A community of technology community managers, leaders, and builders.

Analytics & Community Management


I’m interested in the use of analytics and metrics in community management. I have some experience in working with community managers of free / open source software communities to find out which kind of information is useful in this task, and how it can be retrieved from the repositories where it lives.

Among the kind of information that seems useful, for instance, you can find metrics about the general activity of the community, details about who is entering, leaving or changing their activity pattern (eg, increasing participation above a certain threshold), the age (as time in the project) of the persons in the community, and the attraction and retention rates over time, etc.

i think it will be interesting to discuss about which metrics you’re using or would like to use, stories about how those metrics are collected and used, and even about the general usefulness (or lack of) of analytics and metrics in community management.

Disclamer: I’m working with a company producing free / open source software for analyzing software development repositories, and have been researcher on the field for some time, but I’m not a community manager (well, maybe an aficionado community manager, but not more than that). This said, I have some experience in the problems of community management, and how to detect and track them.


+1 I’m super interested in this, too!

In addition to the kinds of factors and metrics you mentioned, @jgbarah, I’d be happy to contribute some of what we’ve learned in coworking spaces that helps us spot opportunities and problems early using pretty basic pattern recognition.

It is especially hard to do in meatspace, given how few factors you can easily measure automatically or consistently, but it’s enough of a technique that we’ve learned how to teach it to others on our team.


Great! @alexknowshtml, that kind of community is alien to me. But this is exactly the what I expect from this session: to exchange views about how people are collecting & using data in different realms related to community management.


I think this is always a fascinating session to have, but one word of advice I have here is that this is a big topic. It might be worth breaking this down into a more specific area (e.g. web analytics or membership analytics), or potentially have more than one session.

Just a thought. :slight_smile:

Maybe folks could let us know which types of analytics are of most interest?


You’re right. From this point of view, I’m mostly interested in metrics that you can obtain from repositories common in free / open source software projects, such as source code managemente, issue tracking systems, chat logs, mailing lists or code review systems. But I will try to attend any session related to metrics :wink:

Depending on the interest shown, we could split this into two or more sessions…


Here is one thing Mozilla is working on to track active contributors http://areweamillionyet.org/
it is called Project Baloo and is still very beta and not the entire picture but is tracking some contribution areas right now.

I think a Contributor Metrics session would be awesome and I can talk to Project Baloo some.


That looks quite interesting bkerensa. Mozilla’s “conversion points” might be good subject matter for discussing metrics as well.


+1. I’m really interested in what other folks are doing.

I’d also be happy to contribute what we’re learning and tracking at Meteor with respect to activity levels in real life meetups.


Add me to the list interested in metrics. I work for a large org, and the-powers-that-be are always interested in numbers, and showing them moving in the appropriate direction from quarter to quarter. We have online communities and some more in-person type communities. I’d like to see what people are measuring for the online communities: the list above is a great start. I’d also like to brainstorm as to what to measure for the non-online communities. What questions are we trying to answer, what should we measure to help answer those questions, and how to measure and report on those metrics.


OK, it seems there is some interest… Following the advice by @jonobacon of having more than one session about this, I will propose a session on metrics for FLOSS (free / open source software) development, and I will support and help as much as I can other sessions on the matter. Any of you volunteer to run, for example, a more generic one about “experiences doing analytics on communities”?

BTW, for those interested in the specific case of FLOSS, we have on Sunday an open meeting hosted by Puppet Labs, the FLOSS Community Metrics Meeting. Please, register if you intend to come (but anyone is welcome, remember bringing your own food for lunch).

In addition, maybe you may enjoy having a look at some of the analytics dashboards we’re doing for FLOSS projects. You can build your own, everything used is free / open source software.


I’ll volunteer to run a more generic session on community analytics. I am a newbie, so I’ll want to watch a few sessions run before I jump in. I DO want my session to be successful. :smile:


If you run it, I will try to help as much as possible.

Thanks to for being the kind sponsor for this forum!