Who’s On First?
By Larry Kaufman
Among my meshugassen (which I’ll euphemistically translate as idiosyncrasies) is the tendency to “count the house,” and to analyze the count. One day I decided to apply my meshugass to this blog. The statistics that follow represent a snapshot in time, but my sues is that doing the same exercise today – or tomorrow – would yield similar results.
How many people do you suppose are involved in the discussion here at www.rj.org – as posters, as commenters, or both? Take a minute to make your own guesstimate, before you proceed to my findings.
For the purposes of this exercise, I didn’t go into the archives, but looked only at the four posts accessible through the box at the head of the page, and the ten items that are featured directly on the landing page. Fourteen items, from eleven authors, one of them posting under two names. (If you go to the Contributors page, you learn that Gardening Grandma and Emily Grotta are one and the same. And if you factor in the writers of comments, it’s probably Emily who’s posting the items signed Union for Reform Judaism.)
Several of those who post themselves also comment, both on the posts of others, and also respond to comments on their own posts. But at the time of this “research,” there were twelve people commenting on topics originated by others but not starting any topics on their own. We know the full names of seven of these people. (although not necessarily anything else about them) but five, for whatever reason, identify themselves only by first name, initials, or noms de web. Thus the population of the blogging community on the particular day when I counted was 23. Given the egalitarianism of the Reform movement, I didn’t count by gender, but my guess is that we’re at about half and half.
Of the fourteen then current posts, five had attracted no comments, five attracted one comment each, and four generated discussion, ranging from five comments up to 23. Since the 23 include a lot of back-and-forths, there’s no connection to the blogging population also being 23.
As someone who signs his posts, I wonder about the desire for anonymity of those who don’t. In some cases, I confess, I have come to the conclusion that these people are rightfully embarrassed to be identified with their narishkeit (foolishness).
Maybe a more important question than how many people are writing, and/or signing what they write, is how many people are reading. The last time I asked, which was a while back, the blog was getting anywhere from 250 to 1000 unique visitors on any given day. My guess is that the number has increased since I asked, and that the number of participants in the discussion has also escalated since last I counted.
On behalf of the Gang of Twenty-Three, let me invite the rest of you to join the discussion. Speaking only for myself, let us know your name, even though your face we shall not see. In the words of Nachshon, come on in, the water’s fine.