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How active is your community?

posted by Krow on 09:22 PM March 25th, 2003   Printer-friendly   Email story
I'm managing the technical aspects of a growing private community. I have noticed that the vast majority of my users are not very participatory. We have a core group of about 80-150 active users (posters/commenters/journals/etc), and 400-900 lurkers on any given day. Due to various email invites, our user base is now over 10k users. My site is invitation only, and there are no anonymous users. Thus, I can definitely identify all of my users.

My questions for the slashcode community are these:
  1. How many unique users does your slashsite get in a day as compared with the total number of users that you have?
  2. Is it typical to have only 6% of your user base active and less than 1% of them regularly interactive?

FYI, my calculations for these figures come from the accesslog as:
select count(distinct uid), dayofyear(ts) as day from accesslog group by day;

For sites that allow anonymous users, the following would return (kinda) similar results:
select count(distinct host_addr), dayofyear(ts) as day from accesslog group by day;
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  • I have a decently large base of users who read my site on a somewhat regular basis... and then there is an EXTREMELY small percentage of them who registered as users, and then a small percentage of them vote or post... But then I have only switched to using slash within the last month, so we'll see how that goes.
  • From my experience, yes, it's very typical that there are only a small subset of active users who contribute.

    I think you can even deduce that it's typical on larger sites like slashdot. I recall reading posts from the OSDN guys saying that the majority of their traffic is from anon accounts, and that only a small minority of the real accounts post.
    lottadot []
  • we [] run a lot of slash sites, mostly for companies and organizations. one of the most active, and popular sites we run, is for sportsnet, one of Canada's national television sports networks. the site itself [] gets quite a bit of traffic, and yet it also suffers from a poor user percentage like the rest. here are some numbers, taken from mar 26, but are representative of an average day:

    Total Page views are about 60,000

    Total unique IPIDs are 10,000

    But UIDs are only 1,000 (thus 10% of reade
  • In terms of the small percentage of "active, interactive" users, I think you're most likely to run into a catch-22. People don't seem to post unless others have posted (ie: would rather join an active discussion than start it themselves). Obviously, if everyone waits for everyone else to post first, you've got yourself a deadlock. I've tried posting comments myself, saving editorials for the comments page and not the story posting itself, with limited success.

    Let's face it; there will always be a greater number of lurkers than contributors. The key seems to be finding topics that strike a chord with people and fostering an open environment. I guess the other part is to not worry too much about user contributions (unless you're relying on ad $$ or something). Eventually, some of those lurkers will convert and join in.


    -- [], proudly running Slash since 1/28/2002.

    • There is another artifact at work here as well - seeing your comments already posted. I'd imagine a lot of lurkers don't post or otherwise actively participate on heavily trafficked sites because they don't have something unique to contribute. This is my problem with slashdot on a regular basis - I'd love to post an interesting or witty comment, but there is usually someone with more knowledge than me already posting, or someone less witty than me ;) already posting something similar to what I had thought to post. Thus I lurk, and don't post much.

      I still log in, mainly to see my friend/foe bonuses applied as well as my display preferences, but I can easily see people deciding it's not worth the trouble to log in, because they never post anyway.
      • Excellent point, one I really hadn't taken into consideration. Though, from my personal experience, I've yet to run into that problem (having too many comments ;)

        What also may be at play, along your lines of thinking, is that lurkers may feel the story item doesn't warrant a comment. Either it's not a "hot-topic" issue or there just may not be much intelligent discussion to add to the initial posting. I can't speak for other sites, but I can see how the majority of items I post may not exactly spur discussion.


        -- [], proudly running Slash since 1/28/2002.