SuttaCentral traffic

@snowbird and others :slight_smile:
Where can I find the overall number of members. Rather than daily users or log ins. I’m interested in the whole membership, and how that has increased, decreased, changed. And if possible to look at a breakdown of those figures via
length of membership
amount of activity/type of activity.

With SC, there is no sign up for membership right? So I’m assuming the only count one can get is about log in’s and page views.

I would love to do a bit of analysis and to find out if the user groups are quite discreet or if there is significant overlap. If there were a sign up to SC, then one could compare to see in which direction people are going - forum to SC or SC to forum…


So, Google Analytics (GA) is not installed in Discourse, so as far as the forum goes you have to investigate in that software.

GA, in fact, can give you what many people consider to be an unethical amount of information about your traffic. Not really about individuals so much though. Were you asking about Discourse or SC?

In the chart further up the thread you can see referrers. Those are what sent people to SC. As far as I can tell, the opposite information (where they went to from SC, i.e. discourse, is not tracked. It is possible to code in link tracking, but I’ve never done it. As I understand it, the way someone gets from SC to discourse is by being in a sutta, clicking on the three dot menu icon, scrolling down, and clicking on the Discuss link. I don’t know if a tracking code could be added to that. But it would probably be easier to find the referrer stats in the discourse software.

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Many thanks for your help. I’ve started a query in Discourse to see if there is access to more information permutations than available via dashboard.

It’s a little frustrating that SC and Discourse are different systems (I always thought of them as different rooms in one house). Because from a conceptual and organisational perspective they are both supporting the same goal, it would be great to get some cross over stats… but it looks like this is impossible. No worries :smiley: one less thing to do. Just some conditioning to check performance against aims and goals… :rofl:

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Right, I have been directed via Discourse to a plug-in for discourse that would allow us to extract more info from our usage stats, here

Apologies, but I have no idea what a plug-in is or how to do it etc etc - so this is up to all you tech gurus :smiley: @sujato @snowbird @karl_lew

I 'm happy to learn and use it once it is set up, but my computer knowledge froze in about 2000 except for using excel and word …

Added here is the link to the discussion on Discourse. I am V for Viveka …

Basically I’d like to correlate user demographics x usage stats, to give us an idea of who is and who isn’t using the site and in what ways. It may just be something I do as little project… I can even do a manual transport of member page and profile info into an excel spread sheet, If there is a way to access the full member list, not just active members through dashboard - or am I missing something. I can get access to the number of sign up for specified durations eg the last 3 years 1.1k of people have signed up, but this isn’t linked to specific user information.


Ok I have found that the search capacity we have through dashboard, can’t link into any of the custom fields that we have created in the sign up page.

But if we get the plug in then we can include all those fields in our search results.

It comes down to whether Bhante feels that the benefits are worth the hassle. Over the next week or so, I’ll put together a list of the types of information that we could get, would like to get, so that the discussion can be more targetted and exact.

FYI I’m currently working on a little stats overview to be posted … is looking quite interesting :slight_smile:


The other thing that is really good to see is that (if we take out m.facebook) then the greatest source of referrals was Discourse, followed by Dhamawheel, and then the others.

Also there were many more sessions per those referred from Discourse at 25.96% of the total - the rest being spread over 15 other sources. This looks like people are online and moving between SC and DIscourse… Nice

Also funny to notice BSWA’s traffic and usage :smiling_imp: at 4 sessions per user… mischieviously compared to Discourse at 8 sessions per user :grin:

Gotta love stats :upside_down_face:


Considering that SC doesn’t have its own facebook page, I think it’s astounding how much traffic it generates. And as I said in a comment in the thread, it would be nice if we could figure out how to keep those facebook referrals on the site (to more pages) for longer.

Now here is something you might want to look at. It is referrer as primary dimension and landing page as secondary dimension. Remember that all the facebook referrers are basically the same.
Analytics All Web Site Data Referral Traffic (196.2 KB)


I wonder exactly how SC links appear. There are so many buddhist forums on facebook, and such a wide variety of people interested in ‘buddhism’.

My initial thoughts were that the large number of visits from FB were just the result of vaguely interested people clicking on links - and that they were not really interested in the objectives of SC. As such one would expect a much smaller percentage of retention among this group. More or less ‘random’ clickers or tourists just having a look

So if you really want to ‘capture’ their interest and involve them in sutta study it would require some serious efforts to be expended. Personally, I’m more interested in existing Buddhist communities, that already expend a lot of effort following the teachings of the Buddha, getting access to accurate teachings via the EBT’s

So I’d say the goal with the FB cohort is to introduce them to Buddhism at a more serious level, as compared with providing accurate information to Buddhist practitioners.

Of course both are laudable, but may require different approaches - just some thoughts…

It would be interesting to have a look at what page they landed on, as you suggest. One of the issues that keeps coming up is the difficult of navigation and search in SC. This is certainly an obstacle of increasing difficulty, the less familiar one is with the material. So this may well have a significant impact on usage and retention of inexperienced users.


AtI/ has links to related suttas (I assume using their index). That might be an easy win


I’ve often joked that the best way to hide something is to put it on the internet. But seriously, Google does a fantastic job of search. And if we examine how Google search is implemented, we see vast amounts of special code for special cases. There is no “magic algorithm”.

What special case should we code for SC search? :thinking:

Well. If we only search the segmented documents, an amazingly coherent picture emerges. Example: “desire is the root of suffering”

1. SuttaCentral search:

8489 results for desire is the root of suffering

2. Segmented search returns exactly the following:

sn42.11:2.11: For desire is the root of suffering.
sn42.11:2.13: For desire is the root of suffering.’”
sn42.11:2.17: For desire is the root of suffering.’
sn42.11:3.6: For desire is the root of suffering.’
sn42.11:5.6: For desire is the root of suffering.’” implements segmented search, as does scv-bilara.

To improve SC search, we’d need to understand what users expect, and what special cases need special code. Segmented search is a possibility but only the solution for one small special case. I wonder what the other cases are and what all those viewers are expecting…


At the moment my impression is that the more familiar someone is with the suttas, the easier it is to search. They can search by exact phrase, by nikaya, by reference number etc. All this involves knowing 1)how the tripitika and vinaya are organised 2) familiarity with the content 3) access to references for the suttas one wants in the correct format.

Now say that one doesn’t know any of these things - the way forward is to start at the beginning and read.

It would be good to pin the reading guides right to the centre front of the home page… or other central page - perhaps even to the drop down main menu of suttas, vinaya, abhidhama.

Then anyone without any expertise can use those to guide their way through… even have little linked collections.


Very true. I started at MN1 and promptly got lost in the EBTs. I still have no idea what MN2 is about.


:rofl: very nice :blush:

But if we’re talking about increasing retention of those who are casual visitors, then ‘interesting’ and accessible things need to be served up on a plate, for initial engagement to take place.


For some reason I just thought of Dhamma Doodles:thinking:
They are immensely engaging, the xkcd of SC, if you will.
Ven. @yodha?


Lots of good stuff to think about :smiley:

I have a lot going on over the xmas NY period :man_juggling: - so it’s all on the back-burner for me till next year :slight_smile: But I look forward to it then :smiley:


Just FYI
I had a look at the main landing sites for those ‘casual’ visitors. Bhantes “politics of the Buddhas genitals” is always right at the top :rofl::rofl::rofl:


As the spike appears just before the April general election, perhaps Indonesian voters were hoping to spot a mahāpurisa among the candidates.



Sure, feel free to use them. I don’t have any website development skills myself, so won’t be of much help…


When we were discussing the adoption of a plug-in for a different function it was pointed out that D&D needs an update (actually I think it is now 3 updates behind) and that we need to get on with the update before adding new plug-ins.


Unfortunately it is much more than 3 updates behind, it is almost a year :frowning:

D&D is currently running on 2.3.0.beta5, which was released in March this year, and the latest version 2.4.0.beta9 was just released today.

Being so far behind represents a higher security risk (Discourse team is super quick in fixing bugs and possible security exploits), not to mention we’re missing on all the cool new features which were developed in the meantime.

Recommended regimen for updating Discourse is roughly:

  • twice a month (from the web admin, no downtime)
  • every two months (from console, full rebuild, requires downtime unless Discourse is configured with multiple containers)
  • twice a year (update/upgrade underlying OS, with automatic security updates enabled)
  • adding or removing plugins requires rebuild from the console, which automatically updates to latest release
  • test/staging site is recommended for sites with non-official plugins and/or specific customizations or when upgrading from very old versions, and having daily backups goes without saying

Detailed explanation is available here:

One thing I have learnt in my past existence as a systems engineer is that having clear and well documented procedures is of enormous benefit in the long run.

Only then can one even start thinking to share some of the administrative burden and delegate tasks to less experienced users when need arises (which inevitably happens over time to all sysadmins, because there is never less things to do, only more, even if one is incredibly skilled at keeping it all together).

I have been running a small private Discourse site for well over a year now and have hands-on experience with the day to day administration, so if I can be of any assistance please don’t hesitate to ask.