I've been seeding some questions to the site, sometimes pretending to be a beginner, sometimes pretending to have some (nonexistent) problem with my thesis. I've written the questions in this way (and purposefully not answering them myself!) hoping they would be some useful reference questions when the site eventually goes live.

The latter one, in particular, is about building minimal examples which, I thought, could be really useful to link from our FAQ and where to point users that might need a bit of help when we eventually ask them (and we will!) to provide minimal examples.

However all this pretending from my part seems to be confusing people trying to answer the questions. Should we somehow make it explicit when we're seeding in order to avoid the confusion?

4 Answers 4


I don't think there's any need to identify the "I'm wearing a novice hat for this question" stance; I take it as read during the beta.

I've also asked some low-hanging fruit questions (though, early on, I did not demonstrate your restraint in not answering them). These seem absolutely essential if the site is ever going to get more than a tiny trickle of people in from google hits. I think I'd be doing less for the site right now were I to spend my effort on writing up a couple of real questions I've got on the back-burner.


I also don't think it's that confusing, especially when the question is just copied over from one of my comments! :)

However, I do feel strongly that (1) FAQ type questions (Like the MWE question) should be moved over to Meta, (2) they should be CW, and (3) there should be a CW with a list of these questions.

As an example, see the official SOFU FAQ.

  • I see, had never seen a SO FAQ before. In my mind, somehow, the FAQ was just a list of a dozen of questions short answers and links to other places to read the full details. But probably the FAQ system already in place works much better for a site like this. Jul 29, 2010 at 21:28

I think that this question here is sufficient notice. I wouldn't like to have a load of stuff on the main site that needed changing when it went into public beta. Everyone active in private beta should be at least keeping an eye on what's going on here so this really ought to be enough.

I should perhaps explain that I don't have too much of a clue as to what is or isn't supposed to go on in private beta. Whenever I went over to area51 I could never find any explanation for all the different phases and what was supposed to go on there. I decided that this model would work really well for TeX and friends and that it had a high chance of working so thought I'd show my support and I'm doing my best to follow through on that.

So sometimes I don't quite know what's going on and just need clarification! I guess I should have asked over here rather than leaving a comment in public; Juan, shall we delete that exchange (leaving just your comment asking for clarification as I think that that's an example of good behaviour on both our parts (your asking rather than just going away in a huff, and my providing the details))?

PS If there is a good place to read about what's going on, please tell me! So far, all the links I find take me to various SO posts and blogs and while that helps, it's not a concise "document" laying it all out clearly. Plus there's seems to be an underlying assumption that everyone's coming from SO and knows the system from there, including all the conventions that aren't inherent in the actual program. Actually, that last point is probably worth a separate meta question ...

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    Good idea about removing those comments! I've just deleted my half of the exchange. Jul 30, 2010 at 10:05

We could tag "seed", just to avoid confusion, and once the site goes live, have an admin delete that tag from all the questions.

  • "seed" is already implied for every single question on the site. We might be getting useful answers, but we're not here to get those answers at the moment. Jul 30, 2010 at 0:14
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    I think that there are more and less seedy questions...but I might be wrong. is this really all a big game right now? no-one here to get real answers? Really? Jul 30, 2010 at 0:16
  • I actually think this is a good idea. Sorry to pick on Andrew but on one of the questions linked he wrote "@Juan A. Navarro: Are you really a total newbie or are you just pretending? (If it is a pretence, it's a reasonable one and I'll do my best to enter in to the spirit of it; I'd just like to know.) – Andrew Stacey" (Emphasis mine) Jul 30, 2010 at 5:51
  • Wow! people really don't like this idea..other than reemrevnivek, anyone care to tell me why? Jul 30, 2010 at 11:48

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