[question] Participant v. contributor


(Bas van Leeuwen) #1

I recently read a piece where they advocate distinguishing between Participants and Contributors.

Participant: Interacted with at least one piece of content (e.g., commented, liked, replied, voted or agged)
Contributor: Created at least one piece of content (e.g., blog, idea, question, group or event)

Would you agree with this definition (I have my own views on it, will keep it to myself for now, so as not to steer the conversation here)


(Mark Baldwin) #2

This is a weird one because if I participate in a discussion it feels like I’m also contributing, especially if I’m expressing an opinion. I would say a creator is a better description that contributor. I’ve always thought of it as 3 groups:- Lurker, Contributor, Creator. Even liking an opinion or discussion can be seen as contributing imho.


(Sarah Hawk) #3

Semantically I think it’s flawed (as Mark says, commenting feels like contributing) but I see what they’re saying.


(Dave Charbonneau) #4

I didn’t read the piece, but it seems they’re seeking to align their language with articles and other content creation, where contributors are those who submit content. I could see wanting to distinguish. I usually call the commentors, well… commentors. Sheesh… I feel like such a participant.


(Bas van Leeuwen) #5

Thanks guys, pretty in line with what I was thinking.
At Community Analytics we make the difference based on a contribution, so any comment, post, poll, blog etc. that you’ve typed up.

Currently we call them participants, we might want to further refine that to a difference between participants (comments, votes, etc.) and contributors (threads, polls etc.).

Just wanted to check if you’d roughly agree, seems like you do :slight_smile:


(Richard Millington) #6

This strikes me as more of a difference between what Wikipedia used to call editors and creators.

They found that very, very, few people would actually take the time to create an article. But, once it’s up, it’s very easy to edit it. Hence editors were useful and important, but it was the raw number of creators which was key.

This feels somewhat similar to the distinction between participants and contributors used here. Participants are important they ‘edit’ with their comments. But contributors (the people initiating discussions and creating the material others can comment on) feels more critical.

We try to measure the number of discussions initiated, but not usually the number of members initiating a discussion (unless we see a problem worth investigating).

I’d love to distinguish between:

  1. Visitors - people that visit but haven’t logged in.
  2. Lurkers - registered members who visit but don’t participate.
  3. Active members - registered members who have made a contribution within the past month.
  4. Former members - registered members who haven’t visited/made a contribution within the past month.

I’d also love to breakdown active members between contributors and participants. Those that comment/create articles and those that only like/vote/share material.