I've recently come back and posted a few answers, and was surprised at the lack of interaction. In fact, this site seems quite dead. Thus I played with the Stackexchange Data Explorer a bit, it's a neat toy. This begs a question. What happened around mid-October 2018?
X-Axis is question creation date. Y-Axis is average number of views for questions created at this date. You can display the query here. What is this huge drop in views after October? Same query on The Workplace SE data does not exhibit this trend. Feel free to use the "switch site" feature to try it on your favorite exchanges.
I wondered if this was due to a bug/feature in the pageview counting system, so I probed using another metric, user creation. The curve shows the average number of users being created per day in orange, and the last access of users in blue. This one is from Electrical Engineering.
EE gets a steady stream of new users (50-100 per day) and its last access dates are distributed in the usual hockey stick fashion. If you don't know how to read this, point at "Nov 2017" and you see a value of about 50, this means 50 users visited the site on this particular day and never came back since. The rising part of the curve at the right means many users have their last access date in the last month or so, these users are visiting the site often.
This is completely abnormal. A huge number of users saw something on the site around mid to end october 2018, and they never came back, so their last access date stayed the same until now. Or were they group-banned or deactivated? I plotted user creation on the same graph to be certain that this was not due to a sudden influx of new users. On the contrary, users creation dropped massively.
What did they see that made them not want to come back?
Again, October 2018 seems to suffer from a curse. There was a time questions would get 7-8 answers on average! And now...
The obvious reason why answers are not posted is that people are no longer posting them. This is the number of unique users posting answers. You want that to be high, not dropping like a rock.
Again, something happened around September or October 2018.
Let's have a look at the whales, ie the users who make the site work. I've cut up the timeline in 28 days slots (4 weeks avoid weekend-dependent data bias) and plotted users who posted 5 or 10 answers in every 28 day slot.
Around September 2017, 20 distinct users posted more than 10 answers each in a 28 day period. The last two blue points on the right are just astralbee all alone. All the other heavy posters ran away. In fact the "most answers in a 28 day period" trophy went to astralbee 6 times and apaul 3 times.
This is a number of answers vs time plot (not reputation). I really gotta give credit to the guy in the upper right corner. Does apaul even sleep? If you're reading that, I must say I respect your determination... or obstination XD
Feel free to use the "switch site" feature to try the queries on your favorite exchanges and compare. Some other exchanges are slowly dying, like EE. Others are going well.
THE QUESTION AT LAST
What happened around mid-October?
(if the data is accurate, of course).