User Statistics August 4, 2003 12:43 AM   Subscribe

I've noticed a lot of threads asking how many "real" members there are. Would it be difficult to add a counter to the front page that says something like: "There are currently x# users logged in"?
posted by Grod to Feature Requests at 12:43 AM (21 comments total)

There really is no such thing as 'logged in' with http, it's all pretty much stateless. Sites with such indicators usually use number of members that have made pageviews in the last n minutes, which is an acceptable metric I guess, but I'd much rather see users that have accessed the site in the last 2 months or something similar.

and a pony.
posted by fvw at 1:38 AM on August 4, 2003


As requested and discussed before, several times, once by me, I think, even, but I'm too lazy to search, as usual.

Matt's response as I recall was basically 'meh'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:51 AM on August 4, 2003


I don't wanna know.

When the wee hours chase me in here, alone, sober, sleepless and edgy, I want to be able, with an easy suspension of disbelief, to sit in the corner and imagine that I am immersed in a lyrical swirl of beautiful, intelligent people, dancing and milling and nodding and smiling...

Great Gatsby - I don't wanna know it's just me, a methed-out drummer, and some foreign person!
posted by Opus Dark at 2:04 AM on August 4, 2003


This has been brought up before and I think implemented for a while before the extra processing really tore the server a new one. It was less informative than you'd think.
posted by skallas at 4:18 AM on August 4, 2003


*hands Opus Dark a glass of champagne*
posted by taz at 5:28 AM on August 4, 2003


What skallas said. There was something like this for a while, but it slowed the site down to a crawl and was basically one of those things where you go, "Oh, neat." And never look at it again.
posted by headspace at 7:19 AM on August 4, 2003


a lot of threads asking how many "real" members there are

I prefer to know how many imaginary members are logged on, instead.
posted by jazon at 8:16 AM on August 4, 2003


I think this would be interesting. A list of logged on users with the option (which is defaulted to) of making your online presence unknown as well?
posted by angry modem at 8:34 AM on August 4, 2003


(reads above and says 'oops')
posted by angry modem at 8:35 AM on August 4, 2003


Also there should be the option to make yourself show up as a pony.
posted by soyjoy at 8:39 AM on August 4, 2003


I don't want to know how many "real" members there are, but I do want to know why the hell so many people need to know how many "real" members there are.
posted by crunchland at 8:47 AM on August 4, 2003


Because being cool only counts if there are over 17,000 people watching?
posted by JoanArkham at 9:47 AM on August 4, 2003


I do want to know why the hell so many people need to know how many "real" members there are.

It was probably me who started it this time. Here why: I'm tired of all the obsessing over the 17,000 figure. All that number indicates is how many times the sign-up function has been used. It has almost nothing to do with how many individuals have joined MetaFilter, let alone how many have ever posted or commented or are now active. I can see how it must have been useful and fun in the early months of the site, but now it's just a distraction.
posted by timeistight at 10:08 AM on August 4, 2003


What difference does it make? If there were a lower "real" figure, we'd obsess over that. MetaFilter is ineluctably obsessive. Relax and enjoy it. Or, failing that, have taz get you a glass of champagne—she's got some good stuff there.
*sips, holds glass out to enjoy tiny bubbles circulating*
posted by languagehat at 10:23 AM on August 4, 2003


I recall Matt implementing this option a while back, but it severely slowed down page loads.

I don't see what the point is anyway. What impact could "x users are logged" really have on anything? Besides, there are no "real users" over 10k anyway.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:23 AM on August 4, 2003


oh yes there are.
posted by konolia at 11:17 AM on August 4, 2003


**lounges in his smoking jacket at the "2-Digit Club" while sipping scotch**
posted by jonmc at 11:56 AM on August 4, 2003


Stats on this wouldn't be too hard to gather w/o Matt's intervention (or even permission). In the wee hours of a weekend morning, suck down each user's comments page and get the date of the last post. A plot of number of users vs date of last post would be a revealing curve (and everybody loves those).

Of course, it'd probably be easier on resources for Matt to run a quick SQL query on the server once a month to get the equivalent dataset. Or, failing that, you could suck down 1/8th of the user pages on each wee weekend morning, so's to distribute load on the server across time.

And there's also the problem of non-contiguous user numbers. Ah, well.
posted by namespan at 11:59 AM on August 4, 2003


what's a real user?

plus, how can we be certain that there isn't a rhinoceros in the thread?
posted by matteo at 6:04 PM on August 4, 2003




What would it drink?
posted by weston at 8:40 PM on August 4, 2003


Rhinocerous?

I want a pony, like we were promised.
posted by Blue Stone at 11:45 AM on August 6, 2003


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