Well, the first three surveys were very helpful. Thanks to all for filling them out and helping us review your thoughts. Here's a brief analysis, and
some information on what we're doing:
260 people completed our first survey.
Overall, 90% think ATS is an excellent discussion board, 70% think the membership is above average, and
90% who answered come to ATS once a day or more. Nothing ground breaking here, but a solid basis from which to look at the next surveys... the basis
is, we have a lot of members who visit often and generally like ATS.
218 people completed our second survey
which began to address some topics such as quality. About 60% of the people responding feel that the
quality of ATS material is above average (with about 35% thinking average or below), the question of points contributing to quality is statistically a
toss-up, and most people think the addition of formal debates has helped overall post quality.
The two more important questions helped to formulate the third survey. Most people responding didn't mind new users reliving old topics, but a
sizable percentage felt otherwise (led to the concept of Forum Subject Matter Experts). Also, many people would like to see a way to encourage better
posts. But we did see a surprise, despite all the recent talk of heavy-handed moderators, many people wanted to see faster/better action against silly
posts and childish members.
This second survey helped to solidify some thinking, but also lead to some more specific questions in survey 3.
298 people completed our third, and most important survey.
I'm very pleased with the results here, again, thank you to everyone for
participating. Most people responding (45%) have been coming to ATS for six months or greater with an amazing bell-curve response to question 2 about
post quality. A similar bell-curve defines the response to question 3 about site management, with a slight tendency to think management is better than
when you first came to ATS. Another amazing bell-curve defines the answer to the community feeling, with a strong indication of "average".
When we get to picking the one thing that would improve ATS overnight, we had a surprising tie between "Conspiracy Posts" and "Old Posts". At
first, this might seem confusing, but it makes sense, since a lot of people appear to be longing for the older "hardcore" days of ATS, there is
sometimes a feeling that the legacy of older posts are somehow better than some of the new posts. So these two response are actually related. We also
see a distant second place given to more stuff and more features.
And about 50% of all people responding think that some kind of group can be formed to discuss ways to improve the ATS community... but 30% think it's
up to the staff, and 15% think there's no need for change.
It took a while (about two weeks), but in the end, I think the nature of the information we have here was well worth the wait.
Our first step will be to pick two or three Forum Experts to experiment with the concept of Forum Subject Matter Experts. These first few experts will
be carefully picked by forum staff from the members we have seen contributing regular and positive material to some of the ATS topical forums. It's
up to us and our first experts to define how this new role works, what their duties are, and how they help contribute to a focus on quality material
within their forum. Please do not contact any staff to be considered as a volunteer for this new role, we'll pick after some private discussion.
Also, we're forming a group of a handful of moderators, and a larger group of members to begin an honest and frank collaborative discussion about
what steps we should take to further improve the ATS community as we continue to grow. Again, a lead staff-member and a lead member have already been
selected. It's up to them to create a well-rounded slice of the ATS community for this task. Once formed they'll meet in a private forum, and we'll
announce the members of this group once everyone has been selected. Again, this group will be invitation-only and none of our fine members should feel
slighted if they're not picked... the group needs to be large enough to represent all of you, but small enough to actually accomplish something. But
even if you're not in the group, there will be ways for all members to contribute ideas.
Sorry for the long post (didn't mean it to be this long... sheesh). Look for more information coming soon.
[Edited on 9-11-2003 by William]