Detailed understanding of the dashboard statistics and data

(gingerling) #1


I am a community manager and am doing my first annual community report since we moved to discourse. I am delighted there is so much data compared to our old forums, however, I need to understand what I am seeing in some detail.

First of all,

if I add up the numbers in Users per Trust Level
163,38, 5, 0, 0 I get 206.

Is this the total of how many forum users we have? How is this number decided upon? My guess is something like “number of people who have ever logged on to the forums”

We are using the WP plugin with SSO, so this confuses things a little. The total of new accounts on WordPress since the site launch is 372… does that therefore mean that 166 of our WordPress sign ups have never visited the forums?

This will probably be the first of many questions about these numbers :smile:

Ratio of topics to posts - and what does this tell us about our communities
(gingerling) #2

Is “Number of visits” unique visitors or not?

It would be good if 0 on day was recorded in statictics so all dates are listed
(gingerling) #3

What is API Requests?

(Kane York) #4

Think of that as the analog to a more traditional page view count.

[quote=“gingerling, post:1, topic:31389”]
Is this the total of how many forum users we have? How is this number decided upon? My guess is something like “number of people who have ever logged on to the forums”
[/quote]Yes, that’s right. The same info is also available at /about.

38 at TL1 means that 38 people have spent 15 minutes or more on the site :wink:

(gingerling) #5

So each API request is a new page view? Can you be more precise (I am a little aspergic)

So, number of people who logged in? Specifically to discourse, not just to the WordPress area of site?


Is rather depressing… are you sure? It’s now gone up to 41… These number seems very odd

Say if this is going up by 1 a day now, but the forum has been running for 92 days… but with 287 topics by 211 users and 1235 posts, SURELY more than 41 people would have spent more than 15 mins on the site, just practically speaking. I mean, it takes more than 15 mins to write a post (some of which are very long) and then come back, read the replies, reply again… and that is even if these are people who close the browser window every time, which I doubt… I can’t quite imagine how that number could be correct, like, literally cannot envisage a scenario.

(gingerling) #6

@codinghorror etc my friends, it would be good for me to get some detailed info here. In return for your kindly given time, I will write a thorough guide for community managers using discourse on how to understand the data and what to consider when reporting to their managers about discourse. The text will be on a CC licence so you can re-use it as you wish.

(Jeff Atwood) #7

What specifically was not answered by Kane to your satisfaction?

(gingerling) #8
  • With regards to “number of users” - how precisely this calculated? Is this affected by the WP plugin SSO?
  • Clarifying API request [quote=“gingerling, post:5, topic:31389”]
    So each API request is a new page view? Can you be more precise (I am a little aspergic)
    [/quote] My (poor man’s) understanding of an API does not relate to page views… why is API accessed with each page view?

  • How is “number of visits” calculated?

  • Finally, this

[quote=“riking, post:4, topic:31389”]
38 at TL1 means that 38 people have spent 15 minutes or more on the site
[/quote] really makes no sense. Can you go into some detail about the accuracy of this number, how is it calculated and does it seem unusual to you that this number is so much lower than I would expect see:

Indeed this has gone up by another 1 in 1 day, so 92 days with only 41 people spending more than 15 mins does seem very low still.

(gingerling) #9

Sorry for my compulsive specificity, it is particularly important given the low level of data I have (annual report only 4 months after moving from phpbb to discourse doesn’t give me much) and trying to compare the two means I really need to understand exactly. If I were a coder I would have read the code to see how the numbers are generated I guess :smile: - even read the docs in the code. Have no idea how to look though :confused:

(Jeff Atwood) #10

Hard to say, if the TL1 numbers (people who have viewed 30 posts, entered 5 topics, and read for 10 minutes) seem very off that is rather strange – could be that your site isn’t hosted correctly? Are you using the Docker-based install?

(gingerling) #11

@rata - hey buddy, can you help us check this…

@codinghorror - to Clarify TL1 is viewed 30 pots OR entered 5 topics OR read for 10 (10?) mins or is it viewed 30 poists AND entered 5 topica AND read for 10 mins…

(Kane York) #12

TL1 requires all of those, yes. so the “AND” option.

(Rodrigo) #13

Yes, we have the docker based install. Pretty sure it’s fine, I did some pull request (merged) and all.

(gingerling) #14

Ah, well that makes more sense, a far cry from the simplicity of

eh! :smile:

(Sam Saffron) #15

@codinghorror perhaps we should go ahead and rename to page views … @gingerling if you want the painful detail see: discourse/request_tracker.rb at master · discourse/discourse · GitHub

A “API request” is:

  1. A non XHR (ajax) GET request to the site
  2. An XHR GET request to the site that has the HTTP_DISCOURSE_TRACK_VIEW header set. This header is set when we transition routes using pushState (and not replaceState which is used while you navigate through a topic)

(gingerling) #16

@sam ok, so is there a “medium” setting to you guys lol. There must be a level of detail between

API request = page view


which makes my head explode :smiley:

As I say, if you can make me understand, I will write it up in a hyper-accessible way. In secret (shhh) I am planning a FlossManual about this wonderful software x

(Régis Hanol) #17

Let me try :smile:

An “API request” is

  1. Whenever you first load a discourse forum in your browser (ie. much more the page views you’re accustomed to)
  2. Whenever you navigate “between topics” (as opposed to “inside a topic” which is done via infinite scrolling) or to any other pages (user profiles, topics lists, …etc)

(gingerling) #18

Ok, to this is very much “page views”


is more like unique visitors?

Thanks so much for all getting involved - this is really “meaty” and enjoyable for me :smile:

(Sam Saffron) #19

Discourse is a JavaScript app.

When you click around and go to another topic, hit back and go to the home page and so on, the actual browser never “loads” a page in the traditional sense. Instead we use “magic” apis to simulate this. It feels like you are going to a different page but in fact we only request very tiny payloads from the server to get the information we need.

So yeah, originally I called this “page view” which is what it really is trying to approximate. We are very likely to rename it to that again in the near future.

(gingerling) #20

So, is

the figure used to calculate User Visits? Or is that just logged in users?

If not, it would be pretty great to have separate number for each API request type :smile: