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Author Topic: Escape Pod data visualization  (Read 1559 times)
rendall
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« on: February 21, 2018, 02:50:33 PM »

I made a quick-n-dirty data visualization of forum participation trends over time, which you can explore at this link: https://vigilant-hugle-1fb35f.netlify.com  and of which I have made a screen capture below.

The horizontal axis represents the episodes in chronological order, with each point on the axis representing one episode, from Episode #1 Imperial on the far left to Episode #612 The Sixes, the Wisdom and the Wasp on the right. The left y axis represents the number of comments made on the episode in its respective "Episode Comments" thread, and the right y axis represents its number of views.

For example, Episode #248 "Spar" received 194 replies in its comments thread and 52,057 views of that thread, the most of any episode ever.

We can see, at the very beginning there was relatively little commentary, until Episode 87 Blood of Virgins when there was an explosion of participation that pretty much sustained itself at least through at least Episode 400 and later. Then, at some point thereafter, there has been a steady decline in both comments and views all the way to the present. In former times, it was rare for the number of views to dip below 5,000 and they often reached twice that or more. Recently, however, a view count above 2,000 is quite rare. The number of comments per episode follow a similar pattern of sharp decline.  

Seeing this steady decline leads one naturally to wonder what's going on.



« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 04:33:30 PM by rendall » Logged
Ocicat
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2018, 03:59:14 PM »

Yup, this place is starting to gather cobwebs. I think there are a lot of factors. Back when Escape Pod started, over 10 years ago, the social internet was a very different place. Specifically, there wasn't nearly as much of it. Now you have a lot more facebook, a lot more twitter, a lot more demands on your internet time. Escape Artists are using those mediums too - particularly twitter, where we post about episodes and people do respond and comment quite a bit - though not in at the depth we often see in the forums. I don't think a lot of twitter users are bothering to come out here and add another site to their routine.

Also, just from my personal experience, a lot of my friends have reached social networking overload, and have turned their back on it entirely. Deleted their facebook, gotten off twitter, and things like online forums are going to go down with them as people adjust their lives to focus on in-person interactions.
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rendall
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2018, 04:31:38 PM »

That's a really good point.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2018, 05:24:08 PM »

That early spike of interaction at episode 87 was likely due to a forum reboot. I think there was something different in the early days, and rather than try to move things over, the new story threads were created.

With regards to the slow bleed, as forums age, heavy volume posters slowly rotate out, and there haven't been any significant ones rotate back in. Conversation begets conversation. We've also thinned out the herd by recruiting a number of staff members from the forums, and they tend to be a bit more careful about how they present opinions on the forums after coming on board.

Also you can't discount the adage of "never read the comments!" Most comment boards are poorly moderated, which chases off quality discussion.

Ocicat makes some great points about technology shift. Ten years ago, MySpace and LiveJournal were the primary social media platforms. Stepping from LJ to a forum as a platform and mode of interaction was a pretty comfortable transition. The landscape is pretty different now, and digital interactions have shifted.
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rendall
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2018, 12:34:06 AM »

I also added the same information for Psuedopod at the same link, in case anyone is interested.

Do we have downloads per episode available? It would be interesting to correlate that with forum participation.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 01:12:09 AM by rendall » Logged
rendall
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2018, 01:43:10 PM »

Specifically, does download count for each episode follow the trend represented in the forum participation visualization, or does it follow its own pattern?  If interest in Escape Pod is declining, maybe we should have a discussion about possible reasons why.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2018, 05:21:13 PM »

Specifically, does download count for each episode follow the trend represented in the forum participation visualization, or does it follow its own pattern?

Downloads and forum participation is unrelated. When I've looked that those graphs, download numbers continue to follow a steady upward trend.
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2018, 05:59:07 PM »

Without having the numbers at hand, I was going to say the same thing - when I started, Pseudopod downloads were roughly 15,000 and episode and are now up close to 30,000 irc.
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