Comparing Users and Guests/Bots

Steve Freides

Aspirant
Joined
Sep 2, 2016
Messages
13
XF shows: Total: nnn (members: nn, guests: nnn)

VB shows: There are currently nnn users online. nn members and nnn guests

Are there any meaningful statistics about this sort of thing as a commentary on the quality of a board? I ask only because I just started looking into this by comparing our board, on XF, with a competitors VB board.

Would comparing users and total members, or user and active members within the last 30 days be a more meaningful statistic?

Thanks in advance.

-S-
 

MagicalAzareal

Magical Developer
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Messages
723
The only truly useful metrics would be to either measure it via a JS-based analytics tool (Google Analytics comes to mind, if you can live with the privacy implications) or the number of actual logged-in users.

It is possible with the first that there some users who browse your site with JS disabled.
It'll be difficult to tell how many users are real purely from the statistics as different sites have different ratios of bots to users.

The number of online users might be useful for giving you an idea of their SEO reach.
 

bevans49

Aspirant
Joined
Aug 22, 2008
Messages
37
IMO, the only thing that really matters is new posts, or recent activity.
All too often you see 2 million post forums that haven't had a new post in several days.
My .02
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
803
XF shows: Total: nnn (members: nn, guests: nnn)

VB shows: There are currently nnn users online. nn members and nnn guests

Are there any meaningful statistics about this sort of thing as a commentary on the quality of a board? I ask only because I just started looking into this by comparing our board, on XF, with a competitors VB board.

Would comparing users and total members, or user and active members within the last 30 days be a more meaningful statistic?

Thanks in advance.

-S-
I think it depends on how you define the quality of the board. If you're measuring overall activity then the number of online users can certainly be one factor.

I don't personally take online users too seriously, because different boards can define the time frame differently. Measuring the number of online users over 15 min won't be an accurate comparison to 2 hours.

On a broader note, measuring the number of users or active users is more a measure of popularity than quality. The two can go hand in hand, but I think it's important to draw a distinction. You don't have to the biggest board to deliver the best or most insightful answers.

There are also other ways to measure a boards quality. I would reference the number of "hard content" topics that contain educational, informational content; the number of questions that are answered correctly in the past week; speed to answer, positive reactions, etc.
 

Steve Freides

Aspirant
Joined
Sep 2, 2016
Messages
13
I think it depends on how you define the quality of the board.
This is a good discussion, folks - thank you.

Another metric I'm exploring is the number of posts per thread. More seems that it could indicate greater involvement on the part of participants. But then we could tease that into further statistics, i.e., if we have more posts per thread, do we have more participants per thread or do we have two people talking back and forth to each other? I am finding myself liking posts/thread as a measure of participant interest in a topic, and a higher number of posts/thread meaning higher "quality."

For me, I think I'd define quality as it relates to building community. In our case, do people who visit our forum then join our forum and participate? Do forum participants then get involved deeper with us by, to be blunt about it, deciding to spend money on something we sell. We are an education company, so that would mean does our forum foster greater interest that leads to buying books, online course, attending events, and eventually becoming certified to teach our methods. It seems almost impossible to try to obtain that level of information, which is why defining "quality" or measuring a board's value to its parent enterprise (if there is one) is such an interesting and elusive subject.

-S-
 
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