What are the metrics for a healthy community?

(Evan Davies) #1

We’ve deployed Discourse recently - generally very happy with the platform and available analytics.

The main question we have as a company based on the vast experience in community represented here is: “what does a healthy community look like?” In the numbers, and in the anec-data?

Any insights you can share on this big question would be super appreciated.

cc @HAWK

(Jeff Atwood) #2

I believe the new admin dashboard we are working on, should be the primary answer to this question :wink: cc @hawk


It absolutely will.
I also have some other ideas that I’ll share early next week.

(Christoph) #4

If you haven’t seen them yet, these topics might be relevant:


Apologies for the late response here @Evan_Davies

Can you tell me more about the community? What kind is it and what is your goal? That will strongly influence what you should benchmark and measure.

(Evan Davies) #6

Hi @HAWK - thanks for getting back to me! The short answer is we’re still learning. However, at it’s core our community is one of makers - people who see problems in their work or home life and actively look to productivity tools to solve them. For our product specifically, a vibrant community would be full of people showcasing interesting use cases and hacks with our product, riffing on ideas along the way. In this sense, a smaller percentage of our overall user base would be the most likely content creators, with a bunch of folks “lurking” with the intent to pick up and run with interesting use cases they find.

We’d also like to use the community to relieve some of our support channels, but that would come hand in hand with more makers joining and contributing / supporting the users with issues.

Generally one question that comes up a lot is “what percentage of users who are given access should be active for us to feel good about launching broadly”? I personally have erred on the side of optimizing metrics we can tightly manage, including “time to first response” as an example. However I’d love to get your perspective on some successful software communities you’ve seen and what tactics / metrics they employed. Would be super helpful!



Cool, that context is helpful thanks.

The thing that I generally recommend is that you steer clear of chasing engagement metrics for the sake of it.

e.g. # of topics or posts is of little value if they don’t result in a direct ROI (i.e. reduced support load). I’d recommend identifying your main 1 or 2 goals – here is a resource for that – and then work out which associated metrics make sense.

If you share your goal I can give you relevant tactics.

Having some incidental health metrics also makes sense though. I’d go for DAU/MAU (daily active users/monthly active users). This gives you a measure of your community’s ‘stickiness’ (i.e.how frequently people revisit). The new dashboard that Jeff mentions above will graph this for you.

I’d also keep an eye on new signups. A sudden drop could indicate that something is broken in your signup or on-boarding processes. A slow slide could indicate that you need to work on marketing.

Then look at your conversion rate (% of new visitors to your site that sign up). Aim for 10%.
And % of new members that make a post speaks to the efficacy of your onboarding process.

These tend to fall into two categories in my experience. The ones that don’t care about the numbers and the ones that are very tightly managed. The former are successful because the product is a success and the community is the primary (or only) support channel, as it is with ours. Those ones don’t tend to employ specific tactics.

The latter will tie success tightly to call diversion and time to answer metrics.

Does that give you something to run with?

(ChrisB) #8

Where can I subscribe!


Follow dashboard progress here.

Other ideas mentioned are in the post above. :slight_smile: