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Old 2003-11-18, 01:32   #1
GP2
 
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Default Opportunity! Retaining new users post-M40

Data from historical summary.txt files (http://opteron.mersenneforum.org/png/accounts.png) shows that there was a spike of 10,000 new machines (33% increase) and also 10,000 new accounts (66% increase) in the immediate aftermath of the discovery of M39 just over two years ago (November 14 2001).

However, we lost most of those new users over the next 6-8 months. This time, the challenge is to fully exploit the unique opportunity of free publicity and keep those new users, taking GIMPS to a new permanently higher level.


Some suggestions:

- The press release should prominently mention Mersenne.org, maybe even giving it more prominence than the name "GIMPS". If reporters or radio shows only mention the word "GIMPS", listeners might not know where to go.

- The webpage at http://www.mersenne.org/ should be, at least temporarily, drastically simplified and idiot-proofed, geared towards first-time visitors. Same goes for the near-identical http://www.mersenne.org/prime.htm , which a lot of search engines still point to.

- The webpage should give direct links to Version 23 downloads (it's not beta anymore) and a direct links to a forum where new users can find help. Logically, this should be a "Newbie Help" forum on mersenneforum.org, where established teams would come and provide answers and hand-holding "customer support" in exchange for the opportunity to entice newbies to join their team. There should also be links to the Mersenne mailing list at base@com, though that's less active these days.

[However, the mersenneforum.org board might not be able to handle higher-than-usual volume? Perhaps ARS Technica (Team Prime Rib) could be asked to run a special temporary forum on its own hardware.]


- curtisc (and maybe also the TempleU folks) should be officially contacted and asked to make themselves available as contact persons. So people within a large organization who face an uphill battle convincing skeptical sysadmins and university department heads that Prime95 is not a virus will be able to refer their bosses / department heads / sysadmins to someone who can provide answers.

Presumably Curtis Cooper has the full approval of high-level people at his campus. Maybe even the university president. We could throw in a quote from the said university president into the press release. Mention Central Missouri State University by name -- university presidents love free publicity that portrays their campus as a high-tech leader, and in exchange we get an official endorsement that Prime95 won't melt down and destroy large organizational networks. Win-win.


- Maybe the Prime95 client could be altered slightly to make it clear that the amount of memory you specify for P-1 is not the total amount of memory you have on your computer. I know that some new users make this mistake and then wonder why their system starts swapping and bogs down completely during P-1 testing. If this happens in a large organization which was very reluctant to install it in the first place, it could have adverse consequences.

Maybe require the "secret" 9876 password before anyone can set P-1 memory to more than 25% of available memory.


So in summary:
new users brought in by M40 publicity should land on a simple webpage. Some key links: one link to download the software (no mention of older or beta versions) and one link to a help forum. Some background info and a prominent "get permission first" notice. And finally a link to "GIMPS success stories" that addresses concerns of high-level non-techie "inhibitors" in management. Mention CMSU and TempleU by name, so that they get free positive publicity as "high-tech centers of distributed computing" in exchange for official endorsement and agreeing to serve as contact resources -- so that a department head can phone another department head, or maybe even a university president can phone another university president, folks like that are most comfortable talking to a counterpart on their own level.

Any other ideas?
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Old 2003-11-18, 01:49   #2
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A reworking of the client for novice users. Didn’t we have this discussion over the summer?

http://www.mersenneforum.org/showthr...=&threadid=737

Last fiddled with by E_tron on 2003-11-18 at 01:52
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Old 2003-11-18, 01:57   #3
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Another thing is that many of the large DC teams out there don't have a GIMPS team. Perhaps this is because the old server software doesn't really make it possible to have "true" teams like some of the other DC projects.

Maybe M40 publicity will pull in some new teams. Free-DC just formed a GIMPS team a few weeks ago... why not Dutch Power Cows or some other heavy hitters.

After all, GIMPS offers something that many other distributed projects don't: actual regular discoveries.
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Old 2003-11-18, 01:58   #4
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Default Re: Opportunity! Retaining new users post-M40

Quote:
Originally posted by GP2
[However, the mersenneforum.org board might not be able to handle higher-than-usual volume? Perhaps ARS Technica (Team Prime Rib) could be asked to run a special temporary forum on its own hardware.]
It already is on the same hardware...

One good thing is we can use the Opteron for client downloads in case the mersenne.org server crashes... We could even set up a mirror too...

The forum has several mechanisms to prevent it from getting overloaded... One is a server load monitor that denies entry to people if the server load goes too high and the other is a count limit that stops letting people in once we have a certain number of people logged in... (It just tells them to try to log in again in 5 minutes...)

That said, most people read 100x more than they post, so the only worry is if people use the search too much... In a worst case scenario we could take the search engine offline...

I think we could handle more than 200 concurrent sessions on our current hardware, and possibly more...

As for a newbie forum, we'd need some very motivated moderators...
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Old 2003-11-18, 02:01   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by E_tron
A reworking of the client for novice users. Didn’t we have this discussion over the summer?

http://www.mersenneforum.org/showthr...=&threadid=737
No, not a reworking of the client... the client is fine. But the client already has a 9876 "safety catch" that forces users to read the documentation before they do something they might not want to... maybe just one more current feature should be put behind that "barrier". Just a thought.

What I'm proposing is reworking the webpage for novice users. And also a little PR-related stuff.
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Old 2003-11-18, 02:15   #6
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Default Re: Re: Opportunity! Retaining new users post-M40

Quote:
Originally posted by Xyzzy

One good thing is we can use the Opteron for client downloads in case the mersenne.org server crashes... We could even set up a mirror too...
As you know, the mirror's already there (you're the one who put in in place ), so that people can do HTTP downloads if they're behind a firewall that won't allow FTP. An excellent idea... mersenne.org should (at least temporarily) have an extra link to the opteron.mersenneforum.org mirror for downloads.


Quote:

As for a newbie forum, we'd need some very motivated moderators...
Just invite Team Prime Rib and Free-DC to provide moderators... free labor in exchange for the once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity to recruit a large number of new members. Maybe Free-DC would be interested, they have a huge catch-up job ahead of them. The thing could practically run itself, from your point of view as an admin. And if the newbies join a team, they'd probably even naturally gravitate to the team's own discussion forum for their newbie questions.

As it is, we already get newbie-type questions in the other forums... edorajh has been asking questions and getting (hopefully) helpful answers. So a separate Newbie forum might make sense even under normal circumstances.
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Old 2003-11-18, 02:17   #7
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I meant a mirror of the web site...

Personally, I think we should downplay the team aspect in a newbie forum, but that is my opinion...
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Old 2003-11-18, 02:23   #8
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Default Re: Re: Opportunity! Retaining new users post-M40

Quote:
Originally posted by Xyzzy

As for a newbie forum, we'd need some very motivated moderators...
Or perhaps just a large number of mildly motivated moderators for a brief time period. For a couple of weeks after the announcement, you could temporarily make every current moderator a moderator of the Newbie forum, so that someone is likely to be online just in case some newbie goes nuts or spams.

Longer-term than that, teams recruiting new blood would do all the moderation. Maybe several moderators, one nominated from each large team, to keep things fair.

Maybe the Prime95 readme.txt documentation could be altered slightly to add a mention and link to the Newbie forum? Maybe even the online help box "About... menu" could provide that link.
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Old 2003-11-18, 02:31   #9
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I'd hate to see teams fighting over new recruits... I figure it is best to get new people in, and after they are comfortable they can approach a team if they are interested...

Besides, IMO, GIMPS is about people, not teams... (Yes, teams are fun, but it is a whole different ball game!)

I know TPR is forbidden to recruit here, and I think that is a very good policy...

We actually wouldn't have to make everyone a moderator for the newbie forum as long as we had people standing by to answer questions...

You know we can subscribe to forums... (Hint!)
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Old 2003-11-18, 02:35   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Xyzzy
I meant a mirror of the web site...
Sure, the website could be mirrored too. But I think it'll be fine, bandwidth usage would be mostly downloads, not images or text webpages.

Quote:

Personally, I think we should downplay the team aspect in a newbie forum, but that is my opinion...
I'm of the opposite opinion. Play it up fully, invite the teams in. Teams, with their stats and gauntlets and camaraderie and hand-holding and hardware advice, are key to new user retention. The more new users that end up joining teams, the more crunching power GIMPS will have for the long term.

And the hand-holding mostly gets outsourced to the team's own in-house discussion forums. Even on the Newbie forum itself, the teams will compete among themselves to be helpful. So all the newbie support work gets outsourced and GIMPS get more long-term crunching. Win-win all around.
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Old 2003-11-18, 02:42   #11
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The mersenne.org website has been pretty reliable lately, but I still remember the times it has gone down over a weekend...

It's not like the content changes that much...
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