, I had almost forgotten about the Stack Exchange’s program until I happened to receive the pick-your-donation email from Stack Exchange earlier in December 2013.

I joyously made my decision to donate to Wikimedia Foundation. Donating $100 out of my pocket is almost impossible at this point of time for me and I am grateful to Stack Exchange for giving me the opportunity to taste the feel of philanthropist.

Thank you once again Stack Exchange and wishing the readers a happy and prosperous new year 2014.

Ask Ubuntu reaches new milestone: 100,000 questions!

Today, Ask Ubuntu crossed a major milestone in the history of the site. Yes, there are now over 100,000 questions asked on Ask Ubuntu.

This would be our 100,000th question:

What Unity Lenses and Scopes are available to add?

*Funnily enough, this question is actually a duplicate of another question already asked.

Here’s a rough graphical representation of how Ask Ubuntu has fared since its launch in terms of questions asked:

Ask Ubuntu questions by half-yearly

Clearly, there are still tons of questions that are unanswered. To be accurate, there are about 25,000 questions yet to be answered. Unfortunately, bringing this number down cannot be achieved without help from people like you. If you think you have what it takes, please consider taking a look at our list of unanswered questions and answering them as you see fit.

Ask Ubuntu community moderator election is now underway!

We are having community moderator elections for the year 2013 in order to accommodate the growing community at Ask Ubuntu. The elected moderators from this year’s election will complement the current moderators, as is the policy with Stack Exchange network of sites.

Ask Ubuntu had some tremendous growth in the year 2012 and the stats only prove that:

  • Over 50,000 questions,
  • 60,000 more users and
  • more than tripling the daily traffic to 217k visits/day.

If you are one of those nice blokes (like the current set of moderators ;)) and is willing to help make Ask Ubuntu an even better place, please do consider nominating yourself for the upcoming moderator elections. The nomination phase runs for the next 7 days followed by the voting on the nominees. Do note that the nominees are required to have at least 300 reputation. Anyone with over 150 reputation will be part of the electorate and can vote on the nominees during the election phase.

People interested in discussing the election or any of the nominations, please consider joining the chat room for Ask Ubuntu elections.

Or, we can always use some help with answering the questions. Here’s a good place to start.


UPDATE:

Ask Ubuntu moderator election 2013 is now over and the following community members have been elected as moderators:

Ask Ubuntu update for November 2012

Data dumps
Ask Ubuntu, as part of the Stack Exchange network of sites, licenses all the user contributed data by CC BY-SA 3.0 license. As part of the licensing, the data are made public by data dumps every quarterly. Starting this month, however, the data dumps would be made available every week.

This makes it much easier to keep track of interesting data queries and Jorge Castro shares some of them here. If you could spare some time, go through some of the data queries and flag the questions and review the posts and what not. It would help us improve our currently flailing answered rate. 🙂

Self-learners
We have users who run into a problem and then eventually find a solution on their own and then come back to document the solution themselves. As an attempt to reward such users by reviewing and upvoting quality answers from them, Jorge Castro blogs about how to “hat tip” to them.

Top contributors
Following are the top five contributors who have accrued the most reputation points in the month of November.

Hottest questions
Some of the hottest questions for the month of November:


If you are looking to help, the featured questions should be a good place to start. If you are interested in the site, you can sign up for the newsletter and you will be kept informed of quality questions and answers every week. In case you are struck and is looking for help on how to use the site, feel free to ask your doubts on the Ask Ubuntu meta or join us in the chat*.

*Requires 20 reputation to participate in the chat.

Ask Ubuntu update for October 2012

12.10 release
As most of us know, 12.10 was released earlier this month. As always, we have users running into issues and questions that are in need of some love and if you can spare some time to help some of the users, that would be greatly appreciated. Here’s the link to the latest 12.10 questions asked on the site. Do remember to answer the given question with adequate explanation. Pretty screenshots when and where necessary would be a nice addition!

Ask Ubuntu’s second birthday

It might come as a pleasant surprise to many as Ask Ubuntu celebrated its second birthday earlier this month. Having been launched to the public on October 10, 2010 along with the release of Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, the site has since seen significant growth keeping in tandem with the rising popularity of Ubuntu across the world.

New milestone: 100,000 answers
Second birthday notwithstanding, Ask Ubuntu clocked yet another milestone of 100,000 answers this October. With over 70,000 questions and 80,000 users, Ask Ubuntu is fast growing into the go-to place for all your questions about Ubuntu ranging from the recent Ubuntu Nexus project and application development to the juju charms and the general troubleshooting.

Ask Ubuntu session in UDS
We have a separate session in UDS-R to discuss the continued Ask Ubuntu integration and other Ask Ubuntu related tasks. The session is scheduled to be on November 1st in the evening and everyone who has a keen interest in Ask Ubuntu is invited to attend either physically (if you happen to be in Copenhagen, Denmark) or remotely through IRC. Given that the current scheduled time is subject to changes, you are advised to keep an eye on the UDS-R schedule.

StackIRC – IRC bot that posts questions from Stack Exchange sites
We are glad to announce that our wonderful community member George Edison has written an IRC bot that posts questions of a particular tag in IRC channels. The bot is already running in IRC channels #juju, #ubuntu-community-team and #ubuntu-app-devel with plans to cover more channels in the near future.

You can also set up your own bot if you are interested in tracking specific tags in Ask Ubuntu or other Stack Exchange sites in IRC. Instructions for setting up and using the bot can be found here: https://github.com/nathan-osman/StackIRC

Top contributors
Following are the top five contributors who have accrued the most reputation points in the month of October.

Hottest questions
Some of the hottest questions for the month of October:


If you are looking to help, the featured questions should be a good place to start. If you are interested in the site, you can sign up for the newsletter and you will be kept informed of quality questions and answers every week.

In case you are struck and is looking for help on how to use the site, feel free to ask your doubts on the Ask Ubuntu meta or join us in the chat*.

*Requires 20 reputation to participate in the chat.

Ask Ubuntu update for September 2012

Marco Ceppi’s interview with OSS Watch
Marco Ceppi, one of the community moderators of Ask Ubuntu, was interviewed by Mark Johnson for OSS watch. Marco Ceppi explains the target of the site are “those people who have a problem, go to a search engine, then click a link and expect a fix.” Marco also notes that there were resistance to Ask Ubuntu initially but the general Ubuntu community has fully accepted Ask Ubuntu for what it brings to the table.

Top contributors
Following are the top five contributors who have accrued the most reputation points in the month of September.

Hottest questions
Some of the hottest questions for the month of September:

Wikipedia page
The Wikipedia article for Ask Ubuntu has been updated to include the updated Alexa page rank as well as the number of users and questions on the site. As it is on Wikipedia, if you think the article could be improved upon, feel free to edit it and add more information as you see fits. We are always looking for more help. 🙂


If you are looking to help, the featured questions should be a good place to start. If you are interested in the site, you can sign up for the newsletter and you will be kept informed of quality questions and answers every week.

In case you are struck and is looking for help on how to use the site, feel free to ask your doubts on the Ask Ubuntu meta or join us in the chat*.

*Requires 20 reputation to participate in the chat.

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