July 30, 2008

Lies, Damned Lies and WT

So -- as celebrated in typically cryptic fashion -- yesterday marked five years of walking and talking on this virtual spot. That's an awful long time, pardners. So what do we have to show for it?

Well, a little Perl hackery provides some summary stats: there've been 772 posts on WT (including When@, but not including this one), with a total body text length a bit shy of 300,000 words; the word counting is pretty crude, though, so take this with a pinch of salt. Average post length was 375 words, with the shortest entry a mere two words and the longest 3,830. Average number of comments on a post was 2.6, with an obvious minimum of zero in too many cases to mention, maxing out at 47 on one memorable occasion. That was long ago, of course. I fear we peaked early.

Some further mucking around in R reveals slightly more, or perhaps it doesn't. The progress of post lengths and comments over time is pretty unilluminating:

post lengths charted by month

number of comments per post charted by month

When you consider just the overall distributions, though, they seem to be roughly exponential (or I guess more properly geometric, since both are discrete quantities):

overall post length distribution

overall comments distribution

Is this surprising? Probably not. This is the sort of distribution that governs things like how long you'll wait for a bus -- and, for that matter, the opening of ion channels. It's pretty much what one would expect if you and I were both posting completely at random...

Finally, here's a sorry but rather familiar tale:

number of posts by month

There are a few odd spikes -- Incognito, for instance, and indeed the current not-quite-over month -- but the trend downwards to a rather low baseline is clear enough.

On the other hand, at least I've asymptoted to something above zero. Unlike certain others I could mention...
Posted by matt at July 30, 2008 09:33 PM


Now now, don't get all size queen on us.

Posted by: robin at July 30, 2008 11:49 PM

I'd forgotten all the dactylage.

Good times.

Posted by: Alastair at July 31, 2008 01:07 PM

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