Nice job with this!
So right now we have ~2 million visitors a month. I'm sure there is some double-counting there, but basically we have plenty more folks coming to the site than signing up. This is pretty natural, how many times do you sign up after you've landed on a random website coming from Google or Twitter.
So getting to that 500k number will be a matter of steadily increasing signup rate and continuing to steadily grow the distribution of folks' posts. All this needs to be done without being intrusive or annoying because reading while not signed in is a perfectly legitimate case and we wouldn't want to inundate people with aggressive popups.
The nice thing is that with all the different levers we have to pull to keep this community working correctly, mostly bug free, and everything, we don't exactly have a dedicated "growth" team. So we're far from maximizing some of this stuff. So I agree with you that 2019 will be a big year as we have some more time for that and 500k users should happen. The important thing is that we keep things working for all those 500k and the quality of the community is able to scale alongside the user-base.
This is probably the best developer community I've ever experienced, so I truly hope the culture scales along with the user-base. I think that since it's already so friendly and inviting, with quality posts, that the "tone" should already be fairly strongly set.
Yeah, it will be an ongoing struggle to get right. It’ll be folks like you who really see the value in this culture that make it happen.
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