What does engaged mean in your community?

For those people that track monthly metrics, what constitutes an engaged member?
Someone that has made at least one post in the timeframe?
Or does a like count as an engagement?


At minimum they have to visit as a logged in user, of course. That is a prerequisite to everything else.

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I would think the following metrics for a given time period can help:

  • Percentage of topics read vs total topics created
  • Percentage of posts read vs total posts created
  • Average time spent per session
  • Number of replies (Should be given more weight since contributing a post helps build content in a community)
  • Number of likes

That’s what I classify as an ‘active’ user.

In the case of most communities I’d say that an ‘engaged’ user was someone that had made at least one post but I’m wondering if there are people that would consider a ‘like’ (or some other type of engagement) as enough.

Read time is unique to Discourse, since we track actual screen time per second per post, so we can actually distinguish between “visited” and “read a bunch of stuff”.


So maybe a more accurate description of ‘active’ in a Discourse community is ‘has read stuff’.

Still interested in what the consensus on ‘engaged’ is.

  • read time, as mentioned by Jeff.
  • number of times logged in during the past month (usual returning a user to the forum); as sometimes users are engaged but they don’t find stuff to read.

p.s.: these two can easily lead to creation of topics or replies or likes or … . so the rest behaviors can be considered as the consequences of reading.

But if people are just logging in and reading, they’re not engaging, right?

For the purpose of this discussion, it is safe to assume that logged in users and active users (who are reading stuff) are already covered.

What I’m asking now is what qualifies as engaging – i.e. the next step – in your community.


if they are not engaged, why do they continue reading?

they have the choice to leave, but they don’t.

I’m afraid writing needs some external motivation rather than engagement to the community, e.g. I’ve problem and I post it to the forum just to get the helps, does it mean I’m engaged to the forum?

p.s.: I agree the without definitions the discussion will not proceed well. so far my definition of active is the ones who posts and gets like, and engaged the one who listens & talk the time needed. I can’t measure posting in the needed time, so I just measure read time!

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I think we’re arguing semantics rather than the concept here.

You use different terminology and that’s cool.

You’ve answered my question inadvertently – you consider a like to be what I call an engagement.

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So “active” but not engaged = “lurking”?

I guess engaging could be stuff like changing Preference settings and tracking levels. But to me that’s more like being involved with the forum than engagement with the community.

Starting a topic and posting a reply are ways to engage as are messaging.

@ mentions happen within posts. Then there are Likes, Shares, and Flags. I think Likes and Flags count as engaging, but I’m not sure if sharing is more like promoting.


Doesn’t every community have its committed members who contribute for the sake of contributing to the community?

yes they have. anyway, I think the question is more about a good metric for measuring engaged users. and the comparison between

  • getting likes,
  • posting topics/replies,

There isn’t a unique engaged level. Choosing 1 month as a good timeframe, we have to split into

  • passive (read a lot, no post)
  • sligtly active (read a lot, 1-2 post or % )
  • active (read a lot, at least 10 posts and 20 visits)
  • power user (regular)

If we wanna talk about just one metric, posting at least 1 time in the last month is “engaged” for me.

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Rather than specific metrics, I’m trying to clarify whether people consider a ‘like’ to quantify a member as engaged, or whether they have to actually post.

I didn’t realise I was going to be opening such a can of worms!

This is exactly what I needed.

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Ironically, for some people posting seems to be much “easier” than liking. One of my most active users is still TL1 because he hasn’t liked a single post…

To answer your question: I would not consider a like enough but would require a post for the user to qualify as engaged.

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I forgot to mention Invites. I think I would consider an invite to someone that wasn’t a forum member to be more promotion, but inviting a forum member into a topic could be considered to be community engagement.

I guess my razor is whether a member “touches” another member in some way or if they are “touching” the impersonal forum.

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