We all love Biology 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!

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ What is wrong with the questions picked up for evaluation. They all were bad questions. We have had some decent questions in the quarter. The sampling seems to be biased. $\endgroup$
    Apr 9, 2015 at 6:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I totally agree with @WYSIWYG. I had 80% of bad questions which is in my opinion not representing this site content. $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2015 at 20:46
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Out of curiosity, how are the questions chosen? $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Apr 11, 2015 at 7:46

2 Answers 2


Final Results

Net Score: 26 (Excellent: 27, Satisfactory: 10, Needs Improvement: 1)

Net Score: 22 (Excellent: 26, Satisfactory: 9, Needs Improvement: 4)

Net Score: 21 (Excellent: 23, Satisfactory: 10, Needs Improvement: 2)

Net Score: 19 (Excellent: 20, Satisfactory: 17, Needs Improvement: 1)

Net Score: 15 (Excellent: 21, Satisfactory: 12, Needs Improvement: 6)

Net Score: 7 (Excellent: 16, Satisfactory: 18, Needs Improvement: 9)

Net Score: 6 (Excellent: 14, Satisfactory: 16, Needs Improvement: 8)

Net Score: 4 (Excellent: 13, Satisfactory: 18, Needs Improvement: 9)

Net Score: 2 (Excellent: 10, Satisfactory: 21, Needs Improvement: 8)

Net Score: -14 (Excellent: 6, Satisfactory: 12, Needs Improvement: 20)

  • $\begingroup$ I think when I was doing this, the most difficult question for me to find was the skull question. Took me ages, and when I did find it it wasn't on the first page! $\endgroup$
    – L.B.
    Apr 27, 2015 at 3:43

When voting, please note the criteria:

Run comparative Google searches on these questions and see if the content is better or worse than what is already out there on the internet. Are the answers correct, clear, useful and informative? Would the question and answer be interesting to the kind of user this site is trying to attract? Choose:

Excellent if this question is well written and has a clear, comprehensive answer that is far better than other available resources. This question shows up early in search results.

Satisfactory if this question has a clear, comprehensive answer that is comparable or better than the information found elsewhere. This question shows up later in the search results or requires oddly specific search terms to find.

Needs Improvement if this question is poorly written, not generally useful, or has an answer that is no better than what can be found elsewhere. Alternatively, this question does not turn up on the first page or two in Google despite repeated search attempts.

Skip if you are not sure and want to go to the next question

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I think Google-ability is not a great way of assessing answers. Many, many, many questions are in the realms of let-me-google-that-for-you lmgtfy.com Many of my answers start with a Google search. However, what I try to do is never ever cite wikipedia, add primary research articles (often lmgtfy on Scholar followed by a visit to the uni library to add something of value) and make a nice complete story. My way of assessing the answers was whether they were complete (often yes), addressing the question (often not) and backed up by proper primary literature (often wikipedia - meh). $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Apr 9, 2015 at 12:53
  • $\begingroup$ Plus - lmgtfy.com works only when you have the correct (combination of) keywords ready in your head. very often I think folks strand on not knowing where to look. In other words, everything is pretty much on Google these days. However, filtering is the key trick . academically trained folks are stars in filtering noise from signal. Many non-academic folks cannot do this. Many wikipedia articles are crammed with noise and academics know how to scan it and pick up the relevant things. This is how we can contribute. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Apr 9, 2015 at 12:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hence - it is on Google, yes. But the trick is how deep is it hidden away in noise? Picking up an answer, entering the key words in Google leads to false conclusions - "oh yeah, it is right here". Knowing where to look is a magic thing. This is what makes some answers really good. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Apr 9, 2015 at 12:59

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