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Over the past one and a half years, Stack Overflow has lost around 50% 35% of its traffic (Update: Around 15% of the observed loss seems to be related to the recategorization of the Google Analytics Cookie around May 2022). This decline is similarly reflected in site usage, with approximately a 50% decrease in the number of questions and answers, as well as the number of votes these posts receive.$^\dagger$

How has CV's traffic changed in this time period? My impression is that it's an active, even vital site.

$^\dagger$ Source: The Fall of Stack Overflow

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    $\begingroup$ Through the SE database explorer you can answer this question in detail. It will indeed document a steady decline in rates of Q's and A's, but that began far before the last year and a half. Traffic (however measured) at all SE sites, as far as I am aware, began declining across the board c. 2017. Page views here on CV, however, stayed almost constant until early 2022 but since have declined more than 50%. Total voting still exceeds 50% of its 2017-2018 peak. Much more can be said, but I haven't the time to reply in full. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Jul 26, 2023 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ Mike, I have edited your post and its title to better reflect what you were trying to ask; if you feel the edit is not doing so, please feel free to alter that. $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2023 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/379047/… $\endgroup$
    – J-J-J
    Jul 27, 2023 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ Tangentially related, is my question, Have we lost most of our best contributors? - Skeptics Meta. $\endgroup$ Jul 28, 2023 at 0:51
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    $\begingroup$ @RayButterworth, Oddthinking's answer shows a gradual decline that sharply accelerates in 2019, when the Monica fiasco occurred. SE's disastrous handling of that & ongoing bullheadedness strikes me as almost certainly the time & cause of the acceleration. I for one lost an enormous amount of esteem for SE at that point and have been much less active ever since. I won't speak for others, but I strongly doubt I'm the only one who meets that description. Note that SE gets little of its revenue from these forums now, & so may not be very concerned. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2023 at 12:21
  • $\begingroup$ Where does it make money then? $\endgroup$ Aug 1, 2023 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ @ShawnHemelstrand, it never made enough money on ads. Internet ads just don't make much money anywhere. Eg, newspapers have been going under because internet ads don't make anywhere near the money print ads do. Their money comes from teams & enterprise. Prior to that SE was always in the red, living on venture capital. $\endgroup$ Aug 2, 2023 at 11:54
  • $\begingroup$ @gung-ReinstateMonica thanks for clarifying $\endgroup$ Aug 2, 2023 at 14:33

2 Answers 2

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Some old links and discussions dealing with the same topic.

  • The below image is related to the question All localized Stack Overflows seem to suffer from a decline to some degree. Why? and uses the script from here

    small decline

    In the question some nicer (some cleaner and edited) graphs are shown, that give the same idea. There is a decline in questions, but this is mostly from 'deleted questions'. The non-deleted questions are only changing slowly (it is still a decline, but not incredibly much).

    I don't believe that the decline in questions is a bad situation. As a comparison/analogy, would it be bad for an encyclopedia (e.g. wikipedia) when the number of new articles decreases? Wouldn't it be instead more strange to assume that the number of questions should increase without limit?

  • Four years ago, when SE was undergoing many changes I was thinking as well that there is a decline and thought of this meta post: Is it time for an independent Statistics Q&A website? How can we be more independent? #STEXIT #WhoOwnsTheInternet (I must regret that I have no backbone and got stuck to SE instead of starting a blog or something, maybe it is the lazy path to procrastinate?)

    That post had also a graph about the time evolution of the traffic (in terms of questions and votes)

    time development

    And the updated image from the link is

    development for votes

    From 2014 to 2018 there was a change where the highly voted questions stopped increasing and the low voted questions kept increasing, but now from 2018 to 2023 we see that the highly voted questions remain relatively more stable (to be fair, possibly there's a small declining trend) and there is much more a decline in questions with little votes (note that this number of votes is the number after 30 days, and does not depend on effects like acquiring more votes due to the age).

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  • $\begingroup$ Is Chat GPT to blame for the more recent dips? $\endgroup$ Jan 19 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ @AdrianKeister You mean dips in the graphs that I plotted in this answer or in some other new graphs? $\endgroup$ Jan 19 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ Well, there's clearly a decline since 2018. I'm more talking about since Chat GPT came out: has CV.SE's traffic declined noticeably since then? $\endgroup$ Jan 19 at 16:52
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From https://stats.meta.stackexchange.com/site-analytics.

Notice it says:

Effective May 10th 2022, the traffic data in this chart is outdated. We are working to resolve the issue. [This update was posted on July 26, 2023]

All time:

enter image description here

Last 3 years:

enter image description here


From https://stats.meta.stackexchange.com/site-analytics.

All time:

enter image description here

Last 3 years:

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice graphics! Thank you. They raise the questions: what is causing the spikes in traffic? $\endgroup$
    – user78229
    Aug 3, 2023 at 10:35
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    $\begingroup$ @MikeHunter idk, my guess would be special days (e.g., holidays), hot network questions or some popular post outside CV linking to CV. $\endgroup$ Aug 3, 2023 at 10:38
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    $\begingroup$ @MikeHunter oh wait, that's Meta stats. let me update the graphs. $\endgroup$ Aug 3, 2023 at 10:42

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