Hidden 15 days ago Post by FinalPalladium
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FinalPalladium Till the end of Time...

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First things first, excuse me for clickbait title. This is not another one of the myriad of topics complaining about how Casual has become advanced, or anything like this. However, the title still applies and you'll see why in a moment.

A little bit of background info, first:
Recently, I began to take programing as hobby and try to get the hang of my favorite language so far (Python). As of the moment of this writing (Nov 8th 2020), I'm finally beginning to understand how to do web scrapping and some very simple data analysis.

Just allow me to diverge from the topic for a moment to tip my metaphorical hat to those around here who are professionals in Data Science or are studying to do so. I have to say that, I had no idea how much insight you can gather about a subject from just a few well-thought lines of code.

Now, cutting straight to the point.

As a way to cross two of my favorite hobbies, I decided an analysis to see what kind of info I could extract from the Guild, especially the Casual section since it has the most traffic.

Here are two charts detailing some of the things I decided to get a detailed look at (considering the posts in the 1st 100pages only to keep it relevant-ish to the status of the Guild today):

1st - Tag popularity:


I'm sure every GM around here must have thought about what are the best tags to put in a topic, or better yet what are the best kinds of RPs to attract attention. So this was my first stop.

As you can see, not a single one of the first 2500 topics in the casual section has the casual tag, which is the reason for this post's title since I found that incredibly ironic to the point of being outlandish. After all, what does that say about the people in the casual forum?

Putting that aside, and considering only the genre tags, we can see that Fantasy, Modern, Fandom, and Anime/Manga are the most popular tags. So, if anyone ever wondered what kind of RP is on vogue/the most common, there's your answer.

2nd - RPs created over time:


Because people say their RPs aren't as popular anymore, that they few ignored, or have the impression that the Guild is dying somehow. I wanted to see the truth about that and, as you all can see, what appears to have happened is that was a wild, almost ridiculous explosion of new topics created around Summer 2017.

We have been on a gradual decline back to the original stable numbers of the Guild ever since then. What I theorize that is the cause of complaints of lack of activity is people who joined around the boom and aren't used to the old pace being slowly reestablished. So yeah, it's not anyone's posts that are particularly bad or anything like this, it's just that we are going back to the near flatline pace that was between 2014 and late 2016.

So, what's your opinion about this? I think this is the most insight we had about the guild in years, and it really changed how I see things here.

PS: here's the link for the code if anyone wants to take a look/modify it for other sections/etc.
https://github.com/Final-Palladium/simple-rpguild-data-analysis/blob/main/rpguild_scrape.ipynb
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Hidden 15 days ago 15 days ago Post by BrokenPromise
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We all like click bate titles, otherwise we wouldn't click on them.

I find the fact that people omit the casual title an interesting detail. However, I'm not sure I agree with your reasoning on why you don't see it so often. Two points to consider.

My Danganronpa RP was posted in the casual section and has the casual tag. I'm surprised that my RP was not sampled in the 2500 that you did. I posted in it recently, so it should have been in the first 100 or so pages. I will say that it's become very collab heavy, and the last post was made 24ish days ago, but I still think it should have been in the first 100 pages. The last OOC post was 4 days ago. Furthermore, I've randomly clicked on 5 RPs and all of them had the casual tag. There might be something wrong with your software.

RP in question: roleplayerguild.com/topics/157933-dan…

Secondly, there are a limited number of tags one can put on an RP. So if an RP is already in the casual section, scrapping the casual tag could have been done to make room for something more relevant.

NOW!

The stats on the rate in which RPs are created is an interesting one. Personally, I've been quite successful with my RP ventures as a GM and seldom look for something to join. I believe this trend is a combination of things. Firstly, I think everyone tries to start their own RP at first, and then most of those people decide it's too much work to promote an RP and join one instead. Interest Checks have gotten a lot more ambitious, and it's much harder to stand out without putting forth considerable effort. So while it may have to do with player density, it could also have to do with the ever changing RP meta. My danganronpa RP has been going for 4 years, and that's largely in part because it had a very strong start. I started months before Danganronpa V3 came to the west, and I was rewarded with a bounty of players stoked with interest. Had I started it today I do not believe many people would have bothered to join.

Good stuff, @FinalPalladium. C :

Hidden 15 days ago Post by FinalPalladium
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We all like click bate titles, otherwise we wouldn't click on them.

I find the fact that people omit the casual title an interesting detail. However, I'm not sure I agree with your reasoning on why you don't see it so often. Two points to consider.

My Danganronpa RP was posted in the casual section and has the casual tag. I'm surprised that my RP was not sampled in the 2500 that you did. I posted in it recently, so it should have been in the first 100 or so pages. I will say that it's become very collab heavy, and the last post was made 24ish days ago, but I still think it should have been in the first 100 pages. The last OOC post was 4 days ago. Furthermore, I've randomly clicked on 5 RPs and all of them had the casual tag. There might be something wrong with your software.

RP in question: roleplayerguild.com/topics/157933-dan…

Secondly, there are a limited number of tags one can put on an RP. So if an RP is already in the casual section, scrapping the casual tag could have been done to make room for something more relevant.

NOW!

The stats on the rate in which RPs are created is an interesting one. Personally, I've been quite successful with my RP ventures as a GM and seldom look for something to join. I believe this trend is a combination of things. Firstly, I think everyone tries to start their own RP at first, and then most of those people decide it's too much work to promote an RP and join one instead. Interest Checks have gotten a lot more ambitious, and it's much harder to stand out without putting forth considerable effort. So while it may have to do with player density, it could also have to do with the ever changing RP meta. My danganronpa RP has been going for 4 years, and that's largely in part because it had a very strong start. I started months before Danganronpa V3 came to the west, and I was rewarded with a bounty of players stoked with interest. Had I started it today I do not believe many people would have bothered to join.

Good stuff, @FinalPalladium. C :


Well, I wasn't making any judgements on the reason why people don't add the casual tag to their RPs. Just asking a question worth asking.

Anyway, this issue you mentioned got me intrigued, I checked some pages manually at random, looking for RPs tagged as casual because I found that data to be strange and didn't find any so I was convinced my code was working fine despite the weirdness of no RPs marked as casua in the casual section.

I guess I'll double check the code again later to be sure I didn't do any mistakes there.

Anyway, your opinion about about the reason behind the decline in new posts ever since 2017 is an interesting one. It certainly feels like it's very possible for people to try to GM at a point, become tired/disillusioned and begin to look for games to join rather than run.

I think that, regardless of any kinks in this data set, the discussions and insights that can come out from this information is something most of us can benefit from.

And, an industrious person with more curiosity than I can even dig other statistics from this data, like RP activity (duration/number of replies), most prolific GMs, etc.

It's truly something worth talking about.
Hidden 15 days ago Post by BrokenPromise
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@FinalPalladium More data would be interesting. If my theory about the "boom of 2017" is correct, I would expect to see most of those RPS getting few posts, with the "posts per RP average" going up as time went on, until the boom faded. Knowing how many players joined during the boom and since would also be interesting information to have on hand. though it would be fascinating if all this pointed to something else entirely too.

I'd certainly be interested in looking at more statistics if you can dig them up.
Hidden 15 days ago Post by The Ghost Note
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nice
Hidden 15 days ago Post by stone
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yeah, my mind was blown that not a single topic within the first 25 pages of Casual has a casual tag. Then I took a look for myself and found that you're right, or at least to the 5 pages i checked. What the hell?
Hidden 15 days ago Post by ERode
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Is it really that strange? You're already in the Casual Roleplays section, so why would you tag it as Casual? Honestly, I figure those sorts of tags would only really pop up in the General Interest Check section. Otherwise it's redundant.
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Hidden 15 days ago Post by Exit
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r/dataisbeautiful

Very interesting stuff. And the 'Casual tag' thing. I must be redundant af because I always add it and yeah, it's not entirely necessary.
Hidden 15 days ago Post by SleepingSilence
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Eh, that data doesn't surprise me. 18+ and Advanced being comparatively highly tagged is obvious because its the very few that are meant to be exclusionary. And large fantasy and large group are the most common on any roleplaying forum period. So no surprises there either.

And the absolute sharp decline of topic creation is also unsurprising. Though the quality of posts were never the problem. (In fairness, some of that is probably from the 1x1 likely gaining traction. Half of the most recent posts are all from 1x1. And that hardly counts all the ones in PM's and Google Docs.)
Hidden 14 days ago Post by stone
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@FinalPalladium

I went back and checked a previous casual RP that I made. It turns out that, even if the Casual tag is checked off, it won't show up in the RP description!
Hidden 14 days ago Post by FinalPalladium
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It's interesting to see he opinions that come out from the analysis of a simple piece of data. I'm trying to hold back on making any judgements of my own to get a better of everyone's opinions.

It's interesting to see how some here take that information about the Casual tag not appearing at all as granted. That's an interesting take in the matter.

@SleepingSilence
I wouldn't be so hasty to say that half of the recent activity in the guild comes from the 1x1 section. At least not without something to back it up. I myself go through that section every once in a while (reason why I don't have many public posts) and it seems to be about the same level as Casual not significantly more, or less, busy.

On the matter of this analysis not taking into account PMs and off-site stuff. That data isn't available publicly, it doesn't have any impact on a study of the public available data. We can't compare oranges and apples, can we?

I also didn't mention meta tags in my intro post (though obviously anyone is welcome to talk about them, like you did) because I think they are kinda irrelevant for an analysis of the taste in RPs of the average player/GM here. Especially the Large/Small group tags because of how they are described.

@FinalPalladium

I went back and checked a previous casual RP that I made. It turns out that, even if the Casual tag is checked off, it won't show up in the RP description!


Now, this actually something I appreciate. That was quite an interesting discovery about the inner workings of the Guild (and made me significantly more confident in my project).

You really have my thanks for pointing this out.
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Hidden 14 days ago Post by stone
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Now, this actually something I appreciate. That was quite an interesting discovery about the inner workings of the Guild (and made me significantly more confident in my project).

You really have my thanks for pointing this out.


Yeah, I also took a look at your code (it checks out). Since it (seemingly) had no problems with the other tags, the Casual tag not showing up is definitely a Guild thing, not your program. Cheers!
Hidden 14 days ago Post by Zapdos
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2nd - RPs created over time:


Because people say their RPs aren't as popular anymore, that they few ignored, or have the impression that the Guild is dying somehow. I wanted to see the truth about that and, as you all can see, what appears to have happened is that was a wild, almost ridiculous explosion of new topics created around Summer 2017.

We have been on a gradual decline back to the original stable numbers of the Guild ever since then. What I theorize that is the cause of complaints of lack of activity is people who joined around the boom and aren't used to the old pace being slowly reestablished. So yeah, it's not anyone's posts that are particularly bad or anything like this, it's just that we are going back to the near flatline pace that was between 2014 and late 2016.

So, what's your opinion about this? I think this is the most insight we had about the guild in years, and it really changed how I see things here.

PS: here's the link for the code if anyone wants to take a look/modify it for other sections/etc.
https://github.com/Final-Palladium/simple-rpguild-data-analysis/blob/main/rpguild_scrape.ipynb


I didn't see anyone ask this (sorry if someone did and I missed it), so I wonder - is there a way to measure the number of new members who joined each month? I'm wondering how that data would look alongside the quoted data above. If there was an explosion of topics in Summer 2017 alongside a spike in membership, that might confirm your hypothesis.

Also, do people use tags when looking for roleplays to join? I just browse the casual section and see what interests me, personally.
Hidden 14 days ago 14 days ago Post by Heat
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First off, great job on the data! It's fascinating.

Second off, what happened in summer 2017 to cause such a spike? Was it just a coincidence?
Hidden 14 days ago Post by Exit
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Also, do people use tags when looking for roleplays to join? I just browse the casual section and see what interests me, personally.


Is that a thing we can do?

I think with the low volume of new RPs being introduced, there hasn't been a need for me to use tags when searching for a game to join. However, although I haven't done this yet, using tags to search for games that are ongoing and are still open may be a thing. It might also be useful with 1x1s where a lot of the ICs are always 'open'.
Hidden 14 days ago 14 days ago Post by NuttsnBolts
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It's interesting to see how some here take that information about the Casual tag not appearing at all as granted. That's an interesting take in the matter.

There's actually an interesting glitch where you can add an extra tag (6 instead of the 5 limit) by not using the Casual tag. That way when the roleplay is posted in the section it automatically gets the additional tag added to it.

Also, tags were not something adopted until a couple years back. /Trivia

First off, great job on the data! It's fascinating.

Second off, what happened in summer 2017 to cause such a spike? Was it just a coincidence?

My theory...
That'll be the Korean bot invasion.
Seen here
(Hover over BP's date and it's the 13th May 2017)

Since then Guild has had a massive improvement to the spam filter with the occasional bot that will slip through. Often they have to make a first post for the filter to actually do its work.

To explain for clarity, I can see the last 50 people that signed up to the site, ranging back to about 7 days (6-7 new accounts added per day); an expanded version of this as you will. Of those, 20 are spam bots with currently only one having had the chance to make a thread. However if we go back in time to when the Korean bots were around, the site was absolutely flooded to the point where Mahz made a big improvement to the Nuke feature, and the filter itself. You can see that in the data as well as it is referring to Topics created by Date and yet during those particular dates the topics are getting to over 100, impossible to maintain if they were legitimate roleplays.

To be fair the lower lot of numbers, 0-20, is probably our general average which would hopefully mean that the 40 mark is the better average that we would like to hope we have. As for the decline, things have changed and I'm not gonna deny that Roleplay writing isn't as popular as it once was. There's lots of ways for people to spend their time and when you can easily pick up a game and play it for an extended period of time without thinking, some people will opt for that option over writing.
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Hidden 13 days ago Post by BrokenPromise
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Totally forgot about the bot invasion. That makes a lot of sense though.
Hidden 2 days ago Post by casper
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I haven't looked at the source data to verify but could it be that the huge number of new RPG's created in 2017 actually cut off the older data (because this wouldn't be present in the first 100 pages, especially if there was an increase via bots?). Would it lead to a risk that all but the most longstanding RPG's would factor into your data?.

The 2017 spike is interesting. One of my first rules of data is that if something looks off then it probably is. However, indications of a bot invasion don't hold true either as if the data is predictable it would show a similarly sharp decline and that hasn't happened. It looks like there has been a gradual decline since 2017, and whatever caused the 2017 spike also removed a lot of your earlier data from the sample. I'd be inclined to run the script on 'all' data (think the site goes back to 2013) and see what patterns emerge. I'd then be inclined to see if I could strip out the bot topic starters (maybe any post of 1 post only?) to see what the data looks like.

Another interesting thing to look at as a fellow data 'enthusiast' may be to identify topics started by board. You mentioned that we can't measure RPGs run offsite or via pm but instigated / coordinated from here but you can measure the potential change in the number / distribution of 1-1 topics / interest checks. If their variance changes differently from the other topics it may show a trend and a way of estimating the 'known unknown' of RPGs via pm.

It's terribly interesting!
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