When I was on #CMGRHangout a little over a week ago, I said I would be interested to know if members who post an introduction in our introductions forum were more likely to become active contributors.
My friend Chrispian Burks wrote some database queries for me that allowed me to look at the KarateForums.com database. KarateForums.com is a mature community with a lot of data to play with, so it makes a great example for communities like it – focused, niche interest communities.
You can check out the data below. I decided to look at members with a certain post count or higher and then see what percentage of them posted a thread in the introductions forum. The data isn’t perfect, but it is pretty close.
Limitations of the Data
Let’s review the caveats. A member could have posted a thread in the introduction forum that wasn’t an introduction (we’d generally move it to the proper forum). On the other hand, a member could have posted an introduction in a different forum and we didn’t move it to the introductions forum (we normally would). I am sure there are some cases of that, but there aren’t many and they most likely cancel each other out.
There are also cases where people introduce themselves as part of the first discussion they start. Those discussions would go in the most appropriate forum, which is not the introductions forum.
As a reminder, this only recognizes that the member has posted an introduction – not when they did it. So, theoretically, they could have done it after they had 200, 400, 600 or 2,000 posts. But these instances are very, very infrequent. And when you talk about great contributors, you are talking about quality, not quantity. What we are measuring here is post count. That said, more often than not, a high post count contributor – someone who sticks around long enough to reach higher numbers – is a valued contributor. At least on our community.
Still, with all of that accounted for, you can look at these percentages as a minimum. These are the minimum percentages of people who posted in the introductions forum and it is probably slightly higher in most cases.
Minimum Post Count
Members Who Did
Members Who Didn't
Percentage That Did
Percentage That Didn't
What does the data tell me? On KarateForums.com at least, yes, members who start a thread in our introductions forum are more likely to go to to be active contributors. For the most part, the higher their post count goes, the more likely they are to have introduced themselves.
This makes sense to me and I suspect it will be true for a majority of communities. For some, it will not. Even if the general principle tends to be true, the numbers will scale in different ways for different communities.
To illustrate this, I ran this data over at PhotoshopForums.com. For all members who have made at least 1 post, only 6.4364% have posted an introduction, versus 19.2545% at KarateForums.com. There is an easy explanation for this: PhotoshopForums.com is largely a support community. People get what they want and leave and are less inclined to want to stay. Hence, they don’t introduce themselves. But when you get over 50 posts, past those casual interactions, the number jumps to 52.1428%.
An introduction forum serves as a useful gateway into your community – an easy win for those who are more likely to stay.