Yarnall (yarnall) wrote in xxcustomization,
Yarnall
yarnall
xxcustomization

Cat Stats

A year ago, LiveJournal had only about 200k accounts. Today LJ has almost 3 times that number. Even with the invitation system it won't be another year before LJ crosses the 1 million mark.

Even better (or worse), cust support incoming traffic has a growth rate exceeding LJ's own growth rate. Maybe we need our own internal invitation code system? (Just kidding!) A year ago, we were seeing about 50 cust questions per week; now our incoming is hitting us at almost 4.5 times last year's rate. So not only do we have almost 3 times the users, but a greater proportion of them are coming to support for cust help.

Yes, I've already been reminded that my numbers ignore the multiple-question phenom. But for every single user who machine guns us with a half dozen repetitive requests, we're seeing others on the flip side: a single ticket listing half a dozen different cust questions. And either way, the traffic takes up precious customization support team time.

A year ago, free accounts had access only to the Default and Punquin styles, and all but a rare few of the paid accounts seemed content with the bonus of 4 other basic styles, if customization traffic from back then is any indication. lj_style was still in its crib, and there were maybe 20k paid member custom styles in existence, most of those relatively simple variations on the 4 earliest system styles. Today free accounts have access to 10 system styles. Paid members have created almost 100k custom styles, very many of those completely different from any system template.

And from what I've seen in the archives, overrides and style changes are significantly more involved now than they were a year ago. Maybe limits on the reach of regular support need to be set; but unless and until they are, the increased complexity add to the resource strain. A year ago, 5-minute customization questions were not unusual. Today, 30-minute customization questions seem more the norm, and some easily involve more than an hour.

When I commented briefly about this on IRC #lj_support, someone mentioned that we currently have 6 regular active customization experts working the board. I forgot to ask if I were being considered one of that half dozen (which recent real life has prevented me from being). Whether 5 or 6, it's scary to think that so few are taking on 3 times the accounts of last year, 4.5 times the customization traffic flow, 5 times the free account system styles and mountains of creative new paid account styles, and more complicated requests involving much more time on each request.

As eagerly as I look forward to the coming of S2, it scares me to think of what that will do to this whole picture. Magically expand our band of 6 to 12 or 24 more?
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