Ratio of topics to posts - and what does this tell us about our communities

(gingerling) #1

Continuing the discussion from Detailed understanding of the dashboard statistics and data:

Hi, out of interest, can anyone tell me their ratio of Topics to Posts in discourse and on other forum software (perhaps what you used before)

In phpBB, my posts:topic ratio was something like 11:3 and in Discourse it is 13:2

I have been considering:

  • Why does discourse produce this particular ratio (fewer topics more replies)
  • If we can rule in/out certain features of discourse as being the cause of such changed
  • If a posts: topic ration can/should represent a solid, desirable goal for a community manager (based on the needs of their community)

Many of our problems with phpBB only became defined when I saw what discourse had to offer, so we didn’t sit down and hammer out a list really: in general they centred around on the complexity of the forum structure and lack of space/incentive for a more social / random-creative-opportunity type dynamic in the forum.

I feel included to assume that the changed ratio represents a more social, chatty, fluid style of discussion in discourse than in phpBB. There are more replies to each topic.

I am intrigued by “fewer topics” too, one could say that in discourse people are more inclined to search for their answer first, or more successfully in their search? Perhaps the backup of “your topic is similar to?” in compose? Can we see how many posts are abandoned during that stage by clicking on a link in the similar topics box?

(Dave McClure) #2

I think this is interesting.

Can I ask for some clarification on your numbers though?

It seems easier to compare if we do the division, so the average posts per topic on your phpBB site was 3.66 and on discourse is closer to 6.5.

Is that across the entire site or within some time period (week, month, etc?)

How many posts or topics in total are there on each site in the data set you are using to calculate these ratios and make these comparisons? (Is it big enough?)

(gingerling) #3

Well lets take the original data then you can do your good thinking sum with the cleanest possible numbers to start with:

phpBB ppd 10:60 tpd 2.60
discourse ppd 12.57 tpd 2.48

Those numbers are an per day average based on the number of days in the time periods described below

The time period is not identical sadly, can’t get the data, for for phpBB it’s from 1/2/14 - 27/4/15 roughly (have worked hard to get that number isolated from the “all time” average).

For discourse it’s from 27/4/15-29/7/15


I have recently (in June) migrated from Xenforo.

My topics to posts ratio is probably very high:

1.2m posts and 20.7k topics so a ratio of about 58.

Since moving to Discourse it’s even higher. For the last 30 days I have 16,500 posts and 90 new topics. Obviously most of those posts have come on older topics so it’s hard to make the direct comparison.

(Mittineague) #6

I would advise caution here.
When we migrated, the numbers were a bit dubious in some places until around 100 days in when things started to look more sane.

(gingerling) #7

Can you be more specific? Would be useful info as we are less than 100 days in when I am doing my annual report.

Have you been moved for only 30 days or is that just cause you used the 30 day figures in your dash. When did you move?

so, you mean older as in before the 30 days, so I make a topic in day 1 and in day 50 I a still getting posts…

Anyway way you can dig up the “all time numbers” out of interest?

(Mittineague) #8

Unfortunately I did not keep any specific notes.
But in particular the “read requirements” for Trust Level were skewed high.


[quote=“gingerling, post:7, topic:31605”]
Have you been moved for only 30 days or is that just cause you used the 30 day figures in your dash. When did you move?[/quote]
I moved about 6 weeks ago. So using 30 day figures because they’re the most relevant for Discourse. Older figures are Xenforo (and vbulletin before that).

Yes - obviously most posts in the last 30 days are on topics created more than 30 days ago. We usually only get 2-4 new topics a day but we get a lot of posts on older topics.

The all-time numbers are in my first post: 1.2m posts and 20.7k topics. Are you looking for something different?

(gingerling) #10

Because of low number of posts to read perhaps? Our TL1 number seemed very low at first to me.

(gingerling) #11

Ahhh I see, so you moved over your old content! :slight_smile: lol, yes, didn’t occur to me :slight_smile: We just started afresh because much of the old content was out-of-date anyway :smile:

So, do you feel like the pattern of posting is changing because of the way discourse works?