Interest falling away

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PhonAcq

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Message 728265 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 19:32:15 UTC



The number of active users is currently falling at a 1.5%/month rate. This is despite a reasonably stable berkeley lab (at least the computers aren't failing much).

So why the decline? Is it really competition with other projects or is it the total lack of feedback on the work we are doing (more than the cobblestone nonsense).

Or is it something else? Boring message boards? No in-fighting?

I don't like the argument that we have faster computers so we don't need more active users. That is a zero-sum defeatist perspective.

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Brian Silvers

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Message 728270 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 19:43:25 UTC - in response to Message 728265.  


So why the decline? Is it really competition with other projects or is it the total lack of feedback on the work we are doing (more than the cobblestone nonsense).

Or is it something else? Boring message boards? No in-fighting?


"Summer" has traditionally shown a decline, but that time is not here yet for the Northern Hemisphere. If I were to guess, it is likely a combination of people doing work for other projects and the rising costs of energy.
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Alinator
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Message 728273 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 19:49:31 UTC

Well, historically we have seen a falloff in participation as spring approaches in the Northern Hemisphere.

I don't remember it as having been this noticeable this early, so maybe increasing energy costs are having some impact too. I'm sure most people can do without crunching numbers far longer than they can do without housing, food, and fuel.

Then the matter of there being no instant gratification with an all encompassing answer or constant handholding with feedback on the science progress probably plays a part in today's shallow minded, can't see past the next quarterly report, need an answer now society.

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Message 728275 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 19:50:44 UTC

It could be as simple as all the Validate problems of late...Noticed a few from my start date have changed projects in the last month. A lot of people just want credit and feel slighted if there is a problem. I just stick it out, but my RAC is down 1000 from last month.
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And no good credit hound!
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Alinator
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Message 728279 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 19:57:44 UTC - in response to Message 728275.  

It could be as simple as all the Validate problems of late...Noticed a few from my start date have changed projects in the last month. A lot of people just want credit and feel slighted if there is a problem. I just stick it out, but my RAC is down 1000 from last month.


Agreed, some probably just move around, but the trend for BOINC overall is down as well.

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Message 728280 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 20:05:41 UTC - in response to Message 728273.  
Last modified: 20 Mar 2008, 20:05:57 UTC

Well, historically we have seen a falloff in participation as spring approaches in the Northern Hemisphere.

I don't remember it as having been this noticeable this early, ...

Global Warming bringing on an ever earlier spring?...

Cheers,
Martin
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Message 728281 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 20:08:14 UTC - in response to Message 728280.  

Well, historically we have seen a falloff in participation as spring approaches in the Northern Hemisphere.

I don't remember it as having been this noticeable this early, ...

Global Warming bringing on an ever earlier spring?...

Cheers,
Martin


LOL...

I was thinking the same thing to....

More people out in the yard sooner! :-)

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Message 728283 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 20:15:53 UTC

Is that really the number of users or is it number of hosts? Could it be people getting the newer dual cores and quad cores and shutting down their old and slows?


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Alinator
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Message 728284 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 20:19:18 UTC

BOINC Users Overview

Second graph down.

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Message 728287 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 20:29:39 UTC - in response to Message 728284.  

BOINC Users Overview

Second graph down.

Alinator


Just a thought...could this go back to the large # of pendings that are fianlly cleared out? (hot topic last October)
Clk2HlpSetiCty:::PayIt4ward

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Alinator
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Message 728288 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 20:46:06 UTC - in response to Message 728287.  

BOINC Users Overview

Second graph down.

Alinator


Just a thought...could this go back to the large # of pendings that are fianlly cleared out? (hot topic last October)


Hmmm...

I don't think pendings have any significant effect. You'd have to go a whole 30 days with nothing reported as granted in the daily xmls to drop off either the host or users lists.

Conversely, it might cause a small fraction of departed SAH hosts and user to reappear briefly due the very generous deadlines in some cases, but I really wonder if that could effect the trend line very much or for any extended period.

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Message 728289 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 20:53:11 UTC - in response to Message 728287.  

I know that my son has stopped using any BOINC apps since last back end. He says he is trying to save the planet and his own electricity bill. Farewell, then, Bicycle Repair Man. My suspicion is that there is a fairly large number of other users too who are no longer leaving their computers running all the time and so just don't bother to crunch any more.
On the other hand, I do detect, from purely anecdotal evidence, that the various Berkeley problems have had a considerable adverse effect, especially on newer alien hunters. They try it for a while, have a few problems, pack it in with large numbers of jobs pending, thus causing their wingmen problems and so on in an ever tightening circle.
I have never been one of the heaviest crunchers around but when even someone such as myself gets over 2k of pending results it is quite surprising.
Others are either downloading far too many tasks and working through them incredibly slowly or have abandoned BOINC for whatever reason.
There should be some sort of limit on the number of tasks than can be brought on board, especially in the case of new members.
Perhaps the shorter deadlines will clean this up in the next two or three weeks but I rather fear that the Seti project, in particular, needs a good long stable period and some new media publicity.


BOINC Users Overview

Second graph down.

Alinator


Just a thought...could this go back to the large # of pendings that are fianlly cleared out? (hot topic last October)



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Message 728296 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 21:04:56 UTC
Last modified: 20 Mar 2008, 21:09:16 UTC

If a new user, when attach to SETI, the servers downloaded the tasks before the app and other project files (obviously making errors), and the project files dowloads are deferred over and over, he abandoned.

This last days, the dowload problems were constant.

Alquien que sepa español y me explique For example.

That does not work, nothing else start, discourages so much.

Best regards.
Logan.

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Alinator
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Message 728297 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 21:05:38 UTC - in response to Message 728289.  

I know that my son has stopped using any BOINC apps since last back end. He says he is trying to save the planet and his own electricity bill. Farewell, then, Bicycle Repair Man. My suspicion is that there is a fairly large number of other users too who are no longer leaving their computers running all the time and so just don't bother to crunch any more.
On the other hand, I do detect, from purely anecdotal evidence, that the various Berkeley problems have had a considerable adverse effect, especially on newer alien hunters. They try it for a while, have a few problems, pack it in with large numbers of jobs pending, thus causing their wingmen problems and so on in an ever tightening circle.
I have never been one of the heaviest crunchers around but when even someone such as myself gets over 2k of pending results it is quite surprising.
Others are either downloading far too many tasks and working through them incredibly slowly or have abandoned BOINC for whatever reason.
There should be some sort of limit on the number of tasks than can be brought on board, especially in the case of new members.
Perhaps the shorter deadlines will clean this up in the next two or three weeks but I rather fear that the Seti project, in particular, needs a good long stable period and some new media publicity.


I can't say that I disagree with anything here in principle, except that the main reason for the long deadlines is so you don't have to run a host for even a major portion of the day if you don't want to and still participate.

If they made the deadline say one or two days, you're going to start getting a lot of folks reporting that SAH is turning them away as "Won't finish in time".

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Message 728298 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 21:07:20 UTC - in response to Message 728289.  

Perhaps the shorter deadlines will clean this up in the next two or three weeks but I rather fear that the Seti project, in particular, needs a good long stable period and some new media publicity.


I was suprised that a number of friends have said "Oh S@H - is that STILL running?". I wonder if its because the data is being crunched, results stored, but nothing else is happening with it at the moment. If they used the results to pinpoint interesting sections of sky that are worthy of a second look, publicise any findings, and generally get the media back to providing free publicity then it might change.

As electricity costs rise I too will probably drop one of the crunchers, but at the moment its not a big deal. I upgraded to Quads to cut down the amount of power that they actually used - the quads use 10 to 20% less power than the PC's they replaced, even running flat out, so thats my bit for the environment at the moment :)

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Message 728321 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 21:50:45 UTC
Last modified: 20 Mar 2008, 21:56:47 UTC

BOINC Combined:

The decline is 4,000 out of 319,400, or a little more than 1 percent.

I won't call that significant.

Looking at SETI@HOME the granted credits are constant over the 60 day period, apart from the daily fluctuations.

To me it seems that the work done for SETI is preety much constant.

ChrisD
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Message 728331 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 22:03:41 UTC - in response to Message 728321.  

BOINC Combined:

The decline is 4,000 out of 319,400, or a little more than 1 percent.

I won't call that significant.



This makes at least 3 years in a row that I remember the seeming surprise that there is a drop in active participants during this time of year.
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Message 728345 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 22:25:24 UTC - in response to Message 728331.  

BOINC Combined:

The decline is 4,000 out of 319,400, or a little more than 1 percent.

I won't call that significant.



This makes at least 3 years in a row that I remember the seeming surprise that there is a drop in active participants during this time of year.


Yep, just seems a little earlier this year.

If history holds the down trend will steepen up a more before it flattens out turns up again.

I never bothered recording it, but I'm wondering if we ever get back to the peak number of active participants from the preceding year. None of the sites I looked at keeps that particular stat.

In fact tracking the total number of users is pretty much useless without having the total active along with it, IMHO. ;-) Although I guess you can glean something from looking at the active to inactive ratio. IIRC that was about 33% around a year and 1/2 ago.

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Message 728352 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 22:51:04 UTC - in response to Message 728345.  

BOINC Combined:

The decline is 4,000 out of 319,400, or a little more than 1 percent.

I won't call that significant.



This makes at least 3 years in a row that I remember the seeming surprise that there is a drop in active participants during this time of year.


Yep, just seems a little earlier this year.

If history holds the down trend will steepen up a more before it flattens out turns up again.

I never bothered recording it, but I'm wondering if we ever get back to the peak number of active participants from the preceding year. None of the sites I looked at keeps that particular stat.

In fact tracking the total number of users is pretty much useless without having the total active along with it, IMHO. ;-) Although I guess you can glean something from looking at the active to inactive ratio. IIRC that was about 33% around a year and 1/2 ago.

Alinator

If we assume that the total number of all-time users is cumulative (that user id's are not reissued) and that most users hang around for about the same amount of time, then the ratio of active to total users should get worse over time.
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Message 728382 - Posted: 20 Mar 2008, 23:45:53 UTC

If this fall off is an annual event, like geese flying north, then what brings people back, we should be asking. Surely not food. If the motivation to return to SAH isn't there and understood, then the project is at risk. At 1-2% per month loss of participants, the more agressive next-phase of seti is going to fall flat, I fear.

The reason I looked for this graph is that I saw on the SAH homepage, boring as it is, that stale notice via a Berkeley news release soliciting more users. I guess it didn't work!

I am in the camp that the project is not attractive if people can't see progress. Progress could be a quarterly report posted somewhere, which would be keen! Or, it could be as simple as a chart of our progress against a concrete goal. Or, any one of a number of other ideas that show that we are not dead.

The global warming argument is ridiculous; but the escalating cost of electricity may not be. Yet, when it comes down to it, seti only costs me a couple of pints each month in beer-equivalent currency. 'Rational'/analytical people are not likely to turn off seti over a couple of beers.

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