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Are Forum Statistics Interesting?

Sports fans everywhere know the attraction of statistics, especially if they are fans of baseball or cricket. In any sport where the action is sporadic, the announcers spend most of the lull time discussing statistics. Broadcasters in most sports employ statisticians to feed the announcers interesting data.

I have noticed that whenever someone takes the initiative to compile some statistics about element14, there is a lot of interest from a significant segment of the membership. It seems to me there is a lot of scope to compile statistics on forum activity and I know it would appeal to some members, me included. I notice Randall publishes some stats about Road Test applications and they are definitely appreciated.

I expect the gamification system automatically generates lots of statistical reports and presumably the forum staff use some of them to gauge performance of various activities, but they are not published for members to see. There are dangers with publishing stats, of course, they may be embarrassing, they may cause unwanted activity that skews the stats, sponsors may not like them to be published, etc.

There lots of potential questions:

  • Is it of interest to publish more stats?
  • How many stats are of interest?
  • Which stats are the most interesting?
  • Which stat would you most like to see?
  • Would you like your own stats to appear in your profile?
  • Would you like to know which are the top 10 most popular blogs of the week or the month?

A single poll cannot answer all questions, so most of these will need to be answered in the comments below.

The one question for the poll is:

Do you think the forum benefits from the publication of stats more than it gets hurt by the same publication?

Poll Results
  • Yes, any issues that are exposed by stats simply provide opportunities to improve (17%)
  • No, there is too much risk sponsors won't like the stats (0%)
  • I like stats so some stats would be good, as long as they have low risk of hurting the forum (22%)
  • No, forum stats hurt the forum because they do not fall within forum content objectives (0%)
  • Yes, adding more stats adds a worthwhile dimension to the forum (17%)
  • No, asking staff to generate stats, detracts from them doing more important work (22%)
  • Yes, the stats are already there, they are easy to publish and they should be exploited (0%)
  • Other - please articulate in the comments below (22%)


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