Is it just me, or was there an explosion of guests recently?

Go to GQ and read a bit. It seems a lot more posts than usualt (especially OPs) are posted by guests. Granted, I have no problem with guests, I mean, the only way to get more people to pay for membership is for them to start off as a guest, but I’m just wondering why it seems like in the past week a lot more people seemed to have signed up.

And I imagining things, or was there a surge?

Maybe they were drawn in by the Google ads.

Hello, my name is Erinaceus europaeus and I’m a guest.

I don’t know. :slight_smile:

Me, I’m just trying out the board. I’d been lurking for a month or two and decided to post my opinion on a few matters. The google ads weren’t there when I signed up, but then, I use firefox with the adblock extension so I’ve never seen them at all. I know they’re there because of the debates.

You notice the guests because so many of the members who used to post in GQ are gone.

Actually, since you mention it, this is pretty consistent with how things have been here for always.

People’s lives change, their interests change with them. What was appropriate or timely or interesting or meaningful to them today is not so tomorrow and they’re on to something else entirely next week. That’s the nature of life.

So it is with the SDMB. Some find us and stay forever. Most come for a while, read, participate and move on to other things or get involved in different activities. They have a new love interest or they just bought a house or there’s a new baby or they’re on a different schedule. Sometimes people read only at work and then one day the Straight Dope is blocked on the site and they just never get around to doing this at home. People graduate from school and find less free time afterwards, or they take on new projects that give them less ability to sit and read.

The reasons are varied, but people move on.

In rough terms (not going to quote numbers at you here), the number of new people to the Dope equals or surpasses the number of people who fall away. Page views have risen and continue to rise. This is a pattern that goes back even to our AOL days and would seem to indicate that there is a small dedicated core of more or less permanent members and a much larger and more fluctuant population of sometimers who come in and stay for a while and drift away.

We used to get little surges of participation when we were listed on the AOL Welcome screen, to give just one example; people found out about us and ran to check us out. Same with Straight Dope on A&E; we’d always get little bumps on Sunday nights. It’s still the same today, as any mention elsewhere in cyberspace or anywhere else drives people to come see what this is about.

I have seen nothing on the board over this time to indicate any difference in this pattern and that includes subscriptions; in fact, the retention rate on subscriptions seems to bear that out, it’s more of the same.

Of course we hope that everyone likes what they see, becomes a subscribing member, and participates fully in the entire Straight Dope experience. That’s not always what happens, but that’s what we’d like, anyway.

So the kind of pattern you see with guests replacing members, it’s the normal course of events here and always has been.

Not a statistician.

The new school year has begun. Thousands of students got new computers, and each one got the free AOL disc with 1459 free hours. Lots of college students just got started, and the campus has WiFi. At this time every year, and just after Christmas, we get a lot of new guests. Somehow, they get wind of how uber-cool we are, :rolleyes: and they dash right over. The ones who feel they can hold their own in such exalted company :rolleyes: sign up as members.

The further this goes, the less serious it will be.

The Straight Dope Message Board is widely known as a bastion of valid information and philosophical reflection. Sometimes, when we get too close to a delicate truth, a member or three will disappear, leaving only a cryptic farewell message.

We never promised you there was no risk.

Welcome! I think you were trying to say something else, but the latest filters I’ve recently had installed tend to _____ stuff o__ .

I think most OPs on every board are started by newbies.
You have some thing to ask and find a board to ask it on. Then after reading a few other questions you remember those related questions you had.
But soon you are out of stored questions and are just looking to other people to pose the questions.

I exploding your guest! Seems bad for business.