Would this work for a SDMB census?

I was wondering how many active posters we have. It’s easy to find how many registered, but it may be more difficult to find active. So here’s my idea.

There would be a sticky in every forum which basically says: Post here once.

And after a few months, once everyone would have posted in that thread once, all we’d have to do is count the number of posts and that’d give us active posters.

How long will you leave the sticky there? Is a once-a-month poster active?

How will you keep wiseguys from posting more than once?

How will you ensure that all active posters do, in fact, post?

Zev Steinhardt

Our administrators have direct access to board statistics at any given moment. At the very least, they can provide numbers of active users (members and guests) at any given point of the day. I’m not sure if this can be deduced on a per-poster basis, but I do remember that when we discussing the pay-to-post scenario internally, the techies at the Reader counted around 3,000 active individual posters during one particular month.

But to answer your question: no, we wouldn’t be in favour of such a cencus sticky, since it might not be possible to get people to stick to the “post once” rule, and since it might not get the total tally as people might still not read it.

The sticky would be there for about three months. I would consider a once-a-month poster active.

In order to keep the wiseguys from posting more than once, we’d have to rely on the honor system.

We wouldn’t be able to get all the active posters, but we should get a good idea of how many there are.

You may be interested in How many current active posters are there? An answer here. from a while ago.

No, please.

There’s other ways to provide you with information rather than have you clutter up the board with this.

your humble TubaDiva

I was just curious if it would work, but obviously not.

Thanks for the input.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. In theory, it would work. There have even been numerous (unauthorized) attempts to do this very thing. Never been tried with a sticky post, but even without being sticky the thread often stayed on the front page for quite some time. (I’m not going to stress the hamsters by searching for these attempts though.)

But, for whatever reason, the attempts have only captured a small percentage of Dopers. That’s why kabbes and I have used other methods to determine the number of active posters (see the thread don’t ask linked to). More recently, Earthling has taken this research to unprecedented levels (SDMB Statistics).

Thanks for the mention, but, ahem, this is the right thread. Specifically in regard to the number of active members, it’s the last heading of my first post.

If it’s your thread Earthling, then it’s the right thread. :smiley:

They’re all valuable.

Off the record…
Oops. :smack:

Umm… why would people posting more than once be a problem? It would be quite obvious, as our user names are on every post. If Joe Blow SDMB posts to the sticky 17 times you simply count it as one. Big deal. Or am I missing something here?

The problem is that you’d have to go through the manual effort of determining that Joe Blow posted 17 times (very difficult and time consuming – the thread would be approximately 80 pages in length). If each Doper posted just once, then all you have to do is look at the post count of the thread.

Multiple posts to the poll isn’t really a problem, since you can see a one-name-per-line listing of the people who posted to a particular thread by clicking on the number in the Replies field in each forum view page. However, IMO there are two much bigger problems:

  1. Any self-reporting poll will miss people who don’t post to it for whatever reason. I don’t think we can estimate what that number is without constructing some theoretical model (and thus negating the supposed simplicity of a “direct count” poll), and we also can’t just automatically dismiss all non-posters to the poll as inactive users.

  2. Will there be people who post to the poll and nowhere else? I would not consider these to really be active users, and it would take a lot of extra work to cull them out.