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posted by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:35AM   Printer-friendly
from the understanding-the-community dept.
We've gotten some incredible feedback regards to the moderation system and the karma system, and trust me, its not going into /dev/null; I'll have a writeup done by the weekend. However, I've noticed something today that made me sit back, and think for awhile. Our community is healthy and vibrant, and we're far more cohesive as a group than we ever were on the other site. Furthermore, our users are significantly more active here than the other site. Almost all of us are from the other site, but there's a huge difference between us and them.

I can sum up the difference in four words: We ARE a community.

While many of us decried the other site calling us an audience, I'm not sure I can say I was a part of the Slashdot community. I read articles, and comments, but I hadn't moderated (or even logged in) on the other site for years. This wasn't always true; I'm UID 700139 on the other site (registered sometime in 2003), and I was fairly active until 2009. Then I stopped. I didn't even post on the Audience Responses post. I've talked to others on IRC, and it turns out I'm not alone; a LOT of people who are active here were permanent lurkers on the other site.

I need to understand why to keep us a community, and to prevent us from just becoming a passive audience. If you're going to post on any story, let it be this one, and tell me your story. We need to know.For this request to make sense, I need to make a distinction between not commenting, and lurking. Lurking is people who have user accounts, but don't sign in, never moderate and never post, even on topics that interest them. They are someone who is completely passive on the other site. Its fine that people comment on every single article; even at my most active on the other site, I posted at best one a month. A lot of people just like to read the comments, and perhaps moderate.

There is nothing wrong with that; those people are still part of the community even if they don't speak often. We've had two stories yesterday that broke 100 comments: Moderation: Discussing !(post^moderate) and OK Cupid Protests Against Mozilla CEO. Looking back at the history, nearly every single article we've run discussing the site broke the hundred comment mark. This is incredible because as of writing, we only have 4007 user accounts total, and slashcode reports seeing 54,620 unique IPIDs* for yesterday.

By chance, Slashdot ran the same article at roughly the same time as we did: OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights. This is what made me sit up and take notice. Slashdot does not post their stats publicly, but when DICE acquired Freenet, they posted some rough numbers in the official press release. From that article:

Slashdot, a user-generated news, analysis, peer question and professional insight community. Tech professionals moderate the site which averages more than 5,300 comments daily and 3.7 million unique visitors each month.

As I said before, we don't have a really good idea on the number of unique IPIDs visiting the site, but we do have solid numbers for our daily comment counts. Here's the graph as generated by slashcode for a biweekly period:

Biweekly Comment Count Graph

(due to a quirk in slashcode, the graphs don't update until 48 hours later; our comment count for 04/01 was 712 comments total).

Taking in account averages, we're roughly getting a little less than 10% of Slashdot's comment counts, with a considerably smaller user base. As I said, the OkCupid story made me take notice. Here's the comment counts at various scores between the two sites

         | SoylentNews | |
Score -1 |         130 |         1017 |
Score  0 |         130 |         1005 |
Score  1 |         109 |          696 |
Score  2 |          74 |          586 |
Score  3 |          12 |           96 |
Score  4 |           4 |           64 |
Score  5 |           1 |           46 |
Furthermore, I took a look at UIDs on the other site, the vast majority of comments came from 6/7 digit UID posters. Looking at CmdrTaco's Retirement Post as well as posts detailing the history of the other site most of the low UIDs are still around, and are simply in perma-lurk mode.

Here's the rub. If Slashdot is really getting 3.7 million unique visitors per month, and there most popular articles only get to 1000-2000 comments (Taco's retirement, and the Audience Responses post both reached 2k), then Slashdot's readership is passive. Like, insanely passive. Let's assume that the average poster posts 5 comments a month (which is an extremely conservative estimate in my opinion). then out of those 3.7M unique visitors, only one person out of a thousand (1060 to be specific) is posting a comment. That's a horrendous ratio, especially for a site that allows anonymous postings.

I don't think this is inherent to the site itself; if we are getting 100-250k unique users (and I don't think its anywhere close to that high), then our numbers are still drastically better than Slashdot's. I suspect for every 100 users, one is posting, and if not, they're at least moderating or using the site. On average, we float 200-300 logged in users at a time, spiking up to 800-1000 in the evenings. On April 1st, we saw 3842 unique users logged in every day (out of 4007!).

I don't want this site to become a passive audience, I want people to be involved, and active in the site. This doesn't mean posting, but moderating, or at the very least, browsing while logged in. I suspect the vast majority of us were in the perma-lurk mode on the other site before coming here, and I want to know why. Tell me your stories so we can be a community, and not just a website with an audience. Let me hear them loud and clear, and tell me if I'm wrong; let me know if you were one of the most active posters on the other site, and if so, what sense of community did you feel over there.

* - due to the way we use varnish for ACs, the number of unqiue IPID per day is likely far higher it is in actuality. Due to our setup, the backend only sees one AC every five minutes + all logged in users.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mcgrew on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:17PM

    by mcgrew (701) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:17PM (#24958) Homepage Journal

    1.- Said in praise of GPL or Linux, 2.- Said in praise of Google, or 3.- Said against Apple, MSFT, Seagate, or any company like FB that is the "2 minutes of hate"? Instant +5.

    In my experience this is simply incorrect. I was frequently modded down for bashing MS and Apple (and even Sony!) when the bashing was completely warranted, as well as being modded down for favorably comparing Linux over Windows.

    You forget, a lot of folks here and at slashdot owe their paychecks to MS or Apple in one way or another, few can credit their incomes from Linux. You repair Windows machines, don't you? So you have a dog in the fight.

    Free Nobots! []
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +1  
       Interesting=1, Total=1
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   3  
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:52PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:52PM (#25187)

    Your eye lighted on the same stuff as mine did, brother.
    My reaction, however, was a bit different.

    s/GPL or Linux/openness
    s/Apple, MSFT> /closed-source code

    With MICROS~1 in particular, I see a culture of **let's put in as many bells and whistles as we can and if we have time at the very end we'll try to paste on some "security"**.
    Exploitability has ALWAYS been MICROS~1's giant weakness (if you ignore their abusive business model).
    On top of that, the concept of having to wait until the 2nd Tuesday of next month to get patches has always struck me as insane.

    You repair Windows machines
    That aspect occurred to me as well.
    Yeah, hairyfeet is in the hardware sales & service sector.
    His vantage point is going to be significantly different from the coders who haunt this place.
    Openness in the code and inheritability of software libre is crucial to folks who are able to work at a lower level [] (orig) [] and not just dealing with pre-packaged solutions to assemble a final bundle.

    I'll acknowledge that hairyfeet is critical of faults on both sides of the divide, but his bottom line ends up praising the wrong camp IMO.

    ...and he constantly blames Linux/FOSS developers when HARDWARE isn't compatible.
    Obviously, producing device drivers is the responsibility of the HARDWARE manufacturers.
    The fact that the Linux Driver Project manages to reverse-engineer compatibility [] (orig) [] for so many otherwise-unsupported items, often with no assistance from those manufacturers, deserves kudos on a grand scale.

    The flip side of that is that the manufactures who DON'T provide proper support deserve scorn; hairyfeet chooses instead to blame software developers who are dancing as fast as they can even though all the lights in the room have been left turned off.

    Finally, the manufacturers who DO provide proper FOSS drivers deserve not only your praise, but your money.
    People giving their cash to vendors who provide crappy support just boggles my mind.

    -- gewg_

  • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:11PM

    by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:11PM (#25196)

    No I don't as I'm a system builder which MSFT has always treated system builders like dogshit. We get NO discounts, NO support, we pay no differently than if you were to walk into a Best Buy and pick up a copy of Windows so believe me no love there. In fact myself and the other local shops refuse to carry Windows 8/8.1 because we all pretty much agree its shit, not something that a fanboy would be likely to do.