The blog post about the community roadmap 2020Q1 includes a paragraph about increasing community engagement:

Though our active user base continues to grow, our engagement has remained the same. What this means is that while more users are coming to the site every month, the number of users who engage meaningfully in the site does not increase proportionally.

And Adam Lear subsequently commented:

There are a few different levels of engagement we look at (e.g. voting vs posting) and they feed into different things.

How does SE Inc. understand and define meaningful user engagement? Posting a question or answer is probably included, but what if the question or answer receives a negative score, is it still included? Are visits without asking anything or voting included?

The number of visits is increasing, probably even faster than the number of active users.

Which of these meaningful engagements particularly do not increase proportionally with the size of the active user base? What are the different levels of engagement, the company is looking at?

Why is SE wanting to increase engagement on SO? asks why the engagement should be increased. Here I only want to know how SE defines meaningful engagement and at what particular quantities they are looking at. This is not a discussion with other users even though it's tagged as one because of the required tags, I'm directly asking the company.


1 Answer 1


I addressed this in a different post. In the context of this quote, we are looking at the number of "Active" users versus the number of "Engaged" users.

  • Active: logged in and visited a page other than the home page of the site at least once in the month
  • Engaged: logged in and performed at least one of the following actions, at least once in the month:
    • Post (question or answer, regardless of score)
    • Comment
    • Vote

Each "month" is the really looking at the 30 days leading up to and including the Iast day of each calendar month.

Admittedly, this is a pretty general definition for engagement percentage, and there are many nuances that can be explored in the future (quality of interaction, number of times visited, engaged activities).

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    So it's not that people don't get their questions up to a positive score anymore (that's regarded as meaningful), but it's that there are more lurking, registered users? With some SEDE queries I could probably reproduce these measures? Mar 9, 2020 at 16:02
  • 2
    There is definitely something going on, on SO for example are now less new answers than questions.Maybe with more statistics more light can be shed upon what really happens there. The number of active users cannot be estimated with SEDE queries, I think, the monthly usage statistics is not available. Mar 9, 2020 at 18:55

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