[Random Thursday] Do you "lurk" around online? 🥷

Sooo, recently I stumbled upon an interesting topic over at Discourse Meta talking about “lurkers”

Basically, “lurkers” are those who frequent an online forum or group on a regular basis, yet they hardly create any content (if at all) such as making a post or posting a reply. So, one may misunderstand lurkers as inactive members.

However, there is a clear distinction between “lurkers” and “inactive members” and that is “inactive members” rarely log into the forum, while “lurkers” usually do. This is actually reflected by the amount of “Read time” lurkers usually rack up over time.

And with the definition out of the way, I want to ask you all:

  • Where, or which type, of online forum do you think will have a large number of lurkers, compare to others?

  • Do you consider yourself a “lurker” within an online settings e.g. an online group, other forums, etc. If yes, then where do you usually lurk?

  • Why do you lurk instead of participating in the traditional sense i.e. create posts, replying to others, etc.

  • Do you think a community forum (such as ours) having a large number of lurkers is a good thing or a bad thing?

Let us know your thoughts below :point_down:

I saw you reacting @dineshh, any thoughts from you on this topic? :eyes:

Wellll, judging from the lack of participating in this thread, it sorts of confirm with Jakob Nielsen’s claim about 90% of members on online communities are lurkers.

the 90-9-1 rule for participation in an online community

Regarding the remaining 10%, we have a group of forum members whom we call “Top Contributors” who have been on our forum for a longgg time (and they still are) who actively go out of their way to interact and support others. → You guys rocks, by the way :metal:

(If anyone of you happens to stumble upon this thread, then feel free to let our team know what you think about Jakob’s article? Was everyone moderately active back then, or was there only a core group of members who was the most vocal?)

And… to keep the conversation going, I will also giving some of my thoughts to my own questions below :point_down:

I would say support forums/space such as Katalon Community where most people flock to whenever they have a question or issue when using the Katalon Platform, and leave afterward when their questions/issues have been resolved; only to return when new issues arise.

Yes (even though my job title literally has the words “community specialist” in it :face_with_peeking_eye:). I am most a passive media consumer and I lurk often on Facebook groups, or subreddits. That said, I do make posts/replies every once in a while.

Most of the time, I prefer to observe what is going on in an online space (from a far) rather than participating directly. After a long day of work (and studying German on Mon - Wed - Fri nights), the last thing I want to do is to use the remaining of my active brain cells to “create a posts” on social media or other online platform.

It depends on (I guess), how big the community is, and what are the goals and objective of that community. So, obviously, if I were to start my own … hobby community about gaming where people are encouraged to share about their favorite games, etc. It would obviously be quite alarming to not see a whole lot of activity if my member base is only <1,000.

However, if my forum has around 10,000 members where around 1% of members are extremely active, and the rest chime in from time to time, then I would not be as worried. Since I know that my 1% of active members will be driving my forum’s discussion, and that the lurkers may spread the word about my forum somewhere else.

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I’m in agreement with your last post - I am mainly a lurker and I drop by but rarely post unless I have an issue. There are many other claims on our time as testers, like tools (multiple), languages, domain knowledge, certifications etc plus hopefully some leisure time!


I prefer to observe what is going on community, post my thoughts/queries only if it’s required and benefits mutually

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Well, we have been encouraging more people to chime into various off-topic discussions in the Miscellaneous area (after all, it is not about testing 24/7 here, sometimes folks just need to relax and unwind a bit).

So, feel free to join in or maybe even start a thread of your own :wink:

When you first joined our forum, was there anything that sort of deterred you from posting, or vice versa? Maybe the way Discourse works is different to other social media sites?

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yes. i’m not familiar with Discourse and it takes time to understand. i have used other tools like advocate hub in the past.

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It really does. When I first started working at Katalon, I had to spend nearly a month just to understand most of Discourse’ terminologies and how it works. And even then, there are still some back-end PHP-related stuff that flew right over my head since I don’t have much programming/coding knowledge.

That said, I found Discourse’s UI to be more modern/intuitive than some of the older forums out there, case in point: Head-Fi.org Forums | Headphone Reviews and Discussion - Head-Fi.org

Are there any features from Advocate Hub that you wish Discourse would implement?

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mobile app is available for AH . i’m not aware if discourse has android/ios app?

Sorry for the delayed response.

They have actually, but it is simply a webapp. You would be better off just simply bookmarking the site in your browser.

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Can you please share the link. will try to checkout the mobile apps