Diminishing retention rates

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I find the chart confusing--plotting quantity against percentages is not easy to interpret.

What I see is normal growth over time. I would expect the absolute number of editors to rise, and the retention rate to decrease.

By it's nature, editing is a 'as I have time' thing, and it competes with other activities.

I'd like to know retention numbers, and how retention is measured--since it is possible for someone to be very active in bursts, which can leave gaps in participation of over 1 month.

Making a WYSIG editor will be useful--learning how to use the editing system has a moderate learning curve which undoubtedly prevents some participation.

The ratio appears to be asymptotic., 11 March 2011

I don't think anyone is saying that the trends are particularly unnatural in the evolution in the project. It's just that we're seeing negative effects from these trends, whatever their origin, and that we think the Foundation and community at large can do things about it to reverse the trend and be more open again.

Steven Walling at work22:16, 11 March 2011

The red line in the chart represents percentage of 1-year retention. The red line should be as close to a straight horizontal line as possible. That would mean that overtime, the same percentage of people stay for a year or longer in WP. What you see in the chart is that over time stay at WP for a year or more.

The blue line is telling us how many active editors there are in WP, showing a sharp increase during the first half of the evaluated period and a slow decrease trend during the second period. While the total number of active editors in WP has increased over time, starting in 2007 this number has started to decline slowly. But most importantly, this line is here to give us context. It shows that while total number or active editors increased, the percentage of them staying for at least a year has decreased. That means that if we would draw a green line showing the total number of editors that leave WP, i.e. that become inactive editors, that line would be much, much higher than the blue one.

In other words, on March 2007, when WP had the highest number of active editors (around fifty-five thousand) and was keeping 15% of them for a year or longer, WP had lost eighty-five thousand editors. What this is telling us is that there is a core of fifteen thousand to ten thousand active editors that stay in WP, while all new comers leave after a year. In other words the destiny of WP is at the hands of 10% of the editors. The rest just leave.

To answer one of your specific questions:

  • As by the chart, I interpret 1-year retention as a user that stops making contributions after one year. So if he would contribute today, and then again in 2 years, he would not be in this category.

Asinthior 15:52, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Asinthior15:52, 17 May 2011

This is a great discussion with many excellent ideas. Perhaps the creator could create a summary. It seems to me that the strongest ideas here are about making the deletion process more difficult to initiate; and imposing some sort of penalty on deletions that fail; and marking editors who delete more than they create. I also like building a "deletion proof" form for readers to check if they find the article truly worthwhile.

Imersion13:52, 21 May 2011