Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (240 mails)

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[opensuse-project] Re: Bugzilla account creation.
On Sat, 11 Aug 2012 00:16:23 +0000 (UTC)
Jim Henderson <hendersj@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

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 anyways).

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

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.

Some of it would/could also mean that openSUSE overall is
improving and users are having less issues to require forum/ML/IRC

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 (x86_64) Kernel 3.0.34-0.7-default
up 12 days 21:58, 3 users, load average: 0.90, 0.42, 0.42
CPU Intel i5 CPU M520@2.40GHz | Intel Arrandale GPU

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