Metabunk is Three Years Old

Mick West

Staff member
The third year of Metabunk has been one of continued rapid growth. The second year more than doubled over the first year, and the third year (2013) has more than doubled over that. Here are the numbers:

2011: Threads 361 Posts: 3,264, Active Members 67
2012: Threads: 833, Posts: 21,700, Active Members: 141
2013: Threads: 2,214, Posts: 78,219, Active Members: 216

The year was one of changes, the most visible being the change in forum software from Vbulletin to Xenforo, which worked out very well. Xenforo is faster and easier to use, and made it easier for people to do things like upload images.

But the biggest change was simply the increase in the number of posts, and the amount of visitors. The sheer volume of traffic made Metabunk transition from a small personal site where I would read, and often respond to, ever single post, to a site where there were simply too many posts to keep track of:

Site traffic has also greatly increased, with just a trickle in 2011 as we were getting started, to a few hundred per day in 2012, to now several thousand unique visitors per day, totaling over a million unique individuals visiting in 2013.

The large amount of visitors brought larger amounts of new members registering to post. This brought new challenges. Metabunk is intended to be a place where people can discuss bunk, discuss how to debunk bunk, and concisely and politely debunk it. It's not a place for spreading bunk. It's a place to focus on specific claims of evidence.

Unfortunately new members do not always get this message, and they often want to simply discuss broader theories - like "are there secret societies leaving clues all around", or "was Sandy Hook a hoax". New people are also perhaps not quite as polite as they could be, being more used to more opinionated forums, some perhaps having honed their debating techniques in the comment sections of Youtube or Facebook. Not that there's anything wrong with that - it's just not what Metabunk is about.

So the year brought revisions and clarifications to the long standing Politeness Policy, and the creation of a detailed set of Posting Guidelines. These have proven quite troublesome at times, with enforcement necessitating making decision in a grey area that was sure to please nobody some of the time. However I feel they have worked well overall in setting the tone and direction of Metabunk. Polite. Honest. Fact based. Focussed.

Looking forward, I anticipate continued growth, and continued focus. I want to continue to differentiate Metabunk from other discussion forums by keeping up the aforementioned tone. Other forums have much higher numbers of users, threads, and posts - however Metabunk has relatively higher traffic, and I feel this is in part due to the focus on quality over quantity, and on making debunks concise and easy to find. The measure of growth should not be the number of people chatting on the site, but the number of useful debunks, and the number of people those debunks reach.,

My goal for Metabunk for 2014 is for it to become the #1 skeptic and debunker discussion forum in the world in terms of visitors, and to continue to provide polite, useful, and concise debunks to the vast forest of bunk out there. It's important to maintain quality over quantity, so while I expect the visitor count to greatly increase, this does not necessarily mean a corresponding increase in members and posts. Posting guidelines and the politeness policy will continue to be enforced, perhaps even more so.

I also want to continue to improve the technology available at Metabunk, using my experience a programmer. Text and images are fine, but there is only so much you can do with them, and images are not easy for most people to create. Forums are great, but I feel there are many improvements that can be made - particularly in the areas of interactive content, and quickly being able to discover related content.

Happy New Year!

(See also: )

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Well done Mick . . . what you have done is not easy . . . best wishes for the New Year!!!;)


Senior Member.
Congrats, Mick! Wow, so I found this almost right at the beginning! Cool! How old is the site?


Senior Member.
ContrailScience was started six and a half years ago, in May 2007 - with what I thought would be the only post needed

ha! So much for were young and naive :)

Seriously, congrats and thanks...I have learned a lot participating here- not only about "stuff" but about people- including myself.