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Thread: Lurkers and Loudspeakers

  1. #1
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    Default Lurkers and Loudspeakers

    With the Town Crier boards inaccessible and a resulting load of free time on my hands, I was poking around the WEN Discussion Forum during my lunch "hour." I happened to sort the threads by number of posts and noticed what appeared to be a pretty consistent ratio of page views per number of posts.

    The attached chart shows how impressively linear the relationship is, at least for threads with 20 or more posts. The average is about 47 page views for each post.

    Only three threads really stand out as outliers, although part of that effect is visual--a number of the ones down in the 20-50 post range are fairly far off the curve in percentage terms.

    I came up with names for the two types of outliers. "Lurkers" are those threads where the views to posts ratio is high--people are content to watch but not contribute. The ES reconfiguration thread and the much older cell tower thread are the two most obvious examples.

    "Loudspeakers," on the other hand, are threads where there were relatively fewer views per post--people really want to make their voice heard (or alternately, no one but the posters care). The WSC Web site discussion is the prime "for instance" here.

    I can only conclude from this data that Wayland residents should support the operating and capital budgets at Town Meeting.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    "Loudspeakers," on the other hand, are threads where there were relatively fewer views per post--people really want to make their voice heard (or alternately, no one but the posters care). The WSC Web site discussion is the prime "for instance" here.
    Some threads are lengthened by rhetorical technique. In the WSC thread, several of your posts were of the form "you still haven't given me a good reason to change", and of course I responded to each one.

    Are you certain of what constitutes a "view"? There's no standard across forum applications. For example, do N views in the same session count as 1 or N?

  3. #3
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    I certainly haven't been applying (intentionally or not) "rhetorical technique" for the purpose of upping views. We may not have been making "forward progress," but I would say that they were "legitimate" posts.

    I don't know exactly how vBulletin counts views, but it appears that each loading of a page constitutes one, including the original post (which from my stint with a Web traffic auditing company was the most standard definition of a page view). Sessions don't appear to come into the equation.

    So, for instance, if there's a thread with 3 pages worth of posts, and I look at one page, then the next, then the third, I create three views.

    It would be interesting to see data on number of visits, session lengths, and number of unique visitors (especially anonymous guests). It would also be interesting to see how this traffic compares to the Town Crier. The TC will have inflated page views, however, since it requires a refresh of the content page to see if anything is new. On this Discussion Forum, you only have to refresh the "home" page to look for all changes.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I certainly haven't been applying (intentionally or not) "rhetorical technique" for the purpose of upping views. We may not have been making "forward progress," but I would say that they were "legitimate" posts.
    I'm not saying that anyone worked to increase the view count; only that there is redundancy in some threads.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I don't know exactly how vBulletin counts views, but it appears that each loading of a page constitutes one, including the original post (which from my stint with a Web traffic auditing company was the most standard definition of a page view). Sessions don't appear to come into the equation.

    So, for instance, if there's a thread with 3 pages worth of posts, and I look at one page, then the next, then the third, I create three views.
    If its not clear how vBulletin counts views, then we should be careful about drawing conclusions from view statistics.

  5. #5
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    Well, we should be careful *if* we intend to do anything of consequence with them. I can't really think about anything actionable that might result.

    In any event, we can infer a fair amount about how vBulletin works just by poking around and watching the "Views" metric. I tried finding a definition at www.vbulletin.com, but gave up when it wasn't readily apparent. www.vbulletin.com does not appear to inform about or advocate for ballot questions. [grin]

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