We all love The Great Outdoors 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!

4 Answers 4


The chat room has recently become much, much busier. There are now several people in there pretty much everyday, previous to this it was devoid of life.

This can only be a good thing for the site. There are now a handful of users on the site constantly. Keeping check of new questions, providing fast answers, adding wiki's to tags and generally doing good stuff.

Anyone reading this, should pop in, have a chat and discuss such topics as should banana's be used as a scale for rock climbing, walking boots suitable for violent situations, How much raccoon is in the average Ikea meatball? etc.....oh and we also talk a lot about the outdoors, climbing, camping and shiz...

We also had a push on the questions rate. This went very well and the average number of questions and answers went up dramatically. It's currently standing at 2.6 so it's slipped down from the best value which was 3.5 (I think). Again all good work I say.

  • 2
    Yep, definitely a good improvement.
    – Kevin
    Aug 12, 2014 at 20:41

I personally think the site suffers from banning list questions (which feels like a legacy from Stack Exchange (Programming).

Digests of answers can be especially useful, particularly within the Great Outdoors forums and a few others. Quora has nailed this aspect quite well, and while we are not Quora, we should not disregard the way human beings communicate due to a rigid, inflexible structure.

  • I completely agree with this. Good practices outdoors require much more preparation than other activities. Lists (as long as they are idea-based rather than opinion-based) are a very useful tool.
    – pheidlauf
    Aug 16, 2014 at 15:23
  • I agree but I also disagree. We don't want questions that produce endless uncompleted lists. This doesn't help anyone. I think a list can be useful provided the scope of the list is not too broad. So the onus should be on the asker to ask a concise well defined question, this may produce a concise, well defined list
    – user2766
    Aug 19, 2014 at 9:30

Final Results

Net Score: 13 (Excellent: 14, Satisfactory: 2, Needs Improvement: 1)

Net Score: 13 (Excellent: 14, Satisfactory: 1, Needs Improvement: 1)

Net Score: 10 (Excellent: 11, Satisfactory: 2, Needs Improvement: 1)

Net Score: 9 (Excellent: 11, Satisfactory: 4, Needs Improvement: 2)

Net Score: 9 (Excellent: 10, Satisfactory: 4, Needs Improvement: 1)

Net Score: 5 (Excellent: 7, Satisfactory: 9, Needs Improvement: 2)

Net Score: 3 (Excellent: 5, Satisfactory: 8, Needs Improvement: 2)

Net Score: 1 (Excellent: 6, Satisfactory: 5, Needs Improvement: 5)

Net Score: 1 (Excellent: 5, Satisfactory: 9, Needs Improvement: 4)

Net Score: -5 (Excellent: 0, Satisfactory: 11, Needs Improvement: 5)

  • 5
    So what does this actually mean?
    – user2766
    Aug 12, 2014 at 8:28
  • Oh nice, my question at the bottom. :P
    – J. Musser
    Oct 21, 2014 at 15:23

The biggest issue I've seen on this forum is the presence of highly specific questions that will remain unanswerable by users until we have representatives from strange parts of the globe. Simply look through this page (https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions?sort=unanswered) at the older, unanswered questions to see what I mean. Yes, a question about a specific style of leaf-basket or about a trail signs in a strange country is outdoorsy, but it isn't very useful to the general audience of the site. Some questions would be better asked in a travel or regional forum.

It's definitely a fine line to walk. How many people does a question need to help to be worth asking here? One? Two? More? This I believe is something we need to determine.

  • 3
    I don't think this is a major issue. Some questions are very specific, that's true. Those questions might have to wait a while for an answer and they may not get lots of answers. Still they fit to the site. On the other hand, most questions here are pretty broad and an all-embracing approach is used. I also often like to ask those question to give an overview on a specific topic. Those topics often get a fast and good answer and they will attract more traffic than the very specific questions.
    – Wills
    Aug 16, 2014 at 9:06

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