Numbers and names

The number of pieces of comments spam on this blog (since it began in December 2008) passed 5.5 million a little while ago. (Actually, it’s already up to 5.51 million, since there’s been a barrage of comments spam from a particular proxies site.)

Against this, about 11k actual comments (and pingbacks), and about 8k postings (roughly a thousand postings a year).

Then there are some truly inscrutable statistics about the number of views of things on my blog.

On the one hand, the view numbers from WordPress only include views via certain paths, and so manifestly are undercounts; fairly often, WordPress will give some very low number n (under 10) for views of a posting that got substantially more than n actual (contentful) comments. On the other, those numbers also include tons of views by spammers, using intermediate sites in Germany and a number of countries where I’m sure my actual readership is not particularly numerous (for instance, Bulgaria, Brazil, Turkey, and Nigeria).

The readers I’m sure of are mostly old friends: personal friends, former students, and folks from the old soc.motss newsgroup (these are of course overlapping groups). As far as I can tell, no faculty or students now at Stanford read my blog (unless I notify them of something of special interest), and very very few linguists elsewhere — no doubt a result of the fact that though there’s something of linguistic interest in almost all my postings, the central focus of many of them is on something else. (A number of colleagues have asked me to notify them personally when I post something that would be of great interest to them, but this is in general too great a time burden for me to manage, though I do try to tell colleagues when their work figures prominently in a posting of mine.)

As before, a few postings with sexual content reliably get lots of views. These evergreen favorites include “The body and its parts”, “Sexting with emoji”, and “An eruption of bromanteaus” — to which “An old joke” has now been added.

I do have over a thousand followers. They don’t read everything I post, of course — merely get notification of every posting.

And now for the fun part. The current avalanche of comments spam comes from a proxies site that creates random usernames for its comments from a gigantic database of names, thus producing many entertaining FN + LN combinations. The first 20 in the queue this morning:

Kaitlin Fannings, Tennille Gutjahr, Kevin Lucky, Amberly Belcastro, Federico Echenique, Marilee Jablonowski, Genoveva Hittner, Mercedez Gomm, Floyd Abuel, Isiah Valles, Josiah Ledlow, Janey Payeur, Cary Faubion, Robert Hanley, Kamilah Enrriquez, Mario Councilman, Luther Scarlett, Leon Kawelo, Forrest Steiber, Reiko Beedham

In this group, Robert Hanley stands out as being absurdly mundane. Otherwise I’m especially fond of Amberly Belcastro, a magnificent diva. And Luther Scarlett, the tortured protagonist of a tragic novel.


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