We’re seeing real progress getting data into the MoFo Contributor Dashboard now, but we need to keep in mind that counting existing contributors and engaging new contributors are two separate tasks that will help us move this line upwards.
The gains we are seeing right now are counting gains rather than contribution gains.
Getting this dashboard fully populated with our existing contributor numbers will be an achievement, but growing our contributor numbers is the real end goal of this work.
Using our back-of-the-napkin numbers from 2013 as a guide the current data sources shown on the dashboard today capture about 40% of the numbers we’re expecting to see here. Depending on how good our estimates were, and how many new contributors have joined in Q1, we expect this will be near the 5k mark by the time it’s all hooked up.
We think about 10% of the contribution we want to count doesn’t currently exist in any database, so I’ve written a simple tool for logging this activity which will feed into this dashboard automatically.
MoFo staff can play with this tool now to test out the UX, but we can’t start logging data with this until it’s been through a security and privacy review (as this will store email addresses). Follow progress on the security review here.
The next biggest pot of data? Badges.
A significant chunk of the remaining 50% of current contributors we want to count, and a significant number of the new contributors we expect to engage this year will be acknowledged by issuing badges.
This starts with Webmaker Super Mentor badges that will be issued through Badgekit.
My next task here is to work with the Badges team to expose a metrics API endpoint that lets us count the number of people we issue particular badges too. Initial thinking on this is here.
Along with the tooling to hook up the data, the badges will also need to be designed and issued before these contributors are counted.
The dashboard status wiki page is the best place to track current progress about data sources being added (this is linked from the top of the live dashboard). Also within that wiki page is a link to a Working Document with even more detail.
Trending with caution?
For some of the things we’re displaying on this dashboard, we are logging them now for the very first time, even if contributors may have been contributing for a while. This will unavoidably skew the graph in the short term.
This means our latest Active Contributor numbers will be meaningful, but the rate at which it increases may be misleading while we start counting some of these things for the first time.
Initial upward trends may slow as we finish logging existing contributors for the first time, though this may also be balanced out by the real increases that will occur as we engage new contributors.
What’s coming next?
Today, I’m working on front-end dashboards for each of the MoFo teams which may be more helpful on a week-to-week basis in team meetings.
This is only interim?
This dashboard is starting to look useful. For instance, we have the beginnings of our first contributor trend line (and the good news is it’s going upwards). But this is still only our interim solution.
We are adding up counts from a number of different data-sources but not joining up the data. This data is not de-duped and when the data sources are all joined up we will need to add potential margin-of-error warnings to the final graph (the real numbers will be smaller than our graph).
This interim solution is a deliberate decision because it’s more useful to have non-de-duped data now to see trends quick enough to inform our plans for the year than it is to have everything joined up perfectly too late in the year to adjust our activities.
In parallel to this interim solution, we are working with MoCo on Project Baloo which will allow us to de-dupe contributors for more accurate counting in the long run.
Want to know more? (Or get involved)
Here are the components that we have wired together so far:
More updates to follow.