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Using this statistics on the site, we can see the following history of the open, closed or deleted questions of the site, per month:

enter image description here

What we can see, is a slow, roughly linear expansion, which is the typical behavior of most smaller beta SE sites working actively on its graduation.

However, this tendency was broken, roughly in the second half of 2017. Then, the count of the new questions got a huge increase, but also the count of the closed/deleted questions with it. This is highly atypical. The result is that the count of the questions who survived the reviews, didn't grow significantly.

My impression is that from somewhere you got a gift, i.e. a large mass of content, questions, newcomers, and you rejected it. I am not sure if it was a wise decision, if your goal is to make your site successful.

What is happened?

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    $\begingroup$ The Great American Eclipse on August 21, 2017 $\endgroup$ – Andrew T. Jun 3 '18 at 8:21
  • $\begingroup$ Anyway, I feel this site is successful enough. Why do you think it's not successful? Because bad questions are closed? (some of them are also closed as dupes, and not deleted) $\endgroup$ – Andrew T. Jun 3 '18 at 8:29
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    $\begingroup$ More questions also means more poor questions, and questions in need of improvement. This is especially true when folks visit the site for the first time, and may not be aware of site standards. The August eclipse likely brought many first-time users to the site, which in turn caused our question rate to rise, as well as the number of questions we had to close for not meeting those standards. I'd bet that the kilonova observed that month - and announced in October - is partially responsible for the second peak. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Jun 3 '18 at 14:50
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    $\begingroup$ I have access to the mod statistics. There was no large peak in 2017, not relative to months prior or since. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Jun 4 '18 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ @called2voyage This is a very simple query, with minimal SQL knowledge anybody can see, what it shows is what I say. I don't know the mod stat page, so I can only estimate a possible cause of the difference: maybe this mod stat includes only the not deleted posts. $\endgroup$ – peterh Jun 4 '18 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 I think a good working site has a pyramid structure, where everybody does what they can. I think the border of the overmoderation is roughly where the moderation causes stat decrease. Some regression analysis I did (and did not include here) shows that the moderation is not on this level, yet. However, I suspected at least a missed opportunity, and I think the community should have known about that (and also I was curious, what is happened). $\endgroup$ – peterh Jun 4 '18 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ @AndrewT. Yes, it is successful (at least matching a parabola to the logarithm of the questions/month stat by least squares has a positive quadratic member). I will include also that stat, after I could get back to my SEDE account :-) $\endgroup$ – peterh Jun 4 '18 at 22:04
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    $\begingroup$ @peterh It is possible the mod statistics automatically corrects for spam. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Jun 4 '18 at 22:18
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I'm quite sure this is 100% caused by spam posts. If you compare your graph with the one from the metasmoke dashboard, you'll see that the spam wave started in July 2017 (before that, Astronomy didn't see any spam at all) and has diminished (but didn't extinguish) since March 2018.

enter image description here

It's possible to exclude posts which received spam flags from the statistics, but it'll require rewriting the query.

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    $\begingroup$ The count of the spams roughly matches the count of the deleted posts, I think it is enough to assume that their deletion was initiated mainly by the spam detector. Tyvm! $\endgroup$ – peterh Jun 4 '18 at 21:59

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