Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

1% Rule does not apply here…

Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 by 3 comments

From Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is reported to have told a library group that month:

  • 50% of all Wikipedia edits are done by 0.7% of users
  • 1.8% of users have written more than 72% of all articles

If we also add evidence from Bradley Horowitz that roughly 1% of Yahoo’s user population starts a Yahoo Group, we seem to have The 1% Rule: Roughly 1% of your site visitors will create content within a democratized community.

I haven’t analyzed all of Front Porch Forum for this, but when I looked at our flagship neighborhood forum awhile ago, we saw 90% of the neighborhood subscribed and 50% had posted in the past six months. FPF’s design encourages a very high level of participation from the general public.

Posted in: Citizen Journalism, Front Porch Forum, Local Online, Neighborhood, Social Media, Social Networking, Stories


  1. […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerpt […]

  2. Hiya Michael,

    Great to hear that your community seems to be beating the odds. The formula we used for the 1% Rule is:

    1. Determine the total number of individuals who have created *new* content to a defined website or area of a website during a given period, such as one or two months, as opposed to people who have responded to existing content.
    2. Determine the total number of visitors to that defined website for the same given period.
    3. Divide the first number into the second number to get the percentage of new-content creators.

    The 1% Rule is all about the typically small number of people who create or contribute new stuff.

    The synthesizers — people who respond to existing content — is often about 10% of the total number of visitors.

  3. Michael says:

    Thanks Ben. As with most things internet, it’s a bit apples to oranges.

    Front Porch Forum hosts online neighborhood forums, open only to the folks who live within the geographic boundaries. So the universe is the total number of households.

    In the case mentioned above about 90% of the households subscribe out of 350 possible. Half of those — about 160 — posted a message to the neighborhood forum in the past six months. Also, 98% of survey respondents reported reading or skimming every issue.

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