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wundayatta's avatar

What is the impact of a small portion of jellies posting regularly?

Asked by wundayatta (58349 points ) August 1st, 2011

Supposedly there are thousands of jellies. But, based on an unscientific individual survey, it seems to me that less that 300 post regularly, and perhaps even fewer comprise the the group of people who are significantly more active than most other jellies.

As a result, this generally feels like an ongoing conversation between the same old people. Occasionally someone new will drop in a comment, but they rarely make the commitment to participate the way some of the old jellies do.

I would like to know what you think the impact of this participation pattern is. How does it affect the use of the many lurkers? Are we like some kind of soap opera for them? Do they come to enjoy our various voices? Does it make the place somewhat intimidating for new people to participate in? Is there a steep learning curve where if people don’t figure it out fast enough, they start getting the cold shoulder?

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21 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I guess if they’re lurkers, they’re not likely to answer this q, all of a sudden, are they? And I shouldn’t since I am one of the soap opera stars, aren’t I? Fancy!

rOs's avatar

I appreciate all of the wonderful personalities, but sometimes it’s a social popularity contest (get that lurve!) with very little exchange of ideas. However, it can be a revealing social experiment that yields quite a bit of data (just maybe not the data you were looking for).

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

If your assumption were true, then we wouldn’t manage to continue to accumulate lurve points since we’re only able to give a certain amount to each jelly. I believe there’s a healthy level of new participants coming in as evidenced by the growing amount of lurve all around.

wundayatta's avatar

@hawaii_jake I’m sure that’s the case. But still, they are not actively participating in the conversations. The conversations generally have a limited number of the usual suspects. What is the impact of that?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@wundayatta : I suppose I see it differently. I see a good number of new jellies active in the community and in conversations by answering questions and posting some, too. While the majority of questions and answers might come from more seasoned members, I do believe that the newer ones are participating.

If what you say is the case, then we “older” jellies need to go out of our way to welcome newcomers and make them feel a part of the collective. Perhaps that will go far in alleviating the impact you see.

janbb's avatar

I think there is an ebb and flow. I am on here much more irregularly than a year or so ago and I see lots of newer faces each time. People are getting 10K whom I don’t even know!

SpatzieLover's avatar

@wundayatta When I go away, I still come back in here to read and give lurve. I know I’m not the only jelly to do so. It might seem to you like the same people answer, but I go through lots of threads…there are plenty of people I’ve never heard of with GAs.

wundayatta's avatar

Sure, I see new people participating. I’m not saying we don’t have new people. I’m saying that the vast majority of posts are made by the same old regulars. I don’t know why that is, but that’s not my concern for the moment. I’m wondering what effects that has on the general perception of the place. Are these voices that people come back again and again to read, or does it bore people when the same people (for the most part) talk all the time?

picante's avatar

I think the apparent “closeness” of the frequent posters provides a level of comfort here. I would characterize this like a neighborhood where several of the long-time residents know each other well and talk frequently over the fence. The new neighbors come and go—sometimes they stop to visit for a moment, but they know they’re not part of that special group.

I’ve been lurking longer than my account would indicate, and I’ve made a concerted effort to post more frequently as a way of inviting myself to the fence. I doubt that I’ll ever be seen as a frequent poster, and I don’t have the time (or don’t make the time) to invest heavily in the site. I’m very thankful that when I do drive by, I see so many familiar faces standing at the fence. Thank you for your frequent posts!

_zen_'s avatar

Impact? None whatsoever. Though I agree with your calculations. I think the General section is more relevant, and because of google et al – reaches a greater audience. Plus Facebook.

Meta and Social – yeah, it’s an ongoing conversation between a few jellies.

cookieman's avatar

I’m fairly certain the lurkers are hanging on my every word. ~

FutureMemory's avatar

@zen What is this General section you speak of?

Hibernate's avatar

A few post regularly but I know for a fact there are hundreds of others that just read and observe. They don’t share to much but they know a lot about the rest.

cookieman's avatar

It’s almost like we’re fish…no jellyfish – in an aquarium being observed.

janbb's avatar

@cprevite And being fed cookies?

YARNLADY's avatar

There may be a bit of a turn over. For instance, I used to answer dozens of questions every single day, but I’m down to about a half dozen a day. I barely recognize the majority of people who are answering frequently the last couple of months.

augustlan's avatar

There always seems to be a core group of members at any given time, but it changes over time. When I first joined three years ago, the ‘regulars’ were a different group of people, and I (obviously) wasn’t one of them. Some of the core stays the same, like @gailcalled, while the rest shifts over time. I can’t really say how that affects all new-comers, but I never felt unwelcome when I was new. I only lurked for a short time, but I didn’t see it as a soap-opera or anything. I was just kind of learning the ropes before I dove in.

Newcomers (the ones who stay) eventually integrate into the core, while some old-timers drift away. I think of it as a living, growing, ever-changing organism. On the whole, I think it’s a positive.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

How does it affect the use of the many lurkers? This is impossible to answer since they lurk. Until they come out and share their view, we don’t have a way of knowing what their opinion is.

Are we like some kind of soap opera for them? I can only speak from experience. It doesn’t seem like a soap opera to me. Yes, there is the occasional drama. It just seems to happen so infrequently that the site wouldn’t be considered in that way.

Do they come to enjoy our various voices? Does it make the place somewhat intimidating for new people to participate in? Yes, Fluther can be intimidating. The strong online bonds between the members is quite obvious in a fair amount of posts. It can come in the form of ridiculing a new member’s post. It can also happen when they are ignored. The thick-skinned members are the ones that seem to stick around.

Is there a steep learning curve where if people don’t figure it out fast enough, they start getting the cold shoulder? If we rule out the trolls and spammers, then yes, there are still a handful that do not understand the guidelines. It would help if there was some type of tutorial that new members could take if they wanted to participate.

Personally, I’d like to witness a more welcoming environment to the new members. It would also include less public banter by those comfortable with the regular members, as I think that might be an intimidating factor. It would be a shame to have someone back away from contributing because they felt intimidated by our responses and online relationships. There are a lot of valuable life lessons to be learned here by sharing perspectives, whether a member ultimately agrees or not.

_zen_'s avatar

Maybe there should be a section devoted to them?

GENERAL SOCIAL JUST FOR YOU META N00BS

dannyc's avatar

Observation can sometimes be good. I sometimes just read answers to learn. Questions take a lot of effort and risk. Some people can be a bit intimidated by the very smart and at times critical responses, thus avoid same. The impact is less response, but more intelligent response. It all depends on your perspective as that being positive or negative. In life, I sometimes learn a lot from crazy people.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

The impact of a small group participation is that an artificial voice get attached to the Fluther collective. The make up of the collective is not fully known because many don’t weigh in on who they are. The conversation is quite predictable because there are few new and different voices heard. I can see those stopping in just to ask a question about a need of theirs and not anything out of pure curiosity, becoming “lurkers” when they see how snide and nasty the “regulars” are to each other and seemingly have little respect for the opinion made by another. That is aside from seeing those harboring some grudge because they don’t like what was said or how it was presented. I would be weary jumping into a tread if I thought I would be tag-team bashed or that someone will take offence to something I said as my opinion. Some people don’t have the heart in them to go to war. Some may feel they don’t know enough about all the different subjects to make a contribution. I pass a lot of questions I don’t know enough about less to make an opinion that would have no logical stance in the question, so I pass. Fluther seem like a friendly place starting out, been told that many times over the years, but very few stick around as active. Their account is still up, but they haven’t been back in many months.

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