technically superior plugin isn’t always the most popular. hard to gain traction with users.

  • signify is better than gitgtutter, but it didn’t hit the front page of HN
  • sneak is better than seek, but seek hit the front page of HN

plugins with better marketing/branding don’t always win. sneak has better branding. (but signify doesn’t really do much to market itself)

you can announce the same thing every month and it will be completely new or at least newly-compelling to many people. each time I announced on /r/vim I gained about 50 stars in about a week, which then returned to the normal level of about 1 star every other day. most people don’t check /r/vim every day.

inertia is a real force even if the barrier to entry is extremely low (cf mobile apps that save a couple clicks and become very popular for very specific tasks). took me months to try signify, even though installing a vim plugin is a one-line change (although hesitation regarding configuration burden comes into play).

Defaults Matter even more than you think. The readme for vim-sneak has a bold-face, above-the-fold notice describing how to change its behavior. Yet many users’ opinions, encountered on reddit, were based on the default behavior of vim-sneak–they had not tried the setting that was described in the readme notice.

is it ok to troll the issues lists of other projects? there are at least four issues on vim-seek project that are solved by vim-sneak. this is where the “social” aspect of github reminds you that social is not always fun: you have to think about decorum, restraint, tact, contrived humility, all that meatspace stuff. but it’s still undeniably fun and far more motivating than posting something on sourceforge or freshmeat or FTP.

ratio of stars to visits: 100 stars vs 5000 unique visitors, if bitdeli is to be trusted. ratio of actual users to stars is unclear, since most people probably aren’t interested in using github as a bookmark system. github doesn’t really make it clear how stars can improve your search results or other related UX.

according to bitdeli, I have users/visitors from almost every country on the planet except most of africa.

speaking of bitdeli, is it to be trusted, and what the hell is their game plan?

trending on github is still at a fairly low barrier for niche languages, and probably drives most of the traffic that didn’t come from reddit. this is great, because it encourages developers in niche languages because they get recognized in spite of (or even because of) the domain-specificity of their niche. similar concept with subreddits–drive traffic to the appropriate channels actually augments participation and reduces noise.

modest subreddits can drive a large amount of traffic, especially relative to the number of “active” users reported by reddit (average of 20 active users, yet 3000 visits in a week?)

extrapolating: what does this say about the most popular github project, homebrew?