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This morning, I noticed that I'm listed as "top 4%" for this month despite being inactive/offline for months and, just this week and last, posting some answers to a handful of questions.

Has this site been experiencing a consistent drop in its'... momentum? user-base? activity? I don't know what the most telling indicator actually is. I look around and see activity happening, but... top 4%?

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This is probably not as alarming as you think.

The "top 4% this month" is reference to your position in the ranking of users who have gained reputation this month. That's somewhat under 700 users this month (and that 4% range covers almost 30 users).

Also, the majority of users exist and operate well below the thresholds the reputation leagues bother to count; for example the statistics ignore the 56,000+ users who have under 200 reputation. Of the users who gained reputation this month, several have gained less than 200 this month (in fact only about 15 have gained above 200), which means that all 56,000 of those untracked users could have gained 198 reputation and still not be counted in the stats.

Essentially, the working set of leaderboard-eligible users is massively small compared to the set of all users participating on the site.

Further, you don't actually have to be actively logged into the site at all to earn reputation, since people can vote on old questions and answers. Glancing through your recent reputation gains, some of them come from positive votes on questions or answers that are almost a year old.

As to your question about the site momentum... voting recently is actually currently higher than average over the last year. As least in terms of the 7-day average of positive votes over the last 365; we had a big spike around November to December, which is normal, and we're currently on a downswing back to the levels that we're usually at for the middle portion of the year. I don't think there's anything worrying about this at all, it aligns with most expectations for traffic and activity spikes (that is, it gets higher around the holidays when people are on vacation, etc).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The first 6 pages of users increased their activity this month. The next 3 pages are less-active. The last 7 pages are, presumably, new users who are not yet ranked. So, comparing approximately 6 pages to 3 pages indicates that the site is actually being used more? And, when the last 7 pages become ranked next month, its likely to be about 50/50(ish), not including the 7 new pages of new people? \$\endgroup\$ – Jon Feb 26 '16 at 20:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jon Which "six pages" are you looking at? The six pages of the monthly rep leagues? The six pages of one of the "users" views? \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Feb 26 '16 at 20:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Was just browsing stackexchange.com/leagues/13/month/gamedev/… scanning for when + changed to - and when - changed to unranked. Multiplying by 30 per page = approx 180 users increased their use, 90 decreased their use, and 210 are new \$\endgroup\$ – Jon Feb 26 '16 at 20:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jon The last seven page of users there are ranked, because their total reputation is over 200. Users with a total reputation of less than 200, regardless of their reputation gains for the month, don't show up at all. The users who were "not previously ranked" were those who crossed the 200 threshold during the month. You may want to look here instead; although this does not order users by total rep, it does show you that a huge majority of the site userbase earns a relatively small amount of rep per month. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Feb 26 '16 at 20:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ I gotcha; my view doesn't include, among others, the 10000000000000 pages of "came, asked duplicate, got closed, and never came back" people. Thank you; never saw that other rep page either. I'd always assumed a list like that would have Byte on top. \$\endgroup\$ – Jon Feb 26 '16 at 20:24

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