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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: 1) by Yog-Yogguth on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:58AM

    by Yog-Yogguth (1862) on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:58AM (#25389) Journal

    If we could all just agree about things from the start this site would already be dead. Right? :3

    Damn right we need "racists" or whatever. We need lots of clashing opposing views. We need people who waste their energy on hating me or anyone else who says they find genital mutilation like circumcision and similar damned offensive because such topics are not kosher or halal to talk about. Or who jump into "thought police" mode at the mention of anyone finding it extremely offensive that people are beheaded and animals bled to death in the name of some severely impotent "god" with serious self-esteem issues. Or who are diligently ready to suppress "illegal opinions" if I find it extremely offensive that most gays don't really want anyone talking about all the gay people that are being hanged each year or that feminists don't want to talk about women being treated as cattle their whole lives. Don't get me wrong: I sadly don't understand women anyway and I've tried several times.

    The list goes on forever and that's just some samples related to one or two silly religions and "interest groups"/people who think it's a super-good idea to politicize sexual preferences :o

    Because it's crucial to teach people to shut up most if not all the time so they don't risk losing their jobs or being threatened with violence or other harassment if they ever say anything wrong or call someone an eskimo or draw a cute cartoon of a black boy with a bone through his afro or headknot (as if blacks don't find that shit funny too; it's no different than Cheech smoking an actual roach by mistake).

    Too much of "society" is already filled with absurd and often stereotypical hypersensitive junk about things that either really shouldn't matter much or really ought to be discussed loudly. And hopefully not by me because I'm damned tired of it all (most topics actually, not just nasty stuff like some of the above) and thoroughly disgusted and that dovetails nicely with why I eventually became a lurker at Slashdot.

    Luckily for me this place is actually something slightly different no matter if the above stays as it was on /. or not, by picking up where Slashdot and code veered into corporate insignificance this place unlocks amazing potential for everyone making everything feel fresh and new again :)

    tl;dr: we need to maintain diversity, that means we need "bad" as well as "good", often that's simply called freedom. Yes that stank of a weird kind of mutated political correctness :X

    Buck Feta? Duck Fice! And Guck Foogle too!
  • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday April 03 2014, @07:16AM

    by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <> on Thursday April 03 2014, @07:16AM (#25453) Journal

    I agree about the diversity of opinion. I even agree racists have a right to theirs and to speak it. I simply don't think they're worth listening or speaking to. They've got one stupendously moronic belief that is not subject to rational discussion, so they likely have plenty more. If they're just race trolling, that's not as bad but it's still picking the absolute lowest hanging fruit, so they're worthless even as a troll.

    I've got to stick with my original statement. I've got no use for them and don't believe they enrich the site in any way.