Half-jokingly, half-seriously, but I'm concerned with the formal model of what Econ.SE is trying to achieve. There's a good topic about What do experts expect to get out of this SE site?. There's a solid understanding that it must be a serious place.

What are the quantitative measures of these goals? How do these variables interact with each other?

For instance, after going public beta, Econ.SE looks more like Quant.SE in terms of the number of accepted answers (in private beta it looked more like StackOverflow). And I'm not sure if the percentage of accepted answers is a good measure, given difficulties with "the problem is solved" criteria, as in Why is it difficult to answer questions on Economics.SE?.

The goals mentioned at http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/61732/economics are very relevant, but I think they're proximate indicators. while we also have fundamentals, such as completeness of questions (see Why is it difficult to answer questions on Economics.SE?) and sources of new members.

Perhaps, these fundamentals should be in our maximization problem, so to speak.

So far I see the quality of questions as the dominant control variable. Answers are a function of questions and users. If the answer needs a full equilibrium model, maybe it's better to reformulate the question or discourage such questions at all. If we would look at the IGM panel answers, most economists complain about general questions because "it depends."

So, maybe you can suggest a model (informal or otherwise) for meeting our expectations and finding the "variables" to focus on.



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