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Based on the Cultivating Communities of Practice (Wenger) there there are several types of members:

  • core - major contributors, people that very active
  • active - normal members
  • peripheral - people that are quiet most of the time (passive users)
  • outsiders - ocasional visitors

I am mostly interesting into defining a criteria for counting the core members on SO.

What would be a good rule and how do I get the data out? It's essential to be able to measure it weekly, quarterly and yearly.

Note: Any kind of participation is good, there is nothing wrong with any of the categories.

Still, it is important to distinguish between these roles because this would allow to detect behaviour trends before is too late. If you could only the visitors you may stay happy for a while, and discover later that even if the number of visits increased a lot, the number of core contributors vanished and your community if on its way to perish. Knowing the evolution for each of them, enables you to take action when needed.

Imagine how useful it would be to analyse these numbers and compare them across different communities and over time.

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What's the value in separating people out like that? It implies that a casual participants are unwelcome or less valuable to the community. –  CodeGnome Jun 21 '12 at 22:30
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@CodeGnome hmm it might be worth noting that top 1% of posters (by # of posts) own 37% of all posts the top 10% of posters own 77% –  Some Helpful Commenter Jun 21 '12 at 22:53
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Any kind of participation is good, there is nothing wrong with any of the categories. Still, it is important to distinguish between these roles because this would allow to detect behaviour trends before is too late. If you could only the visitors you may stay happy for a while, and discover later that even if the number of visits increased a lot, the number of core contributors vanished and your community if on its way to perish. Knowing the evolution for each of them, enables you to take action when needed. –  sorin Jun 21 '12 at 23:10
    
@SomeHelpfulCommenter That's probably true, but with a few notable outliers, # of posts is also a function of time spent on the site over its entire history. That makes it one dimension of participation, but it isn't necessarily valid as a statistical measure of "core" or "active" (whatever you decide that means). --Don't we have enough proxy statistics that measure things inaccurately? Why add more? –  CodeGnome Jun 21 '12 at 23:27
    
Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/137136/… –  Anna Lear Jun 22 '12 at 0:24

1 Answer 1

Have a look at the Total Reputation table on the right of this page http://stackexchange.com/leagues/1/week/stackoverflow

Total Reuptation

Chop it up how you see fit.

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Necro-rep makes this a somewhat misleading statistic for that purpose. That's why there have been so many discussions lately about tracking current content differently. For example: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/136097/…. –  CodeGnome Jun 21 '12 at 22:28
    
@Code: Actually, "necro-rep" has nothing to do with it. This list isn't useful because someone with high rep can stop participating, thus no longer being a "core contributer". The presence or absence of "necro-rep" doesn't mean they suddenly lose their high rep. –  Nicol Bolas Jun 21 '12 at 23:30

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