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Is it a good idea to require members of the community who want to see a new topic area to participate a certain amount in that area? Is there any hard data indicating the quality (as measured by community approval, or any other metric) of posts from posters trying to meet a quota vs those from posters who are participating without any requirement to do so?

  • Interesting topic, but how would you define the quality of a post? You could ask the "is there any data about X" question on Open Data to supplement your own research, and use what you find to ask a much better question here. – Air Oct 16 '14 at 15:52
  • @AirThomas as an example on Stake Exchange sites there is a rating system in place. My assumption would be that a you could apply a numerical value to posts created by indentured posters and compare it to an average of non-indentured posters. You may want to allow for site experience so somehow combine that in the numbers – James Jenkins Oct 16 '14 at 15:58
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    I took a shot at trying to generalize the question and make it more answerable based on the comments here since it seemed like it was heading towards being closed. I'm still not sure if it is a good fit or not, but hopefully it is closer. Feel free to make any alterations if you feel it detracted from your intended question. – AJ Henderson Oct 16 '14 at 17:40
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    I don't know if this is the sort of thing you would find on Open Data. One could gather Stack Exchange data by looking at Area 51 committers on beta sites -- how did posts from the people who fulfilled their commitments compare to those who were never part of the proposal? – Monica Cellio Oct 17 '14 at 1:25
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Any hard data? I don't believe so.

However, in my experience, any type of interaction quota is bad simply because it more than always leads to poor quality interactions. That's because it's not just about generating a natural interaction, it's also about meeting a quota too.

One good example would be something you may find in Stack Exchange communities. Sometimes users who join a new stack exchange may feel they need to get their reputation up. In order to do that, they have to start interacting with the site, especially on community submitted questions.

Due to that, they may try to answer anything, including questions they may not have the best answers for as opposed to answering questions that are within their field of knowledge.

The same degrade also happens when post counts and other post count achievements have existed in communities. Users will often post one line sentences in order to boost their post counts and try to get the top poster in a community. Although it's not a quota, the achievement is driving their activity, which leads to poor interactions.

Therefore, setting a requirement to post may not be a good idea under any circumstance. If the topic of discussion is vast enough to justify a new topic area, then the topic area should thrive naturally. If it doesn't, then you should not force it for the sake of quality. As quality is pretty important in most communities, I would strongly not recommend the approach of quotas.

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