More useless nonsense

Arantor

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More useless nonsense
« on June 19th, 2013, 05:50 AM »
So, long story short, as part of what I'm doing out here in the US, I'm building a website for it and it's an SMF install[1] with a ported WP theme[2]

And so while I'm gutting SMF's shonky old markup (and dear god it is, I forgot how far we came with it), I got to thinking. Yes, really, all this build up for a small point.[3]

On the board index we have:
Most Online Today: 25. Most Online Ever: 98 (July 7th, 2012, 08:52 AM)

or similar. I want it gone. I see no reason to keep the maximum number of people online today (which is guests + members + bots), nor do I see a need to keep the most online ever stat. They only serve as a 'we were this busy at > this < time'. Which if the record was set some time ago, could be a problem.[4]

I just see no reason to keep it. It's logic we don't need, queries we can save on the board index, etc.
 1. Needs stability, I won't be able to babysit it all the time, nor will the people taking it on after I'm done be as technically minded as I am so maintenance needs to be easy.
 2. Porting a WP theme was easier when I stopped trying to look at the PHP. There's no licence issue here because I'm not distributing the result. GPLv2 is awesome in that respect.
 3. It's a bit of a liberty for my 14kth post but what are you going to do about it? In response to the comment about displaying it as 14k, I have no problem with that. When you're < 1000 posts, each post matters. When you get to the thousands, nothing nearer than the hundreds mark even matters. 13.9k to 14k matters. 13k to 13.1k is an indication of progress, in a way that 13099 to 13100 isn't. I'd be quite happy to see post counts formatted that way in main display.
 4. Especially if your figures happen to be: Most Online Today: 1,555. Most Online Ever: 3,726 (January 18, 2008, 10:00:17 PM)
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spoogs

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Stick a fork in it SMF

Auk

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Re: More useless nonsense
« Reply #2, on June 19th, 2013, 07:29 AM »
Could make it optional then, or move it to being a plugin? I understand website authors likes to brag how awesome their website is. I wouldn't like for the message to appear there which screams "a forum living on borrowed time".

Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.

Powerbob

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Dragooon

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The way it's meant to be

Arantor

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Re: More useless nonsense
« Reply #5, on June 19th, 2013, 05:05 PM »
I wouldn't even bother with a plugin. To me it is not merely superfluous information. If you have it present, you need to be consistently growing over time otherwise it's going to make life harder.

Let me give you a few examples.

phpBB.com:
Quote
Most users ever online was 8680 on Mon Mar 19, 2007 1:28 am
(doesn't list the most online today)


community.invisionpowercom
Quote
8,629 Most Online
(with a tooltip for the date, 01 May 2013, doesn't show the most online today)


mybb.com (using May 2013 snapshot because their site is currently down)
Quote
The most users online at one time was 1,777 on 08-11-2012 at 03:05 AM
(again, doesn't show the most online today)


simplemachines.org
Quote
Most Online Today: 1,594. Most Online Ever: 3,726 (January 18, 2008, 10:00:17 PM)
Which of these is growing? Which of these is not growing?

When you're a little forum, you're likely to be growing (if you're actually growing it) in a fashion where this is useful. When you're a medium sized forum or larger, you *need* to keep growing at a semi-constant pace to keep this value bumped. In other words once you go beyond 'small', this is problematic rather than helpful, and the longer it is since you last peaked, the more clear it is that you're not really growing.

The fact that SMF peaked 5 years ago and phpBB peaked 6 years ago is suggestive of their relative states of growth and activity. (XenForo doesn't even have it)

This is why I'd suggest removing it rather than making it a plugin; there is not really a situation where it's actually helpful.

Nao

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Re: More useless nonsense
« Reply #6, on June 19th, 2013, 06:21 PM »
Have an argument in its defense. Please wait until I'm on my PC.

In the meantime... why not simply show this only to admins..? Problem solved...

Hristo

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Re: More useless nonsense
« Reply #7, on June 19th, 2013, 06:44 PM »
Does this mean you want to remove the "Most Online" column on Forum History stat's page? If yes, then I do not like the idea. As an admin I would like to see that. It could be useful info when you do advertising etc...
But I really do like the idea if it's accessible only for admins.

Arantor

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Re: More useless nonsense
« Reply #8, on June 19th, 2013, 09:27 PM »
@Nao: Why bother? It's not a stat that is meaningful. Dropping the line entirely means saving queries and stuff.

@Hristo: No, that is not what I said. I said the line specifically on the info centre, I even quoted which line I meant.

Mind you, while we're on the subject, the entire concept of 'most online' is a meaningless figure that makes no sense and cannot possibly be accurate and should be excluded.

I would note that XenForo not only doesn't have that figure, doesn't even track it historically and no-one asks for it that I can find.

See, here's the thing. Those people who don't care about the visitor count aren't going to care that it's gone, and those people who do actually care aren't going to use it anyway because they're going to integrate Google Analytics and/or Piwik or similar.

xrunner

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Re: More useless nonsense
« Reply #9, on June 19th, 2013, 10:46 PM »
Well here's the line off of my forum -

Most Online Today: 83. Most Online Ever: 238 (August 13, 2008, 04:15:51 AM)

There really weren't 83 meaningful entities online today. No way. Maybe 10 at most "real" members. So yea that number is useless to me.

Most online ever? It just makes it appear that the forum used to be busy but now isn't anymore. People who don't understand it think "Wow dude, your forum used to kick ass and now look - there only eight members online as compared with 238 at one time :lol:


[1]
 1. plus if it's gone you won't have anal retentive people asking if there should be spaces after the parenthesis (ask Arantor for further clarification on this matter :lol:)

Arantor

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Re: More useless nonsense
« Reply #10, on June 19th, 2013, 11:32 PM »
This is exactly what I mean. There is no circumstance where this number is actually meaningful. Incidentally the same deal applies to the stats page too - and why it shouldn't be tracked at all there either.

The whole 'used to be active' deal is a problem and having it on the full stats is just as much of a problem. In fact, probably worse because you're going to be fixated on that crap rather than dealing with the important stuff, more like the number of posts being made. That's a meaningful, trackable and accurate figure to work from because it's absolute (either you have posts or you don't)... but the whole online thing is tricky because bots frequently send multiple 'users', followed by the fact that you are guaranteed to have search engines you don't know about (there are dozens who've been through here lately that no-one had even heard of)... and it's just a waste of time. Lies, damn lies and statistics.

As for that space (not) after the parentheses... don't even go there :lol:

Hristo

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Re: More useless nonsense
« Reply #11, on June 20th, 2013, 12:13 AM »
The thing I mostly like about Most Online column, is that along with the other columns it gives a nice figure. Indeed, most people do not care for such data, but not all. Indeed, it's not accurate as absolute numbers due to bots and such, but for short periods they are relatively constant number, so the line/trend is not that screwed. Web tracking services actually are not better at all for giving the same data, because of the Adblock, Ghostery and alikes. Not every admin has access to the access logs and/or the CP trackers (Awstats in my case).

The Info Center line though is indeed more harmful than beneficial (when the forum is at it's peak, then the big numbers could attract some new members). As I see XenForo has Most Online Users add-on, which is not that unpopular - on the 3rd page for downloads out of 42 atm, so even this has it's fans.

Arantor

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Re: More useless nonsense
« Reply #12, on June 20th, 2013, 12:22 AM »
-sigh- You're never going to convince me on this.

Why are you so insistent on having data that I can *prove* to you is fatally incorrect?

Hristo

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Re: More useless nonsense
« Reply #13, on June 20th, 2013, 01:07 AM »
Quote from Arantor on June 20th, 2013, 12:22 AM
Why are you so insistent on having data that I can *prove* to you is fatally incorrect?
Actually a good question, considering that it's not a big deal for me.

Arantor

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Re: More useless nonsense
« Reply #14, on June 20th, 2013, 01:21 AM »
You were the one that said you didn't like the idea ;)

If it were entirely up to me, I'd have dropped even the count of 'guests' currently online entirely and not had sessions for guests at all, saving an insane amount of performance but for some reason people cling to these slightly odd notions of numbers purport to tell them how busy their site is without actually telling them anything useful in that direction.