Is there any public data on which nationalities do most SE (dominated by SO) users belong?

I was curious because I'm from India. Hardly anyone knows of the site, and I got to know from the net. I suppose there is a large potential for SE if they publicise their site in media (newspapers, or even TV if they can afford). Most students (school, college) do not use a forum, or use poor quality ones. I suspect many people will be attracted to SE.

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    $\begingroup$ Considering that MSE often turns up on the first page of results of web searches on mathematical topics discussed here, I find it hard to believe that any competent web user could not be aware of this site. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Aug 3 '15 at 15:54
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think it'd be a good idea to say "Hey all the high school and college students of India, come to math.SE!", since statistically a lot of them (and numerically that is probably a lot) would probably contribute low quality content (in the form of badly written questions or answers, and general misuse of the Q&A interface which is different from forums). Feels like elitistic schmuckery, because it is elitistic schmuckery (but it's not racism, I wouldn't want a horde of teenagers to bring Eternal September, regardless of country of origin). $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 3 '15 at 20:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Asaf The problem isn't India or Indians (obviously). The problem is simply scale in general. Since SO needs to deal with millions of visitors and thousands of questions a day, much of the tools and features of this site are designed with scale in mind. But the culture of math.SE makes these tools less effective (not enough people involved in moderation, some of the people that are refuse categorically to close/delete anything, very high rep users answer garbage...). And so we see the problem. It's just that India is huge, so statistically there are many Indian people here. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Aug 4 '15 at 7:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Najib: I live in a city of ~200k people; in the older neighborhood. The mentality here is often that of a small town (~2000 people). And this is an apt analogy for MSE. While it is a large metropolitan, the environment is often small town-like. This has positive sides and negative sides. My qualm is against advertising the site, in general media, with the Eternal September it will bring. This has nothing to do with India or Indians. Other countries have a lot of high school students as well, but yes as we both said, India is very large, so even a small fraction of its students is a lot. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 4 '15 at 7:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf I don't think introducing more users to the site would necessarily bring doom, SO seems to be able to cope with 20x more questions and 70x more visitors a day than math.SE. But this assumes that the culture here adapts to the increased scale -- right now there are too many problems. I mean, yesterday a mod deleted an already-deleted question scored -50, and people still managed to complain! And the deletion pipeline seems to be very, very slow compared to the rate of question asking. And then beauties like this (with 3 seconds between each vote). $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Aug 4 '15 at 7:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Najib: Perhaps read the answer Arthur gave on my question regarding review bans, then. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 4 '15 at 7:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Najib: And for what it's worth, I think that is also a cultural difference between "hacker culture" and "mathematicians", which allows SO to take infinitely more questions and visitors than MSE. But I do agree that we need to do some shift in the way we treat the site. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 4 '15 at 8:04
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    $\begingroup$ IMVHO we already have too many freshmen and high schoolers. Advertising the site to sophomores and up might make the site less skewed. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 4 '15 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf If the company wants to expand, it must be able to adapt to more users. I'm a 14-yr-old student, and I did make a few bad quality posts initially. 1. Maybe there should be some tutorials on putting good quality sites and some recommended (or compulsory) reading material within the site. 2. If possible, there could be a "beginners chat room" where you can discuss your questions with experienced users before posting them. 3. Posts from new users should be displayed on a separate page, so you can explain how the site works to them, rather than just downvoting and dissuading them $\endgroup$ – ghosts_in_the_code Aug 4 '15 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Jyrki and Asaf I can post a feature-request if you think I should. $\endgroup$ – ghosts_in_the_code Aug 4 '15 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ SE doesn't really make money off the mathematics site. So it's not about them wanting to expand. And also there is a huge difference between staying well within your niche, and doing it right, to something which practically equivalent to whoring yourself for the highest bidder. I think that SE would also prefer to keep a high standard of questions and answers, and have less users. As far as a feature request, I would think it's a particularly bad feature, and I agree with @Jyrki, if anything we need to get more sophomore and senior undergrad students (and more grad students) to the site. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 4 '15 at 16:00

Here is the current distribution of visitors over the 30 day period; the countries with >1% visitors are listed. Click the image to see live data from QuantCast.


The Index column measures a kind of affinity of users from that country for this site. It is normalized by the number of visits from that country to "all" the sites. The neutral level is 100. So, this site gets 6.61 as much traffic from India as the average site.

The percentage of U.S. visitors is higher than, say, at Stack Overflow, where it is under 24%.

  • $\begingroup$ Philippines is number 2! (in the index column) $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Aug 4 '15 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ And then people balk at questions that aren't written in English, or insist that questions about English pronunciation (and English pronunciation only, in general) are inherently mathematical and on-topic... $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Aug 4 '15 at 7:22
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    $\begingroup$ Come on, @Najib. 200 years ago people would have complained about questions not being written in eloquent Latin :-) It is advantageous for a scientific community to have a common language, and I don't see any viable options to (semi-broken) English. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 4 '15 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Jyrki Please see What is the site etiquette about (i) asking and (ii) answering questions in a language other than English?, and the linked questions. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Aug 4 '15 at 14:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Joel, that certainly is interesting… :) $\endgroup$ – J. M. ain't a mathematician Aug 12 '15 at 16:34

A long time ago, jmac figured this out, and used a query using Data Explorer, created by Bishan. I modified the query for Mathematics, changed the rep threshold (to >100), and came up with a new result.

One problem is that some people put a specific location (e.g. "California, United States") instead of "United States". However, it's pretty clear that many users are from the United States (940 out of 73169 state it outright, and many others are more specific), while many are from India (897 state "India"; 331 state "Bangalore, India").

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    $\begingroup$ And, you know, some people are on the shoulder of giants, and that does not provide any information as to where the giants are. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 3 '15 at 17:05

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