Using data explorer (e.g. this), I generated the following plots which show the per-day number of questions and answers, and upvotes and downvotes. (The moving average is over a 30-day period.) I also include a plot of the number of questions and answers with a given score.

Edit: I now include the weekly number of comments, question votes, answer votes, new users, active users (using this query).

Daily questions/answers

Daily upvotes/downvotes

The number of questions/answers with a given score

Weekly comments, question votes, answer votes, new users, active users

I include this as a reference post for the future, but I'll put some comments below:

  • I speculate that Islam.SE is not far off seriously being considered for graduation...

    At meta.SE, Ana writes: "When a site starts to consistently receive 10 questions/day, we’ll consider it for graduation." We are currently listed as 8 questions per day at Area 51, although I'm not sure how reliable that is. Looking number of questions each day thus far this month:

     date (Feb 2017):   1 2 3 4 5 6 7  8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
     no. quest.         3 4 7 5 9 9 7 15 1  7  7  6  9 10 13  7  

    I'd say we're realistically around the 6 to 7 questions per day mark. To put this in perspective: Philosophy (Area 51) had 5.7 questions per day when it was launched 7 months ago. Christianity had 3.9 questions per day when it launched 3 years ago (Area 51) and Mi Yodeya had 6.6 questions per day when it launched 4 years ago (Area 51).

  • The decreasing number of upvotes and increasing number of downvotes is a concern. Edit: However, the figures suggest we've been recently getting an increasing number of votes on questions and answers, which is encouraging.

    It indicates an increasingly unfriendly attitude at this site. At some points the 30-day average downvotes outnumber the upvotes, which indicates (a) the content posted at the site was predominately poor, and/or (b) the users of this site were more interested in downvoting poor posts than upvoting good posts. Either way, it's a bad sign.

    I get the impression that people are desensitized to downvotes. They don't react to them because they're so common. (Edit: Probably I'm wrong about this, and it's more complicated than what I thought; see goldPseudo's answer.)

  • How are we going to convince the StackExchange team that we have quality posts at Islam.SE if we're not upvoting them?

    In 2016, there were 7 posts with a score of 10 or more score:10 created:2016 (compared with 103 for Christianity.SE; 103 for Judaism.SE; 17 for Buddhism.SE; 82 for Hinduism.SE).

    In fact, 70% of the 321 StackExchange sites (including meta sites) did better than this (data explorer query):

    Number of 2016 score 10+ posts, per site

    Except for ExpressionEngine.SE (with 2) and Patents.SE (with 0), every launched site had more than double the number of 10+ score posts in 2016 (the next lowest was DSP.SE at 15).

  • The new per-week figure shows the number of new users per week is increasing rapidly (going from 41 in January 2016 to 78 in January 2017), which is exciting! While the number of users growing faster than ever, the number of active users does not appear to be increasing (although, maybe earlier data is influenced heavily by Ramadan).

    Number of users

Any other lessons to be learned?

By the way, there are three posts from 2016 on 9 votes:

  • I just made a significant update to my post, kindly take a look
    – Thaqalain
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 3:36

3 Answers 3


You express concern about the increasing number of downvotes, particularly about the points where site-wide downvotes literally outnumbered the upvotes.

Back when that first turnover occurred, concern was exactly the opposite of what I felt: That was the first time in years that I felt the site was actually heading on the right track. Not that I think that lots of downvotes is good, or that having content that was attracting downvotes is particularly commendable, but the fact that, possibly for the first time since we got out of private beta, the aggregate voting actually reflected the quality of the site.

See, before then, we were receiving a lot of voting based on partisan lines; people upvoting content that they agreed with, not because it was particularly well-written, just because it was "right". A lot of that was blatant copy-paste, or shallow regurgitations of the same, or even just flat unsubstantiated assertions, often times written so poorly as to be barely intelligible. Basically, posts of questionable quality that just encouraged an echo-chamber effect.

Over the next year or so, even though we still hadn't really been attracting too many high-quality posts, the low-quality posts were also not being particularly encouraged; so far as graduation is concerned, this is a huge advantage over the earlier state of the site. And since the last year or so, when post quality had shown a marked improvement, the voting also reflects that.

As for your impression that users tend to dismiss downvotes because they're so common, that's not my impression at all. Downvotes are a form of criticism, and many users just aren't open to criticism at all when it concerns their deep-held religious beliefs. You can see with new users as well as established users — and it is hardly unique to Islam.SE — that a downvote is often taken as a direct attack on their Truth rather than, as intended, a community judgement on the usefulness (distinct from Truthfulness) of the post.

Counter-intuitively, rather than dismissing them as you suggest, many users likely take such downvotes, and even critical comments, as encouragement not to improve their behaviour and just keep doing what they've been doing, choosing to see it as an unfair attack on their Truth rather than heed whatever actual criticism was provided (see also the Backfire Effect).


A little background:

Look at here: https://islam.stackexchange.com/tags/shiism/topusers

It will show you the top writers for the Shia tag.

Now go into those topwriter profiles and you would see a majority of them are no longer active are have significantly reduced their dedication on to the site.

Some of their answers got deleted, not downvoted but deleted or some critical questions got closed. In addition we get more than average downvotes. Just look at my profile and other shia writers. (to see the downvotes, just click on the number of votes my answer has got). Though in return we the shias have also downvoted other answers as well. We're now in a bad cycle, both downvote without leaving a comment so no one would retaliate against us...I personally downvote the bad logic, regardless of the writer being Shia or Sunni.

Having that said the site is small, I mean it's not like all the Shias Sunnis on the site are bad, it's just that a very few would suffice in such a small site to make the site ineffective.

As a result many left and joined other social media sites[reddit, Quora, etc.] where there is less ability for someone to just simply delete answers.

So how can we improve?

  • Perhaps if you (or someone who's truly neutral, but also knowledgable) become a moderator in the future, things would become more balanced. Currently moderators are all non-Shias. I don't think we are in a good state. But we are in a far better state than we were before. Perhaps it's been because of the presence of a few neutral Muslims/converts. Give it sometime. If it didn't get better then try other sites as well.

The only thing I have to say is: We have to respect each other as brothers. After all we are all muslims, everyone (me the most should start from our own and build up)

Also from a very different angle:

  • We get a lot of questions like: can I have this kind of sex, is this X Haram (while the person knows it's haraam), I want to get married but, I had a fight with my dad can I/how can I
  • repeated questions about violence, slavery, women, Sunni Shia split which are somewhat annoying and deserving of downvotes. They are all just questions derived from few fundamental questions.

  • Some other questions posted by users who never come back to the site

  • Lot's of questions by current users who don't have an accepted answer. I don't know why but that's very very very common on ISE for no good reason. It's like people don't know it exists. This gradually reduces some of the motivation.

The last 4 are also reasons that go against cultivating a good site. I think the reason is deeply rooted down in that our younger generations are not very knowledgable on their religion and don't care. They just come here ask 1-3 questions and go. If they continue to stay on the site THEN it gets better.

Yet they won't. I think the problem is in the Islamic culture. Something that we can't do much about on ISE. Perhaps that itself is good question. If you want you can write a question for: Are there any Islamic guidelines to make our youth engaged in Islam.


a recent incident:

Just a recent example of why this site forum need's to change course to progress better.

All Shia supporting comments on this answer have been deleted, while the Shia-countering portion at the last paragraph of the answer is still there. I wonder if it's going to be deleted now.(I honestly think his answer and the comments should all be there to have a fruitful discussion, deleting comments or editing answers by moderators will shun users away)

(This is no reason for Shias being the right sect, only that this isn't fair game)

Comments are to be used to leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post

enter image description here

The person who answered the question wasn't offended at all, even as a result he asked this other question here

  • you say all moderators are non shi'a, but isn't bleeding fingers a shi'a? Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 22:18

I believe that a down-vote is not enough to disprove/disagree of/with a question or an answer, each down-vote should ideally be followed up with some constructive feedback, perhaps we can include a new feature that does not cause a down-vote to be registered unless a comment is included, of course there must be a way in which the user is notified of this when they attempt to down-vote, this will help and change the attitude of members of the community and cause them to think twice and review their motive for the down-vote in the first place.

One thing that I realised as well, there are users which join the community, ask a single question and never visit the site again, some really good answers remained unmarked because of this.

  • 2
    This idea comes up from time to time on meta.SE and the response is (a) people are concerned about retaliatory voting and (b) people will make useless comments. There's currently a popup suggestion to add a comment for under 2000 reputation users. (Users require 125 reputation to downvote, so there's some filter in place.) Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 11:42
  • Raising the bar for downvoting in general is also risky, since voting (up and down) is such an vital part of the Stack Exchange model: stackoverflow.blog/2010/10/vote-early-vote-often
    – goldPseudo Mod
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 19:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .