I recently began to use StackExchange sites and I'm really happy with them, both contributing and receiving help.

But I have realized that ServerFault questions and answers receives much less attention than StackOverflow or SuperUser, for example.

Is there a direct correlation between the activity of ServerFault and its number of users? Are there other factors such the kind of questions asked (mainly sysadmin stuff) or a lack of interest of experts on this area?

You may think this is a very open question subject to discussion, but I think developers can access traffic or usage data to give a general idea. I'm interested on this rather than subsequent explanations.


Of course, subsequent explanations are welcome as well :)

  • 2
    At time of writing, the SF Users listis 1,279 pages long ~ 46,000 usere. SO Users list is 11,300[!] pages ~ 406,800 users. SO has roughly 10x the volume on SF, I would expect to see similar ratios in "activity" levels as well.
    – jscott
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 12:06

3 Answers 3


Have a look at the data in the site directory SF is roughly the same size as SU but has only half of the visits/day. As you will see SO dwarfs everything.

Other things to consider:

When you ask a programming question there are frequently many ways in many languages to achieve the outcome. With sysadmin stuff the choices are usually considerably fewer.

There are many times more developers/users than there are sysadmins.


SF is a bit different to the others in that it is intended to be for a fairly specialised group of IT professional. In contrast, SU and So both cater to hobbyists as well as professionals, so cover much greater ground.

This specialisation results in a smaller user base, as well as more technical questions. e.g. There is no SF equivalent to writing a "Hello world" program or installing a new graphics card because users are expected to know the basics and do some research of their own. You'll notice this tends to be reflected in voting patterns as well.

One downside of SF is that while even a really crappy programming question or answer could easily get 10 or more upvotes, questions and answers on SF are voted for far less. It therefore takes more expertise and/or time to achieve the different levels.

  • 1
    I think you have an interesting point: people in SF are expected to have made a thorough investigation before posting an answer. At least more thorough than in SO. It's reasonable but one the things I love from SO is that precisely, the fast and straightforward knowledge you can get instead of wasting time comparing 50 blogs. Doing that comparison on your own is probably worth, but sometimes you do not have that time :)
    – elitalon
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 7:17

Most metrics/stats are directly related to user base size; questions, answers, spam, abuse, trolls, chat activity, meta etc.

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