That number means living characters in the game. at any one time between half and 2/3rds will probably be inactive for one reason or another (haven't logged in in a week or more) Those reasons vary from not playing any longer to having to cram for mid-terms or finals.
Her imaginary friends think you have issues. Her multiple personalities agree. So her inner child is refusing to speak to you!
Lilith is correct. That is the number of active players in the game. Once a player has not logged in for 7 days they will be removed from that count, but you must also consider those individuals who are coming back from inactivity. It's a continuing cycle with individuals having varied degrees of activity. Some may be very active and on IRC and the forums while others may log in every few days just to move their ship. They're still "active" but not very.
I just counted 180 factions and 18 governments. That would require 2,340 players to keep afloat...
Edited By: Elijah Shoryyhn on Year 12 Day 244 16:34