Forum Update: New Features (October 2021)

by Aaron Gertler1 min read18th Oct 20217 comments

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Effective Altruism Forum
Frontpage

This post covers changes over the last few months. 

We recently added Sarah Cheng and Jonathan Mustin to the Forum’s development team, and they’ve both contributed to the features in this post.

 

Post metrics

It’s finally here! You can now see how many views one of your posts has gotten.

Just click “analytics” next to your post:
 

 

You’ll see this page, but probably with different numbers. (If not, spooky.)

Hover over the graph to see statistics for individual days.

We're planning to add more features based on feedback from authors. If you have a metric you'd like to see added or other feedback, let us know in the suggestion thread or in a private message

 

Updates to the Groups/Events page

We’ve made a few changes to the Groups/Events page:

  • Populating the interactive map with groups and events
  • Adding the option to RSVP for an event
  • Adding the option to share your location, so that we can sort upcoming events based on how close they are
  • Adding many more groups and events to the page
    • For now, we’re handling this on CEA’s end, as this page is very much in beta. Later on, we’ll give users the ability to add their own events.

 

Forum Digest call to action

If you ever scroll through Recent Discussion, you may have seen this already:

The Forum Digest now reaches more than 1700 subscribers. After 54 emails, we’ve had fewer than 100 people unsubscribe, which is a good sign!

People didn’t love the idea of a banner at the top of the front page, so we put it in a less obtrusive place:

The above is our only sidebar banner so far. In the future, we’ll use this space for a variety of resources, and will cycle between them each time you open the frontpage.

Clicking “X” will hide all banners for a month.

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7 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 10:52 PM
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Cool to see post metrics released! Some thoughts:

  1. I saw that for my posts that I viewed the analytics of, even if they were published before June 2021, the graphed "Daily Data" only goes as far back as June 2021. But I thought based on the PR FAQ for this feature that the data is "based on engagement going back to March 30, 2020." So is the "Daily Data" graph only able to show data as far back as June 2021, or is it only able to show the last 4 months? Maybe for posts that were published more than 4 months ago, you can state something like "This graph shows data only for the last 4 months."
  2. For the view counts under "Cumulative Data", how far back does that data go? It might be good for you to state in that section if a post was published earlier than how far back the data goes.
  3. Are you considering launching a "Post Stats" dashboard soon (i.e. within the next 3 months), similar to Medium.com's "Stats" dashboard? It would likely be valuable for authors to view the stats ("All views", "Views by unique devices", and "Views by unique devices, on page for > 10 sec") of multiple posts all in one table. You could also include the karma count in that table. Maybe you can shorten the headers to "Views", "Unique views",  and"Reads" too so it would fit, with tooltips to explain what those headers mean.  (I hope it's alright I'm giving quite specific feedback - I think it helps.)

    I'm attaching below an image of Medium's Stats dashboard for those who aren't familiar with it. The top-half of Medium's stats dashboard also has nice aggregate data on # of views and reads in the last 30 days, and that would be cool to see on the EA Forum too, but that's probably less valuable than just the table view below.

I know you said that you'd like feedback via the feature suggestions thread or via private message, but I thought more people would see it here. If you'd like me to post this on the feature suggestions thread as well, let me know!

Thanks for your feedback, this is super valuable!

Re 1&2, we should definitely add a note about how early the data goes (it does go all the way back to March 2020). Unfortunately the data I felt was most valuable to plot (views by unique devices), we suffered from a data collection issue in the first half of 2021. Fortunately we do have a note that appears on posts older than June 2021, unfortunately it apparently wasn't noticeable.

Re 3, I had not thought of a dashboard like that, but I like the idea a lot, thanks for making it. (I'd be curious if other authors reading this also like it, let us know!)

Glad to hear! Numbering my responses:

  1. To clarify, the data collection issue was in getting the daily # of views by unique devices in the first half of 2021 right? That's unfortunate, but anyway hopefully it doesn't happen again. 
  2. I don't see anything at all about that note on posts older than June 2021. So yes it would be good to mke that noticeable.
  3. Yeah I think this dashboard would be more useful than the current implementation. It would take authors 3 clicks to go see the analytics of their post currently, and it's much more valuable and easier to see in one table which of my posts got more views, reads, and karma. 
  4. In the table or in the individual view, you might even want to include a stat for "read ratio" like Medium does. I wonder though if what the EA Forum should count as a "read" is not just views >10 seconds, but more like a "view where the user spent at least 50% of the estimated time it takes to read that article." An average time people spent on the post could be useful too.
  1. Yep.
  2. Oh, interesting. I think this is a bug related to me viewing the data as an admin. Thanks for the catch.
  3. 👀, still interested in other's view.
  4. Yeah, you can think of what we're measuring as "bounce rate". I was thinking of giving it a relatively "uninterpreted" treatment (ie: leaving the data raw, rather than calculating bounce rate), but I think more interpretation combined with tooltips seems better.

4.5. Re "average time", this turned out to be harder than I expected, so I decided to wait to see if anyone asked for it, but now I have my excuse to spend time figuring it out, mwahaha.

On #3, yeah I'd be interested to hear other's views too.

On #4 and 4.5, ah I see. Personally I think # of reads (i.e. # of views where the user spent at least 50% of the time it takes to read the article) or average time spent would be more interesting to me than the bounce rate, although I'm unsure.

I made some updates that should address a lot of this. Let me know what you think!

Thanks! I think these updates are good. Some thoughts/suggestions:

  1. Maybe instead of saying "unique clients" you can say "unique devices" in the note about the data collection issue.
  2. I'm unsure about how valuable or apt "Views by unique devices > 5 minutes" because some Forum posts take less than 5 minutes to read. So that data point will be irrelevant for those points.
  3. I think some people will not know what "Bounce rate" is, so maybe you still need an icon that people can click or hover on to explain what that means and/or how it's calculated. Maybe you can also say in that tooltip that "The lower the bounce rate, the better".