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Here is a list of users sorted by reputation score on Parenting for all time.

http://stackexchange.com/leagues/103/alltime/parenting/2011-03-29/1385#1385

We can see several people who do not post here any more. They do not ask questions. They do not answer questions. Some of them have high reputation scores, and a number of badges, and they would seem to be experts in some relevant topics. It's a shame that they stopped posting and the site would be better with them here.

Some amount of churn is natural.

So, Do we have a problem with user retention?

Mostly the site is doing well - but more users and more activity would help reach the tipping point needed to leave beta.

Here are some relevant questions. They don't answer this question directly, but I think it's all connected. They show that participation probably is a problem - we need more people asking questions; more people voting on questions and answers; and probably more people answering questions. But they don't address user retention.

How do we boost participation?

How do we get people to vote more?

What experts do we want to attract, and how?

Community Evaluation Results: What can we do to improve?

What do we offer that our target audience can't get elsewhere?

Who are the Parenting evangelists and how do we attract them?

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    And if so, is there a correlation between site quality and retention, or is it possibly due to parents who over time may: Become more busy IRL, or have less questions about parenting? – user11394 Jun 2 '15 at 20:51
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    "When in parenting do you have the most free time" would be an intriguing question, actually (although I suspect the answer is, quite simply, "never") – Acire Jun 3 '15 at 0:07
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    Perhaps I may offer my view as an inactive high-rep user. I've enjoyed P.SE since (before) it started and I was very active, and that was a kind of addiction in itself. I stopped participating after three years simply because I felt too entangled in the site and I wanted to focus better on the physical world I live in. I find it's still a wonderful resource, both in terms of signal/noise and of useful answers. Carry on & keep calm. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jun 12 '15 at 22:46
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In a word, no. You guys are getting more users to the site, growing a lot of those visitors to participate and gain more rep, and trending upward.

Active Users by Rep Band

(click for a silly big version)

I have been playing around with participation stats recently, and have been looking at how many users use the site regularly. In these graphs I am counting active users as people who have posted, commented, edited, or voted in a given week (people actively contributing content and/or reputation in the form of votes).

Generally speaking, regardless of the community, participation trends up with reputation -- the more time you have invested the site in the past, the more likely you are to continue in the future (the grey bars in the graph are taller the higher the rep). You guys are doing a good job at attracting folks to the site (with high quality Q&A), growing those users into mid-rep contributors who help with community moderation, and have a bunch of solid high rep contributors who seem to be sticking around.

Caveats: The %s may seem low, but bear in mind that you guys have had 4 years of site. That's a long time. People come and go over time, and a younger site will generally have better retention of high rep users because the high rep users haven't been around as long.

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    Thank you! Especially for the graphs. – DanBeale Jun 2 '15 at 16:42
  • There's a bit of a survivorship bias in those graphs: the way people get to 5k is to participate regularly over an extended period of time. You could mitigate that to a degree by making the grey bars be the percentage of users in that rep range at that point in the timeline. (That's a lot harder to query for, however.) – Jon Ericson Jun 2 '15 at 17:49
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    @JonEricson Actually, that's exactly what the gray bars are representing. And yes, it is far harder to query for. So there shouldn't be survivorship bias showing through too much. – jmac Jun 2 '15 at 23:36
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    Jmac - that's a useful view for any site that has been around for a while and is wondering what the make up of their community is. Thanks. – Rory Alsop Jun 3 '15 at 21:29
  • Thanks @RoryAlsop -- that was the goal of making it (it's part of a bigger-picture thing I'm working on while building SO in Japanese and wondering how to measure engagement). – jmac Jun 4 '15 at 0:56

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