Archive for the ‘This blogging life’ Category

Who views what

December 3, 2017

About the readership of this blog, examined through the very imperfect lens of WordPress statistics. Back in May 2016 AZBlog had accumulated 5 million spam comments (since late December 2008), and WP said I was getting about 1000 views a day. Then reported spam comments dropped to about 100,000 a year and reported views to 750-800 a day, leading me to wonder if I was doing something wrong, but friends convinced me that WP’s monitoring was simply screwed up.

And then, about two months ago, the views per day went back up to 1000-1200, reliably, so I stopped fretting. (Spam comments stayed down at the ca. 100,000/yr level, which I view as a blessing.)

More interesting is which postings get the most hits, and from which countries. Some of this is easily explicable — there’s a big market for sex — but some is bizarre; Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky tells me it’s probably bots ruling the netverse, and not much to do with me specifically.


LiveJournal is 18

April 25, 2017

… or so LJ tells me. They also tell me that on LJ I’m about 6 yrs. 9 mos. old:

My LJ account is AZBlogX, where I post mostly X-rated stuff (not suitable for WordPress, Facebook, or Google+). So not a great amount of activity — a bit under 100 postings a year.

Things are different on my WordPress blog.


New on my blog

February 20, 2017

Three new Pages on my blog this morning:

Penis art, under the parent Page “Xblog essays”, building on the inventory of postings in my recent “Art of the penis” posting: about artworks in which penises figure prominently.

Categorization & labeling, under the parent Page “Linguistics notes”: conceptual categorizations vs. linguistic expressions, an inventory assembled by Kim Darnell on my behalf

Clothing: general, under the parent Page “Clothing postings” (which it shares with pages on shirtlessness and underwear — reflecting some of the preoccupations of this blog): another inventory assembled by Kim Darnell on my behalf

A blogging note

February 12, 2017

WordPress gives me, every day, a report on how many views of my postings there have been (a) in the last week and (b) in the last day. I’m baffled by how these stats are collected, but still I notice them. For a long time, statistic (a) was close to 1,000 views per day, then some time ago, it dipped to about 750 views per day. Puzzlement.

But the postings that draw people don’t change a whole lot. A posting on parts of the body almost always leads by a considerable margin, then a lot of sex-related postings. Sex sells. Recently there was a remarkable shift.



May 21, 2016

As the number of spam comments on this blog rapidly careens towards 5 million (yes, 5,000,000) since late December 2008, I reflect on the stats for this blog (putting aside AZBlogX, which is a livejournal site; Language Log; and the mailing list ADS-L). As of 1 p.m. PDT today, the figures were:

6,031 postings (~6k)
196 Pages
9,820 comments (~10k)
4,993,281 spam comments

Fortunately, an efficient piece of software automatically deletes most of the spam, so I don’t have to see it at all. Spambots learn ways to avoid this software, but then the software finds new patterns in the spam and gets really efficient again. We’re in a period where the software is triumphant, but that will inevitably change again.

Rather more puzzling are the daily stats on views of this blog. For a long time, this figure stood at about 1000 views per day, with occasional rises to 1500 or more, but in the last few weeks the figure has dropped to about 800, with an occasional rise to 1000. I don’t know how the view count is determined, but it’s not a count of how many times someone reads the blog, because some readers get to the blog by means other than clicking on one of its addresses ( or

The drop in the view count coincided with a huge swell in people who “follow” this blog, so maybe the drop has to do with the consequences of “following” me, however that works. Or maybe people just don’t like the topics I’ve been posting on recently, sigh.

Perils of: unspacedalllowercase

March 18, 2016

An annoyance of references to sites on the net is that


If your site is named Mouse Envy or mouse envy or MouseEnvy or mouseEnvy, your helpful hints to the parsing of the name are totally erased in the name


which could represent all sorts of things, like the joint project name

Mo. U. See & N. Vy

Normally this is just an annoyance, but sometimes the transformation could induce serious misreadings.

On Facebook recently, Robert Coren reported on a possible problem with the website for a Han Dynasty restaurant — handynasty — because it was subject to misparsing as handy + nasty. Others followed with other possibilities:

Pen Island — penisland — penis + land

Experts Exchange — expertsexchange — expert + sex change

[from Italy] Powergen Italiana — powergenitalia — power + genitalia

I don’t know anything about the purported originals (except for Han Dynasty) or about whether there’s been an actual issue over net access for the potentially ambiguous unspacedlowercase versions. But they’re still good stories, se non è vero, è ben trovato.


Briefly: what is a category?

February 29, 2016

Life on the net brings many annoyances. Software is frequently updated, in ways that sometimes make you have to re-learn how to do things. Blogging sites (I use WordPress for this blog and the much more tolerant livejournal for AZBlogX) and social media sites  (I read and post to Facebook and Google+) change the way they work, frequently, and they almost never announce these changes, so you suddenly discover that things no longer work the way they used to, and you have to discover (by trial and error, or asking around) a way to do what you want to do.

Facebook is famous for changing the way it works, sometimes apparently trying something out (maybe on only some of its users) and then changing things back the next day. Vexing.

WordPress made some substantial changes, unannounced, a few months ago, and I’m still coping with one of the little oddities of the current system, the way the label Uncategorized is used.


A quandary

October 27, 2015

Recently I’ve gotten two requests from acquaintances to remove a posting from this blog — one from a woman I’ll refer to as F, one from a man I’ll refer to as M. Both F and M are in long-standing relationships with a same-sex partner, people I’ll refer to as pF and pM, respectively. Both pF and pM have professional lives that are significantly associated with their homosexuality; they are “publicly gay”. F and M have notable professional lives, neither associated in any way with homosexuality, and both believe that their sexuality is a “private matter” and that their professional and personal lives should be entirely separate. I’ve posted about F and about M, in each case referring (in my posting) to their relationship with their partner, with the result that my postings identified F and M as gay. F and M objected to my making their sexuality public, and asked me to delete these postings from my blog.

The cases turn out to be significantly different, however, in ways that caused me to dismiss F’s request out of hand but to worry about whether I should take M’s request seriously.


The 4 million

August 18, 2015

From O. Henry in 1906, the collection The Four Million:

The Four Million is the second published collection of short stories by O. Henry originally released in 1906. There are twenty five stories of various lengths including several of his best known works such as “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Cop and the Anthem”. The book’s title refers to the then population of New York City where many of the stories are set.

(The 2014 census estimate for NYC was 8.49 million — more than doubled in nearly 110 years.)

Meanwhile, the number of spam comments afflicting this site passed 4 million yesterday. (more…)

A thousand likes

June 19, 2015

On Wednesday, a notification from WordPress that I had achieved

a thousand likes

on this blog since it started late in 2008.