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600,000 Comments

Written By: - Date published: 7:28 am, August 7th, 2013 - 77 comments
Categories: admin, blogs, The Standard - Tags:

On friday I noted to myself that in our long tradition of marking comment milestones that I should write a post about a milestone in comments by the end of the weekend. So belatedly, here it is…

Eddie predicted back in December 2012 with that we’d hit 600k comments on the 6th of August 2013. He was slightly out as it was a comment by Rosetinted on the 3rd commenting about another commenter. But so far Eddie’s other prediction looks like a safe bet

The trend will see us hit 1 million August 3 2015….

Comments are the lifeblood of this site because that is what the site is designed to foster. We’re not particularly interested in being the voice of a single egotist and their sycophants like some other popular sites.

We’re interested being part of the arguments because in our opinion that fosters the crucial and required participation in the political debate. Those active discussion is often largely lacking in the political parties (and especially in their caucuses) as they tend to get over focused on the mechanics of winning elections and the short-term feedback of internal polling. They seem to fail to realise that what they want to use the treasury benches to do and communicating that, is often the key to winning the votes of the cynical citizens who usually rate politicians as less trustworthy than used car salesmen.

Critical and robust debate is also  (with some notable exceptions) largely lacking in our media, who often sound very similar to a sounding board of popular myths, unthinking bigotry, and simple reflections of the PR specialists who provide it.  You really only have to look at the really stupid pontificating that goes on about political polls  to understand exactly how simple many of our political media are.

So most of our ever shifting body of active authors are drawn from our active and most wide ranging of our commenters. Their job is to argue their opinions. Commenters are welcome to argue for or against it or even to drift into other areas. Because that keeps the debate keeps growing and widening and teasing out the political and social options of society for our ever increasing numbers of lurkers to read.

Sure you get commenters vehemently and disagreeing with the post authors arguments and rudely refuting each other in a robust debate. It usually isn’t polite and nor is it academic. It isn’t intended to be. There are sites around that already do that in a gentile fashion. You’ll find many of them in our side feed along with the satirists and quieter opinions.

Politics is inherently about conflict and disagreement over the use everything from the way resources get used to the moral compass that society should follow. So we intend to provide a forum where people can get involved in that kind of debate. It is usually quite a lot of fun for both the participants and the ever increasing numbers of lurkers who read but don’t often participate.

This is all done within a loose policy framework that is designed to both foster robust debate and to ensure that stupid behaviour at the bounds is severely discouraged.  It is largely modelled on the way that our legal system tends to operate in actual practice – clear rules but with a rather arbitrary and often unfair justice. For the much the same reasons that our citizens don’t want a overbearing law enforcement system leaning over their shoulder  and watching their every move, the moderators don’t try for a sparrow’s fall style of policy enforcement. Neither we, nor the GCSB or police should try to attain that kind of community coercion.

It inhibits the open discussion that a free society needs for social change for the type of political behaviour that has ranged from abolishing the property rights of slavery to attacking brands for unethical behaviour. A better approach is to allow people to knowingly take the risks within a known framework of our local law and to take action once a actual offense is actually observed.

But I’m more of a numbers person than a philosopher, so here are some graphs explaining what it happening in comments that lead on from the graphs in my December post

Comments per Post to August 2013

 

As you can see, we have been doing averaging 200 odd posts (with comments) per month for a number of years. It jumps around a bit based on christmas break, elections, and when a news series gets active. This winds up as being a nice quantity of posts for the readers as it means that the posts don’t scroll out of view too fast.

But as you can see the comments per post have been rising. Compared to three years ago for instance  the average post is receiving more than double the number of comments. The effect of this on the number of comments per month is striking as can be seen in the following chart.

Comments per month to August 2013

We get some obvious spikes leading into the elections in November 2008 and 2011. But we keep rising and start routinely doing the similar numbers to election months a few years later. Like right now.

In July we got more than 15 thousand comments which we have only previously hit during the 2011 election. We averaged more than 75 comments per post on average – helped in particular by a post that had more than 700 comments.  There were  5,667,036 characters types and about 922 thousand words (the algorithm used to calculate this is a bit flakey).

Of course (in another long tradition) our very success also revealed more technical issues. The volume of comments coupled with a new database caused a problem with the database not coping with simultaneous comment posting, and last months total includes 98 duplicates that I have to figure out how to clean out (without disturbing comment threading)

A pretty good effort commenting… And later this month on the 20th, The Standard turns 6 years old

77 comments on “600,000 Comments”

  1. karol 1

    Yes and critical and public debate is crucial to democracy – which is indicated in Lynn’s post but not said very directly.

    And the milestone was reached with a wry comment from Rosetinted.

    • lprent 1.1

      Hey I was leaving room for the commenters…

      … and at 0500 I was more interested in the numbers…

      • karol 1.1.1

        I didn’t mean that as a criticism. I was saying a big “yes” to your strong focus on the importance of open and critical debate to politics and society.

    • UglyTruth 1.2

      I agree that public debate is essential for informed opinions as part of the democratic process. What is often left out of the picture is the role of the rule of law within a democracy. The rule of law is what sets democracy apart from majority rule. In NZ civil society a perverted version of the rule of law is applied so it’s a good idea to apply due diligence as to what the rule of law actually is if you’re planning on this blog being a model of real democratic process.

  2. just saying 2

    Congratulations LPrent and everyone else involved in making this the preeminent online discussion forum of the left. I barely have time to read it all nowadys, let alone make comments of my own. And the writing is often so good, praising authors for excellence has become too time-consuming in itself.

    Another heartening development has been the increasing numbers of other quality, online political sites of the broad left.

    I enjoy the breadth of viewpoints expressed here, and find it breath-taking that anyone reading TS could come away believing it to be an homogenous Labour Party site. I can only assume that those still saying it is, don’t actually read it.

    Btw LPrent, being somewhat lazy I’m glad to find I no longer have to fill-in the name and mail fields when I do visit and comment, but somewhat surprising given I’ve never actualy been able to log-in.

    • lprent 2.1

      The power of cookies.

      • just saying 2.1.1

        ??

        • karol 2.1.1.1

          js, I think Lynn is responding to this:

          Btw LPrent, being somewhat lazy I’m glad to find I no longer have to fill-in the name and mail fields when I do visit and comment, but somewhat surprising given I’ve never actualy been able to log-in.

        • lprent 2.1.1.2

          Your computer’s browsers remember who you last were when you used the site and send it in automatically as a HTTP cookie. Which means the fields are automatically filled in for you.

          The cookies I set here have quite a long lifetime and reset each time you make a comment. So provided you leave an occasional comment, your browser will keep saying who you are.

          There are also browser tolls that will do much the same thing for you – for instance google chrome does a pretty good job of transferring that kind of information between my many many systems for me, along with my bookmarks.

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.2.1

            for instance google chrome does a pretty good job of transferring that kind of information between my many many systems for me, along with my bookmarks.

            Mmmmmmmmmm…yummmmm…me NSA LIKE…

            • lprent 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Yeah. But when I really want to keep things quiet then I either use tor or I vpn out somewhere else in the world where they have effective privacy laws. And I use a much dumber browser that only runs on that interface. And just to make the hypothetical observers work harder, I always have a number of processes that always use those interfaces for no particular reason other than the fulfillment of the 5 eyes.

              But for my day to day stuff the boon of having my bookmarks transferring to whatever system I happen to be using at the time is pretty efficient. These days that includes my linux server and desktop at home, my linux desktop at work, my nexus 7 and soon to be retired iPad1, my android phone, my linux laptop and it’s vista dual boot, the (urrggh) windows work laptop, the mac work laptop, and my parents laptop in rotorua. It is a *lot* of devices that I use at one place or another. I used to hellishly lose links all over the place.

              Fortunately Lyn doesn’t let me touch her gear, and I don’t use a browser for anything except debugging on the multiple virtual boxes running variations of windows, the mac mini, or the debian linux devices I use at work. And the res on HD is too low to be bothered putting browser pages up on the TV (and it knows about youtube anyway).

              I’m a geek – what can one say…

          • just saying 2.1.1.2.2

            Ahhhh………
            Thankyou. Nice cookie.

  3. muzza 3

    Speaking of comments..

    Having been keeping an eye on a few of the American MSM so called , news blog comments, there seems to be a notable ramping up in awareness of the banking scams, and who are aware of the so called war of terror, and that government, or more accurately the power behind government are the true terrorists!

    While many of them are still stuck in the sham GOP v DEM argument, thee is a theme of understanding, that either way, the results are the same, common denominator = government, hence those behind it!

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    I was just going to ask what stripe lurkers might likely be, they can’t all be clutching metal briefcases with a pie and magazine in. The Standard probably has a direct feed into Waihopai by now anyhow.

    Just Saying is probably like many–time stretched. Daily Blog and The Standard are my two regulars and check out half a dozen others once a week. Kiwi Politico and several small left groups etc.

    Congratulations to LPrent and the team of contributors you make a major contribution to political discussion, and hopefully participation in this country.

  5. AsleepWhileWalking 5

    I get my news mostly from this site. If Stuff start charging there is no way I’m going to be paying to support that – they restrict commenting on stories which I take as an insult to democracy (particularly when it is political stories this tends to happen on) Long live The Standard!

    • Rosetinted 5.1

      lprent good stats thanks. I am going to set up a payment, haven’t done this enough. This is a place where I can find people who are really using those little grey cells. With Poirots guidance we may find the truth and the best political path and method. Wait for the end of the story when all is revealed to the characters in the story! What an occasion of celebration that would be.

      I found stuff won’t let you comment unless you agree to receiving stuff from them. I was having difficulty with them or one of the commercial news purveyors, so I withdrew. I need to limit the amount of sales bumf that comes at me, have all I can cope with now.

  6. King Kong 6

    600,000…That’s a whole lot of crazy.

    I think you should thank CV for clocking up 400,000 of those.

    [lprent: He is the largest commenter, but only in the order of 27k odd. I’m at number 4 with 11.5k, and you.. well.. oh dear 153 with 0.8k comments. So much for monkeys – obviously no endurance. 😈 ]

    • tc 6.1

      Wonder how much if the 600k was discounted for trolls attempting to derail threads.

    • Chooky 6.2

      @ King Kong

      CV is a very astute and intelligent and knowledgeable commentator King Kong….and YOU are just an amusing diversion!

    • Bunji 6.3

      CV makes up less than 5% of comments… Still well ahead of Draco and felix (2nd & 3rd) in the most total comments numbers though…

      Over 2600 named commenters have made >= 5 comments. That’s a lot of people getting involved.

      • King Kong 6.3.1

        Let’s play Jeopardy.

        “I’m in the top 3 commenters of all time on the Standard”…”Things middle aged losers who still live with their mum say.”

        • Rosetinted 6.3.1.1

          KK
          Are you one? The answer must be yes. We are all losers in this present world environment.

          Saying it is sad and scary, but then going to the dentist, or having a limb off if your diabetes has gone bad is too. Doesn’t matter whether someone is a ‘loser’ (based on what scale of winning?) and lives with his mum. He/she can have a valid viewpoint and throw light on a better way. Mum might know some good ideas too.

          • Colonial Viper 6.3.1.1.1

            36% of 18-31 year olds in the US now live with Mum and Dad

            Slow grinding economic collapse in progress…

            http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-02/all-time-high-21-million-young-adults-now-live-their-parents

            • fender 6.3.1.1.1.1

              And in “godzone” we have people living in garages, families sharing homes due to huge rents, and no doubt monkeys (KK) needing to share trees as well.

              • King Kong

                I have an enormous and beautifully renovated Thorndon Villa, though there are some nice native trees in the garden.

                • fender

                  Explains why you think you are a king I guess.

                  You could be an “early Roman king”….”They’re peddlers and they’re meddlers, they buy and they sell.
                  They destroyed your city, they’ll destroy you as well.
                  They’re leacherous and treacherous, hell-bent for leather.
                  Each of them bigger than all men put together.
                  Sluggers and muggers wearing fancy gold rings.
                  All the women going crazy for the early Roman kings.”

                  • muzza

                    And that’s the key right there, Fender.

                    The KK’s of this world, are too scared to understand the obviousness, that they are also losing, perhaps not as blatantly as those they spit on, right now, or next week, but the mathematical certainty means it’s landing on him, and his family, it already has!

                    KK, you’re a winner!

            • Draco T Bastard 6.3.1.1.1.2

              That would indicate that the extended family social format that we evolved in is making a comeback.

              • fender

                That’s fine if it suits and is by choice, rather than out of necessity due to exorbitant cost of living.

        • Chooky 6.3.1.2

          @ King Kong re “middle aged losers”

          …..Actually this is false, as most of what you say is false !….

          A TRUE BED TIME STORY FOR YOU…(.it is not to late for you to move back with Mum and mend your ways)

          I know a very intelligent person who lived very frugally without alcohol with his Mum and Dad for years( while everyone else was out partying and having children and getting mortgages) ….despite his Mum’s cacti encroaching up to his waterbed from the outside conservatory(…. was this a hint from Mumsy or what?)
          …..And he saved enough for a freehold many acre native bush block in the heart of a major city ….. And then while still living with his Mum …he built his own freehold castle on his freehold realm .
          ……And then, when he was mature and sensible ….he invited a beautiful mature maiden to live with him …happily ever after ….a happy multi millionaire and a “middle aged winner”…and a socialist in political sympathies ….

          • King Kong 6.3.1.2.1

            “……And then, when he was mature and sensible ….he invited a beautiful mature maiden to live with him …happily ever after ….a happy multi millionaire and a “middle aged winner”…and a socialist in political sympathies ….”

            – Who will never be able to look back and smile about skinny dipping in his 20’s with smoking hotties in the Med whilst off his chops on Bolivian marching powder.

            • Chooky 6.3.1.2.1.1

              @ King Kong ….He had fun alright! ….just not at home with his Mummy in a waterbed surrounded by cacti….( I am pretty sure he would have gone skinny dipping and did some other stuff which I doubt you did!…..but didnt go “off his chops”…. if you can call that fun!…dont think it sounds much fun to me ….especially if it was Bolivian)

              ….Also I reckon he is probably much RICHER than you with your big villa in Thorndon…. and ain’t that a cruel cut ….a socialist being richer than you!?)…not that being rich should be measured in money of course…it is measured by what is in one’s psyche or soul

              ALSO….this is the BIG LESSON!…He never ever owed the greedy capitalist banks anything in interest!!!!!….Hear yeh!?….(that is how he got rich living at home with his Mummy….saving his money and not paying interest)

              ..It is the banks that stop us getting rich and warp the economy!,….I think in the recent international domino banking collapses ….it was the Muslim banks, who dont charge interest and dont play funny money games , who came out unscathed. I bet some of those greedy Capitalist Western banks wouldn’t mind taking them over now….

    • Rosetinted 6.4

      KK
      Yes CV +++1…… 😀

    • King Kong 6.5

      “So much for monkeys – obviously no endurance”

      To be fair, if you didn’t keep banning me, I might have been able to make a better fist of it.

  7. David H 7

    A million comments in August. Wow, we are a gabby bunch aren’t we? Personally I like the easy way that we can ‘get it off our chests’ and have others with the same /similar / completely differing view points, that can be debated rigorously, with a minimum of disruption from Trolls. Congrsts on 6 years long may we comment.

    [lprent: August 2015. We have an election to take first. ]

  8. Santi 8

    I miss Santi’s awesome wit.

    [lprent: always nice to see a boy with ambitions. 😈 none else ever seemed to detect this ‘talent’ ]

  9. Rosie 9

    Huge thanks to you Lprent and authors for all the time and energy that you put into this site. It’s been essential reading in these hideous years of the Key regime, you’ve helped keep me sane. The authors do a great job of untangling the lines of spin fed to the Nation and laying bare the truth. Its not just all about shonkey and his merry band of fools though, they are a side show (albeit a disastrous one) at this point in our history, and with hope, their regime will self destruct (unfortunately leaving a trial of destruction in their wake). It’s also great to see articles about climate, environment and work rights. Helen Kelly’s articles in particular have been appreciated. May your voices continue to be heard loud and clear long after the last stinky whiff of the Key era has vanished.

    • just saying 9.1

      Not to mention “identity” issues…..

      God how I hate that word. Can’t someone coin a better term?
      The word “identity” has individualist connotations that members of the groups encompassed by the word, don’t deserve at all.

      Hell, most people have ‘identity’ issues 😀

  10. Winston Smith 10

    “We’re not particularly interested in being the voice of a single egotist and their sycophants like some other popular sites.”

    – Don’t you mean he who must not be named?

    • lprent 10.1

      I left it deliberately ambiguous. Read into it whomever you wish. 😈

      • Winston Smith 10.1.1

        I’ve always thought that most of the posters on here look like either Dumbledore, Harry Potter or Ron Weasley

        • fender 10.1.1.1

          Yeah and all you righties must look like Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle and those other Slytherin bad guys!

          • Winston Smith 10.1.1.1.1

            I look (or more like built) more like Kramm but hey its ok if you’re a ginger, well its more than ok if you’re a ginger girl in fact its quite fetching

        • jamiep 10.1.1.2

          No, I played Rugby league and smashed the shit out you Kings boys when we played Rugby or cricket. You can’t pigeon hole the left whereas its easy to do it to the right.

  11. Rosetinted 11

    The Jokeyhen whine as reported on 20 Aug 2007. It’s all negatives based on, akshually I expect, Helen Clark actually governing the country and setting parameters for sensible behaviour trying for a well-ordered and civilised, healthy, economically sound happy society.

    And here’s how Key opened his speech:

    “I want to ask you a question. Why have we given up our weekend to gather here in Auckland? I’ll give you one reason. We’re sick of Labour telling us what to do. We’re sick of being told how to bring up our kids, what to put in school lunchboxes, and that we have to microchip our dogs. We’re sick of being told off for buying houses and for eating pies”

    If National put this stuff to music, it could be their campaign song.

  12. Royton De'Ath 12

    ‘ It usually isn’t polite and nor is it academic. It isn’t intended to be. There are sites around that already do that in a gentile fashion. You’ll find many of them in our side feed along with the satirists and quieter opinions.’

    I’ve always thought the Standard to be far more cosmopolitan and inclusive than those other sites …

  13. fender 13

    I love this site, and while I don’t comment every day, I visit every day and read nearly everything. It’s the high quality of all the authors and the comments from the likes of Puddleglum, CV, McFlock, OAK, Felix, Anne, KJT, Blue Leopard, Draco T Bastard, Weka, Prism (Rosetinted), Rhinocrates, Blip, Fatty, Rosie and so many more (my brain is hurting trying to remember all the names of the excellent, intelligent ones) that keep me interested and returning every day.

    Well done Lprent and co. long live thestandard!

    • fender 13.1

      I’m going to regret starting a list (I’m no Blip!) but I can’t forget to include Pascal’s bookie.

      • just saying 13.1.1

        Ditto to all the above.
        And many more. But I’m not going to be so crazy as to try and list them all…..

      • Rosetinted 13.1.2

        fender +1 and karol who is gold too.

        • fender 13.1.2.1

          I agree, was including her in the “high quality of all the authors.”

        • Anne 13.1.2.2

          and Olwyn.

          and ALL the authors – even of you don’t always agree with them. That’s what makes the Standard such a stimulating place…

          • Olwyn 13.1.2.2.1

            Thanks Anne 🙂 I agree. Even if we you don’t agree with everyone, it is a joy and a relief that such a discussion can take place. So thanks to everyone who contributes to the TS conversation as well 🙂

    • beatie 13.2

      I find The Standard’s articles and comments an invaluable and inspiring source of information. Also it’s comforting to find NZer’s who are not greedy, selfish, ‘aspirational’ dullards.

  14. gorj 14

    Hi all, trying to donate to the standard, when I hit the paypal donate button I just get sent to the paypal home page. What is the email address for donating to? Thanks

    • Rosetinted 14.1

      gorj
      What about doing it using the on-line banking number on the Donate site? Goes only for NZ expenses, but that’s no problem is it?

    • lprent 14.2

      The easiest place these days is to simply send to direct to the bank account.

      Account: 38-9010-0427551-00

      This goes directly to The Standard’s bank account that gets used to pay for the servers and any plugins required.

      No-one was using paypal and I think that they deactivated it. I have now killed it off the donations page.

      You can either email thestandnz at gmail.com or me directly lprent at primary.geek.nz

  15. I love The Standard – thanks to everybody for the hard work in maintaining and continually improving the site. Kia kaha.

  16. BLiP 16

    Nice work “The Standard” and thanks lprent for all you do, plus the authors.

    Testing 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . .

    EDIT: Drat, still only the 1% are allowed to illustrate their comments ; )

    • lprent 16.1

      Less than 1%. Currently has to be a admin with basic HTML. I could look for a plugin. But then I’d have to find a scanner for the nasty header tricks.

      • BLiP 16.1.1

        All good. As it happens, our resident chew toys take up more than enough space (usually at the top of the comments threads, have you noticed?) so I would hate to give them any further tools of mass distraction. I’m just happy that there’s a captcha device which allows multi-links through. An elegant solution for OCD list-makers such as myself. Cheers.

  17. lurgee 17

    What percentage of comments are basically “David Shearer must go” and “+1”?

    Deduct them and you’d be averaging about three comments per post, I reckon.

    • BLiP 17.1

      ooops

      Note to self: only have open ONE tab for The Standard when commenting.

    • lprent 17.2

      I did some analysis of rough average word counts and characters per comment over the years as well. From memory (it is at home), it doesn’t vary much. Between 60 and 72 words per comment on average on a monthly basis and something around 300 chars average per comment. I have some rough numbers for the frequency of 1-4 “word” comments (ie including the +1 style comments), 1 “line” and 1 “paragraph”, and the number of quoted (ie “, italics, or blockquote) comments for quoted/content ratios. The frequency of those hasn’t changed that much over time either.

      If I ever get time to cleanup the rough-as word counter (mysql doesn’t have one damnit) with a c or c++ external for the db then I’ll publish them.

      Early to mid 2008 was the nadir of the short silly comments. Now (according to my stats), the home for that in political blogs is at whaleoil and trademe (I also watch some of the other blogs using a mixture of RSS and curl).

      BTW: My MBA is in operations. I statistically watch anything that could indicate problems on the site because it a hell of a lot easier doing and nipping things in the bud, than relying on gut reactions and having to do some horrible cleanups afterward (which is what happened in 2008).

      • Colonial Viper 17.2.1

        An MBA of some actual real world use. Nice.

        • lprent 17.2.1.1

          It was purely by accident. Family has tended to run factories in recent generations (and my sister still does). That was what I started doing after my first degree (earth sciences). But I got irritated arguing with accountants and did a MBA to get the language. Instead I got reinfected with computers after stumbling over PC’s in the Otago’s MBA computer lab in 1985.

          I don’t have a degree that I actually used professionally for any length of time (just a lot of post-grad papers that I lean on heavily). However they are always useful, even the arts courses.

  18. Sable 18

    Good to see sites that offer free public debate and reasonably objective reporting gaining in popularity as opposed to the manufactured news we have all come to know and hate.

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