We added a line in grid info: the monthly visitors count. This is the total of unique avatars (local and hypergrid) who visited our grid during the last 30 days.
This idea came after a talk with Maria Korolov. She pointed an interesting issue with the grid info usually displayed on grid websites, which makes the “active users” count irrelevant if not counted the same way by everybody (and which leaded us to discover and fix a bug on our own website).
For the story
In brief, all grids should use comparable methods to count monthly statistics.
For what is known as “active users” (or “last month visitors), the only number available in most web interface modules is the local users count. So this value should always appear in grid info, if one wants to allow comparison between grids.
However, another exciting number is the total visitors count: hypergrid visitors and local users. As the hypergrid grows, most users will tend to use a single account to visit all grids, instead of creating an account everywhere. So, the total number reflects better the grid activity and popularity.
Instead of replacing the active user value, we chose to add a line, because local user is the only comparable value between grids as for now.
For the techies
Currently, the standard OpenSim distribution only allow to count local users for a monthly count. This is because connection time is not stored for hypergrid visitors. So we created a batch process which parses the log file and update a cache database with new connections, storing userid, name and connection time.
Apart from that, the total visitors are counted the same way as local visitors: same visitor is counted only one time, no matter how much times he comes back during the given period. This should be the only way to go, as multiple connections may simply reflect a bad server causing a lot of crashes ;-).