With the help of archive.org it is possible to measure how many questions were asked each day at SE.AI. In the early 2017 only 1.6 questions were added per day, in late 2017 the number has increased to 2.5 and in late 2018 around 5 questions were asked each day. Compared to other Stackexchange websites the total amount of questions is low (2676 questions are in the system today). So my question is, can this chart be extrapolated into the future? How much questions will be in the system at the end of next year (2019)?

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Early in this site's life, I spent a lot of time staring at the site analytics and the sketch in this MSE post:

exponential growth

Looking at our analytics currently, here are some interesting facts (I'll consider all posts, both questions and answers):

  • The posts-per-week graph looks very much like the tub on the left side of the above sketch
  • Over most of the site's life, posts per time went up overall with some fluctuation, but over the past three months it steadily increased and doubled in value
  • Post activity now is at pretty much the same level as the first (private beta) week
  • The visits graph is shaped much differently, but doubled over the past nine months, with most of the increase in the past three months

"Three months" came up a lot there - that's probably from IBM's sponsorship, which started in early September.

The posts-per-time graph looks pretty linear to me in the last three months when smoothed by taking the five-week average around each point. Over the 11 weeks since the sponsorship announcement, activity increased by 2.3 posts per week per week. I can't know whether that will always be reasonable, but for the sake of getting a rough estimate let's assume the growth pattern past that point continues. Taking into account last week's rate of 59.8 posts per week and the presently existing 6942 posts then doing a bit of simple integration produces a number of approximately 13,000 posts existing after 52 more weeks. 38.5% of currently existing posts are questions, so in a year we might have a little over 5,000 questions.

This model actually assumes quadratic growth rather than exponential. Hopefully things pick up even more and we switch to an exponential pattern!


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