New participation after a popular Discourse thread

Back in October 2021, @madhens opened a topic for the Community Team: Your Comments and Feedback on the Desktop Experience AND the Community/Contributor Experience

It was open for about 12 days, it gathered some notice in the press, and thus gathered 102 comments from 57 people, including a large number of first-time posters attracted by that press.

Let’s see what happened to those 57 people over the past year:

Active Oct 2021 Still Active Oct 2022
57 21 Total number of people posting
6 5 Canonical employees active in the months before Oct 2021
14 11 Non-Canonical community participants active in the months before Oct 2021
12 4 Previous participants (1 yr+ without posting) who returned for the topic
25 1 New participants who created a Discord account for this topic
  • 20 reasonably-active participants participated in the topic. 16 (80%) are still participating on Discourse. 79% retention rate among non-Canonical volunteers over one year.

  • 12 folks who had ceased participating were reeled back in by the interesting topic, 2/3 promptly drifted away again – no visits to Discourse since December 2021.

  • 25 first-time posters, of whom 20 immediately vanished back into the fog. A single first-time participant has visited since August 2022.

So what does this mean?

Well, that’s a good question, what do YOU think it means?


Gonna also nudge @kewisch in here since I think this will be an interesting discussion, as well as @kenvandine and @local-optimum and @jibel and @seb128 since they were involved in processing some of the results.

I think this is a great analysis of the ‘stickyness’ of Discourse participation, and I think the most interesting questions are around the people who came back and the first time participants who largely left. If you were one of those four who returned for the topic and have stayed around since then, what made you return a long-term one? Was it the post itself, the response, follow up, or another factor? Likewise, the first time respondents got through the initial hurdle of registering, but how many did not intend to stay long-term? Though even if this was the case, is there anything that could have encouraged long-term participation?

I also remember that sorting/triaging the feedback was a pretty big effort, and I wonder if the desktop crew tagged above might have ideas on if these posts became regular, how they could be made more useful/efficient/easier to process for Canonicalers.


Just pinging this topic for when the Canonicalers are back from all the sprinting and summits in Prague!