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Active vs Inactive Members


bradybarrows
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There is a feature in vBulletin that I have always thought intuitive, where they show Members X (which is usually huge) amount and Active X amount (which is very small) at the bottom of of the site. 

Is there a way we can do this with Invision Community?  If so, what would an 'active' member be by definition and what would an 'inactive' member be according to IC rules?

If this capability is not possible with Invision Community, would it be possible to name a group 'Inactive' members and move them into this group (or just rename the members group to 'inactive members') by our own admin site definition? This seems possible from my perspective based upon my understanding on how member groups function.  I have been reading this thread about The future of forums... let's talk! to improve user registrations and encourage members to engage and from going through the first four pages in detail of the previously mentioned thread, I have gleaned a lot and it seems that rewarding a member from being 'inactive' to the 'active' member group might be something to consider and would require the admin to move the member up the chain into the 'active' member status group.  

My thought is to put all the members who are 'inactive' according  to my definition of what a member should be as active into the 'inactive' member group and basically put them into a 'guest' status not being able to view all the content on the site until they become 'active' again which would require engagement with posts. 

So far, from what I am understanding in the previously mentioned thread about how we can not only improve member registrations but also get members to engage in discussions with posts is to reward them when they do engage and it seems only appropriate by the same logic to reduce the 'content' available to those who are not willing to engage in the discussion. Any thought on this or is there something I am missing? Maybe I might not be seeing some disadvantage to this way of thinking. But our community simply isn't engaging in any discussion hardly at all. I have to do something to change this. I get plenty of visits, just barely any registrations and absolutely zilch engagements with posts. 

I went ahead and am experimenting with this concept to see what happens. I have changed all the members who haven't posted to 'inactive' and changed the status of this group as the same as a 'guest' viewer who doesn't have total access to the content. I have encouraged members to post at least once a month to remain active or to restore their active status. We shall see if this works. Any comments on all this would be greatly appreciated. 

Edited by bradybarrows
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5 hours ago, bradybarrows said:

There is a feature in vBulletin that I have always thought intuitive, where they show Members X (which is usually huge) amount and Active X amount (which is very small) at the bottom of of the site. 

Is there a way we can do this with Invision Community?  If so, what would an 'active' member be by definition and what would an 'inactive' member be according to IC rules?

You just made the thing up, so I don't think IPS has a definition for this. What's your definition? It's been a while since the nightmares surrounding what became of vBulletin stopped waking me up in cold sweats, but I think you may be referring to the number of members that are registered (the big number) and the number of members that have an active session, or are "online" right now (the smaller number).

If that's the case, you can add an online visitors block and a statistics block that will do this same thing. Log in as an administrator, click the little plus sign on the left, find and add your blocks away. I'm sorry but I don't remember what the block or blocks are called, but it's in there somewhere.

If you're wanting to move people into a group based on some conditions, the feature you're looking for is Group Promotions. The documentation for that lives here:

 

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Thanks for your suggestion. What I am referring to is Active vs Inactive Members. Here is a screenshot of a vBulletin forum I belong to but am not the admin: 
 

1430168048_RF2_27_21.thumb.png.8f7eb9163e8c163c1198077fe408e657.png

The top line shows 1 active member and 417 guests. However, under the RF Stats it shows 38K Members but only 91 are actually active. Not sure how vBulletin defines an active member, but you get the idea. 

I am aware of the 'Who's Online' block and have it on my home page of the site where I am the admin along with the 'Recently Browsing' block. But neither block shows the difference between Active vs Inactive members which is what I am hoping for. 

So I simply changed the 'members' group to a name change and called it INACTIVE members. I created a new group called ACTIVE Members and moved only those who have posted in the last month into this ACTIVE group and left all the rest in the INACTIVE members group which is set to 'guest' status and not allowed full access to the site content.  

I am familiar with the GROUP PROMOTIONS but have NEVER used it. My definition of an active member is one who posts at least once a month. I imagine this Group Permission won't do what I want it to do automatically from inactive to active and vice versa. Maybe a developer would make a custom plugin for this?  I know one developer here at IC, Esther (Headstand) and will ask her about it. But it would be nice to know if this is possible?  

It was fairly easy to manually change the group status from inactive to active using the MEMBERS list in the admin panel or to change from active to inactive each member in the list since only a handful are by my definition 'active.' For now, I can do this manually. However, having it automatic would be cool. A new member has thirty days to post or they go into the 'inactive' group and back to 'guest' status of viewing the content on the site. 

Edited by bradybarrows
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There was a setting in vBulletin where you could define a time cutoff ( 30 days by default) and then it would just count the members which were online in these last X days and return them as active members.

Quite useless statistic for the frontend IMO:) 

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11 minutes ago, Daniel F said:

There was a setting in vBulletin where you could define a time cutoff ( 30 days by default) and then it would just count the members which were online in these last X days and return them as active members.

Quite useless statistic for the frontend IMO:) 

That is what I agree with 30 days!  So I certainly don't want to move my entire site over to vBulletin just for that feature, but just want to know if a plugin by one of the developers could do this?  To me that would be really cool. Members who 'use it' will get the 'content' of the site, and members who 'lose it' are those who don't engage with the community. Simple concept. You have to give something to receive something. As admin we have to do something on the backend to show who is an active member to the others in the community which is a 'reward' to those who actually engage in the community, which is what has happened to our community. 

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Some thoughts:

1. IPS does offer indirectly offer this data in the ACP > Statistics. I think all communities should be internally measuring the conversion of all visitors : registered members : active members on a monthly basis. 

2. I'm not sure how this statistic is important on the front end to anyone.  I can see it being useful to admins to manage the effectiveness of their community strategy, but as a user, I'm not sure how useful it is to know that 90 other members visited at some point in the past month.  It is, however, useful to know the number of online users and who they are, in case my friends are online for immediate chat.

3. Creating groups for inactive members: In theory, I think its okay. In practice, it turns out to be a mess of permissions and I'm not sure what real value it provides.  Why are you spending your time penalizing members who haven't visited? It would be a better and more effective use of your community management to encourage them to re-visit in the first place.  

 

If you can define real value and purpose behind inactive members, then go for it.  But to be blunt, I don't think you should confound "available in vbulletin" with "good community strategy." 

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11 minutes ago, Joel R said:

Some thoughts:

1. IPS does offer indirectly offer this data in the ACP > Statistics. I think all communities should be internally measuring the conversion of all visitors : registered members : active members on a monthly basis. 

2. I'm not sure how this statistic is important on the front end to anyone.  I can see it being useful to admins to manage the effectiveness of their community strategy, but as a user, I'm not sure how useful it is to know that 90 other members visited at some point in the past month.  It is, however, useful to know the number of online users and who they are, in case my friends are online for immediate chat.

3. Creating groups for inactive members: In theory, I think its okay. In practice, it turns out to be a mess of permissions and I'm not sure what real value it provides.  Why are you spending your time penalizing members who haven't visited? It would be a better and more effective use of your community management to encourage them to re-visit in the first place.  

 

If you can define real value and purpose behind inactive members, then go for it.  But to be blunt, I don't think you should confound "available in vbulletin" with "good community strategy." 

Thanks Joel for your insight into all this. I agree that the members really don't need to know all this, that is why vBulletin puts this at the bottom of the home page ONLY, and most of the 90 members who are active don't pay any attention to it anyway, and certainly the 38K inactive members don't pay any attention to the site stats anyway. 

As I mentioned in the first post, after reading the thread mentioned in the first post of this thread, and I noticed your name in that thread a lot (!!!), the concept I didn't realize is that these younger rosaceans (those who suffer from rosacea) are mostly comprised of the SM mentality who only engage when rewarded and will only 'consume' and not give anything. Our non profit organization relies totally on donations (we receive a tiny bit of revenue from affiliate links) and when the members don't engage our forum is dying. I have to do something and this thread has woke me up. I will give the members a taste of what is in our website with content, but if you want to eat the meal you have to be part of the community and offer something to the community, otherwise, you are out and can do all your eating at SM. Our website has some well balanced, fortified meals to eat and not the junk meals offered at SM. 

Edited by bradybarrows
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42 minutes ago, bradybarrows said:

Thanks Joel for your insight into all this. I agree that the members really don't need to know all this, that is why vBulletin puts this at the bottom of the home page ONLY, and most of the 90 members who are active don't pay any attention to it anyway, and certainly the 38K inactive members don't pay any attention to the site stats anyway. 

As I mentioned in the first post, after reading the thread mentioned in the first post of this thread, and I noticed your name in that thread a lot (!!!), the concept I didn't realize is that these younger rosaceans (those who suffer from rosacea) are mostly comprised of the SM mentality who only engage when rewarded and will only 'consume' and not give anything. Our non profit organization relies totally on donations (we receive a tiny bit of revenue from affiliate links) and when the members don't engage our forum is dying. I have to do something and this thread has woke me up. I will give the members a taste of what is in our website with content, but if you want to eat the meal you have to be part of the community and offer something to the community, otherwise, you are out and can do all your eating at SM. Our website has some well balanced, fortified meals to eat and not the junk meals offered at SM. 

There are probably a hundred and one good ideas you can implement before having to resort to inactive members, which personally seems to be a punitive measure (and a hot mess of permissions later on!)

1. Make sure you clearly define your value proposition in your registration block.

2. Try out bulk mailers.  Write well crafted, thoughtful newsletters to send out via bulk mail.  Rinse and repeat.  

3. In regards to social media, go and join every social media group or site that deals with your topic.  If you can't join 'em, then beat 'em at their own game.  

4. Really think through your new member journey.  Start a new account and join your own website with a fresh set of eyes, and see how you can improve that experience.  

5. Go into your Google Analytics and evaluate which pages have the lowest drop off.  Add blocks or feeds on those pages that can entice members to explore elsewhere in the site.  

6. Figure out how you can become (if not already) the definitive resource on rosacrean. This will give you a steady stream of new visitors.  Deploy Pages and build the world's largest directory on rosacean medical providers, or terminology, or whatever.  

7. Start launching new topics, interviews, case studies, etc. Ask emotive questions.  Ask open ended questions. Ask relevant but off topic and fun questions. 

Etc. Etc. 

The journey to member engagement can be accomplished in so many ways.  

Also, if your revenue is dependent upon affiliate links, you should re-evaluate your revenue strategy.  Are there links you can add in a sidebar block on every page? Are there affiliate links you can add to the bottom of the page? Are there custom banners and ads you can design to add into the ad slots or into your newsletters? 

Communities need to be fighting to succeed.  Good luck.  

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4 hours ago, Joel R said:

There are probably a hundred and one good ideas you can implement before having to resort to inactive members, which personally seems to be a punitive measure (and a hot mess of permissions later on!)

1. Make sure you clearly define your value proposition in your registration block.

2. Try out bulk mailers.  Write well crafted, thoughtful newsletters to send out via bulk mail.  Rinse and repeat.  

3. In regards to social media, go and join every social media group or site that deals with your topic.  If you can't join 'em, then beat 'em at their own game.  

4. Really think through your new member journey.  Start a new account and join your own website with a fresh set of eyes, and see how you can improve that experience.  

5. Go into your Google Analytics and evaluate which pages have the lowest drop off.  Add blocks or feeds on those pages that can entice members to explore elsewhere in the site.  

6. Figure out how you can become (if not already) the definitive resource on rosacrean. This will give you a steady stream of new visitors.  Deploy Pages and build the world's largest directory on rosacean medical providers, or terminology, or whatever.  

7. Start launching new topics, interviews, case studies, etc. Ask emotive questions.  Ask open ended questions. Ask relevant but off topic and fun questions. 

Etc. Etc. 

The journey to member engagement can be accomplished in so many ways.  

Also, if your revenue is dependent upon affiliate links, you should re-evaluate your revenue strategy.  Are there links you can add in a sidebar block on every page? Are there affiliate links you can add to the bottom of the page? Are there custom banners and ads you can design to add into the ad slots or into your newsletters? 

Communities need to be fighting to succeed.  Good luck.  

Wow, Joel R. Good points!  

Our 501 c 3 non profit is totally volunteer. I can ask volunteers to do the steps you mentioned, but volunteering just isn't a rosacea sufferer's idea of engaging. I wrote a page and a post on this subject and include a video. I understand what you are saying about 'punitive' measures, but since they are already 'inactive' only those who really want to read the content will make any effort to comply with these new compliance requirements to be active. I will give this six months and see if it improves the engagement. I forget who mentioned 'engagement' (it was either you, DavyC, christopher-w, or cfish) the point being it may be possible to increase registration (since I have closed out a lot of content to members and guests I have had two registrations in the last 24 hours since implementing it - and compare with 10 registrations from Feb 1 - 21 and only 9 registrations in January and absolutely none of these new registrations engage in the community with posting) but the bottom line is 'engagement' with the community is what saves a forum,  so I think I am on the correct track, thanks to the thread I mention in the first post. No member has complained yet, and if I do get complaints I will consider the complaint and think about it, write a post about it, and try to get some engagement with the complainer that might stimulate a discussion in the community.  I don't think we have much to lose, since, 'when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.' 

So I do thank you for your seven step recommendations and your thoughts and will use them as a list for our volunteers who MIGHT do something for our non profit as a 'things to do list' for our volunteers. I have given volunteers assignments of things to do and never hear from them again and become 'inactive.' Volunteering for non profits has shown a downward trend (probably coinciding with the advent of SM) and continues to spiral down and is one of the complaints being heard by other non profits administrators. 

As for revenue, I am thinking about applying for Apple Pay for Non Profits which requires a developer account and going through all those hoops so we can place the Apple Pay button on our donor page. Hope that works, since we rely mostly, about 95% on donations, not affiliate links. 

Basically I am the Lone Ranger keeping this non profit organization going and one other volunteer spends some time posting and serving on the board of directors, and maybe a handful might post one post in the last six months. I like this idea of 'punitive' measures and want to try it to see if it works. When an active member sees a post that was made by an 'inactive' member, without a doubt that is going to raise a flag in that active member's mind and hopefully will engage in a discussion so that their post doesn't turn into an 'inactive' member's post and that they are active members of the community. Hurrah for rewards that are actually earned! 

You wrote in the aforementioned thread on September 17, 2018 the following: 
"Communities - Based on content.  I think it's a more transactional relationship, which is initially strong but fades fast.  Users come for the knowledge and once they obtain the knowledge, I'm not sure if there's a compelling reason for them to stay unless there's another need for the knowledge.  In which case, they leave and not come back until necessary.  The hard thing is empowering users to take the leap from a content consumer (aka Lurker) to start offering content themselves (aka Contributor) or to build social connections with others (aka Friends).  An alternate way of looking at the problem is to ask what emotional or social triggers are in your knowledge to 'activate' users to share their content or to develop bonds."

You simply state it above, there has to be "a compelling reason for them to stay" and won't "come back until necessary."  I have given them the reason. If I continue like I have been, there is absolutely no reason to engage. To transform a lurker to to a contributor requires clicking a button designated START A NEW TOPIC or REPLY TO TOPIC. These lurkers need some motivation.  

Edited by bradybarrows
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Posted (edited)

I have figured out how to use the groups feature to move all the inactive members into a group called 'Inactive Member' and can keep track of the number of members this way in the ACP. I only let the active members stay in the default 'member' group that a new registration is admitted to and renamed this group 'Active Member.' This works for me. I think that Joel R is correct that the public doesn't need to know how many members are inactive but my thought is if a guest or member clicks on a member profile they should know whether the member is active or inactive. Transparency is at the heart of our non profit organization and we need to know what members are active vs inactive. 

Edited by bradybarrows
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