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From jonathon <>
Subject Re: dashboarding incubator
Date Mon, 24 Nov 2014 01:49:48 GMT

On 23/11/14 20:41, Ross Gardler (MS OPEN TECH) wrote:

> Metrics do not provide this information, and indeed can detract from the community health

In looking at,
I'm wondering if any meaningful metrics can be provided.

Take for example, Mailing List metrics.
1,690 thread initiators
1,467 first replies
1,973 participants;

Does that mean almost 10% of the threads did not receive a response?
Or, as is more likely, those are part of existing threads, but due to
defective email clients, appear to be new threads?

>My point is that while some metrics can provide indicators of something that needs looking
into we need to ensure that the metrics do not become more important than community health.


Going back to that Mailing List metric, is it useful to know that
roughly 1.4 people participate in each thread, when those metrics give
no indication of whether or not the responses help the person initiating
the thread?

>The danger I see is that providing official metrics
> a) provides a level of "authority" to the metrics which most newcomers
are ill-equipped to evaluate an
> b) could lead to shortcut rules like "the metrics must show there is X
level of diversity/activity/volume/foobar"
>replacing proper evaluation of the project and its community.

Using "user support" for Apache OpenOffice as an example.
My sense is that the general user population uses rather than

I'm aware of a non-Apache project where the only reliable support is
IRC. The web-forum, mailing list, and other channels don't provide any
indication of that factoid, though.

A metric that just looks at mailing list activity falls short for
projects where most interaction occurs on either web forums, or IRC

Metrics are useful indicators, but only when:
* What they measure is clearly indicated;
* What they don't measure is clearly indicated;
* What their blind points are, is clearly indicated;
* They measure what they purport to measure;

Even with all those criteria, metrics will be misquoted, and otherwise
abused, to push a point.


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