When investing my time into something, I like to know where it's going. Helping one person is good but if I can help 10, that's better. Is my time here worth more than that on IRC/forums/etc? To know that I need to know the plan for this site.
I don't mean to sound so self-important. I think this is a question that we should all be asking ourselves: "What this site is really aiming to do?" Are we striving to become Ubuntu's new official support mechanism or are we just another little community with very little impact on the whole?
I personally think we're better than the rest of the Ubuntu support mechanisms if only because we have a slightly better infrastructure and the naive enthusiasm and dedication that comes with shiny new things... But what happens when this wears off?
Like it or not, this place is going to be driven by the questions that come in. If we can't attract people with problems, people looking to help others aren't going to bother. And if we can't increase our daily throughput, we're going to lose existing users to other support streams.
A dirty experiment fighting for life in the wild.
That's right. We're a dirty little experiment happening at the bottom of the garden --not even Canonical's garden-- trying to justify our own existence. We might gain critical mass to attract people on our own but as it is, I think we're on running on the fumes of the current members' enthusiasm. 20 questions a day is probably a hundredth of what we need as a base level. But how do people get here short of reading about it on the planet or Google?
We need official direction and people with problems coming from official sources.
I know several users here are proper Ubuntu Members, some commanding a decent level of influence in Canonical and the Ubuntu community. As it is, I am not one of these people. Would it be possible for one/many of you to start having discussions with the "Powers That Be". Ask them what they think of the infrastructure, how we could fit into an official support process.
A link from the community support pages would be a great start to get a few extra people trickling through.
If the "Powers That Be" don't want us as an official part of Ubuntu, should we exist at all? At what point are we wasting our time? At what point do we just distract and fragment the support landscape? At what point should we consider merging with the more generic unix.se?
Of course none of this is just up to us, the Community Council or Canonical. Jeff Atwood (et al) need to enable us and set terms for any arrangement.