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Which sorts of posts get more blog comments?

Paul Alper writes:

Some of your blog postings elicit many responses and some, rather few. Have you ever thought of displaying some sort of statistical graph illustrating the years of data? For example, sports vs. politics, or responses for one year vs. another (time series), winter vs. summer, highly technical vs. breezy.

I’ve not done any graph or statistical analysis. Informally I’ve noticed a gradual increase in the rate of comments. It’s not always clear which posts will get lots of comments and which will get few, except that more technical material typically gets less reaction. Not because people don’t care, I think, but because it’s harder to say much in response to a technical post. I think we also get fewer comments for posts on offbeat topics such as art and literature. And of course we get fewer comments on posts that are simply announcing job opportunities, future talks, and future posts. And all posts get zillions of spam comments, but I’m not counting them.

As of this writing, we have published 10,157 posts and 146,661 comments during the 16 years since the birth of this blog. The rate of comments has definitely been increasing, as I remember not so long ago that the ratio was 10-to-1. Unfortunately, there aren’t so many blogs anymore, so I’m pretty sure that the total rate of blog commenting has been in steady decline for years.

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