moderator survey can yield much information

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by David Lyga, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    I have held surveys in the past regarding how old the various members/subscribers currently on APUG are. That is simple to do, as we all contribute such data.

    But a far more revealing demographic would be for the moderators to add to this knowledge: Thus I challenge them.

    Question one: During the past dozen years or so, has the overall APUG membership/subscribership INCREASED or DECREASED? (The answer to this will be especially revealing because if it has merely stayed the same, that bodes well for analog, as digital has literally taken photography away from analog during that important time frame.)

    Question two: Are most NEW members/subscribers young or older? (This says a lot about the future viability of analog, especially if there is a great percentage of new people here who grew up with digital.)

    And PS moderator, can you correct my spelling of the word 'yield' on the title!!! - David Lyga
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Why "challenge" and not just ask? There's no need to take such an antagonistic stance here.

    Moderator will not have the answer for your question 2 as they do not ask that question when people join in.
    Answer to question 1 is "increased". People join and never officially leave. They just stop participating. Thus, as new members join, they just get added to the old base.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Only Sean could tell you anything like that. The moderators won't have that kind of access and even then there's no age given when you join nor the level of skill.

    Ian
     
  4. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Because, only the moderator will have access to the number registered, tkamiya. No antagonism intended. Number two is more subjective, true, in that one would get a feeling for the age, perhaps. Regardless, moderators 'see' more than we do. - David Lyga
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Actually, only the site owner has access to some of what you are interested in.

    And David, you could always subscribe yourself, in which case you would be confident in knowing that the number of subscribers was increased by at least one. :whistling:
     
  6. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    :smile:
     
  7. moose10101

    moose10101 Member

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    I can assure you that no one has taken away my cameras, film or paper. Not "literally"; not figuratively; not any other "ly". I'm confident that this is true for the vast majority of APUGers.

    Did you literally mean "literally"?
     
  8. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    Personally, I interpreted the word "challenge" as more of a literary tool than antagonistic comment toward the moderators. Words can have different meanings based on context.

    I believe the information you seek would be interesting, but would also be difficult to truly learn. There are too many confounding variables.

    For example, I never put personal information on the web, including gender, age, "race," sexuality, religiosity, etc. Many people make a similar, conscious, decision to remain as anonymous as possible online. Personally, I enjoy observing what "cues" people use in attempts to ascertain the previously mentioned demographic data. (Sidebar: It is to their credit that the board administrators do not require that sort of information.)

    At the top of the page is the number of total members. I know some BBS software will show number of users active for the past x number of days, but I don't think those automatically break it down for a yearly totals.

    However, if we had the number of active users per year, it may reflect the popularity of a BBS, how well known it is, and how involved those users are more than reveal general user trends for a particular product. I'd briefly been on one automotive BBS that had a mass exodus to a new board that was operated by, shall we say, more level-headed people than the former. So the numbers would have been quite confusing, and unrepresentative, in a case like that.

    Numbers could also be inflated because of a thread where people may feel compelled to join a board just to comment, like the Herculiner thread (may not be suitable for young children, though not obscene) of yet another automotive board.
     
  9. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Agree, although Sean did say this recently:


    Per
    http://www.apug.org/forums/viewpost.php?p=1239398
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sean has the membership/active user stats. The moderators can estimate, but Sean has the numbers. We don't collect age or other demographic information, which in principle would be useful for advertising sales, but given the nature of the site, I don't think we're going to start selling ads for non-photographic products based on the demographics of the site (and given the demographics of the site, what exactly would those products be? "APUG brought to you by...Viagra").

    In general, my feeling from what I know from Sean and from what I've observed is that new members per month and active members per month have steadily increased over time. I don't know if it's easy for Sean to graph those figures, but they would be interesting.
     
  11. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Good sponsor idea. "When you're tired of working with a soft focus lens"
     
  12. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I sort of enjoy this site and other forums on Internet because we don't have to even think about age, race, social class, income, sexual orientation, gender, religion, political affiliation, etc, etc, etc that in normal everyday life, someone often gets offended for whatever reasons. On this site, everyone is a photographer, and film enthusiast. That's all I need to know.
     
  13. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    moose10101: literally 'taken away' I admit is a bit subjective here. But you must admit that when the baby was ready to exit the womb, it certainly SEEMED that way! Popular Photography and Shutterbug lost no time in 'unremembering' over one hundred years of analog.

    David Goldfarb: It would be interesting and enticing to have an optional 'age' field on new memberships (as well as an addendum for existing ones). This could impart much.

    And tkamiya, although the 'political correctness' part might be appealing to you and others, the net result of actually knowing how old newcomers are would be mighty informative towards understanding just how healthy analog really is. New blood does mean something here and I think that that posits political sensitivities as clearly subordinate. There is more to life than self-esteem, dear. - David Lyga
     
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  15. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    In my opinion the trend has been moving younger, but that doesn't mean they are young, more like middle aged. A noticeable share of introductions are from people "returning" to analog, or discovering after some time with other things. I think it is important to note that this information is merely a generalization. We have all sorts of participants. Trends have a way of being unreliable indicators, as many aren't recognized until they are in full swing. Other sorts of trends are sometimes other things than they appear. Also, the sample size here is very small, so an exogenic event, for example an instructor recommending APUG in class, can change the "trend" very discernibly.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2013
  16. batwister

    batwister Member

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    I can't stop that cynical part of my brain thinking the increase in members are just people herding to try and grab the last piece of pie, so to speak.
     
  17. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    The problem with being cynical is that the world very often proves one right.:wink:
     
  18. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    I occasionally use the "spy" function to catch the drift of conversations on the forum. I am encouraged by the number of "new member introductions" that scroll by on a regular basis. And yes, reading the posts of new members it appears that the younger demographic is well represented.
    That's about all the navel-gazing I'm up to today. It's too nice outside to be sitting here talking about taking photographs instead of actually doing it.

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  19. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    Does this BBS give the option for an anonymous poll embedded in a thread? That might be interesting.

    I am a night person and really enjoy being online late. This board doesn't seem to get much activity after 11 p.m. EST in the U.S.
    For an unscientific subjective opinion, using stereotypes (the universe revolves around the U.S., old people go to bed early, etc.), the dearth of late-nite posting would suggest most of us are well over 50:whistling:

    (Before I get flamed, that was a JOKE.)
     
  20. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Why spy? Just curious. I do similar just be opening and reading threads. What advantage is there to spy mode?
     
  21. David Brown

    David Brown Member

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    That's because those two publications (and others) exist to sell advertising and product reviews. They are hardly textbooks or historical documents.

    Yes. We had similar discussion back when there were only 30K, 40K, or 50K "members". The 63K+ number only means that number of individuals visited the site once and signed up. At any given time, there are probably only a couple of hundred folks who are actually active on the board. A few years ago, when we could access the member list, I did an analysis to see how many "members" had only ever posted once, or not at all. I don't remember the exact numbers, but it was significantly high!

    All of the local photographers that I "met" through apug years ago, and still know and see, have for the most part stopped posting.* This is not a complaint, just an observation and statement of the situation. On the plus side, even though I can name dozens who have come and gone (and there are probably 1000's worldwide) almost all of these folks still shoot film, they just ran their course on apug.

    My point is: we probably cannot accurately gauge the health of chemical photography based on apug. We wish we could, and this sort of discussion comes up periodically, but I don't think it will ever hold up statistically. :confused:

    * just a couple of weeks ago, I was with a group of 11 local photographers, and when I mentioned apug, one remarked that I had really "stuck it out" here.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2013
  22. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Many of my students tell me film and chemical photography is cool. It's a totally new experience for them and the closest thing to magic.
     
  23. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I guess because they've not been around that long themselves, so it's easy.

    The British Journal of Photography still covers analog but then they have a 160 year old heritage of reporting objectively about all aspects of photography :D

    Ian
     
  24. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    Popular Photography, Science, Psychology, Mechanics, etc. have always covered what is... popular. I don't feel these magazines were ever accurate reflections of the subjects they cover.
    I've found them interesting, but even when I was into whatever it was that one of these magazines covered, they never really did it in a way that I found useful. They were good for learning what is going on, contain some "how-tos," but rarely helped with what I was doing - even if I was doing exactly what they covered. At least Reader's Digest is "up front" with what it is.

    When I was about 14 I found some very old Popular Mechanics from before my time. I remember seeing "plans" to build an hover-craft (and of course wanted one). It was popular subject at the time of publication, but few actually wanted to build one. At the time of these publications, many fathers built their children go-carts with old lawn-mower engines, but through three years of this subscription, none of these old issues even mentioned that.

    I'm also reminded of a mid-80s Popular Electronics that had plans to use a VCR camera to build a picture phone, as that subject was all the rage at the time.
     
  25. batwister

    batwister Member

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    OMG!! Kids used to go outside!?
     
  26. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    From what I've heard. I always preferred to be in the air conditioning watching TV, so I guess I was ahead of my time. Nowadays it seems they don't want kids outside much because they feel it's suddenly unsafe - that seedy little star with it's nasty UV rays. :smile: