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We have a posting inequality problem

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  • We have a posting inequality problem

    Very short version: Regarding inequality between number of posts vs. number of users, we have a Gini coefficient of 0.936.

    Less technical but still short version: 1 percent of our members (23 members) produce 50 percent of our posts.

    Long version:

    Too few people are producing too many posts. I created a Lorenz curve for the forum posts vs. forum members. For those of you not familiar with them, in a Lorenz curve, users are lined up from fewest posts to most posts (2275 members from 0 to 802 posts). On the vertical axis, the cumulative number of posts by all users with fewer posts is graphed. Obviously, zero users produce zero posts and 100 percent of users produce 100 percent of posts, so the nontrivial part happens in the middle.

    I've included the graph of the Lorenz curve with this post (first image). Now would probably be a good time to look at it. The blue line represents perfect equality-- everyone posts exactly as much as everyone else. The red line represents the reality of our forum. As you can see, we're nowhere close to the blue line.

    To boil this information down to an even more digestible piece of information, we have the Gini coefficient. This is the area between the red and blue lines as a fraction of the area under the blue line. I calculated the Gini coefficient and found that it is 0.936, indicating high inequality.

    Before I address objections on idealistic grounds, I'd like to address one objection I foresee on technical grounds: there are a lot of users with zero posts. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that they have some amount of interest in our forum but are shy about posting. Nevertheless, I'll acknowledge that there are lurkers, duplicate accounts, and bot accounts and so maybe on some grounds, the people who haven't posted anything don't deserve to be included in this analysis. So I did a second analysis that excluded them. This second Lorenz curve is also included with this post (second image).

    We have 614 users with at least one post. Even with this reduced dataset, we have a Gini coefficient of 0.763, still indicating high inequality. In less technical terms, we still have just 4 percent of our members (25 members) producing over 50 percent of our posts.

    Why should we care?

    I see this forum as one of the main hubs for intactivism. When people are interested in learning about the movement and/or are considering becoming active, this is one of the first places they'll go to. Currently, we're on the third page of Google results, but I suspect we'll climb as our numbers grow.

    When so few members are posting so much, their particular views and agendas will naturally bubble to the surface. This is not a specific critique of their views, but rather merely pointing out that they are overrepresented.

    (I'll also take the time to mention that I've included our admins in this analysis. There may be good reason to exclude them because they play an active role in maintaining the forum and naturally tend to post more. If I had excluded them and their posts, it likely would have exhibited even worse posting inequality.)

    I think there is good reason to not strive for perfect equality in our discussion, in which every member posts exactly as much as every other member and our Gini coefficient is zero. Not only is that unrealistic, it would leave newcomers disoriented and might hurt our cause as we would have no semblance of a unified voice.

    However, I hope that in reading this, you've found the level of inequality shocking. We could strip away 99 percent of our members and lose only half of our content here. That's very troubling.

    I'm not offering a solution to this problem. I don't wish to silence anyone. Having said that, I would like the admins to consider this problem and, as members, I encourage most people here to post more and those of us who post most frequently should consider abstaining from some discussion as a courtesy to others.

  • #2
    I have to admit, I'm a little hung over, went to a wake last night. So in no particular order:

    1. There is an old saying that occurred to me when I read your post: "The surest way to harm the common good, is to act on its behalf". I don't think this applies totally, but mostly. You don't know the minds of those members who haven't posted. Really it's that simple. You'd have to take a very long and tedious, and highly inaccurate poll to even approach that. This would make your graphs even more irrelevant in any sort of 1:1 way.

    2. I'll add my old saying "If you wanna get in it, then do it, and if you don't wanna, you don't hafta". In my view that does apply totally. Internet freedom, at least on our level, still exists. I think we should keep it that way. "Freedom" is the right to belong while not posting anything to maintain that membership. That is basic freedom.

    3. When someone uses hyperbole, in this case the use of the word 'shocking', I sit up, because I know that I will find an agenda lurking in the wings. Hyperbole by definition can't lurk silently (it's loud and flashy), so I know I won't have to work at finding that agenda.

    4. Is this site a "hub" for intactivism? Not in my view, and oddly enough, you've pretty much supported my view. This is an assumption you're stating, but then you contradict it. So "hub" nudges up against more hyperbole. Some supporting information would be nice.

    5. "When so few members are posting so much, their particular views and agendas will naturally bubble to the surface. This is not a specific critique of their views, but rather merely pointing out that they are overrepresented".

    I suspect this is the crux of it. The agenda. You say "they" are "over represented", without also referring to their information or ideas. You put it on a personal level, the actual person, the actual member. And you've diminished them with the use of the phrase "overrepresented" (sic). In whose mind are they over represented? Yours? That would make it your opinion, and nothing else. Think about it, you tried to make this "scientific" with graphs, then you ran off the rails when you got kinda personal 'cause it's really "they" and then some perceived over representation, in your mind, that you object to. That's fine, object away, that's what forums are for. I've done a bunch of my objections (I'm sure they don't "bubble" though LOL), you've just done another of yours, so ... let them do theirs when they're ready.

    In my opinion, you could've just said that, without the slight of hand. It would be your opinion. Your opinion does count on a open forum; it's the only entry "fee" required. And as far as I know, you don't even have to be a member. Of course, while "your opinion does count" means it can certainly be spoken by you, it also means it will be discussed. Especially if your opinion makes assumptions that don't fly. That's what I'm doing now, and that's why I'm doing it.

    That's what happened recently for you. Those misogynistic members you claimed, didn't speak up, and now .... what? You want to poke 'em with a stick, see if anything scurries out into the light? Well, go for it, but again in my opinion, you could've just made a simple appeal, an honest and direct appeal, for those with a like view to speak up. So far, they haven't. But what you did instead, was to try to appeal to some imaginary common good, as a banner to wave over your agenda. See what I mean? Com 'on, dude, leave 'em alone; speak for yourself, let them do that when they want to. That would the honest thing to do.

    You, yourself, state that requiring members to post would be a disaster on a practical basis. I agree. Of course this seems to be something to say, to deflect the obvious criticism you'd get if you didn't say it; it's unclear if you actually believe it, because then you say you want a "unified voice". NOBODY HERE WANTS A UNIFIED VOICE. Well, this is my opinion, so I expressed it. Here's why: a unified 'anything' isn't freedom, it's goose stepping. No one individual speaks for all others here. This is a fact that you can't seem to accept. As individuals we inevitably have differences. We should. Your opinion about women, while wrong, is a difference you have from at least some other members, and you're entitled to it, as an opinion. But you'll just have to accept that somebody will speak up against it. From a different view. So forget the silent members; they're an easy target for you to refer to because they are....silent. Forget trying for a so-called "unified" position. Life isn't that simple. And you better forget trying to characterize those who do speak up, or most of us who have spoken up will stay up your tutu, because we have the right. That's what you tried to do, here.

    The funny thing is, in fact we do get members making initial posts from time to time. So I have to ask, why isn't that the expected rate? (Got a graph for it?)

    Now THAT question would've been the real basis to work from. But that would make it science, not personal agenda.
    Last edited by Info; 08-09-2017, 09:55 AM.

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    • #3
      Frankly my dear…I don't give a dam!

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      • #4
        Well, my experience in forums like this, even on different subjects, photography, boating, is that a few are active, most happy to observe. This isn't for instance a face to face meet up, where it is easier to participate and group events that are specifically for participation occur. Even at that, there typically are only a few members in face to face meetings that do the bulk of the organizing.

        I think everyone should be happy to participate at their own speed. Most may lurk, but if that is there comfort level or state of interest in the topics that arise, no worries. I do not see that as a "problem", but as the typical landscape to be expected.

        My understanding of why you feel this is a problem to be addressed is that you feel it becomes harder for activists to learn and become part of the activist movement, and the information on here will be biased, is that correct?

        Regarding activism, I think this may not be the best tool for fostering that. The focus is restoration, and to foster activism, I suggest a better tool would be a group like Intact America.

        Regarding bias, I think that just needs to be recognized. It is hard to reduce bias in a forum like this, unless a way is found to bring more into the conversation.

        Finally, to get more to post and participate, I have no answer other than to create a welcoming environment that makes people feel safe to participate, and to hope that results in more posting by more participants.

        Interesting analysis, but not surprising. Another forum on restoration that I participate has a list of the top ten posters over some time period. The members on the list, and the order do not change very much.

        Regards

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        • #5
          Another great post, from one of the "over represented" members Thanks greg.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Trey47 View Post
            Frankly my dear…I don't give a dam!
            Uh......the word is "damn".

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            • #7
              Dammit info can't you let anything slide…..

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              • #8
                Ever hear the saying "the devil's in the details"? Life takes a certain discipline. And as it turns out, there is a hidden gift in discipline. But the real challenge is to rise above that gift, by knowing when to let something slide, and then letting it do just that. In this case by favoring "dammit" over any other version.

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                • #9
                  Thanks!

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