Who are most active members and what do the rest do?

It’s cold and wet so I am housebound and bored so I thought I would play with some data. For most people this doesn’t jump out as the fun thing to do to amuse yourself but you might find the results interesting - free your inner nerd.

I downloaded the forum’s user statistics for the the last year and loaded the data into Excel. To give you an idea of what this looks like the table has seven columns of data: Received, Given, Topics, Replies, Viewed, Read and Visits. There are 3550 data rows, one row per member. Choice staff are treated the same as the rest.

A word of caution, the method I used to grab the data is not 100% reliable but ought to be pretty good. One major limitation is that any figure over 1000 is rounded to two significant figures so any statistic relying on those figures is approximate but good enough to play with.

Before I reveal any more, let us see who has a feel for what goes on here.

Question 1
Of all the members roughly what proportion were active during the last year? By active I mean they did something in one or more of the above seven categories of action.

Question 2
Looking at just the Replies column sorted from highest to lowest number of replies. Stepping down the list and accumulating the number of replies as you go how many rows down the list do you have to go to account for 50% or more of the replies in the year?

If the membership are all equally active you would go about half way down the list, so the answer would be something like 1800. But some members reply much more often and some never do. So how many rows down does it take to account for half the replies, 100, 500, where?

Question 3
In the year how many members visited more than 300 days?

This is for fun, so think about it for a few seconds and reply with three answers, I am not asking you to check my work but to get some understanding of what the group thinks is happening.


Since the posts in the Community are freely found in searches, I would suppose the vast majority of registered users have visited to get information that they would otherwise have had to pay for with a Choice subscription.

PS. I’ll nominate @fred123 for the clear leader in topics. :grinning:


It’s not here, and the swamp has finally started to dry out. I’ve been out treating the signal grass while the frogs are all out of harms way.

A1/ about 10%
A2/ about 10 +/- 5
A3/ same as A2
A4/ although there was no Q4, the answer is ‘D-none of the above’.

I hope I’m wrong…

Great quiz.

Why people do what they do is a much more difficult question to answer than what they do or how many do it.


Site etiquette is that members do not provide member-only content. I have noticed a few non-members asking but not receiving although a small number may have ‘slipped by’. A lot of what Choice publishes is open. The proper answer when someone solicits member content is a link noting it is ‘member content’, and the link usually has the subscription information.

We also note that some libraries have subscriptions, mostly to the magazine, that library members can read.


What I was getting at is searchers can be lead to Choice for reviews of products, where the information in detailed form is restricted to members.
But prominent on the Choice site is the Choice Community, which for a free registration can be accessed and a question asked, or a topic found that may well satisfy their query.
So I think there is a majority of registered users who have only come once, or only when they have a specific issue.

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How would we test this against the data?

Total guess - in the spirit of fun

  1. 48%
  2. 455
  3. 108
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Question 1


Question 2

Not very far! I suspect under 20.

I can think of one member who is … very prolific in posting, maybe posting is a superpower!

Question 3

Not very far, at a guess < 40

I could go and probably count these accuratedly without too much difficulty, but wont. I’m basing it on a previous job as forum mod/admin, where most of the posting is done by very few members.

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One metric that is stored, but not reported on in the list of seven, is last visit date or perhaps last update activity date.

I would suggest that an active member would visit and perform some update activity like post a topic or reply or even a like at least once a month.

Answer 1
Only 35% of registered members had any detectable activity (including logging on) in the last year. Presumably the other 2290 joined more than 12 months ago and have been silent since.

Answer 2
Stepping down the list of replies over the last year in descending order you only need to take the top 5 posters before you exceed 50% of all replies; none are Choice staff. Thus 5 persons replied more often than the other 1254 active members combined. The top 25 posters produced 79% of all replies, only one of those is on the staff of Choice.

Answer 3
In the last year 16 members have visited more than 300 days. Six visited every day of the year.

Those who answered the quiz predicted correctly the distribution of activity would be very skewed. It looks to me to be more skewed than anybody thought.

The vast bulk of material; new topics, replies and likes, comes from a few members who must be described as ‘Influencers’. This is not just because of their volume, they also carry badges and in some cases god-like powers, so much so that they can be mistaken for Choice staff.

I leave you with a question: how typical of the people of Oz are these Choice Influencers (and their opinions) and does it matter if they are typical or not?


I found this interesting.
Some, like me, would like to engage more.
But sometimes ‘life’ gets in the way; health issues crop up and it’s not always convenient to check in.
This is where I’ve been for the last few months.
The resource is nonetheless much valued.
THANKS to all contributors


Do you have any thoughts on what could be done in your own situation to allow you to engage more?

Community moderators and Choice are always interested in ways for members to better engage with the services Choice provides, and any reasonable suggestions will be considered seriously.


IMO the unsung heroes of the Forum
are the Moderators.
They keep watch 24/7, zap spammers, edit, shift posts to the appropriate topic…
Guardian Angels who with delicacy and skill make sure the Forum looks good, (and I’m thinking especially of the indefatigable Grahroll :kissing_heart:)


You will make the possum blush. :grinning:

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According to site stats, there are 17160 registered users.
That is a lot more than your sample.

I did not extract a sample but all of the individual stats that were listed. So I dont know where the other 13000 are. Where did you get your figure?

It says that user number at the top left of the users display.

How strange there are only ~3500 in the list underneath that. You would have to know the system better to understand what this means. Perhaps 17,000 have registered at some time? I don’t know.

I might ask the question on the Discourse support community site. Why the /u list shows a different number from the total at the top. Also ask why sometimes days for regular visitors is 364, and then changes to 365, and back to 364 again.