One Percent of Online Users Monopolize Comments

90-9-1 Rule misrepresents user views

By: Amanda Scott, Dec 7, 2018

There’s a rule about online commenting called the 90-9-1 Rule. This rule states that 90 percent of a site’s online users are passive consumers of the content. They simply read and observe. Another 9 percent of the site’s users are occasional or irregular commenters. The remaining 1 percent of the site’s users account for most of the contributions.

The 90-9-1 Rule doesn’t just affect news sites or blogs either. The rule extends to reviews for companies, restaurants, businesses, products; customer feedback on products and services; and social media.

One percent of a site’s users are the commenters, interactors, and contributors.


Think about this: When you go to a site’s news article and scroll below the line into the comments section, the hundreds of comments you see are from 1 percent of that site’s users. (Mind. Blown.) You’re reading the opinions and perspectives of 1 percent.

This participation inequality results in a biased understanding of the whole community of users. Some people are more inclined to participate and vocalize their thoughts in a comment thread than others – there’s something characteristically different between these users so there’s no doubt that what they would have to say, and share is different. The end result? The 90-9-1 Rule creates a misrepresentation of the views that are held.