Number of DC users

In a previous post, I (sort of) said that there were 650000 people who used DC++. PC Pitstop doesn’t really agree, but oh well… And I said in the interview with Robert Lemos that that figure was probably around 300000. So… Which is it? How many people are using DC++ and DC?

Well, we don’t know. It’s not possible for us to see and I certainly wouldn’t trust a report coming from a potential spyware company.

DC have declined in users, I don’t think anyone involved in DC can miss that. The question is how much. I believe my assertion that around 300000 users is still valid, but I can’t prove it.

However, perhaps instead of asking “how many people are using DC?”, we should be asking “what can we do to improve the current users’ experience?” and “what can we do to at least keep the current users?”. Most hubs are madly in love with the notion that the more users a hub has, the better it is. What people have come to understand the past years is that it’s more about content and not the amount of users the hub has.

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10 Responses to Number of DC users

  1. pietry says:

    One reason could be there wasn’t any functional hublist in the DC main client for a long time

  2. imbal says:

    “One reason could be there wasn’t any functional hublist in the DC main client for a long time”

    That’s the main reason plus the flagrant complacancy from the dc developers “It’s not so hard for users to add a hublist manually, they’ll do it themselves”.

    In my experience if you try and run a themed hub with an emphasis on quality and strong max hubs/share rules, not only will your hub not grow (which is probably what hub owners want most), it’ll actually decline. I started running my hub in May 2004, we reached a peak of 300 users, but it had declined steadily over the past year or so to 80 users peak. Hence the necessity to close it just recentely after that all time.

    The dc developers need to lose the arrogance, compromise with its existing user base and people with alternative opinions, and most importantly not lose sight of the fact that what the end user wants and needs is what is most important for a software developer.

  3. Fredrik Ullner says:

    There may not even be a reason in DC per se. BitTorrent have become more ubiquitous (probably because the only learning curve is “type to search and then press the shiny button labeled ‘search'”).

    There’s a couple of things we could do to lower the barrier; Offer video tutorials (I still haven’t gotten around, sorry); Provide some form of wizard, helping new users to set up DC++; Enable some form of split regarding beginner and expert settings (yeah, yeah, “Experts only”… stupid, I know)… (Just some things I could think of right now…)

    The question is however how low we should go; Having “to download, click here” in bright red text isn’t exacly where we should go. ;)

    Also, I’m not convinced we’d be better off with more users, for the sake of it, if they can’t do simple tasks by themselves. (That’s not to say we could not make things more intuitive.) If the seasoned users are leaving DC, then they aren’t likely doing so because they find it annoying or hard to input a new hub list. (We have a bunch now…) If the new users are thrown off, well, go read a FAQ, the help file or tutorial? I mean, if they can’t be bothered with some minimal thought effort in eg reading the help file, which we’ve put effort into making, then maybe they really can’t contribute very much to the community.

  4. pietry says:

    All my friends used DC in the beginning just for file sharing. All the time they were annoyed that what they were looking for was found in multiple variants, most of them were fake or was something else instead of what they were looking for. This problem does not appear in torrents.
    Also, torrents force users to share and have ratio. Hit-and-run is what a lot of DC users do. Also, DC shared files are user modified and reflect that user’s personality while torrents are universal and one can find what he’s looking for in some unaltered state.
    Of course DC has its advantages over torrents but this is what all my friends told me as reasons why they moved to torrents. ( Maybe its applicable to more users ) .

  5. Fredrik Ullner says:

    How is your first issue, concerning fake files etc, even related to a particular network? I can claim I’m seeding ubuntu whilst I’m seeding gentoo. There’s no way torrents, as a technology, can handle that. Period.
    Torrents doesn’t “force” anyone anything. One can compare the BitTorrent community with DC; Public hubs are similar to public websites; Private hubs are similar to private websites (requiring some form of authentication). Yes, there’s no real ratio scheme in DC, but do you need one if you have a good private hub?
    I’m not sure how torrents are universal; They require a tracker to function at all. Files on DC are also “universal” in that they (almost) all have a TTH.

  6. imbal says:

    Well it’s quite clear that there’s actually multiple reasons for DC’s current state, the popularity of BitTorrent being one of them.

    I don’t actually believe DC++ interface is bad on a fundamental level, it’s just unusual (not a bad thing), and probably needs some small tweaks that needn’t compromise what the client is all about.

    It’s not always a bad thing to look at other clients and see why certain ones are perceived as being easy to use and others like DC++ difficult.

    1. I think the main thing that needs to be looked at are the icons. They’re overwhelming, there’s too many of them, and there’s really no need to include specialist icons such as ADL search along with the search function. If you look at other clients they used words along with icons (ie the word ‘Search’ along with a magnifying glass), I think the same should be done within DC++. I know you’re saying to yourself the users can work it out, they just need to put the pointer over each icon to get a worded description. but it’s about making the experience better for users psychologically too.

    2. A wizard is a good idea, particularly one that guides through connection settings as a lot of people get stuck with that. Tons of people in my experience can’t work out how to search and download and just give up on the client altogether. Furthermore an idea stolen from bittorrent, the red, green, yellow light in the bottom of the client indicating whether they’re fully connected, whether they need to do port forwarding etc. This notifies the user that there’s a problem.

    I also find your broad categorisations a bit silly and elitist, tantamount to ‘thick user, worthless to the DC community’, and ‘seasoned dc user, can figure everything out themselves’. The thick user who can’t figure out how to download today is a potential contributing user of tomorrow.

    In conclusion of course DC++ shouldn’t appeal to the lowest common denominator but there’s no harm in attracting the less tech savy users who may well contribute in the future. You’re right to say quantity in terms of user amounts isn’t everything, however my experience is that many themed hubs with an emphasis on quality and strong rules are declining, hardly an ideal situation.

  7. pepperpupper says:

    I think one of the reasons for why people might choose other p2p applications is that they are usualy less resource intense and takes less time to boot etc. Maby one could redesign the dc++ user interface in a way that would make it less resource intense when logged into many hubs, maby something like the mac version (shakespeer) where you could only have one window open at the time wich I think contributes to a faster bootup of the app. One could also try to make the interface easier to operate somehow so that there is less steps in doing what you want.

  8. pietry says:

    What I ment was that all the users downloading a torrent download the same files. On DC every user can change the files, for an mp3 example : tag, bitrate, lenght, add something in the end as a comercial… so the result will be dozens of versions of same song… ( changing just filename keeps the same TTH but not for all nmdc clients since its not mandatory… )

  9. pietry says:

    pepperpupper : my DC works very fast.. im in over 35 hubs and i have 15 gib shared, it loads in something like 10 seconds and uses about 30 mb ram… by comparison azureus uses 150 mb ram and loads in about 50 seconds…

  10. pepperpupper says:

    I know dc is relatively resource-sparce but i still feel utorrent for example (wich is the most popular torrent client) uses even less resources, but maby I’m wrong. Another aspect of dc is the fact that it takes more “steps” and thus more time for the user from launching the app to searching for what you’re intresting in downloading. Also, the dc application is a bit trickier to learn. Personally I use torrent more often for downloading files and I think the reason why is that it takes less time and also that it doest require the same amount of maintenance while downloading. In dc I have the feeling that it the file transfer is aborted then it will not resume as easily as it would if I where using torrent.
    Maby there could be two dc clients, one simpel with the features you dont use for simply connecting to a hub and searching removed and one regular client.

    You’le have to excuse my english if you find it hard to read as I’m a swede.

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