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Investigating Sphinn proved to be a telling exercise for me. At least, I think so. This article shares some of the data I pulled and the concerns that emerged from having done that research. Hopefully worth a view for anyone caring about the long term growth of Sphinn.
Comments17 Comments  

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from planetc1 4236 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Nicley formulated post Eric. Good to see more analysis of Sphinn. Doesn’t seem like it’s been getting the attention like it was in past months.

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from bwelford 4236 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Lots of food for reflection here.  Of course it’s probably inherent in the nature of online social media.  There’s so many places to get around. .. and now we have twitter constantly there too.

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from vangogh 4235 Days ago #
Votes: 7

I just left a comment on Eric’s blog, but I’ll leave it here too. The ’speed sphinning’ is simply due to having read a lot prior to arriving here. I absorb most content through a feed reader and then vote for it later in the day. It’s quick and easy to go to the "What’s New" section once or twice a day and vote for content I read a few hours earlier. I suspect quite a few people vote the same way.I think this is a case where the numbers are only telling part of the story

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from dannysullivan 4235 Days ago #
Votes: 5

The numbers are interesting, but I guess I look at it this way. I see a lot of good things make it to the front page. I see a lot of great discussion from a range of people, many of whom don’t submit but do participate. I talk to many people who say they’ve found a quality home here. I guess there are things numbers don’t show, but they’re defintiely interesting to see.

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from Eavesy 4235 Days ago #
Votes: 0

You can’t go around saying things like, o’h you can only vote so many in a minute. The beauty of social voting sites is that you can vote for whatever you want, if you want to sphinn something without reading it because it is on your friends site, then that should be your choice. If you want to sphinn someone because you think they have a cool URL, or title, again that should be your choice. There should be no rules to voting, you should be able to vote for as many submissions as you want to, as fast as you want to and for whatever reason, no matter how silly it may seem to anyone else.

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from nulpt 4235 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I was going Sphinn and say "No Comment" but to answer your article title question... my response is... what community doesn’t have some type of dysfunction? Good research dude. I appreciate your commitment to this industry.

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from EricLander 4235 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Excellent comments already here and on the blog, and I thank you all for providing them.@vangogh I was informed when twitterfeed pushed the article out that similar dicussions have taken place wheras users have a feed reader open, or read the stories and then go back and submit them.  I did not consider that in my post, but I may go back to add that in so as to create a more valuable article for readers.@dannysullivan @nultp The community as a whole is great, and I often use Sphinn as a method of reducing my time wading through hundreds of unread items in my RSS reader.  Whether people just vote things up or genuinely believe it to be great content - I do make it a point to read the top stories if they look interesting or relevant.  I’ve discovered a lot of new sites and blogs to subscribe to because of this.@Eavesy I completely hear and understand your arguement - and it needs to be noted because really, we can and should be doing what we want to.

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from EricLander 4235 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Serious kudos out to Bill and Steven for their positions and professional responses.  I just posted some additions to my original post, and they need to be echoed here for those following:The Community Responds! Please Note — Since the time this was posted, I’ve gotten some great feedback and responses on my thoughts. Particularly, I want to applaud Bill Hartzer’s blog post and Steven Bradley’s comment. Both of these gentlemen took the position of absolute professionalism - and their thoughts and counterpoints need to be read. Furthermore, Danny Sullivan offered his thoughts on my post as well on the Sphinn story page for this post. Please be sure to read the comments there in conjunction with this blog post.

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from EricLander 4235 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Great idea Bill.One of the issues I have with folks saying that they use readers and then go back to vote, is that there’s connection from Google Reader or Bloglines (et. all) back to the Sphinn story page.

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from swags2804 4235 Days ago #
Votes: 1

A nicely written, well researched article, Eric. But could somebody tell me just what the Dickens a ’starduster’ is?

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from iBrian 4235 Days ago #
Votes: 2

To be honest I think the article completely misunderstands how internet communities work.As anyone here who runs their own forums knows, the actual number of active users in an established community will always be far less than the overall membership - it’s a common complaint of forum admins that they have an active member base in the region of single percentile points - but it’s perfectly normal.The added complication with Sphinn is that there is a strong self-interest angle in terms of promotion, which skews the actual activity.Furthermore, Sphinn is a young site and while established enough to attract a strong and diverse following, I would respectfully suggest that it is still maturing as a community in all ways.Overall, I think it would be unfair to throw criticisms of an unbalanced community, because communities are usually built that way in the first place - forum admins routinely recognise that their own communities develop power users, and then consider setting them up as moderators (something I’ve suggested in the anti-spam thread could benefit Danny more on that front).I’ve got to admit, a few months ago I would have thought there were far bigger criticisms to throw at Spihnn - self-promotional link bait was running rampant. However, the quality the community recommends is much improved and it’s nice to see a maturation process happening constructively.For years I’ve tried to keep "under the radar" in SEO, but I’ve since realised it makes sense to have some kind of public presence in the wider SEO community, and Sphinn is probably the only public SEO community I can think of that can still attract the old pros in to post freely.Sphinn still has its flaws, but every stage in a community’s evolution has them, and I think Danny has done a good job of trying to keep on top of these as they arise.Just 2c. :)

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from EricLander 4235 Days ago #
Votes: 2

@iBrian Great comment and feedback on the article, I appreciate your taking the time to provide that.  I didn’t want to lump Sphinn in with other communities, as there is that purely egotistical aspect where people get to promote thenselves and their own work.Like me... Submitting my own article :)

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from marketposition 4235 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I’ll comment, because hey... I want to be above the x comments per y sphinns factor, lol.Seriously though, I would bet that many are like me and may comment on the actual post rather than at spinn. The great thing about being online, is you can converse with the actual poster rather than just people who liked what they said and re-posted a link to their article.Plus... sometimes you may want to re-eval before you post, then forget about posting...For the people that run forums, you might find this funny:http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/posting

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from planetc1 4235 Days ago #
Votes: 1

One of the things discovered after the post by Eric is that these users are in fact paying attention and there is probably a lot more activity going on than what may appear by looking at user stats.Great discussion.

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from MarkBarrera 4235 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I must commend Eric on a job well done and for all parties who have been so diplomatic in their responses.  And to tell you the truth, I think this post will cause me to do more commenting and submitting as I am sure others will be doing as well :)

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from socivitus 4234 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Like Bill said in his response post on his blog, Sphinn is not your normal social network/news site and I don’t think explaining the whole aspect to people will change their acticity, etc.

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from baiduyou 4232 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Unfortunately the "Sphinn Live" data is frequently used to make judgements on people’s voting patterns.Like vangogh says, a lot of people have already read the posts in their readers before seeing them on Sphinn.Personally, I tend to open up several articles at once, read them all and then do all the voting together - which could give the false impression that I’m either the world’s fastest reader (I’m not) or that I just vote for articles without reading them (I don’t).

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