We (All Forum Posters, Collectively) Are The .002%


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Greetings Paizoans,

I just read an article on Cracked.com which indicated that only .002% of people who look at a Forum/Chatroom/Message Board on the Internet ever actually post anything there. At all. This included repeat traffic and readers who peruse webpages of interest to them on a regular basis.

I, myself, lurked these message boards for more than a year before ever making a single post so this is not too surprising to me, although I find the actual percentage to be remarkably low. Remarkable enough, in fact, to want to bring these numbers to this forums attention.

Now, while I would imagine (or hope, at least), that this percentage might be higher among the population of this forum, I cannot imagine it would be more than a factor of ten times higher at absolute most, IMHO.(Although, I should note that I truly, truly wish to learn for a fact that the percentage is much, much higher!)

Given all this, I have a few questions.

1) Given that we almost certainly represent such a small cross-section of the player population of the Pathfinder game, why should the staff/developers concern themselves with anything that we say? Seriously, these numbers would indicate that we represent only the absolute most vocal cross-section of their player base. Personally, I think they might be better served by gathering feedback through mass e-mails. The same article indicated that more than ten times the number of people were likely to respond if prompted via private message or e-mail.

2)What, precisely, do these numbers say about us all? Are we simply the most vocal of the typical gaming-oriented forums archetypical populace of Canny DM's, Proud Players, Masterful Min/Maxers, Gifted Role-Players, and Tiresome Trolls? Are we an accurate cross-section of Paizo's player-base? Are we simply the most confident in our skills? Or just the loudest people at the "gaming table"?

-Weslocke of Phazdaliom-


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Occupy Paizo!

Sovereign Court

I'd like to read that but can't find it.

Link?


Depending of the population size, even a 0,02% could be statistically significative, if we assume that "posters in forums" is not a biased selection.


Weslocke wrote:


1) Given that we almost certainly represent such a small cross-section of the player population of the Pathfinder game, why should the staff/developers concern themselves with anything that we say?

I'm pretty sure they already don't concern themselves with anything I say.

Quote:
2)What, precisely, do these numbers say about us all? Are we simply the most vocal of the typical gaming-oriented forums archetypical populace of Canny DM's, Proud Players, Masterful Min/Maxers, Gifted Role-Players, and Tiresome Trolls?

Hmm, I wonder which one I am?...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Given that out of my Pathfinder gaming group of circa 50 people I am the only one to actively post here and one of 5 or so who actually do read the forum on a regular basis - yes, we are the vocal minority.

Silver Crusade

First up I don't believe the 0.002% thing. Maybe that's true on a big news site or similar but here? Less so. Sure there are lurkers but I can't believe that there are thousands of lurkers for each poster. Doesn't make logical sense to me.

As for your questions:

1) Why listen to us? Because we talk and we are interested enough to make our point. Anyone can go on the boards to express an opinion, Paizo have presented this resource partially for feedback. If you are intersted in having your voice heard then post, if not then don't.

2) What does it say about us? Merely that we are vocal in our beliefs. Nothing more than that.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Weslocke wrote:


1) Given that we almost certainly represent such a small cross-section of the player population of the Pathfinder game, why should the staff/developers concern themselves with anything that we say? Seriously, these numbers would indicate that we represent only the absolute most vocal cross-section of their player base. Personally, I think they might be better served by gathering feedback through mass e-mails. The same article indicated that more than ten times the number of people were likely to respond if prompted via private message or e-mail.

2)What, precisely, do these numbers say about us all? Are we simply the most vocal of the typical gaming-oriented forums archetypical populace of Canny DM's, Proud Players, Masterful Min/Maxers, Gifted Role-Players, and Tiresome Trolls? Are we an accurate cross-section of Paizo's player-base? Are we simply the most confident in our skills? Or just the loudest people at the "gaming table"?

-Weslocke of Phazdaliom-

1) Because we're the ones who care enough to talk about it, which gives us something in common with most of the staff/devs. You're also presuming that the devs are using messageboard responses as a statistical sample of the entire gaming audience instead of as a source of useful comments.

2) That we have no lives ;-).


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Well, like you I lurked on the boards for quite some time (2009 to 2012) before posting anything. I think there is an intimidation factor in people not posting: I always felt I might say something in a way to upset or annoy someone without meaning to. Just reading the boards shows countless examples of people taking what someone said out of context, reading into it nuances and meanings that aren't necessarily there, and taking offense over things that at on the surface seem harmless. So that might be a significant factor in that low percentage.

Even so, we do seem to have different views and in large numbers on each of those views. So in answer to the first question, I suspect that Paizo is getting a lot out of listening to and answering our posts. We sometimes point out errors, express confusion over the wording of rules, and consult with each other in what ammounts to an ngoing play-test of the rule system. For a company built around customer service like Paizo, this is gold. And it requires very little effort on their part to generate these opinions. Now do they believe that the numbers on the webiste reflect the numbers that hold each opinion? I should sincerely hope not. But they can get what opinions are out there from all this, and that is a very important piece of marketing information.

As to the second question, I think we represent the people who feel comfortable putting our opinions on the this website, and nothing else. I don't feel comfortable posting my opinons on other forum boards because it doesn't feel quite as friendly and caring as this board usually is. (Aside in parenthesises: that having been said, there are times this board can get quite nasty as well. But it is still a far cry better than most I have seen.) Since it is a friendlier place, we should be getting a more accurate cross-reference of the gaming community than most boards.


The article was titled, "5 Ways to Stop Trolls from Killing the Internet" by David Wong. It was written in 2008.

http://www.cracked.com/article_16765_5-ways-to-stop-trolls-from-killing-int ernet.html

Sorry, my computer skills are not the best. The pertinent information is buried throughout the article. The .002% is based on statistics concerning Cracked.coms own comment pages. The article seems to indicate that elsewhere the numbers can be signifcantly higher. I believe 8% is cited as the internet-wide average.

Thanks for your interest,
Weslocke of Phazdaliom


Gorbacz wrote:
Given that out of my Pathfinder gaming group of circa 50 people I am the only one to actively post here and one of 5 or so who actually do read the forum on a regular basis - yes, we are the vocal minority.

I find myself in a similar situation. I know about a half-dozen other DM's and there are about 40 or so players that jump back and forth between all our tables. All of the DM's peruse the forums regularly (along with more than a few players), but I am the only one of the DM's that posts here. That was got me thinking about how accurate a cross-section of paizo's player base we truly represent.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We are of course a minority, which should be readily apparent to everybody. However, I'd say that we also are some of the most dedicated GM's and players ( with the balance heavily swinging towards GM's over players ) and we provide valuable feedback to the Paizo staff.

Given how much argueing goes on between the members of this board, it is a certainty that we also don't monolithically swing the conversation in one direction for Paizo to notice.


I am quite sure that we provide invaluable feedback to the staff. I just sometimes wonder how well we can (in our limited fashion) represent the unspoken majority to the staff. Additionally, can the ratios of one opinion versus another here be considered indicative of the same ratio existing among our silent populace? If so, or not, then why?

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

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I think most functional humans, even the majority of other gamers, couldn't be bothered to have a strong opinion on whether or not the rogue is the weakest class or the paladin can kill baby goblins. I don't necessarily think we're representative of a larger group on many issues - I think the larger group could not care less about most of those issues. There are a few instances where this is not the case (edition changes come to mind), but by and large, what gets argued about passionately here is irrelevant to gamers at large.

Shadow Lodge

^ what he said ^

Of the seven or eight (depending on game, time, etc.) members of my group, only four of us have accounts here, only three are semi-regular posters, and only I venture out of Off-Topic and Campaign Journals for any recognizable length of time. Three of my players don't have accounts here at all, or if they do it's simply for purchasing things. The last I don't know one way or the other, but I've never seen him post so I'm assuming he's with the last three.

And whenever I happen to bring up the latest forum bickering, they all - without exception - collectively laugh at how much time-wasting is going on, and we go back to whatever we were doing.


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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Weslocke wrote:
Personally, I think they might be better served by gathering feedback through mass e-mails. The same article indicated that more than ten times the number of people were likely to respond if prompted via private message or e-mail.

A mass e-mail is the guaranteed way to piss me (and anyone else who doesn't appreciate such things) off.

Silver Crusade

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The number 0.002% would imply that for every poster, there are 50,000 lurkers. In particular, I am the 15th unique poster in this thread. Just from those of us who have posted in this thread, we would need 750,000 lurkers on this site to account for that number.

I am willing to bet that 700 is a good lower estimate for the number of people who post on this site, by which I mean that I strongly believe that there are more posters on this site than that number.

The 0.002% rate would then imply that 10% of the US population lurks on this site. Somehow I'm not buying that.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Alzrius wrote:
Occupy Paizo!

Wait, wait...even better:

OCCUPAIZO!


SlimGauge wrote:
Weslocke wrote:
Personally, I think they might be better served by gathering feedback through mass e-mails. The same article indicated that more than ten times the number of people were likely to respond if prompted via private message or e-mail.
A mass e-mail is the guaranteed way to piss me (and anyone else who doesn't appreciate such things) off.

Which is exactly why it would have to be done on a voluntary basis to begin with. Similar to how each of us chooses whether we want to recieve e-mails from paizo when we create these accounts.


The Fox wrote:

The number 0.002% would imply that for every poster, there are 50,000 lurkers. In particular, I am the 15th unique poster in this thread. Just from those of us who have posted in this thread, we would need 750,000 lurkers on this site to account for that number.

I am willing to bet that 700 is a good lower estimate for the number of people who post on this site, by which I mean that I strongly believe that there are more posters on this site than that number.

The 0.002% rate would then imply that 10% of the US population lurks on this site. Somehow I'm not buying that.

Oh yes, belive me, I understand the numbers. Which is why I found them so alarming to begin with. The 8% number seemed too high, however, but not outside the realm of possibility. Perhaps the percentage is even a bit higher. I honestly hope so.

Shadow Lodge

You should listen to me, for I am wise and benevolent.

Shadow Lodge

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I'd call it close, though my own ballpark guess would be 10%, maybe 15%. But that's the difference between a niche market company's forum and a major, long-known, long-used news and humor resource like Cracked.

Silver Crusade

I would believe it if you told me that posters comprised 8% of the readership. I would have guessed somewhere between 5% and 10% with no real data to support my estimate.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Orthos wrote:
I'd call it close, though my own ballpark guess would be 10%, maybe 15%. But that's the difference between a niche market company's forum and a major, long-known, long-used news and humor resource like Cracked.

Plus, Cracked is a bit different because it's a monopoly ("America's Only Humor Site").


No one is listening (or reading in our case).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Stynkk wrote:
No one is listening (or reading in our case).

I certainly wish that Jason Bulmahn would engage people a bit more on the boards, but other than that, feedback from the developer staff is better than on any other site I've seen. Even if James won't engage me on the topic of how they are going to write their next main campaign setting book when Pathfinder 2.0 comes out or Sean never acknowledges that his FAQ entry on magic item crafting needs more lore/rules context. :p


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Weslocke wrote:
Which is exactly why it would have to be done on a voluntary basis to begin with. Similar to how each of us chooses whether we want to recieve[sic] e-mails from paizo when we create these accounts.

Isn't that the same self-selection that we've already got on the boards ? Those who are interested in a particular subject post in those threads, those who don't, well, don't.

Those who would be interested in such an e-mail survey would opt in, those who don't, wouldn't. Or would respond or not. Or would only answer certain questions or not.


Pretty much, SlimGauge, that was the idea, at least. It was just a thought.


While I find the specific number to be unbelievable, I know the concept is not. I belong to several forums and on each there is a core of active posters that is a small subset to the registered members. Now what the real number should be, I would not know for sure. but the 8% sounds fair for a blended number for all forums.


That article makes a huge assumption that it's hostile environments that keep people from participating.

I'm sure that likely accounts for some people, but what about technical issues?

I bypass joining discussion on a large number of sites, simply because I don't want to jump through registration hoops.

A lot of sites are trying to counter that very attitude by allowing Facebook creds or other universal credentials (single sign-on) to participate, but on that end, I don't care to utilize my Facebook account in such a manner. And then there's all the privacy concerns with allowing one entity to track your usage/participation of various discussion forums, etc.

It also ignores that some people just don't care. Like others above, I'm in the minority when it comes to forum participation amongst my social circles (be it RPG, automotive/mechanical, various subject matter that spans multiple social groups I'm involved with).

I won't say I'm the ONLY one in my circles that does, but I'm pretty close.

I've actually suggested forums and participation thereof to friends, and the most common response? They just don't care enough to join/participate.

I've got absolutely no data to back it up, but I'd be willing to bet that these reasons weigh far more heavily on someone's decision to participate than "trolls" do.


Thanks Brian and Daniel. I appreciate everyones opinion on the matter. Each and every post provided insight for me.

My thanks to everyone,
Weslocke of Phazdaliom


OR time constraints on what the want to do.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I think one reason paizo is likely to have a higher percentage is that it's also a virtual shopfront. Anyone who has ever bought stuff is automatically signed up to the forums. That takes away one barrier to posting a quick response to something you read - I know with other forums I've wanted to reply but haven't had the energy or confidence to sign up (I always have a slight worry that I'm requesting daily bombardments of marketing material).

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

TOZ wrote:
You should listen to me, for I am wise and benevolent.

Dammit, where's that unlike button when you need it!

To hell with the 0.002% ... I want to know how many charter subscribers are left. Every once in a while they let figures slip, but I'm ever on the lookout for more up-to-date numbers :)

Dark Archive

so i'm part of the 0.002%... good to know...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I remember my charter subscriber tag fondly. So sad.


43% of all statistics are made up.

Grand Lodge

Muad'Dib wrote:
43% of all statistics are made up.

But only 20% of the time.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

TriOmegaZero wrote:
I remember my charter subscriber tag fondly. So sad.

What might be sad is if someone were to, say, pay their mortgage or electric bill late so they could keep their subscriptions. I'm not saying I know anyone like that ....

(... but I'm not saying I don't, either)

Silver Crusade

I know in PFS, only about 10% of our players follow the boards. Posting is another matter.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I don't believe .002% at all. Let's do some math on that...

That means for every fifty thousand people who look at a forum, one person posts. I don't know how many people are on these forums, but let's say around a thousand (I'm sure it's more than that). That would mean about 50 million people have viewed this forum. I'm not even sure that many people around the world play Pathfinder. And that's just active members; I'm sure this forum has plenty more members who have made at least a single post.

Lets look at another forum... one that I have more info on. Giant in the playground has over 67,000 members. Let's say 50,000 of them have made at least one post and aren't bots. That would mean 2.5 billion people have viewed the page in their lives. That's over 33% of the world.

Giant in the Playground also has around 150,000 people who view it per day (information courtesy of Project Wonderful). That would translate to 3 active members on any given day, while the real number is almost certainly in the hundreds, if not thousands.

TL;DR: Don't trust any statistics you see on cracked.com.

Liberty's Edge

Weslocke wrote:
I am quite sure that we provide invaluable feedback to the staff. I just sometimes wonder how well we can (in our limited fashion) represent the unspoken majority to the staff. Additionally, can the ratios of one opinion versus another here be considered indicative of the same ratio existing among our silent populace? If so, or not, then why?

Yes.

Because getting these opinions and ratios here is relatively costless for Paizo.

Because there is absolutely no way to evaluate what the silent majority thinks, except maybe with some very expensive survey that would give only probabilities anyway.

It does not mean that we are an accurate representation of the whole body of players and GMs, just that we are the only available representation. Accuracy just cannot be taken into account (ie, neither proved nor disproved).


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Weslocke wrote:
I am quite sure that we provide invaluable feedback to the staff. I just sometimes wonder how well we can (in our limited fashion) represent the unspoken majority to the staff. Additionally, can the ratios of one opinion versus another here be considered indicative of the same ratio existing among our silent populace? If so, or not, then why?

We only see the comments here and don't have much access to the sales data. When we do get glimpses though, there does seem to be a correlation. I'm sure the picture is clearer for paizo.

The forum as a whole gushed about distant worlds (for example) and it sold out in no time at all. The forum posts and reviews of the CRB were stellar - and they burned through printings so rapidly it's clear that the demand for and satisfaction with that book was greater than paizo dared hope. With more detailed analysis, it should be possible to determine whether the forum "can be trusted", as it were.


Crispy3ed wrote:
Muad'Dib wrote:
43% of all statistics are made up.
But only 20% of the time.

Which is statistically true all of the time.


Mechalibur wrote:

I don't believe .002% at all. Let's do some math on that...

TL;DR: Don't trust any statistics you see on cracked.com.

For those who are too young, or were not paying enough attention in their youth to remember, Cracked was the lesser-known rival of MAD Magazine in the 1980s, and I think early 1990s. It was a magazine modeled on MAD's same template of parody and satire.

Though their modern online form does occasionally cite sources for the matters upon which they opine and at which they poke fun, it is important to remember that they remain largely a magazine ('zine in this case) dedicated to parody and satire.

Why on Earth would you trust statistics you see there?


Bruunwald wrote:
Why on Earth would you trust statistics you see there?

Well, there's that.

But, further, it's not like it's a valid sampling, either. They're using a single article on that website as their statistic.

And, you can't really compare a website like that to a website such as Paizo.

Sites like cracked.com not only have a larger audience, but the content and the format is far different.

The author of the article is complaining that only a small percentage commented on the article.

Cracked.com isn't a discussion forum like the Paizo or GitP messageboards are. It's a comedy website with a field for drive-by comments.

Contrasted, Paizo and GitP target a niche audience. The userbase of sites like these tend to be far more engaged in the subject matter, and have a higher level of participation.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Weslocke wrote:

Greetings Paizoans,

I just read an article on Cracked.com which indicated that only .002% of people who look at a Forum/Chatroom/Message Board on the Internet ever actually post anything there. At all. This included repeat traffic and readers who peruse webpages of interest to them on a regular basis.

I actually think that number is high. In fact I am pretty sure 99.9% of the posters on this board are all alias's of a single paizo intern who may have gone mad after being locked in the warehouse and the remaining two are you and I. (And honestly, I'm not so sure about me).

Shadow Lodge

No wonder our opinions are only worth 2cents.


Alzrius wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
Occupy Paizo!

Wait, wait...even better:

OCCUPAIZO!

Down with us!

Silver Crusade

Brian E. Harris wrote:


Contrasted, Paizo and GitP target a niche audience. The userbase of sites like these tend to be far more engaged in the subject matter, and have a higher level of participation.

This.

I think a site with a broad, general appeal will get more lurkers. It would not surprise me if users of a board like Paizo or GitP were far more engaged.

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