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User engagement and personal bias

Matthew Rossi
I love it when smart people say something I wish I'd said. Last year, I wrote this post about how the WoW community (especially active members of the community, such as forum posters) tends to assume that everyone plays the game the way they do. Now comes a much smarter, more analytical and thus more factual post from Taufmonster about engagement bias.

Hopefully I'll be forgiven for breaking it down - basically, the problem is that we make assumptions about WoW and its players based on the people we know and play with, assumptions that are not valid. To quote Taufmonster:

The people you see when you log into WoW, no matter which server you play on, do not comprise a representative sample of the people who play WoW.

That sentence might seem a bit surprising but I can assure you that it's 100% true. The primary culprit here is engagement bias, which is something you have to consider when you're analyzing a game-as-a-service, like WoW.

The analysis that follows is pretty fascinating, and I'll leave it for you to go read it yourself: it's well worth it even from the perspective of someone who doesn't do a lot of number crunching like myself. I especially liked the point about how you collect your information. That by sampling the readers of a site that's dedicated to World of Warcraft like MMO-Champion in his case, he's already selecting for players who are more engaged with the game. Since this is the first part of a series of posts, it's definitely worth paying attention to Taufmonster's Log for more installments as they come out.

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