The JSM starts in San Diego this weekend. I am going on Saturday. I started here three months ago and have participated for all 87 days. I have sveral things to do at the meetings and may not get on every day. It occurred to me thatt many of you may be going and that it could slow down on questions and answers. Is there usually a lull during the JSM and what about other big meetings like the Royal Statistical Society meetings or other major meeting in Europe? If you choose to answer could you tell me whether or not you are going and if so how will it affect your participation on StackExchange?

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    $\begingroup$ Participation in Stack Exchange sites is based on a principle of good will. We do not sign contracts and especially we do not have targets set in advance, although most will agree that we should aim for quality over quantity. Some users may be very active during some period and take a break, for whatever reason. This poses no problem really with respect to the operation of this community-owned and wiki-based repository of QAs. $\endgroup$
    – chl
    Jul 27, 2012 at 7:39
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    $\begingroup$ Michael, you may notice that there are lots of lulls on this site. For example, weekdays seem to get more traffic that weekends (procrastinators??? :)) and good answers on the weekends often get fewer views/upvotes than good answers on weekdays from what I can tell. I'm not sure about JSM in particular but I wouldn't be surprised to see a bit less activity here than normal - what exactly motivates this question? $\endgroup$
    – Macro
    Jul 27, 2012 at 12:44
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    $\begingroup$ I would be more surprised if a significant proportion of people attending the JSM are active members of CV or even if they are aware of its existence. @Macro nice description, although I felt a bit alluded ;). $\endgroup$
    – user10525
    Jul 27, 2012 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Macro My question was just out of curiousity because I have not seen what happens when big meetings occur. I make no judgements about the site or the community. I think chl was reading too much into the question. I am also curious as to how many of the statisticians on this site are active members of professional societies who do attend major meeting such as the JSM. It is clear that many of the people aasking questions are prectitioners and not professional statisticians. But based on the quality of most answers I can see that the high rep people probably are professional statisticians. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ I also think that although many of you are very anonymous with the use of pseudo-names and minimal bibliographic material on your page that you have PhDs in statistics or probability. Stephane does, Macro does, Bill Huber does. I suspect cardinal, chl, gung, MansT, Peter flom, Rob Hyndman, StasK, Jeromy Anglim, jbowman, gui11amd, procrastinator and many others do too $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 17:55

2 Answers 2


This site started up around the 2010 JSM and naturally had a strong peak of interest, so there's no reliable data there.

In 2011 there is a tiny dip in the Q&A rates for the JSM (7/30 through 8/4), but it's no different than comparable dips observed before (e.g., 6/15, 7/3) and after (9/13), each of about 20% less than a longer-term moving average.

We are a strongly international site peopled primarily by working statisticians, consultants, and people in related fields with strong statistical interests. In my experience (a) JSM is primarily a US conference and (b) academic participation is far higher than private participation. Accordingly, until our site attracts more of these kinds of statisticians (we would love to have them), I would expect to see no measurable changes during JSM.

With one exception: If any CV member attending JSM were to make a point of talking about us--such as a mention during a talk or panel session, for instance--we might see a significant jump in activity during and following the meeting.

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    $\begingroup$ Will you be there? I can think of no better ambassador. :) $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Jul 27, 2012 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, not this year. Next year it will be closer :-). But thank you for your confidence! $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Jul 27, 2012 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ I will promote the site there. Bill Huber's answwer is the kind of answerI was looking for. The JSM includes the Institute of Mathematical Statistic and the Canadian Statistical Society as joint societies that hold their annual meetings at the JSM. So it has an international touch. My colleague Geoff McLachlan from Australia attends regularly. Sir David Cox has been an invited speaker on a number of occasions. So the meetings do have an international flavor. But I would agree with Bill Huber's comment that it is heavily ASA members and ASA has predominantly US member. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ Just as a point worth mentioning, I discovered this site because Bill huber publicized it on a ASA eGroup site. Actually although probably about 10,000 members attend the JSM on a regular basis far more members can be found on the ASA section eGroups. So for members of the ASA chatting about us on the ASA eGroup site is probably an easy and effective way to recruit ASA members. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Michael The ASA consulting listserver has only 1500 subscribers and it is one of the few large and active ASA listservers. (Only one has more than 2.1K members: "Young Professionals," 4.8K.) I have seen a few ASA members here--you probably recognize them too--but very few are active. That's too much to expect of busy people with many interests, but perhaps we can dream of growing the site to where many ASA members would see value in checking in once or a few times a week to see what's new and to answer interesting questions occasionally. Your thoughts about this would be most welcome. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Jul 27, 2012 at 18:26
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    $\begingroup$ @whuber Am i the only one you recruited from the consulting list so far. My estimate of 10,000 at JSM probably includes all attendees. Many IMS members belong to both societies. Proably the total ASA membership at the meetings is closer to 7000. I am just guessing and I hope my memory is not way off. I probably could get accurate numbers from the ASA administration. I must be nuts. I am busy and have lots of interests yet somehow I got hooked on the reputation points and the way the site helps users of statistics. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ Going without missing a day for 88 days straight may be a little extreme but it got me to 10K rep points in less than three months and I am improving my answers a little (not to whuber's standards yet but enough to improve my points to answers ratio a lot I think). Also I have been noticing some old answers with 0 upvotes are starting to get upvote activity. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ @Michael I understand the addiction :-). I am encouraged to see the improvement in answers (and in comments, which are frequently invaluable adjuncts): as you are noticing, answers stick around and useful answers occasionally get more upvotes. (Great answers continually get upvotes). We should talk about additional ways you can help the site (and your reputation). Consider chatting at some point when you have access to the chat facility. In the meantime, here's wishing you a productive and interesting time at the JSM. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Jul 27, 2012 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ +1 @chl. Receiving props from peers about why your answer/comment is a good one, or sincere gratitude from someone who learned something from you is surely more rewarding than accumulating rep points. Besides, after you get 10k points, you've basically gotten all of the cool privileges on the site already. $\endgroup$
    – Macro
    Jul 27, 2012 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Michael - FYI: going 88 days straight is not that extreme. There is a gold badge ('Fanatic') awarded for visiting the site daily for 100 days - 41 people on this site have the badge! $\endgroup$
    – Macro
    Jul 27, 2012 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber about your comment on getting ASA members to visit the site occasionally I think I can motivate that by a discussion on the eGroups. I really think that the ASA should be interested in ASA because it enhances the practice of statistical methods by having experts in the field provide sound practical advice. I guess the danger though is that some people could at least in theory get high reputation and be respected and still not have true credentials. But the system has checks and balances if it is diligently monitored by accredited statisticians. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 22:44
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe we could get the ASA buy-in if we do something like that. That could then maybe lead to an ASA initiative that would bring more members into CV and make it easier for us to convince our colleagues to participate at least when they can afford to volunteer some time. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Macro Only 41 with the badge means it doesn't happen very often. I am just saying for a professional statistician like me who has responsiblities to head the statistical work for the entire Lankenau Institute for Medical Research and all the Main Line Helath physicians who need help with their clinical research designs setting the goal to login in every day is a burden and I find myself work late at night to make up for my addition to this site. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 22:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Macro But now that you have reminded me of the gold badge I have an incentive to stick in for the next 12 days. At least for the required login. I only have one gold badge so far and i earned it on the Mathematics site. Also I think consecutive day are counted as long as you make a token appearance. You don't have to do much and you don't have to be on for any minimum length of time. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 22:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Michael, yes you only have to do a token log-in to get the badge. Also, I'd venture to say that nearly all of the highly active users on this site have demanding full-time jobs - we choose (like you have) to contribute because it is rewarding and very entertaining, and least in my opinion. $\endgroup$
    – Macro
    Jul 27, 2012 at 22:58

As a follow-up on this question, I am at the 2012 JSM for the past two days. I am still finding ways to participate on CV but my daily rep points are down to around 30 point a day for the past two days. Of course this is mostly because of lack of time to read and answer a lot of questions. However, I have also noticed that when I look at the top rep point getters for this week everyones totals seem to be down quite a bit. So I think there is reduced activity in questions asked, questions answered and the rating of answers (i.e. upvote and downvote activities).


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