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Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

    
Thread View Counts: Helpful or Distracting?
rogerd




msg:1561469
 6:24 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Most forum software displays, or has the option to display, a count for how many times a thread has been viewed.

Do you display this info on your forum? Is it useful, or just another piece of useless data on a page that's already got a lot going on?

 

jimbeetle




msg:1561470
 6:47 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I was wondering about this just a few moments ago. On another search-related forum a noticed a post with 0 replies and, say, 120 views.

What does this tell me? Is it a poor post, hard to understand, very little value, so gets ignored? Or might it be an announcement post or a post leading to a news story, something that doesn't necessarily invite replies? The only way to know is to click and read.

So, no, I don't think the number of thread views really adds anything for the user.

linear




msg:1561471
 10:12 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

As I understand it, since tracking views requires an UPDATE in your database, disabling them thoroughly can be a big performance improvement on a busy board. But that's more than just removing them from the template, you need to find and remove the UPDATE.

Casethejoint




msg:1561472
 12:43 am on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

<devil's advocate> I find it comforting that something I've posted has been read, even if nobody has posted a response. Isn't it a little like an email "return receipt"? </devil's advocate>

LifeinAsia




msg:1561473
 12:55 am on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

For years I was very against putting any type of counters like that on the forums. But I was finally overruled. I hate to admit it, but for us it may have increased viewings. (Overall traffic has been way up and we made some other design changes, so too many variables to conclusively determine which factor was the main one.)

For a site with little traffic that won't have the counts increasing much, I would stay away from it.

coopster




msg:1561474
 1:39 am on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

View counts can be helpful, but I think that is why so many other similar sites have "Has this been helpful" questions. Just because a search turns up this page doesn't mean it was helpful. How often have you paged through a support site and seen the "Was this helpful" question? And often times you might be left wondering how do they use that information?

Sites that sell use it as a selling tool, obviously. Other sites seem to use it for internal use only as there often is no explanation as to why the question is asked.

In either event I feel you should offer a search or sorting option that displays the request in sort order of said function.

rogerd




msg:1561475
 8:59 pm on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

I know that I sometimes look at them, but I'm also into simplicity. (I must have learned that from Brett here. :)) I look at the gazillion times people look at the forum home page and individual forum pages, and I'd guess that 99.9% of the viewers never look at the views.

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