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I am looking for a way to measure the number of active users on the system over time.

I am mostly interested about StackOverflow, but this may also apply to the other SE sites as well, as I find it really interesting to analyse how this can vary based on different events.

Now by active users, I do consider people logged-in and that do have at least one contribution in a week (added at least one question, answer, comment or vote).

For trending, it doesn't make sense to measure active users for less than a week, as most people do not "live" on the website.

For research purpose, I am going to ignore consumers (visitors), people that do visit but do not contribute ever. I know that their number if huge but they need to be studied separately.

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4  
I started using my fingers but it turns out there's more than 10 –  Ben Brocka Jun 21 '12 at 16:23
2  
Are you an SE dev that just happens to not have a diamond? If not, how do you propose to accomplish this if you don't have access to the site internals? –  Robert Harvey Jun 21 '12 at 16:26
    
@RobertHarvey would you more elaborate you said –  NullPoiиteя Jun 21 '12 at 16:36
2  
@Mayankswami: Monitoring user activity requires internal access to the site. –  Robert Harvey Jun 21 '12 at 16:38
    
without having the log file i think its after impossible to know –  NullPoiиteя Jun 21 '12 at 16:38

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Now by active users, I do consider people logged-in and that do have at least one contribution in a week (added at least one question, answer, comment or vote).

You can get close to it with the data dumps or data.se, which can tell you who created a answer, comment, or revision but not votes since that's not public.

Using this query here are the 2012 weekly numbers.

Count   Year   week
36213   2012    1
40910   2012    2
41147   2012    3
41187   2012    4
43302   2012    5
44515   2012    6
45195   2012    7
46010   2012    8
45944   2012    9
45782   2012    10
46540   2012    11
46214   2012    12
47328   2012    13
45714   2012    14
46409   2012    15
48515   2012    16
48245   2012    17
46395   2012    18
47838   2012    19
47786   2012    20
48018   2012    21
46531   2012    22
47396   2012    23
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You can see number of active users according to reputation on right hand side of this link. Every SE community can be seen as same as SO.

Currently on SO there are:

Total Rep*  Users
100,000+    59
50,000+     219
25,000+     663
10,000+     2,451
5,000+      5,077
3,000+      8,096
2,000+      11,174
1,000+      17,331
500+        24,128
200+        30,838
1+          1,116,169
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