Refuge Censuseseeses (2013 - 2020)

Started by Luca, November 17, 2021, 06:47:28 PM

Previous topic - Next topic



As I was processing this year's Refuge Census, I recalled that it has been an oft-promised commitment to publish the previous years' results to the new forum, since posts before 2019 have been archived and are not viewable to new members. Pleasing news: I have now gotten to this section of my To Do list and can provide this information now.

Because the data is so ancient, and the reports page gets more and more undeveloped the further back in time you go, probably the bulk of this is not going to be terribly interesting. Particularly, the manner in which I asked certain questions was a bit dimwitted at points. Still, for those who have been curious about previous years, I have been able to locate reports since 2013, with their approximate verbiage at the time. Apparently, I have gotten less verbose over time, or more inclined to put stuff into charts without vocalising an analysis recently.

The ultimate goal of the census is to collect feedback about how sites and services are doing, and the bulk of the open-ended or long form comments are not released with the results. Surveys before 2013 were largely not as organised, and any metrics we used to collect feedback from 2009 - 2012 is no longer available, or at least no longer coherent.

The 2021 Refuge Census' results will be available soon and posted to this board in a separate thread. Until then, here's everything else:

The 2020 Refuge Census - Dec 03, 2020


As with last time, I have forgotten to post this here by a factor of months. So, for the permanent record for me to consult more accessibly later on, allow me to post the results of this last year's Refuge Census:

Thanks for everyone who filled out The 2020 Refuge Census. There were way freaking more responses to this that I've ever had before, by far. As a result of that, a lot of services that maybe weren't all that promoted, were entirely unknown to a lot of people. So. that paints a good map of what kind of work I need to do in admin now to get those more visible and accessible.

Since I've been doing this for a while now, I've also had enough information to look back over several years and see how things have changed over time. Those have been added to the bottom of the post.

Some other misc conclusions:
• Most people are new
• Most people plan on sticking around as far as they know
• The first person since 2014 said they have kids
• There's a lot more guys than you'd think. Or at least a lot more guys than I'd think.
• We are very very slightly less gay than last time - but still incredibly gay.

And, kind of heart-warmingly, more people self-identified as a Refugi that at any point since I started asking the question (In 2013?)

The 2019 Refuge Census - Jul 03, 2019
Hello! I have just realised that information about the 2019 Refuge Census was never published to the chat this year, and by gosh we need to fix that so that when I look for this information in 250 years, it will all be right here in Announcements.

The Refuge Census is an annual feedback project first created in 2009. We study the overall environment at CalRef, as well as changes in demographics as new members register and existing members age. For the 2019 census, we omitted questions related to the site's services and their implementation, as not enough services were available at the time of the survey. These questions are scheduled to return as normal next year.

This census ran from the 26th of June to the 3rd of July, 2019.

When the survey concluded, this was the statement that was released:
Quote from: WisdomThe Census is concluded.
Thank you to everyone who completed one, enjoy a big mental hug from me. The most notable observation is that we're gayer than we've ever been with only 37% of responses selecting that they were straight. We're also, on average, younger than any other time since I've been keeping track of these averages, for the last six years the average has been above 23, occasionally 25. This year, the average member is 20 years old. Men also outweigh everyone else less than ever before, whereas up to 2015, they made up some 75-80%, this year they account for 56%.

Most importantly, ten people self-identified as Refugi, the same number as was recorded in 2016. This is particularly great because of all the people who have left, just as many have come in and CalRef home, and I'm so happy about that.

Let's keep building this thing and going strong.

A census of CalRef members did not take place in 2017 because of an external census which happened off-site. A census did not take place in 2018 due to extenuating circumstances.

The 2016 Refuge Census - Nov 15, 2016
Thanks for everyone, once again, for taking part in the census.

A full breakdown of the use, quality, and demographic facts is here, in glorious high-resolution, so that you may see my formatting errors in vivid detail. Now, in no particular order, I'll begin to list some of the finds that I have noticed for the project this year.

The first is that CalRef's age, or combined average age is 0.1 years older than it was this time last year. This means that more young people responded to the census this year and reduced that average by more than time has advanced since the last census. Another item of note is the massive migration east. Where there were four respondents selecting the MST zone and one for EST in the last census, the registration is one and nine, respectively, for this one. There are now no members reporting that they have kids.

CalRef is as gay as it has ever been, at least by the Kinsey index, which is valued at 2.43, topping the previous record of 2.19 in 2010. There are more heterosexuals than in 2010, but by the strength of the submissions recorded between 3 and 6, the index is higher.

Another observation is a marked migration in chat theme preferences. When I posted this in 2014, Carbon was the most used theme among members. However, as of this census, it wasn't selected by any respondent. Instead, Stygium, a theme based around not being a theme at all, was the most popular selection, by far.

So, the last item would be suggestions for plans in the future. While the quality of services have not actually taken a hit this year, it doesn't look like a number of services are getting particularly good (or any) use, and this is probably because they are not particularly useful. Independently, there has been a sudden massive interest in doing a D&D/AIMhack or other narrative-creative-multiplayer D&D-style campaign among members. The shift from RP writing to creative multiplayer interactions in realtime is interesting and definitely something I'm interested in helping out with.

As a result, over the next few months, we're going to be working on another large-scale site update called CalRef III. CalRef III will be a sequel to the previous large-scale update, CalRef II. When these items are completed, a transitional period of downtime may occur for one to three days. A new topic will be posted into Announcements, which will have a complete list of the improvements and site changes. Some of the things we're planning in update include:

Closing out old, unmaintained subdomains
Structural forum changes
Rebuilding/renovating RadioRefuge
Moving all services to a newer, faster, more stable server
Focusing on regular and semi-regular Twitch/Youtube streams of Stuff and Things.
Upgrades to files.calref features

The 2015 Refuge Census - Nov 09, 2015
Thanks again for completing the census. The graphical results can be found here and a few thoughts on the data are below.

At current, there are a number of older members that are dealing with a number of things preventing them from being here. Consequently, the frequency of use index has dropped for this census period. However, there were far fewer people who didn't know what services we had. At any rate, I predict that activity will increase in January and remain relatively stable until the end of next August, where it will increase slightly again.

Due to the gallup "yea or nay" drawbacks, administrators received a 100% feedback score for nominal approval. This is why I put more stock in the AccuScore, which gives more weight to strength of yeas and nays and also includes indifferent responses.

No respondents selected economic or social conservatism, or conservative-leaning options this year.

The average age of Refugi have decreased by a third of a year, consistently falling.

The number of members that registered at long-lost SW satellite sites has decreased sharply.

The number of members who have self-reported Refugi status has increased sharply.

Artemis and more regularly scheduled Refuge Game Nights and radio events were relatively consistent suggestions for upcoming activities.

We have received a number of messages related to issues regarding moderators for the second census in a row and will be looking at reform options over the next month and a half, to take effect by the first of January.

That is all.

The 2014 Refuge Census - Oct 12, 2014
Thanks to everyone, once again, who contributed to the census and allowed me to complete this annual project. Believe it or not, the responses are actually useful and we actually look into them. We don't have nearly as much time as we did when we were kids (just like you all don't either), so this is helpful for telling us what areas we really need to work on.

To recap, last year respondents said that while the chat was the most-used service, it was also one of the more unstable because of intense lag, crashes, and dropping people out of the room. We agreed, and Aran was kind and awesome enough to take a screenshot of it, bulldoze it, and build an entirely new one in its image. Same familiar interface, but now it actually works (and has more features!).

This change increased the chat's use by several index points and three more quality points. (It's hard to see a change in quality when most of the responses are "Excellent" and it's already at 90% of the maximum rating). There was also a request to increase PDN length in the chat. In Cadence, the length is now 29 characters. In any XMPP client, the theoretical length is 1024 characters, but you will only be able to see it in that client. If you need more characters than that, we have bigger problems.

The forums were stiff, had no style, and lacked a host of features that they once had, so we brought SMF back with new, updated features, new themes and graphics, and better profile integration and support. This change increased the forum's frequency of use by twenty points, the biggest change of any service. Where it was ranked last by use last year, it is now ranking second. The forum's quality index has increased by 22 points, also the biggest change of any service.

These changes were a part of the mega update known as CalRef II, and I think it's fair to say it was a success.

So, for reminder / clarification, the frequency of use formula (which is the same as last year) takes equal weight to all answers. We lose points for members not knowing what a service is, and gain one for members at least knowing *that* a service is, even if they never use it. If, next year, we get more members and they use things, the number will be correspondingly higher. Less than half of the members did not know what one or more CR services were.

The Quality Index is a percentile, so if everyone says Service A is excellent, that item has an index of 100. This section received 98 more responses than last year, partially due to the addition of the "I don't use this service option". A service does not take damage from a member not using it, since that data is already collected in the frequency of use section.


You're right, it could. Let's discuss some of the suggestions you've mentioned this year.

Quote from: Survey 123Video chat? When do we get that?

Quote from: Response from SylaeThis has been a pretty consistent request over the last few years, coming from several members, so I thought I'd set aside a block of text to discuss why I don't support this idea.

My first and foremost concern is maintaining the welfare, privacy, and security of all members. A video-based interface opens a really big can of worms relating to issues with this. A lot of people, myself included, are hesitant about using webcams for video chat. Also, after discounting the staff who (most likely) wouldn't use video chat, there simply isn't enough coverage to ensure things stay civil. In addition, several members are underage, and while I trust that the adult userbase is mature enough to control themselves, anything untoward happening would essentially shut down the entire site.

A second concern is that of bandwidth usage. The current, text-based XMPP chat is set to limit each logged-in user to a maximum of 1 KiB/s. about 90% of the time, a connection sits idle, literally pulling 0 b/s. In fact, due to replacing the aged AJAX chat with Cadence, the Refuge's 95th percentile bandwidth use is comparable to that of a 56k modem. Sending a single HD video stream to a user would pull about 1.5 mbit/s each way. Not only would this incur a significant amount of bandwidth charges, it would place undue strain on the server (particularly CPU usage, one would have to combine multiple users' video feeds into a single stream, which is a hard task for a CPU).

But that's for HD video, what about a little 480p stream or something? Unfortunately, this is still ridiculous bandwidth usage when compared to the current chat, and in addition the finished product would be sub-par. I pride myself on the quality of work that goes into the Refuge, and offering a sub-par service is not something I am comfortable with.

I encourage all willing users to do video chats. However, I cannot directly support such a venture and would therefore recommend something like a Skype chat (or, more preferably, there are many peer-to-peer video chat options that save your privacy). I'd say the closest we'll get is the Mumble server.

Quote from: Survey 121It'd be nice if files.calref had a (short?) list of things I'd recently uploaded so that I could find them more easily. Oh! Or...! Since the links that thing generates are as long as heck, including (or a link to that tool) on the files.calref page would be awesome. I'd definitely use l.calref more if that were to happen.

Quote from: Response from SylaeI've had a few comments regarding files.calref, including a 'history' feature and integration with l.calref to make the URLs less horrible. These are both certainly possible, and I will look into getting a proof-of-concept available as soon as possible.

Quote from: Survey 126I'd say that the Minecraft server should be version 1.8, but we've already invested time and effort into how it exists as it is, and it's a minor gripe.

Quote from: Response from AranSo, uh, I don't know how much you've heard of this, but the Bukkit project basically imploded.

Not sure what exactly is happening or why it's happening now, but apparently there is beef between Mojang and some of the volunteer developers, and there's been a DMCA notice from a former developer for a GPL violation, or something, and now nearly all the Bukkit devs resigned?

Anyway, it doesn't look good, and the 1.8 update might take longer or even require switching the server software.

Additionally, Minecraft has now been purchased by Microsoft, and the total extent of the effects of that are not yet clear, but it does seem like Spade on its current version is going to be it for us hosting Minecraft. If anything changes and Bukkit reemerges from its freefall, we will promptly update the server when the Bukkit version matches, because that is the only way we are able to host MC.

Quote from: Survey 119The option to kick Moderators for all regular members.


There are several other suggestions that need to be reviewed for a while longer before we make any comments on them. If you do not see your comment above, rest assured, we have. Just give us a couple weeks to find some solutions.

As you may have noticed, we have slightly higher ratings in staff approval this year. As before, nominal ratings are like Gallup, they take into consideration only responses that are positive and negative. AccuRatings, which I prefer, are like my services quality index, they give weight strong responses and indifferent responses.

I've updated/recreated previous year's data regarding sexual orientation. You can take a look at it here. As you can see, everyone will be straight in three or four years, statistically. :P

The average age of the Refuge is 24.16. years old. Last year, it was 23.88. This means that the Refuge is ageing slower than time is actually moving. So, thanks for keeping us young, new members. :P There are 53 more years between us than there were last year.

Most interestingly, we know that the Refuge is primarily composed of two "waves", which includes the original Refugi wave, and the 2012 SW wave. What we didn't know up to this point is that those waves constitute everyone who filled out a census. According to the responses, no members who registered between between 2010 and 2011, as well as since 2014 remained. If they have, they did not complete a census in this survey cycle.

79% of respondents plan on being "lifers". And 74% of respondents consider themselves Refugi who adequately belong here, with 21% on the fence.

The members who have been a part of an RP are now the minority.

There are, additionally, four interesting charts that discuss member's education level, offspring (or lack thereof), and social/economic ideology. While these are very pretty and fun to look at, they are all new this year, and I am more interested in seeing how they change over the next five years.

The 2013 Refuge Census - Nov 21, 2013

A big thanks to all 18 of you that completed the 2013 Refuge Census. This is the chart that I have created from Excel, the best program for numerical data since...paper.

The Frequency of Use Index gives accurate weighted ranks for each service based on its use and allows easy comparison to other services. So obviously, the actual number of something is fairly arbitrary, but the difference between two services is not.

The Quality of Service graph uses a similar index formula, and it is sorted by that number, but it's not included in the chart because you cannot compare other services to that number. This is because of all the people who took the survey, all respondents answered every question regarding frequency of use, equating to 144 responses. However, there were only 74 responses for the quality questions. And that's kinda what you would expect: If you don't know what a service even is, you can't accurately rate it. I was pretty surprised about the number of services that most of you didn't know about. Hopefully you do now, if not, pop those in you web browser and see if there's anything you might be able to use.

I am certainly glad to see that the Sopris server has the highest quality rating because we, literally, do nothing besides sit around and try to think of ways to make it better, so at least we can do that right. The chat is the second highest, which is also good because everyone who answered the survey used it. Sylae would still like to make it less glitchy in the coming months. Based off of their percentage of satisfaction, I should make note that blades.calref and money.calref are tied. I actually have no idea how Excel decided to put one over the other.

The "nominal rating" for quality of CR staff is the rating that you would see Gallup use. Do you approve of this person's job performance, yes or no. Because that is the standard for so many polls, it's on there, but I personally don't think that's an accurate form of measure because
1). It doesn't give weight to people who feel strongly in either direction 
2). It completely drops people who said "okay" off the planet since that's the neutral option that Sy decided to use for this question. So I created an "AccuRating" that weighs responses similarly to the way I weighted responses in Quality of Service, so I personally prefer this method of getting the real approval rating. For quite a while, Administration was leading with AccuRating and I'm honestly pretty surprised it ended up being tied the way it did. Administration was rated more moderately than the moderators who, ironically, were either strongly loved or strongly hated by respondants.

For the orientation poll, the percentage of straight and bi/pan has gone down this year, partly because of my next fact. This is the first year we've had both "unknown" and "asexual" responses. We've had those in the past, but not in the same year. Being straight is still the most populous category by far. For previous years' pie charts click here. I have included the average in the form of a Kinsey Index. A lot of you object to Kinsey, I do too, but last year Dantius complained not including it made it harder to track the general orientation movement of the Refuge.

The age chart should come as no surprise to anyone, especially since I did a short thing in the chat not long ago based off of my own knowledge of people's ages and their handy Facebook information. The responses in the census are much more legitimate and had a very small margin for error. I've decided to artificially add Dantius into the mix, since he is unable to take the census this year, being on a highly secretive engineering assignment in the Middle East. There are 406 years between us. Drupal thought it was very important I share that with you, so I have.

For those of you that posted recommendations for new features that you would like to see as well as suggestions and comments in general, I have posted those ideas in the mod board and we will see if we can make any of those happen, although not a lot of you answered that question (which is fine too, why fix what isn't broken). When it came to planning future events, you all overwhelmingly gave a statement that went something like this "It doesn't matter as long as we can all do something together". Which is kind of cool. I didn't expect that.

In order of number of responses, events that Refugi would like to see take place in the immediate future are:

  • A new RP - 6 responses
  • Artemis - 5 Responses
  • A Team Fortress 2 game session - 4 responses
  • Cards Against Humanity - 4 responses
  • AIMHack - 3 Responses
  • Some kind of Minecraft Group Event (1) or Building contest (1)
  • A RadioRefuge Show (1)

There was not enough variety in the geographic location question. We didn't want to make people feel like they had no privacy by asking for specific states and, as you might imagine, just about everyone registered as the US.

As far as "What is the purpose of the Refuge and what does it mean to you?" I didn't ask that as a way of saying "tell us how much you love being here". No, I wanted to toss that into this census because since 2008/2009, we haven't really had a good set definition of what we do and what our purpose is. Because I like data (obviously), it would be cool if I could quantify that, even though I knew it would be very unlikely I could get that to happen. I was wrong.

Over 70% of you, the same percentage that answered "yes" to "Do you consider yourself a Refugi?", gave a response that was along the lines of this mashed-up collection of response quotes:
QuoteCalamity Refuge is a small, but open community where I connect to awesome individuals that would other wise make communicating hard. It has an aspect of being a "Chosen Family", or unrelated people that act in all respects like a family, especially for those who would otherwise be without one. This place was and is a "refuge" for me, when I am in unknown territory in life. This was and has always been a place I can come back and seek shelter. The Refuge is a place for camaraderie, friendship, a place to share sorrows and successes and be free of judgement and, above all, to have fun.

That sounds like a pretty good purpose to me.

That is all.