Old CAF vs. New CAF: By the Numbers


Because I’m a nerd (:nerd_face:), I thought I’d take the opportunity to compare where CAF was to where we are now in terms of some common statistics. It also gives me the opportunity to start a new thread (or, in the new forum parlance “new topic”) in order to gain experience for how the new forum operates. :grin:

So here is a comparison between a snapshot of the website from the Internet Archive on August 23, 2017 and what the statistics currently say on CAF’s About page (September 12, 2017).

Number of Topics/Threads

  • Old CAF — 894,840
  • New CAF — 448,800
  • Difference — 446,040

Number of Posts

  • Old CAF — 14,933,808
  • New CAF — 10,900,000
  • Difference — 4,033,808

Number of Users/Members

  • Old CAF — 498,276
  • New CAF — 205,900
  • Difference — 292,376

So you can see that a lot of old threads, posts, and members got transferred over, but not all. Even if it may take some getting used to in order to find it. :smiley:

What do you think of the forum redesign?
New format user statistics

Has it even been a full week yet?


I have to think that a lot of those members who were not transferred from old to new must have been inactive, and many of those probably for quite a long time.

I never had the greatest success with the old search feature anyway. I would type in a word, and I would be shown a list of threads that I would have scroll through and scrutinize to find my search word highlighted in red. Maybe I wasn’t doing it right.


No. Which is why I wanted to capture this info from as close to the transition as possible.


I know there were many, many posters who registered for account but then never actually posted. I presume a good number of those were people who created accounts to ask a question in the “Ask An Apologist” forum, but there question was never answered. So I would bet that most of the missing users had one or no posts.

I was trying to recall some banned posters to see how their profile would look and if their account was still here. I did find one and it says "This user is suspended until December 31, 2999 6:00 pm. How curiously specific. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: But his posts and profile are still here.


Yes…the members tossed into the eternal darkness of banishment…I don’t know how many members have been banned over the years, but a couple weeks ago I was copying some old threads just in case they disappeared, and it seemed like every other person on the thread had “banned” below his/her name. If you do a Google search under “Catholic Answers + banned” you come up with 226,000 hits. There are actually warnings on other Catholic web sites. I understand the need for civility and respect, but these are pretty subjective qualities. If you’re going to allow controversial topics, and esp. political topics, it seems to me you’re inviting people with rather strong opinions to oppose each other, and you shouldn’t be shocked that they tend to have extreme opinions–on both sides. I wish there were more explicit rules (a lot of newspaper comments sections have them–if your comment contains certain words, it highlights the word and forces you to change it before posting) or the moderators were more lenient–perhaps inviting a poster to re-word a comment before banning them. I also understand that criticism of individual priests, bishops, and parishes is–and should be–out of bounds. But moderators also seem very touchy about general criticisms of priests, bishops, and parishes, even when they’re not named.


That’s nice of the mods to give the banned a date 982 years in the future
when they can be unexcommunicated. It gives them hope, something to look
forward to :roll_eyes: (I’m posting this reply from my email to earn the badge and
to see if it works.)


I think I read someone mentioning, back on the old forum, that only accounts that had been active some time over the past 5 years would be transferred. Maybe this is bad information, maybe I’m misremembering something.


I don’t know what the point of eliminating over half the thread topics is; 10 + years of forum discussions, of writing, of thought . . . poof!!! . . . gone.

I mean, isn’t the idea of this forum primarily is a place to find Catholic Answers? How does eliminating over half of the threads help achieve or advance that goal?

So, we, the CAF Forum Members are supposed to start the long road over to pursuing Catholic Truth again from over half scratch? Yeah.

I really don’t understand it.


Search it on Google. It will remain in their caches until Judgment Day.


Count one less member now. The new username I had to create when I couldn’t gain access has been deleted, but my original name has been restored (thank you, web admin). I feel like myself again.


Accounts with no activity within the past 12 months were deleted.


Please don’t hastily make judgements nor draw conclusions about these numbers. It shouldn’t be assumed that all ~900k threads were relevant content. For example, many internal non-published threads were deleted because there was no need to keep them. There were many tutorial/technical/support threads that were only relevant to the old forum software that were deleted. These are just small examples. But all the apologetics-related content is intact AFAIK.


I’d imagine that all the word games and similar stuff went poof; some of which had over 100 iterations.



But their posts are still visible, correct? I can think of users who haven’t posted in years and I can still search and find their posts and view their profile. Does it just mean they could not log in and would have to create a new account if they returned?


Right. I did not share these numbers to encourage any hasty judgments. The categories that did not carry over are: Catholic Answers Today, The Water Cooler (with the Clubhouse and Back Fence), the Parenting category, the Concierge Desk, and the Archives. The bulk of those posts are either no longer applicable or else more on the frivolous side of things. There were some good threads in the Back Fence since it was sort of the “catch all” for threads that didn’t fit elsewhere. But I’m sure the vast majority of more substantive conversations are still here.

Did the old count also include threads that were pulled? I know my post count would stay the same even if a thread got pulled. So perhaps the old number is even a bit artificially high if it were to include posts that were already removed and no longer on the site.


More specifically, accounts not active within the past ~12 months and which had zero existing posts and were not banned were deleted.


Ah, that explains the drop in numbers! It’s amazing to me how many people signed up for an account but never posted.


Just before the migration, there was a thread started by a poster with a five year old account that had 1 post listed - the post that started the thread. The thread was asking about Judge Judy’s often used phrase, “If something doesn’t make sense, then it isn’t true” The OP said the Bible didn’t make sense to him. I responded that what doesn’t make sense is a five year old account with 1 post about how if something does’t make sense it’s not true.


We actually agree with that, and our approach to these forums moving forward is going to be a lot different than what we’ve had here in the past. This is an apologetics forum, and apologetics invites controversy by its very nature.

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