For over year, we've been measuring a few key metrics in the MSDN Forums to monitor overall forum health. We track them aggressively, send out biweekly mails about them, and use them as guideposts to make decisions about what we should or should not do with regard to the forums. For example, our basic "reputation system" of having the top answerer lists in the forums is directly based on our desire to raise the overall "answer rate" of the forums.
Here are the key metrics we are currently watching:
That's pretty much it. Our real goals on the forums (so far) have been primarily based on the number of questions that get marked as an answer. There have been problems with this approach.
I'd like to follow-up this post with some new proposed metrics I've been thinking of, but I'd like to kick off the discussion without tainting it (or making this post any longer...)
If you had to track just two or three numbers to monitor the health of an online community, what would you track?