Your Vanilla forum is chock full of useful analytics data that has previously been left untapped. With the release of Vanilla 2.0.17, we are introducing proper statistics reporting that will allow forum administrators to easily get much deeper insights into what is actually going on in their communities from a birds-eye view.
Specifically, your forum now records daily and monthly data about the number of new users, discussions, comments, and pageviews. These counts are then reported back to our analytics server so that we can generate graphs and present them in your administrative dashboard. We’ve bundled Vanilla 2.0.17 with the “Vanilla Stats” plugin that turns your forum’s dashboard into a powerful analytics reporting tool, allowing administrators to see activity on their community over specific time periods like:
- New pageviews, users, discussions, and comments
- The most popular discussions
- The most active users
Here’s what you’ll be seeing when you enable the Vanilla Stats plugin:
About Statistics Reporting
It is important to note that the only information sent to our analytics server is numeric summary data and information that identifies your installation. We do not send any actual content from your forum (discussions, comments, user profile information, etc are left untouched). While we previously sent this numeric data when update checks were performed, sending the data in this new way allows us to provide you with a powerful new tool to help you make important decisions about your community.
Since Vanilla was released in 2005, we’ve held strongly to the principles of open source, giving community managers the most customizable, pluggable, simple community-building software ever created for free. This has been incredibly rewarding for us on a personal level as we’ve seen Vanilla used on some of the biggest websites in the world. However, we never recorded any information about exactly how many people were using it, and because the installations were so white-labeled and customized, people (including us!) often didn’t even know that Vanilla was the product they were using.
For this reason and many others, it is vitally important to the life of this project that we accurately measure the effectiveness and reach of Vanilla. Without this information, it will be impossible for us to continue to develop this fantastic free software.
That being said, of course there will be installations where sending statistical data back to us is simply not in the cards. So, administrators can disable the reporting of this numeric data simply by adding a line to their configuration file. Full details on how to accomplish this can be found on our Vanilla Statistics documentation page.
Better Understand Your Community
We are immeasurably excited by the new analytics capabilities in Vanilla 2.0.17. Forum-based community managers have never had this type of deep forum-specific data available out of the box before, and we know it will revolutionize the way you think about and react to the activity in your community.