The three million mark

Earlier this morning, the number of spam comments Akismet has snagged on my WordPress account (since December 2008) passed three million; last I looked, the score was 3,002,256. On these milestone occasions I reflect some on the blogging experience.

First, apologies to people whose legitimate comments got caught in the Akismet net (which mostly works automatically); there’s no way I can cope by hand with the overwhelming stream of spam.

Then, I note that I’m regularly solicited to use apps that will increase my readership. But I’m not a commercial enterprise seeking broad exposure. I don’t want great heaps of readers, but thoughtful readers I can speak to (and with). So when I get to choose, I’ll weed out comments that just amount to “like” or “dislike”, or “me too” or “not me”, because these don’t advance the substance of the discussion; social media are the place for such things.

The comments section of this blog is also not the place to introduce new topics, since that derails existing discussions and fragments them; e-mail to me, or comments on Facebook, or postings to mailing lists like ADS-L are the places to go for suggesting new topics.

To judge from the stats that WordPress provides (which are not unproblematic), this blog gets 1000-1500 view a day, occasionally a bit fewer, occasionally more, but at a pretty stable rate, and that seems to yield useful discussion. So I’m happy with that.

Something that undoubtedly limits the number of readers (and comments) is that, despite the fact that this blog is billed as being mostly about language, it deals with a very broad range of topics in relation to language (some of them recurrent), and with some topics simply because they interest me (even if they don’t have much connection to language). So readers can never be sure what’s going to come up next, nor when a posting will be just a feuilleton and when a serious technical essay. In any case, you might be confronted with postings about, among other things: food, music and musicians, shapenote singing, art and artists, cartoons and comics (lots of them), plants, animals, poetry, books, movies, parodies, my life, penguins, diners, phallic symbols, individual linguists, advertising, gender relations, language and the body, actors, popular culture, shirtless men, politics, clothing, photography, television, architecture, sex, humor, or a wide range of gay topics (in particular, gay porn, gay sex, and gay politics).

People do write me to ask for more postings on some of these topics, or for fewer. Some of my postings will come in waves, with one posting suggesting another similar one, but mostly they just pop up in my field of view, and there’s a lot of randomness in the process.

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