@Terdon made an interesting observation in the chat room recently:
The simple truth is that we've never been a site for biologists. Those of us who answer are usually biologists or in similar fields but in my experience, the vast majority of questions have always come from laymen.
There was also a response from @James noting that graduate-level questions generally get fewer upvotes and less attention, although I acknowledge that's only anecdotal.
Recently, this proposal was closed due to an apparent substantial overlap with Biology.SE. When I asked the proposer about this, their reasoning appeared to be that questions on Biology.SE were mostly by laymen and they wanted to create a community for more 'hardcore' questions. Since the proposal was closed, the originator of this proposal has not become a contributor to Biology.SE and I'm not aware of any others from that potential community who joined, so the SE network lost a few dozen professional biologists.
I think both Biology.SE and the SE model in general are great. However, it seems that the fact that a high proportion of the community using Biology.SE consists of laymen could be discouraging professional biologists from joining. This does not affect the value of Biology.SE as a tool for public engagement but could limit its value as a tool for knowledge exchange.
Does anyone else think this might be the case, and if so have any thoughts about what, if anything, we need to do about it?
For example, one solution (although I don't really think it's a good one, it's just the first one I can think of) would be to set up a separate SE for biology professionals (ProfBio.SE?).
I have only arrived here recently, but it looks to me as though this has been a recurring issue: Shouldn't we be more tolerant with newcomers and non-biologists?, Should we encourange the relevant questions from non-professionals?