We all love Gardening & Landscaping 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!

I think people googling will be impressed by the clean, relevant atmosphere here, especially if they have been on other free gardening Q/A sites. But most people, I think, will be a little intimidated trying to participate. It seems many people are watching the activity (over 3500 visits per day by different addresses), while only a few even read the about page (148 in all as of now). So I'm guessing thousands of folks find us helpful, but either don't think they have a question, don't think they can ask a question, or have their questions answered satisfactorily.

It seems to me that many of the questions we've been getting are very simple, and while most don't need to be closed, I think the answer quality has been higher than the question quality (which makes sense, the regular answerers on this site are higher rep folks who know their way around the site, as compared with the questioners, who are mostly new). While we don't want to make things harder for newbies than we already have, I think the ideal question quality would be higher than it is, and that would prompt better answers too.

About editing, I think this site tends to be naturally clean, and the questions are coming from an entirely different people group than are the questions on SO. I think between us here on GL, we edit quite a bit, and keep the overall appearance of the site quite tidy, IMO.

About the answers, looking at questions from the last quarter, I have to say I agree with a high percentage of the answers on them (guess why ;)), and find these answers to mostly at least satisfactorily cover the question.

I think what we're doing on-site (with the prompt answering and the near 100% answered-ness) is pretty good, the most useful thing we could work on is referring other potential users to the site, as the activity level question wise is suffering (albeit better than it was a couple weeks ago), and the answers are coming from the same people over and over again (not really a problem, but variety is the spice of life). My thing about referring folks - which I have tried to do on occasion - is that I can often directly answer whatever questions they have, on site. Oh wow, this answer's gettin' long. Anyone have a comment on one of these opinions?

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    +1 for Answer quality > Question quality. – itsmatt Oct 19 '14 at 23:03

Greetings from the Stack Exchange Community Team! I realize this self-eval happened a good while ago but I'm circling back after a request came in for feedback about how close G&L is graduating. In an effort to be helpful, I'll be blunt.

This site is not showing the hockey stick growth we look for as a prerequisite to graduation. And it is entirely okay.

The number of posts per day is a bit too low to make the site a good graduation candidate. However, you're doing a great job in most other important areas.

  • Your quality is very high.
  • The high rep community members here show a lot of loyalty.
  • Voting has been on the rise lately (I encourage you to keep this up!).
  • The number of new users is gradually growing.
  • Traffic tends to yo-yo, but this is a very seasonal site, and in the on-season, traffic is excellent; this means this community is helping lots of people!

Now, a natural response here might be to push to artificially inflate the rate of posts, but please don't. It nearly always adversely affects quality, and quality is more important. You've got a good thing going here. Instead, know that the place you're at is absolutely fine. You're not set up to graduate anytime soon, but we're proud to have you as part of the Stack Exchange network.

In short, we love you the way you are. Please keep it up.

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    As a fairly new user, I want to thank you for this support. The quality here is far and above anything found through Google or other searches. The hard-working people who moderate, educate new users and provide a wealth of reliable information should be praised and encouraged, and I'm glad to see that happening! – Sue Jan 19 '15 at 21:48
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    I'm interested in what you mean by 'The high rep community members here show a lot of loyalty', because when I look at the front page of high rep users, out of the first ten, 6 of them barely do anything on the site anymore. Out of the entire page there (36 users), 22 of them are rarely seen anymore/have left for good. Is that normal? – J. Musser Jan 21 '15 at 13:44
  • And then there's me, who was gone from June 19, '12 - May 16, '14. Missed almost 2 years here. Not the best track record ever. :D – J. Musser Jan 21 '15 at 13:49
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    @J.Musser If you'd like to discuss details of that observation I'd be happy to do so over email. Feel free to drop me a message at the email address in my site profile. – Ana Jan 23 '15 at 21:58
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Final Results

Net Score: 8 (Excellent: 8, Satisfactory: 1, Needs Improvement: 0)


Net Score: 6 (Excellent: 6, Satisfactory: 5, Needs Improvement: 0)


Net Score: 6 (Excellent: 6, Satisfactory: 4, Needs Improvement: 0)


Net Score: 6 (Excellent: 6, Satisfactory: 2, Needs Improvement: 0)


Net Score: 4 (Excellent: 4, Satisfactory: 6, Needs Improvement: 0)


Net Score: 4 (Excellent: 4, Satisfactory: 4, Needs Improvement: 0)


Net Score: 3 (Excellent: 4, Satisfactory: 4, Needs Improvement: 1)


Net Score: 2 (Excellent: 3, Satisfactory: 5, Needs Improvement: 1)


Net Score: 1 (Excellent: 4, Satisfactory: 2, Needs Improvement: 3)


Net Score: -3 (Excellent: 2, Satisfactory: 1, Needs Improvement: 5)


  • 1
    Looking at past self evaluations, it seems we're doing much better. I see much less depressing scores here. – J. Musser Oct 17 '14 at 4:05

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