The problem with providing statistics is that people are influenced by them. Let me take as an example one of our Free Software projects. VisibleResults. This is hosted by SourceForge who provide some Project statistics.
However, we as a team know they are way off. For example the downloads has a huge blip in June 2002 with a total for that month of 10,767 as that is within an overall project lifetime total of 14,056 (over 34 months) it makes no sense.
The sourceforge figures are also way off for CVS, ok they admit there is a problem at the moment, but it has never been anywhere near correct. For example on the source forge report for the last 30 days there is a total of 13 in the CVS column. Whereas I have 202 commit messages in from the project cvs mailing list for the same period. Many of the commit messages are of course for multiple files so the real count is much higher.
It is particularly frustrating when the focus is on rapid development, we have been very busy as a team on new features in the VisibleResults framework, SecurityUI module and Contact module in recent weeks – yet I know this will not show up in the stats or ranking. Part of the problem is that we are busy enough and the project is successful enough for us not to have much time to work on it’s website which is pretty out of date at present. Visits to the site are a key part of the SourceForge stats and we don’t work at that at all. As we also supply VisibleResults directly to customers none of their use shows up in the download stats either.