Numbers go up …

I just did a quick check of our numbers for SuttaCentral, something I do too rarely. From day to day, even month to month, it sometimes seems to be pretty static. But year by year, the trend is clear.

The number of sessions on Google analytics for the month Oct 27–Nov 27 is:

  • 2014: 9,488
  • 2015: 15,607
  • 2016: 26,150

Users over the same period:

  • 2014: 4,692
  • 2015: 6,927
  • 2016: 10,929

Congratulations to everyone on our team, and to all our wonderful users. Spread the word, and let’s hope we can keep bring the Dhamma to even more people!


I’d just like to point out that sessions != users, it could just mean the current users are using the site more. That’s still a good thing, any numbers going up is usually a good thing.

Is the goal to increase users, increase the quality of users, or increase quality users? The goal would define the approach I think.

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I’ve added user numbers.

But I take your point. I haven’t really studied the analytics data in detail. For now, the main thing is to get the new translations done. But in the future it would be good to look at this in more detail, see how people use the site and how it can be improved.


I think it might be good to have a manual on how to use the site and its various features.
I still sometimes come across features I did not know existed and I’m supposed to be one of the developers!


But this is not necessarily a bad thing. The point is not that a user knows everything, but that they know what they need to know, when they need to know it.

That’s what our Help page is for. Surely it could do with some revision, but given that the interface will change when we move to the i18n version, now is not the time.

The point is that I didn’t know that features I would have found helpful actually existed. Would have used them if I knew they were there.


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But this is same as any other piece of software. How many people know all that Word can do? Or Google? Discoverability is a fine balance.

If this happens, and you think something should be more discoverable, then let us know, we can have a look at it. John Kelly suggested long ago that we have a changeable notice on the Home page to announce new developments; that could also be used for a “tip of the week”, perhaps. But I’m not convinced it’s really necessary.

are these the data for both SC and the Discourse, or only the latter? it would be interesting to have a look at their data separately

in respect of the unapparent features are you guys talking about SC or the Discourse?

They have up-to-date manuals so you can find out :slight_smile:

Actually SC, but you are right. Same for Discourse.

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Really? Where’s the Google manual?

Here we’re only talking about SuttaCentral, and that’s what the figures are for. As for Discourse, I don’t think we use analytics, but there are numbers provided by Discourse itself. But I haven’t really looked at them.

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It’s called Stackexchange. But seriously, you can find out anything about how to do things in Google by … googling it.

I’ll post something about the numbers on 1st December.


:slight_smile: Ahh, the developer’s guilty secret …

You can, just as you can find out about anything on SC by asking here. But if you don’t know what to ask, you’re in the same boat.

I can’t count the number of times people have asked me, “how do I find out …?” It became a running joke at Santi for a while. I really had to say to people: just type the most obvious thing you can think of into google. Even after using it for so long, we don’t realize what it can do.

Having said which, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to integrate a manual with an auto-suggest in the search bar. Blake has taken off the auto-suggest feature for now, because we had stability problems, but it would be good to get it back at some stage. Then we could index the Help or How-to in the search. You could type: “how” and it would trigger a list of features and how-tos. Anyway, just an idea.

But my basic point remains: rather than rely on a monolithic manual, its best to figure out how to help a user seamlessly and just-in-time. It’s not always possible, of course, but when it works it’s much better. Discourse is a pretty good example of that, they give you popups and so on very nicely.

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Sure, such manuals may no longer be the best way to go and it’s all about intuitive design and so on, but at the same time, if someone’s been bothered to develop a bunch of features, it surely makes sense to consider how they can be utilised by as many as possible.

Out of curiosity, which features?


are they relevant to regular users or just to the devs?

To back up @Vimala Bhikkunī, I didn’t know that I could add tags to threads. I didn’t read about that anywhere, I just discovered it, which was nice in it’s own way but I could’ve found out earlier I suppose?

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Nice, thanks @SCMatt (although I thought SuttaCentral was the focus rather than Discourses). Just to clarify, I didn’t for a moment doubt Venerable’s discoveries I just wanted to pinch her acquired tricks for myself (as well as bring them to the attention of others reading the thread)! :laughing:

I think she’s absolutely right in her interest in making SC features more accessible to users if there are any that might benefit them. I’m not quite convinced by the argument that ‘need-born quest’ should be the primary driver of learning what is available on the site, and use my experience with Sublime Text as an example.

Bhante very generously mentioned Sublime Text in these pages a while ago so I had a look. On the face of it, it just looked like any other text editor, but I watched a couple of short tutorials and learned of many of the ways in which it is awesome just as he promised. I wouldn’t have switched application unless I’d been shown some of its features which I’d no real cause to look for by myself, but am mightily glad I did. Sure, it’s not an entirely comparable case, but is good enough to show that having stuff you weren’t necessarily looking for highlighted can be splendid.


I don’t want to put a damper on any enthusiasm! If you have any issues with SC, feature requests and the like, please post them here.

As for Discourse, this is pretty much off-the-shelf, so we have limited ability to customize. Still, some things can be done, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Oh yes, please, that would be great…

hmppph, not necessarily! I think perhaps you take for granted the ease and familiarity you have with such things. I for one feel far less stressed and I’m much more likely to use something a lot when I can easily look up what the features are and how to use them. This isn’t true for me with other things which I’ll happily figure out and play around with and find out what I need to know, but anything to do with technology, electronics, screens, gadgets, computer applications and the like…well, I just want to scream (to put it mildly)… Sorry, guess I’m a luddite.