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Author Topic: Statistics  (Read 30943 times)
Doug Ruff
Member

Posts: 445


« Reply #60 on: April 04, 2005, 10:47:59 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
Make of it what you will.  I invite discussion.


OK, I'll bite. But first I want to say thanks for keeping up with this, I doubt that we would have noticed the sudden drop in first-time posters if it wasn't for what you're doing.

Having said that, there is one question (well, actually two linked questions) that follow:

- Is the drop in the % of new members who post necessarily a bad thing?
- Why are people posting less when they join?

And the answer to the first clearly depends on the answer to the second.

How about we ask? Ralph, I know (from this thread) that this is something that's been bothering you for a while, so I'll give you the first option on this. If you don't want it, I'll ask myself unless you have a good reason why I shouldn't.

I'm thinking about something in Site Discussion along the lines of "if you're reading this, and don't post to this site often, we'd really like to know why. Not because you're doing anything wrong, we just want to know." With a specific message to regulars not post (defensive) responses - the intent of the question is to collect information and reach out to people, not to criticise them if they say something we don't want to hear. I suggest this gets followed up by a separate thread to discuss the responses.

Because, as I'm sure know, statistics are far better at identifying trends than they are at explaining them. Not that surveys are necessarily much better, but it would at least give some qualitative data to sit alongside the numbers.

Apologies if you've done this before and I missed it (hey, I'm still a bit new here myself) but maybe, with the sudden and unexpected decrease in new blood, now is a more appropriate time for this question.
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greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #61 on: April 04, 2005, 11:52:41 AM »

Quote
The last 4 quarters, basically the entire year, has been in a decided down trend. Since the number of new members has been fairly consistent throughout the year I think these numbers indicate fewer new members who are actually posting (at least 5 times).

Hrm, Ralph, do you know how many of those 5 or fewer times posters were just spam accounts? There has been a large increase of spam postings in the past year, so I do have to wonder if that would skew the "meaning" of the numbers in that tier once the percentages were calculated.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Andrew Morris
Member

Posts: 1233


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« Reply #62 on: April 04, 2005, 01:14:37 PM »

I'd think a good number of those <5 post accounts are there because people want to follow the discussions going on here, but don't want to jump in all the time. They create an account and log in, so they can see new posts, but that's all they have the account for -- not so they can post themselves. Is there any way to crossreference posts with account activity? If we see a lot of low posters with lots of sign ins, then that's probably the reason. If we see a lot of accounts that haven't been logged into for a while, well...that's probably something else entirely.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #63 on: April 05, 2005, 05:09:24 AM »

For some history, Andrew, the argument goes that there has always been a percentage of people who log in just to follow the discussions as you suggest. Having a percentage like that itself isn't particularly troubling. What Ralph is citing is that the percentage is growing. Which could mean, in theory, that a larger percentage of people who arrive are now feeling like it's hard to post here for whatever reason.

My alternative theory is that with more and more posters overall, it becomes harder and harder to keep up with all of the traffic here - I used to read every post, but gave up on that about eight months ago myself. And now I post less, too, as a result. I think many other people are in the same boat. The point is that what my theory means is that there's just a natural resistance curve that builds with a higher population, that you can't expect the proportion of people who actually post to stay stable.

But it's hard to say for certain. Now, we could ask, as Doug suggests, but that has just one little problem that goes along with it - if the posters who haven't posted, come out of the woodwork to say why, then the stats will be skewed for next time, unless we delete those posts or Ralph manually deducts them. I mean, they can't really be counted as those individuals having overcome their problems with posting, if they're only posting to say why they're not posting. ;-)

Anyhow, given the "Diaspora" statement from the management, I think that this trend might just match the timing there. That is, whatever the reason for the signal problem that's likely being generated here, the solution that's been suggested is for people to split off and do their own thang. That's not saying that the Forge doesn't want more people or anything. Just that individuals might find it more effective to start their own, smaller and more accessible discussions elsewhere.

Mike
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Andrew Morris
Member

Posts: 1233


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« Reply #64 on: April 05, 2005, 06:02:09 AM »

Ahh, well, that makes sense. I don't post on rpg.net for just that reason -- I have to sift through tons of threads I don't have any interest in just to find the one that is engaging to me.
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Valamir
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Posts: 5574


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« Reply #65 on: July 08, 2005, 12:33:46 PM »

Its that time again.  This time around in an effort to aid readers since we’re collecting a lot of historical data, I tried to put new comments by me in italics to make them easy to find:

We had 1114 members in January 2003, 1420 in April 2003 (+306; +28%), 1796 in July 2003 (+376; +27%), 2151 (+355; +20%) in October 2003, and 2460 in January 2004 (+309; +14%). That’s a 121% increase year over year.

We had 2889 in April 2004 (+429; +17%), 3266 (+377; +13%) in July 2004, 3603 (+337; +10.3%) in October 2004, and 3956 in January 2005 (+353; +9.8%). That’s a 61% increase year over year.

We had 4401 in April 2005 (+445; +11.2%), and now in July 2005 have 4980 members (+579; 13%).  That’s our biggest single quarter numerical increase ever, but about average as a %age.

The top 10 posters have made 23% of the total posts (down from 40%, 38%, 37%, 35%, 33%, 31%, 30%, 29%, 28%, 26%, 25%, 25% and 24%)
The top 20 posters have made 32% of the total posts (down from 60%, 53%, 50%, 46%, 44%, 42%, 40%, 39%, 37%, 35%, 34%, 34% and 33%)
The top 40 posters have made 44% of the total posts (down from 75%, 69%, 66%, 61%, 59%, 55%, 53%, 52%, 49%, 47%, 46%, 45% and 45%)
The top 80 posters have made 57% of the total posts (down from 90%, 85%, 81%, 76%, 73%, 69%, 67%, 65%, 62%, 60%, 59%, 58% and 58%)

As expected, this curve has really flattened out. I wouldn’t expect to see the needle on these numbers move much from this point on.  Interestingly in putting these numbers together I was struck by the number of names in the top 20 posters who are no longer active.   I counted 5 names who at one time were active enough to be among the most prolific posters whom I don’t remember having heard from in a good long while.


There are now 39 members with more than 800 posts (up from 9, 10, 15, 15, 19, 23, 28, 29, 31, 34 +5)
There are 42 members with between 400-800 posts (up from 18, 23, 24, 27, 25, 29, 31, 35, 41, 40 +2)
There are 90 members with between 200-400 posts (up from 20, 29, 42, 47, 52, 58, 65, 71, 77, 81 +9)
There are 115 members with between 100-200 posts (up from 42, 55, 64, 69, 83, 84, 92, 102, 109, 113 +2)
There are 166 members with between 50-100 posts (up from 58, 60, 70, 93, 88, 116, 146, 153, 149, 161 +5)
There are 229 members with between 25-50 posts (up from 72, 84, 100, 118, 155, 162, 178, 196, 208, 214 +14)
There are 463 members with between 10-25 posts (up from 112, 151, 206, 243, 268, 315, 340, 375, 413, 445 +18)
There are 397 members with between 5-10 posts (up from 120, 147, 179, 202, 223, 265, 295, 327, 352, 367 +30)

In the April 2004 quarter 89 new members joined the bottom two tiers (at least 5 posts). In July 2004, 51 members climbed to the next tier or higher (at least 25 posts). That’s 57% of fresh new posters sticking around long enough to post at least 25 times.

In the July 2004 quarter 55 new members entered the funnel of the bottom two tiers. In October 2004, 46 members climbed to 25+. That’s 84%. Overall that’s 67%.

In the October 2004 quarter 67 new members joined the bottom two tiers. In January 2005, 29 members climbed to 25+. That’s 43% or about 60% overall of initial posters continuing to post at least 25 times.

In the January 2005 quarter 63 new members joined the bottom two tiers. In April 2005 only 28 members climbed to 25+. That’s 44% or about 56% overall of initial posters continuing to post at least 25 times.

In the April 2005 quarter only 47 new members joined the bottom two tiers.  In July 2005 fully 37 members climbed to 25+.  That’s 79% or about 60% overall of initial posters continuing to post at least 25 times.  This sizeable spike suggests that the dip last quarter may well have been one of timing rather than an actual decline.


There are only 48 more people with at least 5 posts than there were in January. This compares to the 75 increase from January 2005 to April 2005, 92 increase from October 2004 to January 2005, 113 increase July 2004 to October 2004, 122 increase April 2004 to July 2004, 139 increase January 2004 to April 2004, 88 increase October 2003 to January 2004 , and the 113 increase from July 2003 to October 2003.

I commented last time that we’ve been in a decided downtrend.  From the 139 increase in 1Q 2004 to the 2Q 2005, each quarter has been lower than the previous one.  I noted that this trend indicated that since the raw number of new members was remaining fairly constant quarter to quarter, the decline in the number of new posters meant fewer new members were participating.  This quarter that trend is really driven home since we combine the single largest number of new members with a dramatic drop in new posters.  The previous two quarters had dropped 18.5% each.  This quarter is a 36% drop.  Combined that’s a 58% drop in the last 3 quarters and a 61% drop over the last year.


There are 545 members who've made only a single post (that’s up from 150, 169, 207, 259, 300, 347, 375, 405, 463 and 507 but down in % terms from 13% to 12% to 11% back to 12%, 12%, and 12% again, dropping back to 11%, staying at 11%, climbing to 12% again, remaining at 12%, and now back to 11%.) Pretty consistent

There are now 2244 members who've never made a single post (up from 312, 434, 588, 738 and 866, 1035, 1221, 1387, 1547 and 1829. In % terms that’s up to 45% from 28%, 31%, 33%, 34%, 35%, 36%, 37%, 38%, 39% and 42%).

While the number of single posters seems to be holding fairly steady, the non-posters have continue to ratchet up. As Mike mentioned last quarter, concern over this trend might be premature but at the very least it indicates that the bar to entry into Forge conversation has increased substantially over the last year.  I’ll note that this increase continues and that the total increase over the last 2 quarters is the same as the increase over the previous 6.  So the rate of increase seems to be increasing as well.

As expected the number of total membership having more than 25 posts dropped to 14% this quarter (from 20% 18%, 18%, 17%, 15%, 16%, 16%, 16%, 16%, and 15%). After holding steady for 4 quarters that’s 2 quarters in a row its dropped.

We continue to hold at 6% of the total membership having at least 100 posts (from 9%, 8%, 8%, 7%, 7%, 7%, 7%, 6%, 6% and 6%), In order to maintain 6% we’d need 1 new 100+ poster for every 16. With 579 new members we’d need 36 new 100+ posters. We got 18.  We didn’t quite slip to 5% this time due to rounding but probably will next time if the trend continues..


The number of lurkers or largely non participating posters (less than 5 posts) is now 69%, (from 59%, 61%, 61%, 62%, 63%, 64%, 64%, 64%, 65% and 67%). That’s now over 2/3s of our membership having never posted more than 5 times.

Continuing with the new stat I found of looking at the recent members (Joined since October 4)

Of the 579 new members who joined since the last update:
43 have posted 1 time – 7% (15%, 16%, 16%, 13%, 11%, 16%, 11%)
43 have posted between 2 and 5 times – 7% (16%, 21%, 18%, 18%, 14%, 17%, 12%)
26 have posted between 6 and 10 times – 4% (10%, 6%, 7%, 7%, 8%, 5%, 2%)
13 have posted between 11 and 20 times – 2% (5%, 3%, 6%, 3%, 4%, 5%, 2%)
1 has posted between 21 and 30 times – 1% (3%, 2%, 3%, 1%, 2%, 1%, 0%)
4 have posted more than 30 times – 0% (3%, 4%, 5%, 3%, 2%, 1%, 0%, 1%)

These numbers continue to highlight the trend dramatically with the first two rows setting new lows by a large margin and all others remaining in the lower portion of their range.  To put this in perspective, a few quarters ago 5% of all new members had posted more than 30 times in their first quarter of membership. To duplicate that this quarter would have required 29 members. The actual number was 4.

To hammer the difference home, we’d been holding at approximately half of the newest members posting at least once. At one time I’d considered that a rule of thumb. Last quarter that number had dropped to 29%.  This quarter, it drops further to 22% (from 52%, 52%, 54%, 46%, 40%, and 44%). Similarly about one third of the new members had posted more than once. Last quarter that number had dropped to 18%.  This quarter, it drops further to 15% (from 36%, 36%, 39%, 33%, 29%, 28%).


The “1/2 of all new members post at least once, 1/3 post more than once” rule seems to now be broken, at least for the short term.

I will note that of the 4 posters who exceeded 30 posts 1 of them managed to post 202 times which blows away the previous record of 178.
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Luke
Member

Posts: 1359

Conventions Forum Moderator, First Thoughts Pest


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« Reply #66 on: July 08, 2005, 03:11:51 PM »

Hi Ralph,

I administer my own boards and, over the past year or so, I've noticed a trend that might affect your numbers here.

Both BW and the Forge get spammed, a lot. The spam consists of dummy accounts which are never posted to, but list a website. Mostly it's porn. But sometimes it's other stuff.

JessyR is a prime example:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=3287

You can always tell them because they list a COUNTRY of origin -- USA, for example -- and a weird website in their URL profile.

I don't quite understand the reasoning behind it, but it's a very common phenomenon. I get hit probably once a day, if not more. On my site, it's my policy to delete any account with zero posts with a URL advertising another site. Honestly, I'm worried about spam bots using my site to flood other users or flood the boards.

I've seen spam posts here on the Forge. So these bots do occassionally post. Which means that even the single poster count may be corrupted by this non-user population.

Anyway, I often see the same spam accounts posted here as posted on my boards. It looks like Clinton and Ron don't delete them. (Which I understand, because deletion is a chore.) However, this phenomenon is probably skewing the numbers for 0 posters.

Just thought you should know.

-Luke
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Rob Carriere
Member

Posts: 187


« Reply #67 on: July 12, 2005, 05:44:12 AM »

Quote from: abzu
I don't quite understand the reasoning behind [non-posting accounts that refer to a website in their profile], but it's a very common phenomenon.
These guys are trying to up their Google rating. One of the things that Google considers is the number of websites that refer to you, so plastering links over half the Internet will improve your rating.

As far as I know, this trick actually doesn't work anymore, as Google is now discounting links from BBoard profiles, but it'll probably be several years before that gets well-known enough that the web-site snake-oil people can't sell the service anymore.

SR
--
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Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


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« Reply #68 on: July 19, 2006, 04:50:15 PM »

Well, its been about a year since I did one of these.  I figured after so many consecutive quarters of solid trend that quarterly wasn’t really telling us anything.  In the past year however we’ve seen the death of the Theory and GNS forums, the restructuring of the play forums, and the Great Forge Diaspora.  Interesting to see what effect that has had.

Total Membership:
July 2003: 1796
July 2004: 3266 (+1470; +81.8%)
July 2005: 4980 (+1714; +53.5%)
July 2006: 6513 (+1533; +30.8%)

A pretty clear decline in growth in members, not that that’s a bad thing by definition.

Top Posters:
The top 10 posters have made 21% of the total posts as of July 2006
(down from 38% 2002, 31% 2003, 26% 2004, and 23% 2005 )
     
The top 20 posters have made 29% of the total posts as of July 2006
(down from 53% 2002, 42% 2003, 35% 2004, and 32% 2005)

The top 40 posters have made 40% of the total posts as of July 2006
(down from 69% 2002, 55% 2003, 47% 2004, and 44% 2005)

The top 80 posters have made 53% of the total posts as of July 2006 (down from 85% 2002, 69% 2003, 60% 2004, and 57% 2005)

So that trend continues.


Life Time Posting Tiers:
There are now 48 members with more than 800 posts as of July 2006.
(That’s up 23% from 39 in 2005, which was up 39% from 28 in 2004, which was up 87% from 15 in 2003).

There are 55 members with between 400-800 posts as of July 2006.
(That’s up 31% from 42 in 2005, which was up 32% from 31 in 2004, which was up 23% from 24 in 2003).

There are 100 members with between 200-400 posts as of July 2006.
(That’s up 11% from 90 in 2005, which was up 38% from 65 in 2004, which was up 55% from 42 in 2003).

There are 141 members with between 100-200 posts as of July 2006. 
(That’s up 23% from 115 in 2005, which was up 25% from 92 in 2004, which was up 44% from 64 in 2003).

There are 212 members with between 50-100 posts as of July 2006. 
(That’s up 28% from 166 in 2005, which was up 14% from 146 in 2004, which was up 108% from 70 in 2003).

There are 290 members with between 25-50 posts as of July 2006. 
(That’s up 27% from 229 in 2005, which was up 29% from 178 in 2004, which was up 78% from 100 in 2003).

There are 602 members with between 10-25 posts as of July 2006. 
(That’s up 30% from 463 in 2005, which was up 36% from 340 in 2004, which was up 65% from 206 in 2003).

There are 507 members with between 5-10 posts as of July 2006. 
(That’s up 28% from 397 in 2005, which was up 35% from 295 in 2004, which was up 65% from 179 in 2003).

New to Regular Ratio:
From 7/03 to 7/04 250 new members joined the bottom two tiers (5-25 posts).  The following year, 70 members climbed to at least 100 posts.  That’s 28% of fresh new posters sticking around long enough to become regulars.

From 7/04 to 7/05 225 new members joined the bottom two tiers.  The following year (this past year), 58 members climbed to at least 100 posts.  That’s 26% of new posters sticking around.  Overall 27% of all active new members (minimum of 5 posts) stick around to become regulars (100+ posts), at least for a time. 

That’s a pretty good ratio I think.


Interested Posters
In 2003 there were 700 members with at least 5 posts
In 2004 there were 1175 members with at least 5 posts (a 68% increase)
In 2005 there were 1541 members with at least 5 posts (a 31% increase)
In 2006 there are 1955 members with at least 5 posts (a 27% increase)

Members having more than 25 posts:
In 2003, 17.5%
In 2004, 16.5%
In 2005, 13.7%
In 2006, 13.0%

Members having more than 100 posts:
In 2003, 8.0%
In 2004, 6.6%
In 2005, 5.7%
In 2006, 5.3%


Lurkers:
In 2003 there were 207 members who’d only posted once (11.5% of all members).
In 2004 there were 375 members who’d only posted once (11.5% of all members).
In 2005 there were 545 members who’d only posted once (10.9% of all members)
In 2006 there are 745 members who’ve only posted once (11.4% of all members)

an oddly consistent number.

In 2003 there were 588 members who’d never made a single post (33% of all members)
In 2004 there were 1221 members who’d never made a single post (37% of all members)
In 2005 there were 2244 members who’d never made a single post (45% of all members)
In 2006 there are 2925 members who’ve never made a single post (45% of all members)

I’m surprised to see that trend stall at 45%.  Spun positively it means the Forge is such an interesting site that the number of people we’re able to entice to post out of all those who register has stabilized.  Spun negatively it means that fewer people are bothering to register.

Lurkers having fewer than 5 posts:
In 2003, 61.0%
In 2004, 64.0%
In 2005, 69.1%
In 2006, 70.0%
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