The OP of the question


argues that a fun question would help to attract user to come to our site. Is this a good marketing strategy?

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    $\begingroup$ I never thought of it as a marketing scheme... Now that you mention it, it may very well be a good vehicle to attract web traffic. $\endgroup$ – Paul Aug 18 '14 at 19:46
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    $\begingroup$ No, we shouldn't be using these questions as marketing. I'll have a full answer up in a bit, but the answer really comes down to this: if you attract people with a list of jokes question, and then expect them to ask expert questions... what exactly do you think is going to happen? $\endgroup$ – hichris123 Aug 18 '14 at 19:57
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    $\begingroup$ This question (though one that someone could learn something from) might be okay for meta though... but not in a site promotion sense. $\endgroup$ – hichris123 Aug 18 '14 at 19:58

No. The question does not have anything in common with a useful query on 'geology, meteorology, oceanography, and environmental sciences' The site is strictly for questions that are generally accepted by the community, until the Help Center is updated with some concrete guidelines concerning acceptable scope. As this site is fairly new, and hasn't been clearly defined yet, voting to close questions that aren't a good prototype is a good idea, and I think the community did right to downvote/close it.

Also of note: This user has posted a similar question on biology.se: What's your favorite biology joke? [removed]

A comment from a site mod suggests that this user has posted similarly on other sites as well.

This kind of question is off-topic on almost every SE sites, and I would strongly advise you to stop posting it to other sites like you've done the last minutes.


No, but not everything has to be about marketing.

The question isn't useful for promoting the site, but it is potentially useful for community building. Stack overflow sites don't have a lot of ways for community members to get to know one another. This question provides one avenue for finding out what tickles people's fancy, and what gets the community as a whole going, in a non-invasive way.

The equivalent question on Cross Validated is fun to read through, and perhaps contribute to. It doesn't detract from the site in any way that I'm aware of. Sure, it shows up near the top of the highest voted questions, but that page is really pretty useless anyway. And maybe it sends a good message to new-comers that we're not all hard-arse science nazis.

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    $\begingroup$ SE sites do have one good way of letting community members to get to know one another -- chat. Admittedly out chat is not so active, but there are usually a few people in there. Also, regarding the question on Cross Validated, that is a graduated site so the existence of such things is a bit different. For us we need to focus on keeping the questions high quality to serve as examples of the site we are trying to build. $\endgroup$ – casey Aug 19 '14 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ Sure, I said it doesn't have many ways, not that it doesn't have any. But chat really isn't for everyone. I don't like SE's chat, and I'm a regular IRC user. And sure, I'd be happy for the question to be left on hold for a while, but it doesn't make sense to me to delete it now, just to have to re-ask it later. $\endgroup$ – naught101 Aug 19 '14 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ There is no need for a nazi analogy here. $\endgroup$ – BHF Aug 20 '14 at 4:59
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    $\begingroup$ @BHF Well, it is proving Godwin's Law. ;) $\endgroup$ – hichris123 Aug 20 '14 at 22:12
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    $\begingroup$ @naught101 I don't think we'd be re-asking this question. Sure, maybe it's fun for a bit... but if you're going to ask a fun question, make it useful. See Stack Overflow: Where We Hate Fun: make it something you can learn from. Also, I'm not sure why you don't like chat, but if you ever change your mind just drop in. (Earth Science Chat) ;) $\endgroup$ – hichris123 Aug 25 '14 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ @BHF: Maybe not (although it is commonly used slang - no-one thinks that "grammar nazi" refers to actual white supremacists who like speaking correctly), but I thought I'd leave it in, to see if it would affect the results (but then I forgot to have a control :P). $\endgroup$ – naught101 Sep 10 '14 at 9:13
  • $\begingroup$ @hichris123: That question clearly meet's Jeff Atwood's criteria 2, and I think also 3, in that it has probably introduced many non-statistician scientists to useful or interesting concepts. I agree with that post, but I'm probably a bit more tolerant of edge cases. For another take on that aspect of SE, check out the Creeping authoritarianism section on this blog post. $\endgroup$ – naught101 Sep 10 '14 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ @naught101 I'm... not seeing how a list of jokes would provide learning. Maybe a tiny tiny bit, but nothing that expert could learn from. (more talking about an ES version of it) Also, regarding that blog post: it's... kinda ranty. $\endgroup$ – hichris123 Sep 11 '14 at 22:38

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