As I was doing a my top 15 of Parableman, I grew interested in comparing some statistical data that the list led me to wonder about.
My first thought was that there was a notable lack of comments on many of my favorite posts. Some of the top 15 have a good number of comments, given that the average for the blog is just over 2. [There have been 500 entries and 1022 comments. The top 15 list has one with 17, one with 14, two with 7, one with 4, two with 3, four with 1, and three with 0.] The highest here are in the top 15 commented entries of the blog's history, and the average (over 4) is higher than the average for the blog (just over 2), but the majority of the posts in the top 15 are toward the lower end. I wonder why the entries I consider my best are the ones that have fewer comments.
Here are the highest-commented entries:
1. New low for racist left (46)
2. FMA as Idolatry (20)
3. tie: KJV-Onlyism (19) [Wink's post, but I commented more than he did]
Political Roundup (19)
5. Wink's Philosophy of Time (18) [Wink's post, but half the comments were mine]
6. What Should Christians Think of July 4? (17)
7. tie: Atheists' Epistemic Obligations (16)
Interpretation and homosexuality passages (16)
9. tie: Scientific Data on Human Genetic Diversity (15)
Freedom Not to Pledge (15)
11. tie: Uranium from Niger (14)
Review of Bible Translations (14)
Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God? (14)
14. tie: What Is Race? (13)
As Real As God's Thoughts (13)
Some of this makes some sense. If I said it right the first time, there's less reason to comment, and entries that aren't as good might require more in the way of criticism or clarification. Still, it surprises me.
The other thing I noticed was the time spread. I started the blog in September 2003, but I didn't post my second entry until December. The entries for the top 15 don't begin until January. That's no surprise. It took a while for thes best entries to appear. The monthly breakdown is then as follows:
Why do the best entries of the blog cluster around February and March? I did write some longer entries during my two Spring Breaks (well, each was a Spring Break for a different class I was teaching, so I had some more time each week). A second reason is that those months had more blog entries resurrected from things I'd written for my old website and just transferred here. At least two of the top 15 were in that category, and two of them were in March, though one was in April. A third reason might be that I was writing some of these entries as I was working through material I was teaching for the first time. Some of my favorite stuff came out of that. It's sort of interesting that none of what I wrote in June made the list, and I wasn't teaching at all during that month. I was tutoring, but I didn't determine the material for the two classes the students I was tutoring were looking at, and by the very nature of it we didn't get into the kind of depth I would if I were teaching. So the spread makes a little more sense with these three factors, but it still seems as if the quality must have died off after March. It makes me wonder how things would stack up