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tom_g's avatar

Is Fluther losing more users than it gains?

Asked by tom_g (16570 points ) March 20th, 2012

It appears that this might have been asked last year, but it seems especially quiet around here lately. Also, I checked out Alexa and it seems to confirm a drop in traffic.

I took a few months off at the end of last year into this year, and since I have been back it seems a bit quiet.

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32 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

Yes

As far as I know this still has something to do with Google. No one’s spoken about it recently.

Coloma's avatar

I’ve been less active than I have been in the past in recent weeks. I also think the “over capacity” error that went on for the last week up until yesterday has, perhaps, effected users. I noticed a drop in my use/checking in during this time as it was annoying having to navigate in a compromised manner.

Coloma's avatar

@SpatzieLover Interesting. :-)

LuckyGuy's avatar

It’s spring! The birds are chirping. The bees are buzzing. I’m trying to spend time outside (or working).

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy Yes, that too!

wundayatta's avatar

It’s hard for me to tell. I keep seeing new people; names I don’t know. It seems like since the Google flap, things have been at a lower level, but I don’t think it is any particularly lower this week compared to last.

marinelife's avatar

People still seem to be joining.

janbb's avatar

It seems very quiet to me lately; not as many questions or answers.

Sunny2's avatar

I think we’ve lost some of our best question askers. I think it’s hard to think up questions and value the jellies that write good questions.

augustlan's avatar

Technically, no. In the last 24 hours, 52 new people joined the site. About a third of them will be spammers, though. We definitely didn’t lose 52 people in that time frame. However, at higher points, we’ve had upwards of 80 people joining a day. So, there has been a significant drop since Google’s Panda algorithm went into effect.

It’s about spring break time right now, and if I remember correctly it does get slow at that time of year.

tom_g's avatar

Good to hear, @augustlan!

Coloma's avatar

Soooo, it’s only us middle agers and old married folks ey? lol
I can live with that, I’m too old for sporing break anyway. haha

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Coloma Was that Bo-ring Spake?

Coloma's avatar

@Tropical_Willie LOL…yes, I’m too old, my spores are all gone. haha

josie's avatar

In my opinion, Fluther has lost a few important members. Some interesting folks who ran against the grain gave up. Too bad. Can’t tell you about total numbers.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

We’ve lost some longtime users that really participated a lot and picked up a lot of new users, and they don’t tend to participate as much, I think is part of it.

funkdaddy's avatar

If you look at questions, a very high percentage of the answers come from the same people. Traffic has been steady on Alexa for the past three months, but down for the year unfortunately. :(

New people come, ask some questions, and generally leave. A couple new folks stay, a couple old folks leave.

(I’m the lowest lurve score on this question, I’d guess @tom_g is the “newest” and he’s been here almost a year)

Tell your friends.
(or at least a stranger if you don’t want all your dirty secrets getting out)

edit to correct myself (was looking at the shorter time frame on Alexa)

linguaphile's avatar

Some of the jellies who were willing to express profound, varied and interesting opinions don’t participate as much or aren’t here anymore.

‘Fact from fiction, truth from diction,’ some of the most unique jellies might have gotten tired of defending their positions and might not have felt appreciated. I know one Newbie got scared off, and another Newbie didn’t understand the culture here and felt attacked. I think one jelly got bored with offering deep, complicated thoughts and getting fluff in return.

I welcome new jellies and miss departed ones… that’s how this place works.

augustlan's avatar

The tides ebb and flow, but the Fluther abides. :)

tom_g's avatar

“Fluther abides. I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ it’s out there. Fluther. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals.”

linguaphile's avatar

Viva la Fluthre’

erichw1504's avatar

Yippee ki-yay motherfluther!

Paradox25's avatar

Between working the mandatory overtime and spending time practicing baseball with my nephew it has been difficult to find the time to post on here. I do always hope that when a new user joins here that they will offer a bit of dissention though.

SmashTheState's avatar

I can speak only for myself, but my participation here is limited to brief spurts between long absences of six months to a year, determined by the length of time it takes me to forget the outrage and annoyance of being repeatedly censored by prigs, prudes, and humourless authoritarian factotums. For example, I just discovered that a long, thoughtful answer I gave which answered only one part of a multi-part General question was quietly torn up and thrown in the trash by some infuriating busybody who decided that the world needed to be protected from my attempt to communicate my apparently unacceptable views.

I know for a fact that I represent a certain segment of the population because quite a few of my acquaintances, whom I have introduced to Fluther, have had similar experiences and left Fluther entirely. The general consensus I get from them is that Fluther is priggish, prissy, and liberal in the very worst sense of the word. This is why I suspect that my own experience here may be part of the reason that Fluther has declining membership. The chances are very good that my acquaintances share many of my traits; this is why they’re acquaintances. It stands to reason that they would also share my experiences here.

Fluther seems designed, by intent, to appeal to non-conformists. Given the wild right-wing yaw Western culture has undertaken, the post-literate era in which we live, and the growing incapacity for any kind of critical analysis in the general population, Fluther by its nature bucks the intense social pressure for anti-intellectualism. The result of this is that the denizens of Fluther skew educated and literate, which in turn skews liberal and bourgeois. However, Fluther also has rigid rules and a system of censorship which seems based largely on whether a given posting is sufficiently outside the gestalt of Fluther’s user base to provoke moral indignation. This combination of non-conformity with authoritarianism is what gives Fluther its “feel.”

Unfortunately for Fluther, this set of circumstances acts as a Procrustean bed which excludes both the sweating, fly-covered herds of reactionary conformists which ruminate in places like Yahoo Answers and the considerably smaller, but still sizable minority of non-conformists who chafe under rule by authoritarian decree. The tent Fluther has pitched is extremely small. There are a few dozen who can fit comfortably inside – so comfortably that they often express surprise that others believe there is a tent at all – and a few hundred more like me, who can occasionally fit an arm or leg inside, but are otherwise rained upon non-stop. I believe this is why Fluther has difficulty attracting and keeping new members.

augustlan's avatar

@SmashTheState Despite your repeated mentions on this subject, I assure you that Fluther does not remove posts because they represent an unpopular view. Read any spanking, political, or religious question and you’ll see that it’s just not so.

Your long and thoughtful answer was flagged by a member because it did not answer the question (which was in the General section). When we read the question and your answer, we agreed with the flagger’s assessment, so it was removed. If your post had been an answer to a question something like “How do you think mental illness should be treated”, it would have been stayed.

SmashTheState's avatar

@augustlan In re: the specific question this time, I was answering this part of the question: “What else do they do to help alleviate their symptoms?”

But it doesn’t matter, I’ve become accustomed to seeing my questions and answers thrown down the memory hole. And yes, you have all sorts of justifications for censorship, and no, we’re never going to agree that censorship is a wonderful thing. I’m not trying to convince anyone to either stop censoring me (never going to happen) or, more to the point, stop censoring anyone; I’m trying to give what I hope is a useful explanation for why Fluther doesn’t have more users than it does, and why new people who join don’t generally stay, and why people who are here on a regular basis occasionally just pick up and leave.

Every time this subject comes up, there’s a lockstep marching parade of proud Fluther users explaining why I’m full of shit and they’ve never experienced what I have, and therefore I should shut up, go away, die in a fire, or all of the above. And the irony is that their reaction is evidence of what I’ve been trying to explain, that those who fit comfortably into the milieu that Fluther has constructed can’t see why others who don’t fit into Fluther’s tent are complaining about being rained on. I’m not making a value judgement here. I have, in fact, made such a value judgement, and it’s no secret what that is; but I’m not making it here. I’m simply trying to express what seems very clear to me, that the basic ground rules under which Fluther operates marginalizes itself by catering to a specific and very limited segment of the population as I’ve described.

janbb's avatar

@SmashTheState I don’t disagree with what you are saying here. We are a self-limiting group. The question becomes how do you maintain quality as a site if you don’t have writing standards and moderation? I do disagree that unpopular opinions per se are modded off; my opinions are very popular and yet I was modded twice this week. (That was by way of a bit of humor.)

linguaphile's avatar

@SmashTheState I don’t think it’s your opinions that are the problem. Your thoughts really are enlightening and offer a different perspective that I do greatly appreciate. It’s how you say it that has to be worked through to get to what you are saying. It’s almost like you wrap your thoughts in cockleburrs. Sometimes it’s not your thoughts that are upsetting people, but the cockleburrs. Not everything needs a spoonful of sugar, I get that, but often it helps. Just my observation for what it’s worth.

I do agree that we’re a self-limiting group, but at the same time, there are differences in opinion, thought and presentation—I’ve learned so much about how people really think from Fluther—people share thoughts here that they don’t share IRL and that has helped me gain insight into how the people around me might be thinking. I appreciate almost every personality on Fluther because there is something to be learned. Even in small groups, there’s a lot to be learned. I don’t go on any other Q and A sites regularly, for many reasons, and do get annoyed with some threads here on Fluther, but there’s still enough here to keep me coming back everyday. I do get disappointed when jellies leave, and understand their reasons, but I wish they’d stay and keep on contributing because each person, to me, has something interesting to share.

Response moderated
josie's avatar

@SmashTheState I’m with you. All of these Q and A sites have a distinct character to be sure. Fluther’s is a kind of xenophobia.
It sort of reminds me of when the Soviets used to wag their fingers at Westerners and say “Ni kulturni”. Oh well. I quit and came back out of curiosity, so what can I say?

linguaphile's avatar

@josie Glad you’re back and am glad @SmashTheState is here. It’s boring if we’re all agreeing on things!

janbb's avatar

@linguaphile I agree with you!

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