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What's an "Active Member"?


According to the stats down at the bottom of the main page, we have 1400 members and 160 active members. Does this really mean we have 10 lurkers for every person who posts regularly?

And... totally random question... did the term "lurker," meaning person who visits but does not post on an internet message board, derive from Babylon 5's lurkers? Or was it just parallel evolution?
The term dates back to the mid-1980s, when most people did not have access to the internet, but used BBS chat rooms and message boards instead.

Because BBSs were often accessed by a single phone line (frequently in someone's home), there was an expectation that all who used a bulletin board would contribute to its content by uploading files and posting comments. Lurkers were viewed negatively, and might be barred from access by the sysop, if they did not contribute anything but kept the phone line tied up for extended periods.

Many internet communities advise newbies to lurk for some time to get a feel for the specific culture and etiquette of the community, lest they make an inappropriate or redundant comment, ask a frequently asked question, or incite a flame war. This leads to the tongue-in-cheek command to "lurk more". The verb to "de-lurk" means to start contributing actively to a community having been a lurker previously.

There are also some who lurk on a forum habitually, and rarely, if ever, contribute. It is generally difficult to guess how many such lurkers are present, due to their silence.

J. Michael Straczynski, the writer of the television science fiction series Babylon 5, decided to use the term "lurkers" to refer to the homeless space station inhabitants of Brown Sector because of their similarity to Internet lurkers

Wiki article
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For more information on active members, see this site. (BTW, I strongly suspect that the first four letters in the formal name are an in joke by company employees and intended to mean, "Ta-da!")


As noted, B5's lurkers got their name from the internet variety. It was not the other way around, nor was it parallel development. Of course, internet or BBS lurkers got their name from people who actual "lurk" around schoolyards, liquor store and bad neighborhoods looking for trouble. :)


'kay, thanks to you both... I just knew that B5 took to the net pretty quick back in the early days, and wondered. Having not been there to see it for myself.
Active members are members who have visited within the last X days. In our case in think 60 days. The longer time goes on and the more a database gets out of date, the lower the percentage will get of active users. I think 160 is pretty decent for this board.
Whereas skulkers have a more focused intent, sort of an intermediate stage between lurker and troll.

And all these years I've just assumed that skulkers were dyslexic lurkers. :) You see, you learn something new every day. (For instance, I recenly learned that another word is not spelled "leprochaun" and does not refer to a creature of Irish myth who guards a crock of gold and suffers from a hideous skin condition.) ;)


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