Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (240 mails)

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[opensuse-project] Re: Bugzilla account creation.
  • From: Jim Henderson <hendersj@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2012 00:16:23 +0000 (UTC)
  • Message-id: <k0488m$j6v$>
On Thu, 09 Aug 2012 07:34:48 +0200, DenverD wrote:

and the point that "concrete data to work with" is needed: please ask
Novell to open up their records since the fora were created and provide
you/us with the number of hits over time that that page got hit, but no
new registration resulted..

Forum registrations are actually something that I did an analysis of a
couple months ago - based on the first date/time users posted and the
last date/time users posted on.

Linus making his noise about openSUSE's security being a PITA caused a
larger dip in traffic and new registrations than anything else over the
course of the forums.

Traffic patterns in the forums compared to the mailing lists (where no
registration through "Customer Center" - which is where the information
is effectively stored) are surprisingly consistent, thought the volume
across all of the support-oriented forums in OSF is much higher than the
traffic on the opensuse-users mailing list (I only looked at the English
mailing list).

There are definite spikes in traffic that lag each release slightly.
IIRC, there was a discussion of the traffic analysis I did back in May on
this very mailing list (though I may be misremembering). I even ended up
inadvertently having my access through gmane blocked as a result because
I used their NNTP interface to the ML to suck the headers out (not even
considering this would incorrectly identify me as a possible e-mail
harvester/spammer - odd in itself since e-mail addresses are munged

What the analysis showed was that both the MLs and the forums have had a
declining trend in traffic overall. The two trends are in similar
fashion over time.

The forums ramped up (with some spikiness) from June 2008 through
November 2009, and then trend downwards at a somewhat steady rate.

I see similar trends on the opensuse-user mailing list in posting
trends. The ML history that I pulled went back to 2006, but aligning the
data to the same date, the ML traffic is much smaller (about 2000
messages per month average over the life of the mail lists vs. ~8000/
month on the forums per month over the life of the forums - both through
May 20 when I pulled the information).

What this analysis told me then (and tells me now looking at it with
fresh eyes) is that the reason for the decline in user participation
isn't primarily driven by the registration process.

To address the participation problem, based on the data I've looked at
myself, we need to identify what is reducing participation. The
registration requirement does not appear to be the cause.

Looking at it from a raw numbers perspective, the forums have a slightly
steeper downward trend, but evaluating based on percentage of total
message traffic in each venue per month (both measured from the date the
forums opened), the trend for the mailing lists is alarmingly steep (but
that may be because the forums opened up a new venue so people who used
to be on the MLs moved to the forums - possibly). Looking at it over the
full dataset for each venue, the mailing lists decline percentage-wise
slightly faster.

The bottom line, though, is that we have a decline in user participation
in both venues - and that there's a factor that's common to venues that
require registration through customer center and venues that don't. We
need to identify *that* cause and address it.

How do we do that? Maybe by finding out who hasn't been around and
asking them why. Do a survey and ask - is it just because you like
trying different distributions? Is it because you used to and landed
somewhere you were happy - and it's nothing to do with the openSUSE
project itself, or was it because of something specific that happened
with openSUSE? Or was it because Linus slammed openSUSE for security
back in March? Or maybe it was because of the significant changes in KDE
and GNOME and a more lightweight desktop as default is desired? (Debian
recently announced they were switching the default DE to XFCE; maybe they
know something we don't?)

What could we do to bring those users back? Maybe asking them would be a
good way to find out.

Seems that's a better approach than making assumptions and trying to fix
a problem that might not even be a primary cause that people left.

Jim Henderson
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