400,000 comments (almost)

Written By: - Date published: 12:18 pm, April 19th, 2012 - 53 comments
Categories: admin, blogs, The Standard - Tags:

The counter on the WordPress stats clicked over to more than 400,000 comments yesterday. I’d noted late last week that we were about to hit it and that I should really stop working for long enough to celebrate the event with some stats and explanations.

As at 10:30 today the dashboard showed this…

Which means that since I looked at it this morning when I got to work nearly a hundred more comments have been added. But like all numbers, the devil is in the detail and we know that there are a number of people around who distain accuracy prefer to lie with numbers. For instance, Bill English and his ‘neutral’ tax changes that cost a billion or so in deficit, treasury with their banking on levels asset sales in the budget that were a billions off,  and of course Cameron Slater who will selectively lie about with any number that comes to hand. But I digress…

Included in this number are pingbacks and trackbacks, which are links in from other sites using particular systems. Most are just spam and constitute about half of the nearly 150k comments caught in spam engines. But the ones that are mostly from humans  in the database tables, so we need to exclude them. So the SQL for wordpress is

select yearweek(comment_date_gmt) as yw, count(*) as count
from wp_comments
where comment_approved=1 and comment_type=''
group by yw
order by yw

The comment_type is blank for normal comments, and we’re only after the approved comments. I ran that at 08:30 when there were 400,222 approved comments. Dropping the results into a LibreOffice spreadsheet we get a culmulative total  391577 which means that there were 8645 pingbacks and trackbacks.

Ok, explanations over. Lets look at when we’re likely to hit 400k comments. Here is the culmulative chart with pointers to when we crossed each 100k comments. The charts are up to the end of last week; week 244 ATS (Anno The Standard). 😈

Ouch. I knew there was an increase from the rapid bulking of my mouse scroll muscles from moderating exercise. I’m expecting to hit 400k comments by my de-puffed projection in either week 247 or week 248 ATS.

But we fufilled our prediction of hitting 300k comments well before the election and forgot to say that (and forgot to mark when we hit 9000 posts just before the election last year). Still valid is our comment from the 200k post.

We like to make a big deal over the comments because it is you coming on here, contributing your thoughts and ideas, that make The Standard what it is. Without all of you, it would just be a dozen or so people arguing with themselves, and if we wanted that we could hang out with the Libertarianz.

We  were a wee bit busy during the pre-election, as you can see from the graphs showing our comments by weeks and week in year.

Quite amusing how clearly you can see that week between xmas and new year. Unlike the election in 2008, last years election didn’t really drop us back post new-year from the pre-election Sept/October.

When you look at the detail, it is quite interesting looking at the differences between years. Apart form the predictable end of year slump, the election fevers, and the mid-winter slumping – the wee spikes are political events when everyone crowds on to the site and starts talking. The big dip in early 2010 was when the load went up too high for the server despite my numerous optimizing hacks and the site crashed

But these are the un-puffed stats about the ever increasing comment traffic to this site. They are one of my continuing nightmares that I check every quarter. I’m currently contemplating how we handle a 100k comments in a a quarter in either 2013 or 2014.

People come because they can get a good argument where you can mostly say what you think in a robust way. Our post-xmas action this year was quite instructive as our exhausted authors disappeared into the wilderness. The posts dropped to the daily OpenMike and the odd post as an author or editor resurfaced. Didn’t really slow the comments that much. The commentators just made their own fun… 😈

Sure we ban people who fail to live up to The Standard  while arguing. Or who waste the moderators time. Or who qualify for a Darwin award by attacking the site or it’s authors. All that ever does is increase our traffic because we remove the worst of the boring munters who just want to perform their meaningless rituals of talkback radio stupidity.

Of course in the net there is a place for everyone to go – even those unwilling to comment here or who are rejected from here. Locally, if you want genteel, then go to Public Address. If you want reasoned intellectual (and often boring) political debate then join Lew and co at Kiwipolitico. If you want the feminist viewpoint on politics then head to the Hand Mirror. If you want to enjoy talkback radio in text then go to ever reducing comments section at the Kiwiblog sewer, and if you want to exchange stories about dick sizes – then Whaleoil is your home… And there are heaps more.

53 comments on “400,000 comments (almost)”

  1. Hateatea 1

    I am grateful that this site exists and if it helps, I will be more moderate in the number of my posts. On the other hand, there are so many interesting commentators here that it might be hard to restrain myself 😉
    Congratulations on the approaching significant statistic 🙂

  2. r0b 2

    Not bad for a bunch of lazy Socialists eh.

  3. Craig Glen Eden 3

    Arguing?I dont think thats true. lol

  4. fender 4

    Yes The Standard rocks and the numbers prove that fact.

    I’m so pleased I clicked on The Standard the day I googled “nz political blog”.

    I’m looking forward to reading the next 600,000 comments and beyond.

    Well done LPrent & co. Keep up the great work.

    • just saying 4.1

      Think I first found the Standard by clicking on a few options on the blog roll at ‘No Right turn.’

      I like to think I’m part of a reasonably sized minority of readers who understand bugger-all of the mechanics in posts like this. But it’s good news about the 400,000. Is it possible to discover how many different commenters?

      Congrats etc.

      • lprent 4.1.1

        2107 distinct commentators with at least 5 messages in a system (gets rid of many sockpuppets) that uses a fuzzy algorithm to identify the same person.

        Of course some of those will be people who have managed to change (or mistype) both the e-mail and the handle, and when people have changed identity or had several identities.

        I usually look at people with 20 or more messages over the last 4 years, in which case we have 1061. That includes people like Jennie Michie who has authored as almost as many posts as she has had comments 😈 There are 458 people with a hundred comments or more and 89 with a 1000 comments or more, and 3 with 10,000 comments or more.

        Colonial Viper (14,765)
        Draco T Bastard (10,237)
        Felix (10,180)
        lprent (9,222)
        Pascal’s bookie (6,731)
        Lanthanide (6,057)
        r0b (5,573)
        mickysavage (5,367)
        burt (5,174)
        RedLogix (4,485)

        Of course the number of readers is quite a lot larger. If you look at it number of distinct IP’s on a day by day basis after (removing the spambots and search engines) to minimize the number of people having dynamic changes to their IP. Then there are at least 10 times as many daily readers compared to daily commentators on the worst days. It is often as high as 50x. But it varies quite a lot.

        • Lanthanide

          I spend way too much time here.

          • lprent

            So do I… Biggest hassle is that when the code structure is getting tricky. I spend a *lot* of time here waiting for my head to clear after the previous failed approach.

            • Jenny

              Impressive stats.

              I imagine that managing this site must involve a phenomenal amount of behind the scenes work by yourself Lynn.

              I would like to help, but being a complete technophobe, I am sure I would do more harm than good.

              But maybe I could help in some other way.

              I know that you do this for the joy of it. But have you ever thought of going professional?

              I know you get some income from ads to help you in your work, but with numbers like this, I imagine that this income would hardly cover your time, let alone your other costs. I, (and possibly many others), would be prepared to pay a voluntary subscription to free you up a bit more and to cover your costs.

              P.S. The Standard is a worthwhile project. Something that you and the others responsible can be proud of. Long may it prosper and grow.

              • lprent

                Given a choice I would like to pay a author. But you really don’t make money from blogging in NZ.

                But my main job is hard core C++ programming things that are hard to do. That is even more fun than the site and I am continually amazed that I get paid to do it.

                • Jenny

                  Would it be worth asking for contributions to pay an editor some sort of stipend?

                  Would this lessen your load?

          • Draco T Bastard

            Yep, been here since close to the beginning as well. Can’t remember how I found The Standard. Could be an independent Google search or link from another blog. I do remember that I was getting frustrated with the lack of goof informative sites in NZ about NZ – finding sites focused on US politics was easy, not so much for NZ.

          • Akldnut

            Be interesting to know who it was, is there any easy way of finding out who?

        • Anne

          And everyone of those commenters is worth reading – even ole burt who is a cut above most of the other rwnjs anyway. 😉

          Oh, and add to that list a number of other commenters who always have something thought provoking to say. Thanks to you too.

        • Colonial Viper

          If you can’t get quality, then quantity has its own satisfaction 😈

  5. muzza 5

    This is a good site of it’s type, the discussion topics are interesting, informative, and generally speaking, very well written.

    I enjoy the level of information/knowledge which many of the posters here have, and there is some good debate. I hope the energy people seem to feed into the virtual space, is being put into the reality space also, otherwise it becomes little more than was release valve, which people use instead of improving their value to society, in a functional way.

    The site performs its role by initiating discussion, and informing, which is turn illicits further information from the commentators. If some of the knowledge and energy from the debates here, is utilised in a productive fashion in the real world, then The Standard will be serving an even wider function that its creators might have imagined.

    Keep up the good work, The Standard!

  6. captain hook 6

    no comment

  7. ianmac 7

    LPrent must put a great deal of self into setting up and running this important forum. A must every day and several times a day. Congratulations. The numbers are the equivalent of 10% of the total population. And growing. Well done Lynn.

  8. prism 8

    If some of our more acerbic and knowledgable commentators could restrain themselves from having rallies with some of the puffballs who visit and can argue till the cows come home and still not gain any insight, comments could be lessened by 10%? poss.

    This is such a great site, good posts – and open mike gives a window on so many directions of thought – always interesting. And there is a nice human side with people who enjoy relating to others with tolerance and interest in others’ opinions and justifications for those strongly, or thought to be wrongly held, well most of the time.

  9. tc 9

    Fantastic work lynn and prism is right, not feeding the trolls would help reduce the comments or simply agree with them in the hope it reduces the wibble.

    [lprent: Please do not agree with the trolls. It doesn’t stop the flow of ‘widdle’. It merely moves them from incoherence to incontinence. You suddenly find your self in a wasteland lake of widdle.

    Personally I find the best approach is to go for the nasty slice at the knees attack with a question cutting into the weak point of their argument. You usually have to put some sharp language into it. But if you get it right then they piddle from a lower elevation and the puddle is smaller…. 😈 ]

  10. Ed 10

    I come to The Standard for information, discussion and analysis. The arguments with trolls are unhelpful.

    Congratulations on the work that you do lprent, as well as those that do the posts. We will now that the media bias has turned when announcers like Jim Mora refer to The Standard as often as he does the Farrargo blog.

    • lprent 10.1

      He does? I’m deep in programming in the afternoons. I listen to morning report and a bit of nine to noon before I drop into music.

  11. Clashman 11

    Im pretty new here, but hope to be around for a while. I’d be a bit lost without this place now to be honest, alot of the issues raised here are absent from the msm. Keep up the good work, roll on 1 million posts!

  12. I love the community of The Standard – the posters, moderators and commenters. Thank you to all especially the team that runs the show and lprent of course.

  13. mac1 13

    I’ve said it before at a previous milestone- thanks to the Standard from the Tory backblocks of the South Island for the left wing perspective and the discussion. Like Ianmac above, I visit more than once daily for my fix. Cheers all.

  14. DJL 14

    Party on Standard. Found you all when searching for Bommer after catching him on Strados. Good on you and long may you run.

  15. belladonna 15

    One of the few sites you can visit for validation of your core beliefs. Visit everyday, probably 3 times a day.

  16. vto 16

    Well done Mr Standard. Fantastic place to get new perspectives. Also a great place to test ideas – though sometimes difficult to get cut through and keep specifically on topic without getting blind-sided. The nature of the human bean I guess …


  17. Jenny 17


  18. QoT 18

    Woooooooooooooooooooooo! You realise this post is just going to incite people like myself to comment more purely to reach that target sooner … (what can I say, I’m a sucker for achieving deadlines.)

    • lprent 18.1

      Oh no. Kiwiteen123 on oestrogen

      • Jenny 18.1.1

        Any thoughts on how to mark the milestone when it is reached?

        • fender

          The milestone reaching comment maker gets to have fun and ban a troll of their choice for a period of time.

          I would nominate the EPMU stalking anti-unionist james 111.

          • McFlock

            Interesting – avariation on the ostracism of Athenian Democracy 🙂

            • fender

              They were more brutal than I was suggesting, but ok if you insist, its james after all!

          • Jenny

            Vox populi, vox Dei

            The milestone reaching comment maker gets to have fun and ban a troll of their choice for a period of time.

            fender 19 April 2012 at 11:02 pm

            Sounds like fun fender, and quite a good idea. It gave me some thought. It occurs to me that we need something a little more positive (as well as fun) to mark this mile stone.

            How about this;

            To mark the the passing of the 400,000 comments milestone, a post announcing an on site poll to find the most popular regular commenter.

            The prize for the winner: One year posting rights.

            Conditional on there being the instant right of suspension and a recall election if the winner is not up to scratch, or some how offends the tikanga of the site.

            Plus any other conditions that may also be thought to be necessary by the moderators.

            (If this experiment is a success it could become an annual event.)

            The election to last either a period of two weeks or until the post falls off the bottom of the page. The winner being the one judged to have received the greatest number of positive comments in support.

            The candidates can also comment/argue on why they should be the one chosen.

            Sound like fun?

            • fender

              Yeah that sounds more interesting than my punitive troll ban for the hell of it,,rather mean suggestion that may have been inspired by some insane james3 trash or something..

              There are some very good regular commenters who command respect with their wisdom, I’m always keen to read their comments and they are a great asset to the site. It would be good to celebrate their contributions somehow, you mention posting rights as prize but anyone is free to submit a post now by following the ‘contribute’ tab up top.

      • QoT 18.1.2

        I’m a little hurt, lprent. I think my capacity to post serial meaningless comments is far superior to that n00b’s, if only in the quality of my comments and higher ratio of obscure sci fi references.

        • McFlock

          A contest?
          Between the darkness and the light…

        • lprent

          I can’t help it. My juvenile sense of associative irony gets me every time. In this case it was that kt made almost exactly the same comment before running amok with comment writing and eventually found out why awaking the moderator in Irish (oxymoron statement) is a really bad idea.

          But I prefer that your comment standard stays high (for my amusement)

  19. millsy 19

    Coming up to 5 years of this blog this year…

    I think both KiwiBlog and No Right Turn celebrate their 10th anniversaries next year as well.

  20. Karl Sinclair 20

    To the author LPRENT:

    You said:

    ‘I’m starting to get a bit worried about how we’re going to handle the rapidly increasing rate that people are arguing with each other here…’

    Why not pull together all the main arguments around key issues, summarise the best (not just slagging matches), then present objective facts that will show the arguement to be either true, false or somewhere in between. The arguments can be refined overtime if your lucky, or they may go on. At least it can be presented with the ‘Best interpration’ (you would have this as the main page to the debate). You need people to have the time, skills etc to accurately assess some of the statements made otherwise you’ll end up with the endless mosh pit…… a bit like Edvard Munches The Scream. Its good for getting frustrations out but whats next with all this. It’s great to have this site trepresenting alternative views but how do you distill out the the key facts and create from that a focused and action orientated movement? That is your problem. You need to start creating action from all of this……….. focused…

    Otherwise its a bit like the scene in The Tempest whereby Sycorax (aka present Government) sends imaginary crows down on Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo. The Crow shouts out… ‘We have mad you mad’, the scene pulls away and they are fighting thin air…………

    Unfortunately at present we have a Representative Shamocracy where people have little time or inclination to understand the facts let alone have decent time with their families, partners, children etc…

    Caveat emptor

    Ahhhh, another worthless rant….. 🙂

  21. Jenny 21

    On the occasion of the 400,000th comment is it time for a reavaluation?

    What is the purpose of a blog?

    Is a blogsite just a forum for debate?

    Is a blogsite an organiser;

    Could it should it campaign and champion particular causes?

    How should those causes be chosen?

    Is a blogsite a public service;

    Can it help and inform public opinion?

    A public service idea that can be copied from the UK


  22. QoT 22

    To be utterly tautological, I think the blog should stay a blog.

    There are other sites like CommoNZ and even Family Fist’s Value Your Vote which aim, or at least profess in the case of the latter, to give a neutral assessment of party policies and MP behaviour.

    Though I admit to having my reservations about the commentariat at large and its sometimes-slightly-paleolithic attitudes to women, use of ableist language, and tendency to go for the easy “Gerry Brownlee is fat” joke instead of proper argument, I think it’s great to have a place where a myriad diverse voices, all vaguely connected by a committed to leftwing thought, can publish on any number of topics.

    And certainly the Right has no equivalent, unless one wants to count the dual-personality WhaleOil pseudonym.

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