Home Barista Forum Metrics - user activity over the years? Future of forums? - Page 2

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ira
Team HB

#11: Post by ira »

Forums require participation and require effort. That tends to make the users more committed and the information more trustworthy. The forum is moderated, not telling lies or advertising except when it's noted as such. IMHO, forums work best at a certain level of user participation, under that they tend to die or need to be very specialized, over that the number of inane posts gets so high all the good people leave and you're left with just noise. In the world of social media and for profit services where there are lots of people making money, you lose the intimacy of a forum which makes it hard to know who to trust or who's making suggestions based on personal monetary gain. In the almost 14 years I've been here, I've learned so much about coffee and I've watched coffee change and equipment change, often it seems led by the participants of this forum.

Again, INHO, it is getting nearer the too many people to work size. The number of first postings of questions that have already been asked hundreds of times has been increasing, I certainly never need to see another, which of these is the best tamper or what spring should I put in my whatever tamper thread again. We've been through all the convex and concave theories, we now know that flat, and fits are all that matter. Leveling is nice because it make screwing up less likely and the Force tamper is really good but weird for some people. And yet, there is always at least one newcomer asking some variation of that question. That symptom is why the old timer stop participating, nothing to learn and seemingly infinite repetitiveness. The worst I've ever seen this is in car detailing forums where essentially everything is subjective and someone re-packages something with a new name and claims it's the be-all end-all and the same discussions start all over again.

Ira

DaveC

#12: Post by DaveC »

It can be an issue of user fatigue. To new users of a forum, that first question they ask is important to them...to the old guard of members, they have seen it 1000 times. Being able to welcome that user and answer their question as if it's the first time it's ever been asked, keeping it relevant to their situation, is key to them finding a forum useful vs a YouTube search and click, where they don't get advice other than something very generic, often produced as an advertisement.

Forums can engage in a way other platforms find it hard to do...

I use forums not just to help people, but also to understand the thinking out there...right or wrong. This helps me advise manufacturers how to make their products better....or develop new ideas. I'm looking at some machine software at the moment...it's good but it's not right. I only know that because I participate in forums and have a very good idea of what people want (or actually need).

If coffee forums go....then the machines will end up being what the manufacturers and retailers "think" you want.....which would be a very bad thing.

Bluenoser

#13: Post by Bluenoser »

Things are organic and so will eventually die.. but I don't see that happening soon.

There is no one service that has stored such a vast amount of user experience and information. Even after watching all the manufacturers/vendors videos and specifications, I ended up spending $3k on a grinder that lasted 2 years and a HX machine that successfully makes 1 shot every 15 minutes. Without HB I would never have been able to move beyond those facts and likely would have soon discarded the hobby. Both the manufacturer and Vendor are unable/unmotivated to offer this type of service to customers. But from lots of advice and stored information at HB, I learned how to make the best of the HX design.. flushing, group thermometers, how to change the restrictor diameter & about how Baratza will likely replace broken parts for free.

So while repeated basic questions seem tiring.. there is no need to feel obligated to answer them.. Those newcomers who have moved up a stage are likely to take up that task. It is far better to just ignore questions which seem repetitive or to point users to older threads of relevance. And I've been able to pass along what I've learned to a 'newbie' who will now be in this hobby for his lifetime.

No one has time to gather metrics or put together more 'packages' for users.. It is all here.. if you want it bad enough.

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yakster
Supporter ♡

#14: Post by yakster »

Are we seeing a surge of new user questions due to large numbers of people now working from home and wanting to make their own espresso? I've seen this mentioned as a motivator even in the home roasting section. I know for me that it wasn't until last month that I had coffee out that I hadn't roasted since early last year and that was only because I was travelling. It was Cartel Coffee Lab in Phoenix Skyview Airport, terminal C and some coffee roasted by a friend and brewed by another friend.
-Chris

LMWDP # 272

jpender

#15: Post by jpender »

What are the actual numbers? The web traffic statistics over the last 10, 15 20 years? Post counts maybe? Something solid.

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IamOiman
Team HB

#16: Post by IamOiman »

I like Discord for quick feedback/real time chatting. I'll post snippets or make memes in the Espresso Discord channel. Instagram is all about the pics so there is less discourse there as well.

But I dig into my stuff more deeply on platforms like Home Barista (and a few others). I always appreciate the responses on my threads, from questions to compliments, but even if it was just me posting I still like to document every step of what I do to each machine that ends up in my possession for personal future reference and the fact I just like writing/typing about it. I doubt certain threads will see much use to others but on some threads like my Lambro thread I have had two people already publicaly respond to it thanking me for the thread and at least three DM's from here or other sites that know who I am. You could look at my Gaggia LL/Tell thread and note how many questions I asked compared to now, and I think there is a pretty big difference within the year and a half that I have been doing (dang really?). I specifically hope my importing machines experiences and what I needed to do to get them to my house will help others as well.

I will say for certain that I will keep collecting machines, and thus more posts about me fixing them up will appear. Do I have an end goal? Maybe do a quality restoration on the tier of Paul Pratt and machine my own parts perhaps, but right now a lathe is a little big for me at the moment and no benchtops have popped up near me :D

I'll post a response every so often if I happen to see it for the new guys but I always throw in the tidbit to try the search tool (which I shamelessly use almost daily).
-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

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MNate
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#17: Post by MNate »

Maybe sub-topics for lots of things as minor as tampers with a sticky or two of the most useful threads? Some car sites do that a bit more. The "helpful" buttons are a step in that direction but haven't been quite as helpful to me.

The search functions are great though! Very nice thing about this site. Newbies just don't seem to like to use it. I kind of wish the standard Google search that is at the top would put things in newest-first order instead of what it deems best. Easy enough to do in the more advanced search but newbies might not realize that and the power of the newer info (usually).

Rickpatbrown (original poster)

#18: Post by Rickpatbrown (original poster) »

IamOiman wrote: But I dig into my stuff more deeply on platforms like Home Barista (and a few others). I always appreciate the responses on my threads, from questions to compliments, but even if it was just me posting I still like to document every step of what I do to each machine that ends up in my possession for personal future reference and the fact I just like writing/typing about it.
I've followed a couple of your latest threads. This is the stuff that makes forums amazing. You provide some serious content that only comes from people that are obsessed like us. If HB was gone, I doubt that you'd post your teardowns and rebuilds on Facebook. These forums bring that out in us.
yakster wrote:Are we seeing a surge of new user questions due to large numbers of people now working from home and wanting to make their own espresso? I've seen this mentioned as a motivator even in the home roasting section. I know for me that it wasn't until last month that I had coffee out that I hadn't roasted since early last year and that was only because I was travelling. It was Cartel Coffee Lab in Phoenix Skyview Airport, terminal C and some coffee roasted by a friend and brewed by another friend.
This was a thought that I had. I came on to HB at the end on 2019. The roasting sub forum was pretty active ... but I also got the sense that there were a lot of big people who had left the forum ... got a little coffee famous ... before I came on the scene.

I think maybe the forum is losing some steam with the US opening back up due to vaccination.
MNate wrote:Maybe sub-topics for lots of things as minor as tampers with a sticky or two of the most useful threads?
Haha! Yes! A tamper sub forum that links outside of HB ... maybe straight to Google! That would be hilarious.

Rickpatbrown (original poster)

#19: Post by Rickpatbrown (original poster) »

jpender wrote:What are the actual numbers? The web traffic statistics over the last 10, 15 20 years? Post counts maybe? Something solid.
Yup. That's my question. I would want to know how many member and active members. Maybe there could be a good way to analyze post numbers or maybe thread length normalized to total posts or some kind of analysis.

I'd have fun with the numbers. Is there anyway to get them?

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HB
Admin

#20: Post by HB »

Rickpatbrown wrote:I've noticed a big reduction in a lot of forum activity over the years, in HB and others, and started wondering if Facebook, IG, Discord has killed the forum.
There's no doubt that there's a lot more community-based sites than 5 years ago. In addition to the ones you cited, I'd add Reddit as a major player. I suspect they have cut into the growth of established sites like HB, but they haven't killed them off. But they've definitely raised the bar for creating new sites that are community-based. That is, sites like HB that were well-established in the early 2000s are holding their own; those trying to launch a new site today have a steep uphill climb.
Rickpatbrown wrote:I'm not sure if others feel the same, but was wondering if there was some publicly available data for how many users use HB, how many posts, etc. Over the years.
The public statistics are on the index page with the total number of registrations, topics, and posts (today and total). There's also the number of active logins during the last 30 minutes ("Who is online"). There you'll note that the number of visitors is typically 8-15x the number of logged in members. For example, right now it says "There are 605 users online: 71 registered and 534 guests".

I was curious about your question, so I wrote a query to calculate the number of registrations in a year, posts, and unique posters:
Year   Regs  Posts   Posters
2015   1755  59227   2741
2016   1779  60310   3050
2017   1882  55038   3275
2018   2064  62057   3539
2019   2243  61732   3926
2020   4850  74164   5312
This shows that prior to the pandemic, the site activity was holding steady; not surprisingly, there was a significant uptick in 2020.
Dan Kehn