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We all love Cryptography 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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I can only judge things from my personal point of view and - having only been here for around and about 3 months - I am aware my voice doesn't count that much. But during the past weeks I have been able to learn many things from the moderators (thank's for that) and from different users, I have seen a growing number of new users appear at the site asking things they wouldn't get an answer to anywhere else, and (what I think is most important to keep new users) I have seen new users with "not so well formulated" questions and answers getting more and more constructive feedback via comments… resulting in better questions and even better answers.

Sure, there's always room to evolve towards perfection — but looking at the current status-quo, I think "we" (Crypto.SE) might actually be doing pretty good. At least, it "feels" like that.

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    $\begingroup$ Agreed! I've noticed a marked uptick in activity here of late. The stats on Area 51 seem to confirm that. $\endgroup$ – Reid Sep 23 '13 at 3:32
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Final Results

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    $\begingroup$ mean: 5.1, stddev: 2.331, median: 5 for anyone wondering $\endgroup$ – Reid Sep 30 '13 at 4:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Reid Just realized… thanks to you, I tend to forget I've got a calculator installed on my computer. ;) $\endgroup$ – e-sushi Oct 2 '13 at 10:54
  • $\begingroup$ @e-sushi: Calculating the standard deviation by hand is painful anyway! I just throw the numbers into Wolfram|Alpha and it spits back some useful info. :P $\endgroup$ – Reid Oct 3 '13 at 15:51
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I realise I'm rather late with this comment, but figure that it can just be ignored if people don't care any more.

There are a lot of questions on Crypto.SE that have been asked for which the original question was unclear. As answerers seek to clarify the question (or often when the solution can be written very concisely) this means that often the best answer is actually a comment given on the original question rather than an answer. Quite a few of these require as little as the having the comment converted to an answer, or for two comments to be concatenated to form an answer, at which point the question could quite reasonably be considered solved.

I mention this because I've had a look through a few pages of the 'unanswered' questions over the last week or so, and it seems a shame that so many of them do have a good answer presented yet are left as unsolved. This means that a user just browsing the list may think that site is a lot less effective than it is - I certainly was surprised by how many questions there were without any answers!

A (possibly irrelevant) side effect of this is that the site stats think the answer-per-question ratio is lower than it actually is, and that the already high 'solved' percentage could/should be even higher.

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It's an awesome resource, but I find the answers sometimes to be a bit rarefied and often seem more focused on answering some question the answerers wish was asked rather than what's actually being asked.

It's true that sometimes questions could ideally be reformulated to that perfect question, but also sometimes the gap in understanding on the part of the questioner won't be satisfied by the ideal question and answer, but rather a somewhat more mundane stumbling block with somewhat more mundane assistance needed. And often that mundane stumbling block is a common one others are going to encounter, especially those who are utilizing a Q/A site like stackexchange.

That being said, there's some superbly bright people here and we're all very lucky to have them posting.

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have some example questions/answers where you observed this? $\endgroup$ – Paŭlo Ebermann Oct 16 '13 at 18:20

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