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From Hagar Delest <hagar.del...@laposte.net>
Subject Re: EN Forum Activity Summary
Date Fri, 06 Jan 2012 22:56:32 GMT
Le ven. 30 déc. 2011 09:57:45 CET, Andrew Rist <andrew.rist@oracle.com> a écrit :

> This is great stuff - any way this could be posted as a blog post on the main AOO blog?
>
> Andrew

Here is a proposal.
___________________________________

The Community Forum: New Year Status

After 4 years of existence, the Community Forum has moved on the ASF servers end of October
2011. Here are some figures about how we are doing on the English forum. I will try to make
this kind of report on a monthly basis in the forum (http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=46497)
but not on the blog. This post is just to announce it.

Some history first. To make a long story short: fearing the disappearance of the first forum
(http://www.oooforum.org) due to spam especially, a group of users decided to create a new
forum managed by the users themselves. Topics about the whole story can be found on both forums.
By luck, Sun offered to host the forum on their servers in Hamburg (for free) but our independence
was part of the deal. The forum has been tagged “official” rather wrongly: even if we
were on Sun then Oracle hardware, they both have never interfered in the running of the forum
and we are deeply grateful for that.
To manage the forum, a group of Volunteers has been settled. It was first made of the users
who departed from oooforum (some still contribute to it) and then users have been integrated
when their contribution showed a true dedication to the forum (steady activity and quality
of posts). We had a private area (not visible by standard users) where the management of the
forum could be discussed like moderation, forum software features, … So the forum is really
managed by a group of users helping other users (for free, on their spare time).
Participation is really easy: just register and post your question! (a search before is of
course welcomed but well, we are prepared to the eternal September). A survival guide is available,
covering all the basic questions a new forum user could have. And if you want to have your
say, you can apply for the Volunteer status. You can also subscribe to topics (no need to
post) to be notified when new replies are posted.
Note that the forum has never been a marketing tool. Our target is not to promote OOo blindly
but to give the best advice as possible to get the users out of the trouble he is facing.
Therefore, advising to keep other software (including proprietary suites) is part of our replies.
The forum is also dedicated to OOo derived products and for them, the only limit is the user
base visiting the forum. Many of us run LibreOffice in parallel for example.
Power users are OOo users like you and me, we usually use one or two components much more
than the others and we reply with our own experience (trials and a kind of reverse engineering
sometimes). Some have also great skills for macros and give their code snippets (dedicated
section). We are from all over the world and the success led to the creation of other native
language sections.
As you can see, the forum is really a major part of the OOo project. The dedication of the
helpers has led to a steady rate of the registration as you can see below. The figures start
at day 1 when the creation of the forum has been announced on the mailing list.

Some basics then:
- The number of posts, members and topics is taken from the phpBB information bottom of main
index page
- Solved topics are counted in all the forums except admin and archives sections (not visible
to standard users)
Note that the ratio solved topics vs. total topics is slightly biased since the topics in
the archives and admin sections are counted (in phpBB statistics) but not the solved ones
(custom search). However, there are less than 550 topics there (in more than a 40,000 grand
total, so less than 1.5%). These last figures shouldn't change very much since the private
sections are not very active.

Here it is (since the solved topics is a new metric, there is only one point for the moment).
[img]http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/download/file.php?id=13066&mode=view[/img]
The blue line (number of posts) is not that important, it just shows that the trend is consistent
with the other metrics.
The most interesting statistics are the red lines for the members and the topics (with triangles,
giving the time when the figures have been recorded). Note that the ratio topics vs. members
is 0.9 for the English forum and above 1.5 for the French and Japanese forums. We tend not
to be too harsh for the rules on the English section and topics are not often split when different
users ask questions (still related of course) in the same thread.

Activity has a slightly higher slope during the first 2 years. It may be linked to the building
of the knowledge database. Once the main issues and common questions have been discussed,
users find their answers more and more easily with a mere search, hence less topics needed.
Neither the release of LibreOffice (Oct 2010), nor the move to the ASF servers (Oct 2011)
have changed anything for the activity.

The decrease in the number of members (end of 2011) is linked to the cleaning of banned users.
They had just been banned until now but to keep only the "real users", their account has been
deleted (nearly 1800). This was the first cleaning ever done from the launch of this forum
4 years ago. 1550 of them had been identified as spammers because of their post(s). 250 were
passive spam (link in signature or interest field of the profile, without any post).

The ratio of the solved topics is rather good: 14,000 solved (green triangle) in 41,000 (red
triangles), that makes more than 1 in 3 (all users don't bother to tag their topic as solved).

For the record, last quarter has been in line with the rest: 2100 new users from Oct 1st to
end of this year, meaning 1800 new topics.
As for the spam, we have had 1800 users in 1500 days, it makes 1.21 spammer a day, still rather
low, thanks to the registration process (hard to cheat for bots).

Last figures: 2011 has shown an increase in the max number of online users along the months.
Peak reached 232 beginning of October. The counter has been reset on Jan 1st 2012 and is already
at 214, proving the audience is still there.

Some words about the team. Let's not forget Terry Ellison who was the main maintainer of the
forum until the move to ASF servers. His huge involvement has made it possible for both a
clean running of the forum during 4 years, making it a great place for those needing/providing
help, and contributing to the transfer of the forum to the ASF servers with a minimal impact
for the users.
As for the Volunteers, 4 new users have been promoted in December 2011 (the last approval
was in April). Total is nearly 100 now.

To conclude, the constant dedication of the Volunteers shows that they are still eager to
help users through the forum. We are now waiting for the next release of Apache OpenOffice
for a new bunch of questions and users...

Hagar Delest,
On the behalf of the Forum Volunteers

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