modest proposal + supertopo analytics + rogers pass


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Mountain climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 13, 2013 - 11:22pm PT
Top 13ish Most Frequent Posters [while active and as of Feb. 5, 2013]

Name/ Average Number of Posts per Day [d=deactivated]

Aleister Crowley/ 22.5 [d]
Dr. F./ 13.1
locker/ 12.5 [temp-d]
Ron Anderson/ 11.8
LEB/ 10.5 [d]
Fattrad/ 10.4 [d]
mighty hiker/ 9.8 [self-d]
captain.. or skully/ 9.5
bluering/ 8.8
Jaybro/ 8.6
reilly/ 6.9
rokjox/ 6.5 [d]
survival/ 6.3

what does this mean? it means that for example in the case of LEB, she posted an average of 10.5 times each and every day from the day of her first post to the day her avatar was deactivated.

why top13? itís a nice round number and it just happened to be all of the posters that i found who averaged more than 6 posts per day while they have been or were still active. [i limited this search to the top 40 or so most prolific posters - if youíre interested in where this original list came from continue reading the post following this one]

why am i posting this list? rather than give an immediate answer iíll jump to the following modest, but likely controversial, proposal:

would supertopo benefit from a per user daily post limit?

[what this exact number would be, is debatable. but for the sake of this argument say a maximum of somewhere between 7 and 12 posts per user per day. this would also have to include deletions.]

before you dismiss this suggestion, as just the latest attempt to place unnecessary structure on supertopo, consider the following positives:

1. it would encourage people to create higher quality and more considered posts.
2. it would encourage people to focus their posts on threads where they had the most to contribute to.
3. small groups of people who wanted to argue [or in general have more personal communications] would have motivation to do so via personal messaging and email.
4. most importantly it would significantly reduce a single users ability to monopolize an individual thread.

as far as downsides, frankly iím not really seeing any [as long as the number was not so low that it was cramping a lot of positive users style Ė how low was too low would therefore be a very important question]. there are very few potential downsides because ultimately this type of rule would effect very, very, very few contributors.

iím with the apparent majority here and think a large part of what makes this board click is itís anarchic simplicity. still, the more i look at these numbers and a lot of what has wasted both the supertopo ďeditorsĒ time and those trying to pick through individual threads time, the more sense this proposal makes to me.

the point of this isnít to suggest that everyone on the list or everyone who posts many times a day, everyday, is a ďbadĒ poster. to be clear, imo there is not a single person on that list who has not at times been a positive contributor to supertopo. a few are even among those, who i consider to be, the most consistently worthwhile contributors.

rather, the point is that maybe this board would benefit from a structure that bolstered the proposition that a large part of what makes this information source so compelling is the incredible range and depth of the individual voices contributing.

when supertopo was just starting out and had 100ís or even just 1000ís of contributors, the ability for an individual avatar to create posts without restraint would have been a positive and likely even crucial contributor to this boards ability to survive. otoh, at this point in the boards history i would suggest the ability a single user has to monopolize a thread that hundreds, or even thousands of other individual users have contributed to is the single biggest roadblock holding this board back from being an even more compelling information source than it already is. the only reason i can see for not considering a post limit is an attachment to a wild west supertopo era when there were relatively few users moseying about on the virtual plain. for better or worse the virtual campfire is no longer as small as it once was.

so, what say you? am i missing something?

if you agree that a limit would be a good idea, what would be a good limit?

and if these numbers suggest something else or nothing at all to you, i hope youíll post that up as wellÖ

if you like numbers continue on to the next post and a further explanation of how i stumbled across this idea. otherwise iím hoping the hounds, for better or worse, will be released on this idea Ö

tl;dr: Do you think it would be a good idea for Supertopo to have a maximum number of posts that any single avatar can contribute per day?

Mountain climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2013 - 11:23pm PT
Top 20ish most prolific posters as of Feb. 5, 2013

Name/ Total Posts [d=deactivated]

locker/ 36830 [temp-d]
fattrad/ 33709 [d]
Jaybro/ 29414
mighty hiker/ 24116 [self-d]
Dingus Milktoast/ 21817
LEB/ 21709 [d]
WBraun/ 21365
bluering/ 20675
Dr. F./ 19345
captain..or skully/ 17234
Ron Anderson/ 16748
rokjox/ 16073 [d]
Karl Baba/ 14964
nature/ 14805
Ed Hartouni/ 14670
survival/ 12155
Tarbuster/ 11552
philo/ 11371
standing strong 3980 + t*r 7344/ 11324 [d]
mechrist 935 + weschrist 10030/ 10965 [d/2]

Based on the above the most prolific posters accounted for the following percentages of the total 1944516 posts [as of Feb. 5, 2013]:

top poster: 1.9% of all posts or 1/ every 53 posts
top 3 posters: 5.1% of all posts or 1/ every 20 posts
top 10 posters: 12.7% of all posts or 1/ every 8 posts
top 20 posters: 19.6% of all posts or 1/ every 5 posts

this is the top 20ish and not the top 20 because itís based solely on my best guesses as to who the most prolific posters are. i checked the profiles of about 40 of the users i recollect seeing here the most often and of those that i checked, these were the top 20. there are likely users that i have forgotten or who were prolific before i started lurking and then posting here. that said, iím betting i likely have a majority of the top posters. and while it might change the names and bump the percentages up a little bit i doubt it would make a drastic difference to the post percentages that the top 1,3,10, and 20 posters are responsible for. [if youíve got a higher total than this and want to take your place among the most fecund, post up and iíll make a correction.]

so why did i do this? this started with my thinking about the analysis aaron swartz did regarding wikipedia a few years back. he found that while the analysis wikipedia founder jimmy wales had done, that found about 0.7% of users were responsible for 50% of the edits, was correct, it was actually more complex than that. while it was true that the bulk of the edits were done by the same people, when one took into account who had changed the most letters it actually showed a more diverse range of significant contributors. in short it showed that the major contributors to each individual article were quite varied and that those contributions were then minorly edited for grammar/spelling/etc numerous times by the same core group of people.

while thinking about this i became curious what a similar set of statistics would look like for supertopo.

so to continue, according to urlpulse supertopo has had an average of about 3000 individual users per day and according to quantcast supertopo has had an average of about 15000 individual users every month for the last 6 months.

now this is where it gets significantly handwavey again. given that these stats donít go very far back and are not based on direct measurement i have to make a bit of a wild guess as to what the average monthly usership over the lifetime of supertopo has been. while this is really only good to an order of magnitude my guess is that it would probably drop to at most an average of about 4000 unique users [not necessarily contributors] per month as an average during the 10 or so years that supertopo has been around.

using this provisional guess 20/4000 or 0.5% of monthly users are responsible for 19.6% of the posts. these 20 users would therefore be about 400 times more prolific than the average user.

does this tell us anything we wouldnít have expected from the outset? from what i see, not really: a relatively small minority of the posters are responsible for a large majority of the contributions. this is just as one would expect and is, also likely, necessary for the survival of a compelling board.

i also havenít shown what swartz showed for wikipedia: that while a few posters contribute most of the individual posts, when one accounts for the depth and breadth of a single contribution the range of contributor becomes larger [think adatesmanís recent hydraulic post where suddenly hydraulics expert hillrat came out of the woodwork]

if a person wanted to prove the above point theyíd have to continue on with an analysis of individual threads looking to see who was actually contributing the bulk of the original material. iíve seen enough for the time being that i suspect my initial suspicions are correct [and iíve also spent too much time looking at all of this, already. haha.]

my assumption is that like wikipedia, supertopo benefits from an interplay between two overlapping groups of users:
1. a core group of users who generally make small but frequent comments on a large number of threads.
2. a wide range of users who draw on a breadth of expertise to make relatively infrequent but often more in depth contributions to the campfire.

iím arguing that a somewhat balanced interplay between frequent/core and infrequent/breadth contributor is what drives the vitality of this board.

but, the reason i decided to type all of this up is due to what happened next. while all of the above was relatively expected, what i did find suggestive was when i then went and looked at when people started posting [and if they have been deactivated when they stopped posting] and did a calculation of the average daily number of posts that the top 20 posted [+ a handful of those i suspected of high post rates]. what resulted is what i documented in the post previous to this one.

and to recap the point of that post what iím arguing is that the point where the anarachy of supertopo falls apart is when an individual user monopolizes what has become an oftentimes profound and/or entertaining board.

[if you made it this far, thanks for taking time to read all of this Ö iím almost done Ö look down Ö youíve almost made it Ö]

Mountain climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2013 - 11:23pm PT
finally, there are going to be those of you who have no interest in any changes to the st board. for you i have brought rogers pass ski touring photos as penance for all of the preceding text and its obnoxious lack of caps. haha.:

hermit meadows
hermit meadows
Credit: nah000

view towards mt. macdonald
view towards mt. macdonald
Credit: nah000

below hermit meadows
below hermit meadows
Credit: nah000

towards lookout mtn.
towards lookout mtn.
Credit: nah000

mt. sir donald as background
mt. sir donald as background
Credit: nah000

Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 13, 2013 - 11:29pm PT
While you are setting "limits".. I'd suggest a word limit per post. ;).

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Feb 13, 2013 - 11:37pm PT
Lol, good one maidy!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 14, 2013 - 12:04am PT
In my view, you have not established that there is a problem with some people "posting too much".
I haven't seen any examples of a person "monopolizing" a topic, although I do not look at political threads.

A posts per day limit would be bad if it limited contributions from those who make many informative posts, such as WBraun.

Your statistics are not appropriate to a "posts per day" limit, because they average across many days where the person probably had zero posts. You could try recomputing average posts per day using days with nonzero posts.

More users for your 10k post list:
Toker Villain 17380
Mungeclimber 13083
neebee 11776
MisterE 10201

Ice climber
the ghost
Feb 14, 2013 - 12:16am PT
Perforce: One post per thread per user per day (per supertopo of course)
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Feb 14, 2013 - 12:19am PT
Well I can see I've been mightily slacking lately......:D lynnie
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Feb 14, 2013 - 12:43am PT
Social engineering does have a long history of success.

I think everyone should get only 3 words a day, given on a lottery basis, by a smart person who is changed daily.

Or you could post up limitless great shots of skiing at Rodger's Pass!

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Feb 14, 2013 - 12:53am PT
"I think everyone should get only 3 words a day,"


Mountain climber
Feb 14, 2013 - 01:06am PT
Earning our turns in the Selkirks.
Earning our turns in the Selkirks.
Credit: kunlun_shan

Social climber
Feb 14, 2013 - 01:21am PT

I will soon be passing my top position to a younger, more vibrant poster...

Age and the fact that Annie is all washed up has my demise on the horizon...

photo not found
Missing photo ID#289583

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Feb 14, 2013 - 11:33am PT
LOL, Frickin LOL.

Boulder, CO
Feb 14, 2013 - 11:38am PT
sweet... I made the cut!

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Feb 14, 2013 - 11:44am PT
I didn't even make the top 20.

Boulder, CO
Feb 14, 2013 - 11:45am PT
been here 8.74 years. 14800+ posts. 4.3 posts/day

and to think I'm crushed by LEBtard on both fronts.

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Feb 14, 2013 - 11:48am PT
I love math.

Got a couple of degrees in it.




Social climber
Feb 14, 2013 - 11:50am PT

Somebody was obvioulsy VERY, VERY, VERY, bored...

or an OCD freak of some sort...

or BOTH...

(EDITED: With a "CONTROLING" attitude tossed in for GUD measure)...


Ice climber
the ghost
Feb 14, 2013 - 12:01pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#289604
Ursus Major & Video Peak from NRC gully

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Feb 14, 2013 - 12:10pm PT
Zombie Apocalypse Modeling*

Credit: Ihateplastic

*Yes idiots, she is an adult.
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