I'm starting a "franchise" here -- it could eventually become part of a group on site stats, if someone wants to start one, but I don't expect that it will be me -- that I would love others to replicate and ideally to take over.

I was happy to read Markos's acknowledgment of the utility of the Recent Diaries list (now just "Diaries") from last night. I was happier still that he recognized that the "firehose" problem that some of us talked about is still a possibility: it could come about from either natural evolution of diary usage, or by deliberate and malicious attempts to flood the system, or both. "What to do about it" is not the point of this diary. The point of this diary is that we should measure it.

I introduced a measure yesterday for how we can track the firehose; I'll take another measurement now and suggest another metric worth following.

I made two posts yesterday. The first I called the "RecRec Gauge" (pronounced "Reese Wreck"), after the "Recently Recommended" List, which I hope will someday be renamed "TU-sifted" or something like that, but I won't hold my breath. (If anyone can find an image of a Reese Witherspoon character emerging from a car crash, that would be a good logo for it.) This just essentially states that, at X time of day, the time of posting of the 50th diary on the RecRec List was Y. In other words, "how long does it take to get to the bottom of the RecRec List?"

In reply to that post, I created what I called the "Raw Diary Gauge," which I think I'll instead call the "Diaries List Gauge." This addresses the same question with respect to the 100th diary on the Diaries Page at a given moment: "How long it takes to get to the bottom of the Diaries List?"

Dividing one by the other gives a "conversion rate" -- how fast is the Diaries list moving compared to the Rec List -- that can be tracked over time. This lets us look at the change in the proportion of diaries that make the RecRec List. When the 50th diary on the RecRec List is the same one as the 100th Diary on the Diaries list, then half the diaries published are making the RecRec List, a "conversion rate" of 50%. One could also do more complicated analyses then I'll do here to show how much the site is speeding up, but these three measures -- the time it takes to get to the bottom of the RecRec List (set at 50 diaries), the time it takes to get to the bottom of the Diaries list, and (for now, even though it's not an ideal stand-in for the conversion rate) the proportion between them -- are things worth measuring to understand the changes to site usage over time.

Yesterday, 2/14, I posted at 9:49 a.m. that the bottom (i.e., 50th) diary on the RecRec List had been posted at 6:19 a.m.: so it took 210 minutes to get to the bottom of the list. I posted at 9:53 a.m. that the 100th diary on the Diaries List had been published at 9:19 the previous evening, so it took 754 minutes to reach the bottom of the Diaries List, a proportion of 3.59 as long.

(Ideally, I could also compare the 50th ranked diary on the Diaries list with the bottom diary on the RecRec list for a more direct comparison), but it's too much trouble for this volunteer to count to #50. It would be easier if the 50th spot were marked in some way -- different font color, different background color, a squiggly, etc.)

I present the statistics for today below. I can promise you one thing: I will not do this every day. If anyone wants to join in, at any time of day, please post your data. I think it may be useful to track. And if anyone wants to create a group for jotteresque statistical analysis of the site, please do. I'd be happy to join it.

Originally posted to Doane Spills on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 09:54 AM PST.

Also republished by Toolbox.

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