Health Factor 4: Liveliness
After a month of digression, let's come back to the topic of health factors. Previously, we have covered the three diagnostic health factors:
In the next three post, we will explore the predictive health factors. Base on all of your valuable feedbacks, I got the impression that Liveliness is the factor that has raised the most questions. So I will begin with this health factor.
A number of people have asked: what is liveliness? The liveliness health factor is a perception of the amount of activity within a given space, so it is a measure for the concentration of activities. This health factor is extremely important, because it strongly influences a user's propensity to participate. In fact, liveliness gives an estimate of the likelihood of active participation for community users. The more lively the community appears to be, the more likely an individual is to participate. It's logical to think that a lively community is more likely to respond to the user's question or comment.
Concentration of Activity = Perception of Liveliness
Although modern communities furnish users with many activities, posting messages is still the most visible action that is going to influence a user's perception of the community's liveliness. Since other activities (such as rating contents, tagging messages, chatting with other members, etc.) are less noticeable, they have much less effect on the perceived liveliness of the community.
Look at the above picture and ask yourself: what make it lively? This picture looks lively to a spectator because the children are concentrated, and there are a lot of visible actions. This playground would be much less lively if the same group of children were dispersed throughout the park.
Since liveliness is a concentration measure, the absolute amount of post is not very important. For example, if your community has 200 posts per week and there are 4 boards, then each board gets 50 posts per week on average. That is more than 7 posts a day! Users would perceive this as a pretty lively community. In contrary, if there are 50 boards (same 200 posts per week), then each board will only get 4 posts per week. That is less than 1 post a day! Even though the absolute amount of posting activity is the same (200 per week), the former example has a much higher concentration of post, and therefore gives the perception of greater liveliness than the latter example.
The Current and Future of Liveliness
The question that is often raised is "Do you excluded private boards, archived boards, read-only boards, etc, when computing the liveliness health factor?" In the current version of CHI, the liveliness calculation only excludes boards that are hidden or under a hidden category. These hidden boards may contain some private or archived boards, but they probably do not encompass all of them, and it certainly does not include read-only boards or announcements boards. Consequently, communities with many of these "non-public" boards may appear to have a lower liveliness, because our current calculation may not excluded all boards that are not intended for public participation.
Like the content health factor, liveliness is currently computed at the community level, which prohibits drilling down to identify of categories or boards that are not lively. These two items are already on our roadmaps of to-do items. If you can think of others, please let me know. Also, if there are any questions about liveliness that I did not cover, please bring it up . Let's try to make this a lively discussion.
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