The goal of international communities is to create a world in which, for any search engine query on programming, the search results will show a link to a detailed answer in our first language. The road to such a grand goal is winding and tough; there is a chance of getting lost. It would be great to have a landmark that will help us not to stray from the right path.
- The fewer metrics we use the better. The best option would be if we created a single metric to track our overall progress.
- Metrics should be interpretable. The goal of these metrics is to show in a simple way how our efforts are bringing about change: what is going well and what the community needs to pay more attention to.
- Metrics should be universal, in a way we can use them in any Stack Exchange community.
Key metrics: Community, Quality, Quantity
- Community. How comfortable are the users in the community? Are they active on the site? Do they want to invite their colleagues?
- Quality. How useful and interesting is the knowledge that we create to site users and overall developers?
- Quantity. How fast is the knowledge base growing?
Summary of the proposed metrics
The most popular proposed metric in all communities is how many active users join a community opposed to those who leave (so-called "turnover"). The only difference is in how we determine an “active user”:
- The number of users from the top-100 who created five or more posts per month.
- The number of users who earn 300 reputation points for a certain period.
- The number of users who earn 200 reputation points and were active for a year.
(Btw, please share how would you define an “active user” for this metric?)
Interestingly that we can measure our distance to the goal literally: using services that provide statistics on search engine queries (for instance) we can determine the most popular search queries on programming and compare that with what questions we have on the sites.
Other proposed metrics:
- The number of suspended users separated by suspension reasons.
- Number of bookmarks with a link to the site created on social bookmarking sites (for instance).
- For how long should a person participate on a site to answer more questions than they have asked?
A lot of thanks to everyone who shared their ideas. I’m going to look at which of the proposed metrics can be implemented and in what form. If you have any ideas on this subject, please ping me in The Terminal
Please keep proposing metrics
Creating interpretable universal metrics is hard work. Metrics can and should be continuously improved. Please keep proposing your ideas about new metrics and thoughts on improving existing ones in the answers to this question and on international metas. Together we will make it!