19 votes

An active user count

I would like a current active user Count for the whole site. I find them very useful for knowing when people are on I’m not a fan of group specific ones but one that said how many people where currently on I would like

53 comments

  1. [2]
    emdash
    Link
    Hello @Five! Sorry to see your idea has been—for lack of a better phrase—nitpicked for the sake of nitpicking. People love to bicker ("overly argumentative" tag when?) and frankly, I don't think...

    Hello @Five! Sorry to see your idea has been—for lack of a better phrase—nitpicked for the sake of nitpicking. People love to bicker ("overly argumentative" tag when?) and frankly, I don't think the criticisms raised upthread are valid at all. Personally I think this is a cool idea and would provide a more dynamic view of the community. It's not that hard of a function to implement, and just because others don't find it useful, that doesn't mean you share the same perspective. Hopefully the negative views expressed don't put you off contributing in the future! :)

    I'd actually go a step further than what you're proposing. I've always disliked the "subscriber count" on Reddit & Tildes because of the reasons raised upthread—it's often a meaningless metric—half those people or more aren't active anyway. I'd adjust it to:

    112 here recently, 1800 participants.

    You could define "here recently" as within the last 15 minutes or hour, if you'd like. I don't see at all how this is a breach of privacy whatsoever. It's only exposed as an aggregate statistic, and could be wiped as soon as your time window (15 minutes) expires. The participants count would only consider active subscribers too. If they haven't logged in and interacted with the group in say, 3 months, I wouldn't consider them an active participant.

    +1 from me!

    15 votes
    1. Five
      Link Parent
      Great comment. I’m glad someone has finally made a constructive and interesting comment on the subject I was starting to loose hope. I really like your idea I’ve never seen a reason for a sub...

      Great comment. I’m glad someone has finally made a constructive and interesting comment on the subject I was starting to loose hope. I really like your idea I’ve never seen a reason for a sub count it’s like with YouTube someone will have millions and get under 10k views I think something that says who is currently here or been here recently is much more useful

      4 votes
  2. [33]
    Bauke
    Link
    Technical feasibility and philosophical reasons aside, what would this be useful for? Tildes isn't exactly a "real-time" platform of sorts, nothing really depends on whether people are online now...

    Technical feasibility and philosophical reasons aside, what would this be useful for?

    Tildes isn't exactly a "real-time" platform of sorts, nothing really depends on whether people are online now or in an hour from now. I don't really see the benefit from it apart from being able to go "oh there's 100 people online now, cool."

    Quick-edit: This would also unintentionally incentivize posting when there's the highest amount of people online and that's something that doesn't mesh well with Tildes' quality goals.

    18 votes
    1. [4]
      Amarok
      Link Parent
      I think it's a method to try and figure out just what the real population is. How many people have visited in the last month, with or without accounts? How many of those are signed in? How many of...

      I think it's a method to try and figure out just what the real population is. How many people have visited in the last month, with or without accounts? How many of those are signed in? How many of those post comments, and how many of those post topics in that month?

      I suspect it's in the low hundreds.

      Take /r/listentothis, it's up to 15.5 million subscribers, yet the activity numbers rarely break 1000 at a time. We'd hover around 400 back when the place had 250k subscribers. I'd bet there are less than five thousand people who are constant participants in that community despite those high numbers.

      How do we determine the active population? It's certainly not ten thousand. We had a lot of signups back when it was closed to public viewing that were just to check it out, then never come back again.

      The real-time here-now aspect is less interesting to me than longer-term measurements.

      6 votes
      1. Five
        Link Parent
        I find subscriber/member count pretty pointless because they could visit once and never again

        I find subscriber/member count pretty pointless because they could visit once and never again

        4 votes
      2. [2]
        Bauke
        Link Parent
        I feel like the first sentence to your comment is a reply to mine, and the rest is a comment on its own. All of what you're suggesting can be extrapolated from existing data. A lot of which I'm...

        I feel like the first sentence to your comment is a reply to mine, and the rest is a comment on its own.

        All of what you're suggesting can be extrapolated from existing data. A lot of which I'm fairly certain is already being tracked through the Prometheus/Grafana setup Tildes has (which Deimos is planning on making public at some point). But a live user count, I don't see the value.

        1 vote
        1. Amarok
          Link Parent
          Me either. I do see the value in 'active over x time period' though.

          Me either. I do see the value in 'active over x time period' though.

          1 vote
    2. [25]
      Five
      Link Parent
      I just find it very interesting to see how many people are on for example if you wanted to make a post on the talk group and only 3 people are on you probably aren’t going to have much of a...

      I just find it very interesting to see how many people are on for example if you wanted to make a post on the talk group and only 3 people are on you probably aren’t going to have much of a discussion.

      3 votes
      1. [16]
        Bauke
        Link Parent
        "Because it's very interesting" isn't enough of a compelling reason to be honest. If you wanted to post a topic, you should just do it. If there's 100 people online now and 200 later, when do you...

        "Because it's very interesting" isn't enough of a compelling reason to be honest. If you wanted to post a topic, you should just do it. If there's 100 people online now and 200 later, when do you post? After a certain amount of people are online, it doesn't matter when you post. People will see it, activity will keep it visible and that's it.

        After posting my comment I added that incentivizing is problematic:

        Quick-edit: This would also unintentionally incentivize posting when there's the highest amount of people online and that's something that doesn't mesh well with Tildes' quality goals.

        12 votes
        1. [15]
          Five
          Link Parent
          I think the majority of people don’t care if someone comments in 10 minutes or 10 days but there are certain circumstances that make people want a discussion to happen straight away

          I think the majority of people don’t care if someone comments in 10 minutes or 10 days but there are certain circumstances that make people want a discussion to happen straight away

          1 vote
          1. [13]
            Bauke
            Link Parent
            Sure, but if it has to happen straight away, would you wait before posting until there's more people online then? If so, it doesn't really have to happen immediately does it.

            Sure, but if it has to happen straight away, would you wait before posting until there's more people online then? If so, it doesn't really have to happen immediately does it.

            6 votes
            1. [12]
              Five
              Link Parent
              I guess they would post somewhere else I know if I had something time sensitive to post and I saw 2 people online I probably wouldn’t bother. This site is also very small at the moment which I...

              I guess they would post somewhere else I know if I had something time sensitive to post and I saw 2 people online I probably wouldn’t bother. This site is also very small at the moment which I think also makes something like a active user count more useful there would be no point on something like Instagram it would probably never go below 10m

              1 vote
              1. Death
                Link Parent
                This seems like it's mixing up uses for the site. What you're describing makes sense for instant messaging/chat applications, less so for an ongoing discussion. I can't really imagine any...

                This seems like it's mixing up uses for the site. What you're describing makes sense for instant messaging/chat applications, less so for an ongoing discussion. I can't really imagine any discussion or content aggregation sites that have visibly benefited their users by giving them (estimates, which is what they are at best) of the number of users currently online.

                5 votes
              2. [2]
                Bauke
                Link Parent
                So after Tildes reaches an arbitrary amount of active people, this feature now becomes completely useless, after already only being useful in a very rare situation for a very limited amount of...

                So after Tildes reaches an arbitrary amount of active people, this feature now becomes completely useless, after already only being useful in a very rare situation for a very limited amount of people...

                Can you see how I'm struggling to see the benefit of this feature? And this is not even considering the technical and philosophical aspects of it.

                4 votes
                1. Five
                  Link Parent
                  It won’t be for everyone but I think we have some time until tildes reaches Instagram’s level

                  It won’t be for everyone but I think we have some time until tildes reaches Instagram’s level

                  2 votes
              3. [8]
                Algernon_Asimov
                Link Parent
                What sort of thing would you post on Tildes that's time-sensitive? This aspect of your request has me curious.

                What sort of thing would you post on Tildes that's time-sensitive? This aspect of your request has me curious.

                2 votes
                1. [7]
                  Five
                  Link Parent
                  Some advice maybe

                  Some advice maybe

                  1. [6]
                    Algernon_Asimov
                    Link Parent
                    Like what? What type of advice would be time-sensitive? Most examples I can think would not be time-sensitive, like advice about how to deal with a relationship going bad, or what course to choose...

                    Like what? What type of advice would be time-sensitive?

                    Most examples I can think would not be time-sensitive, like advice about how to deal with a relationship going bad, or what course to choose at university, or whether to invest in stocks.

                    What examples of time-sensitive advice are you thinking of? What advice would someone need in the next hour or two, that they would turn to an internet forum for?

                    3 votes
                    1. [5]
                      Five
                      Link Parent
                      I’ve just seen this great deal on a laptop it’s 50% off and they only 1 left it’s I7 16gb of ram and and comes with a case it’s £400 is that a good deal

                      I’ve just seen this great deal on a laptop it’s 50% off and they only 1 left it’s I7 16gb of ram and and comes with a case it’s £400 is that a good deal

                      3 votes
                      1. [4]
                        Algernon_Asimov
                        Link Parent
                        You forgot to add: "... and the eBay auction closes in 56 minutes". In most cases, you can wait a few hours for advice about purchasing something. Any other examples?

                        You forgot to add: "... and the eBay auction closes in 56 minutes".

                        In most cases, you can wait a few hours for advice about purchasing something.

                        Any other examples?

                        1 vote
                        1. [3]
                          Five
                          Link Parent
                          Not off the top of my head

                          Not off the top of my head

                          1 vote
                          1. [2]
                            Algernon_Asimov
                            Link Parent
                            Okay. So, if there's not really much need for time-sensitive advice, is it still necessary for someone to see how many people are active on Tildes at any given time?

                            Okay.

                            So, if there's not really much need for time-sensitive advice, is it still necessary for someone to see how many people are active on Tildes at any given time?

                            2 votes
                            1. Five
                              Link Parent
                              Yeah just because I can’t think of something right now I’m sure someone on the internet will

                              Yeah just because I can’t think of something right now I’m sure someone on the internet will

                              1 vote
          2. DrStone
            Link Parent
            Let's say it's 5am and morning site traffic doesn't pick up until 7am. I want a response quickly. There's two possibilities: (Current) I post a topic now, it sits unanswered until 7, at which time...

            Let's say it's 5am and morning site traffic doesn't pick up until 7am. I want a response quickly. There's two possibilities:

            1. (Current) I post a topic now, it sits unanswered until 7, at which time discussion hopefully starts.
            2. (Proposed) I see active count is low, I wait until 7 and post a topic, discussion hopefully starts.

            In either situation, I have to wait 2 hours for a response. Knowing the active count doesn't get me a quick response. Even the best possible situation where I see active count is high, it may not be a set of users who can/want to discuss my topic, so I still wouldn't be able to safely expect a quick reply.

            4 votes
      2. [8]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        You've got 36 comments from 6 different people on this thread. Some posts in ~talk have had hundreds of comments. I'd say there's plenty of discussion happening around Tildes.

        You've got 36 comments from 6 different people on this thread. Some posts in ~talk have had hundreds of comments. I'd say there's plenty of discussion happening around Tildes.

        1 vote
        1. [7]
          emdash
          Link Parent
          I'd say you're using metric stuffing as a scapegoat to make a point here, honestly. This says nothing about "plenty of discussion" other than that there's a high skew of commenters who make up the...

          I'd say you're using metric stuffing as a scapegoat to make a point here, honestly. This says nothing about "plenty of discussion" other than that there's a high skew of commenters who make up the bulk of Tildes participation (which does not make for a healthy community).

          3 votes
          1. [6]
            Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            @Five is saying posts aren't likely to have much of a discussion if only 3 people are online when they're posted. But we have evidence that posts on Tildes can get hundreds of comments, regardless...

            @Five is saying posts aren't likely to have much of a discussion if only 3 people are online when they're posted. But we have evidence that posts on Tildes can get hundreds of comments, regardless of how many people how are online at any given time. And if hundreds of comments doesn't count as "plenty of discussion", I don't know what does.

            So, if we're looking for some sort of justification for displaying a count of currently active subscribers, this isn't it.

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              emdash
              Link Parent
              Depends what you consider discussion. Taking the metric of discussion as "number of comments" is one way to look at it; but that discussion is probably of higher quality if it's spread out amongst...

              Depends what you consider discussion. Taking the metric of discussion as "number of comments" is one way to look at it; but that discussion is probably of higher quality if it's spread out amongst many hundreds of participants with diverse opinions. Which Tildes doesn't have. Myself arguing with you back and forwards into a 20-deep comment tree satisfies your metric of discussion in the sense that it produces a comment entry in the Tildes database—that doesn't say anything about how meaningful it is.

              Therefore, I recurse back to my original point that you're intentionally abusing a metric that doesn't track perfectly against what you're actually trying to measure. This makes your counter-point to @Five faulty, in my view.

              3 votes
              1. Algernon_Asimov
                Link Parent
                You've added the extra qualification of a discussion being "higher quality", which wasn't mentioned by @Five. I assumed that "plenty of discussion" referred to quantity. This demonstrates that,...

                You've added the extra qualification of a discussion being "higher quality", which wasn't mentioned by @Five. I assumed that "plenty of discussion" referred to quantity.

                This demonstrates that, ultimately, it's a subjective call. There's no objective definition of "plenty of discussion". We'll have to agree to disagree on this.

                2 votes
            2. [3]
              Five
              Link Parent
              I didn’t say they wouldn’t have a discussion I said they wouldn’t have a quick response

              I didn’t say they wouldn’t have a discussion I said they wouldn’t have a quick response

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                Algernon_Asimov
                Link Parent
                Sorry. This sub-thread comes from your comment that says "for example if you wanted to make a post on the talk group and only 3 people are on you probably aren’t going to have much of a discussion".

                for example if you wanted to make a post on the talk group and only 3 people are on you probably aren’t going to have much of a discussion.

                Sorry. This sub-thread comes from your comment that says "for example if you wanted to make a post on the talk group and only 3 people are on you probably aren’t going to have much of a discussion".

                1. Five
                  Link Parent
                  In that specific comment I don’t mention time but if you look at my others I’m saying some people would want a response quickly

                  In that specific comment I don’t mention time but if you look at my others I’m saying some people would want a response quickly

    3. [3]
      vivaria
      Link Parent
      I already sort of naturally developed that incentive? There were times when I put in effort into a high-quality comment right before bed (PST timezone), only to have that comment go ignored...

      Quick-edit: This would also unintentionally incentivize posting when there's the highest amount of people online and that's something that doesn't mesh well with Tildes' quality goals.

      I already sort of naturally developed that incentive? There were times when I put in effort into a high-quality comment right before bed (PST timezone), only to have that comment go ignored because not enough eyes saw it. My reaction was, "Welp, that got no votes... not many people must have seen it. Next time I should post in the middle of the day."

      Then again, maybe that was just a one-off thing. Maybe we just don't have enough people for that kind of discussion.... that thread had only top-level comments, and no responses.

      2 votes
      1. hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        Same. Friday I spent about an hour writing up a topic, but it was late at night by the time I finished, so I didn't post it. Tildes also tends to be less active over the weekends, so I am waiting...

        I already sort of naturally developed that incentive?

        Same. Friday I spent about an hour writing up a topic, but it was late at night by the time I finished, so I didn't post it. Tildes also tends to be less active over the weekends, so I am waiting until Monday to post the topic.

        I have also not posted comments before because by the time I finished writing them I felt like it was too late for them to be noticed.

        Though, in my defense, I usually only try to "optimize" the times I post things if the thing that I am posting is of a particular interest to me.

        For instance, the topic I am posting Monday, the responses it (hopefully) receives are going to be relevant to me, so I'm a little more invested in that topic than I would otherwise normally be.

        However, especially when it comes to comments, I think the popularity of the topic itself matters a lot more than the time at which the comment is posted.


        In case anyone is curious, the topic I am posting Monday is going to be about "journaling strategies". As in, what things do you record in your journal (diary), what things do you leave out, how long are your entries, do you write about events or emotions, etc.

        4 votes
      2. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        I'm used to posting when noone reads it. Being in a different timezone to the USA means most of my day is nighttime for them. I post & comment anyway. Someone will read it eventually. And I like...

        I'm used to posting when noone reads it. Being in a different timezone to the USA means most of my day is nighttime for them. I post & comment anyway. Someone will read it eventually. And I like that Tildes' default sorting algorithm is Activity, rather than Time, which means even if someone comments at a quiet time, it still bumps the topic to make it visible.

        This raises another point. This whole discussion is very US-centric. It assumes there are certain times of day which are busy and quiet, but this only happens because the majority of Tildes users are in a small group of timezones. If we recruited more people in other timezones, this would increase activity at all times of day and night, no matter where one lives.

        My reaction was, "Welp, that got no votes... not many people must have seen it. Next time I should post in the middle of the day."

        There are three comments in that thread with no votes and one comment with only one vote (as I type this), and they were all posted at different times of day. I suspect the reason they all got no votes is not related to the time they were posted.

        3 votes
  3. cfabbro
    Link
    I'm a bit late to the party, it seems. I personally don't think this feature would be particularly useful on Tildes quite yet, and may actually be a bit detrimental and discouraging, merely due to...

    I'm a bit late to the party, it seems. I personally don't think this feature would be particularly useful on Tildes quite yet, and may actually be a bit detrimental and discouraging, merely due to the low population here right now. But at some point down the line it might be nice to have... so, with that said...

    Added to Tildes Gitlab:
    https://gitlab.com/tildes/tildes/issues/627

    5 votes
  4. [16]
    Kuromantis
    Link
    Tildes has a groups page with subscriber numbers, is that what you're talking about?
    4 votes
    1. [15]
      Five
      Link Parent
      I’m talking about a live number of people active on the site

      I’m talking about a live number of people active on the site

      1 vote
      1. [14]
        Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        That probably says 'user tracking' to many.

        That probably says 'user tracking' to many.

        12 votes
        1. [7]
          Five
          Link Parent
          Not really I imagine it is something that is currently visible to admin

          Not really I imagine it is something that is currently visible to admin

          1 vote
          1. [6]
            Kuromantis
            Link Parent
            What's the point if we can't see it? Statistics are nice and I wouldn't object too much to this but keeping it in deimos's servers is probably counterproductive.

            What's the point if we can't see it?

            Statistics are nice and I wouldn't object too much to this but keeping it in deimos's servers is probably counterproductive.

            1 vote
            1. [5]
              Five
              Link Parent
              That’s what I’m saying I would like it to be publicly visible

              That’s what I’m saying I would like it to be publicly visible

              1 vote
              1. [4]
                Kuromantis
                Link Parent
                In that case it goes back to whether people here are willing to do it or if it feels like a violation of their privacy.

                In that case it goes back to whether people here are willing to do it or if it feels like a violation of their privacy.

                2 votes
                1. [2]
                  Five
                  Link Parent
                  I don’t think it really violates anyone’s privacy as it’s only a number it wouldn’t display usernames

                  I don’t think it really violates anyone’s privacy as it’s only a number it wouldn’t display usernames

                  2 votes
                  1. Kuromantis
                    Link Parent
                    That's fine by me personally, although tildes is guided by 'privacy by design', so it might need to be opt-in.

                    That's fine by me personally, although tildes is guided by 'privacy by design', so it might need to be opt-in.

                    1 vote
                2. Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  I don't understand how it would be a violation of privacy to display "5 users currently reading ~tildes".

                  I don't understand how it would be a violation of privacy to display "5 users currently reading ~tildes".

        2. [6]
          StellarTabi
          Link Parent
          Would a "last active at" column in the user's table count as tracking?

          Would a "last active at" column in the user's table count as tracking?

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            NaraVara
            Link Parent
            My rule of thumb is "Would you be comfortable if a creepy stalker had that information about you?" "Last active at" wouldn't clear that bar for me. It's a way to keep tabs on a person's comings...

            My rule of thumb is "Would you be comfortable if a creepy stalker had that information about you?"

            "Last active at" wouldn't clear that bar for me. It's a way to keep tabs on a person's comings and goings which isn't really my business.

            3 votes
            1. Five
              Link Parent
              I agree that is why it would have to be for example (600 active users ) that is completely anonymous no one can follow you even if it said (1 active users ) there is no way to find out who is is...

              I agree that is why it would have to be for example (600 active users ) that is completely anonymous no one can follow you even if it said (1 active users ) there is no way to find out who is is because it’s just a number

              4 votes
          2. [2]
            Five
            Link Parent
            I don’t think it should say when a specific person was active just a number of people active on the whole site that makes it completely Anonymous

            I don’t think it should say when a specific person was active just a number of people active on the whole site that makes it completely Anonymous

            2 votes
            1. StellarTabi
              Link Parent
              I mean the database would have the user ID, then the select clause will say lastactive_at > NOW() - 1 hour and only return a count, not a user id list.

              I mean the database would have the user ID, then the select clause will say lastactive_at > NOW() - 1 hour and only return a count, not a user id list.

          3. Kuromantis
            Link Parent
            Not to me, but it might be to someone, so it would probably need to be an opt-in feature.

            Not to me, but it might be to someone, so it would probably need to be an opt-in feature.

            1 vote
  5. Peacekeeper
    Link
    I like the idea I don’t think it has any purpose apart from being interesting to see

    I like the idea I don’t think it has any purpose apart from being interesting to see

    1 vote