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The Seven Year Kvetch September 12, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
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kvetch [kvetsh]   –  /k(ə)veCH,kfeCH/

noun
noun: kvetch; plural noun: kvetches

-a person who complains a great deal.
-a complaint.

verb
verb: kvetch; 3rd person present: kvetches; past tense: kvetched; past participle: kvetched; gerund or present participle: kvetching

-to complain.

Yes, one of the joys of being an American is pissing all over the English language by letting in any damn word we please.  I love our language, how it changes and evolves over time.  I think it is the hallmark of us, as an immigrant nation, that we embrace people and cultures into our so-called melting pot, but that we also swipe some of the best words people bring with them as well.  In contrast,  I remain appalled by countries that have official government departments that dictate and enforce proper spelling and usage.  Color me the anarchist in that regard I guess.

Sure, the chaos makes the language difficult to learn fully, being so full of idiom and context, but it is great fun.  Straight from the fridge daddy-o.

So here we are at my 7th blogiversary (ha ha, suck that purists!), where I celebrate my continued deliberate and premeditated abuse of the language.

WordPress sends their regards

WordPress sends their regards

And since I love linking back to past posts (recycling!) you can find, if you are so inclined, posts marking this date from past years.

Now that I have gotten past that irrelevant introductory exuberance, it is time for the usual dreck.   Beyond this point lies list after list of pointless data followed by my usual summary of events, complete with dubious and/or obvious conclusion.  There is the story of my life; always able to summarize the data, but lost when actually trying for some sort of ending or closure.  I am never quite sure what it all means, and I try not to pretend otherwise.

If you are like me and like numbers and lists for the sake of them or want some sort of quantitative look at what happens at this blog, you may find some of this interesting.  It includes my usual reveal of actual traffic numbers.

On the other hand, if you are expecting to find an amusing anecdote about how I screwed up or got lost again, a nostalgic look at some past game, or an incoherent rant about some bit of gamery that is annoying me at the moment, you will likely be disappointed at what you find after the cut.  You have been warned.

And we launch straight into things.

Basic Statistics

The same stats every year.  I actually wrote less over the last 12 months than the previous period.  I couldn’t tell you why.  Am I writing fewer longer posts?  Also, I use a lot of pictures.  Unlike some, I am quite visually oriented and a picture can set a mood, a scene, or a state of mind better than most text.  We are what we are.

Days since launch: 2557 (+365)
Posts total: 2969 (+391)
Average posts per day: 1.16 (-0.03)
Comments: 20,292 (+3,166)
Average comments per post: 6.8 (+0.2)
Average comments per day: 7.9  (+0.0)
Spam comments: 992,163 (+258,577)
Average spam comments per day: 388.01 (+48.7) 388
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 49 (+6)
Comments written by me: 1,985 (9.78%)
Images uploaded:  6,180 (+1526)
Space used by images: 1.5 GB of my 3 GB allocation

Demographics

Where did you all come from?  Well, most of you came from the US, the UK, Canada, or Australia, the largest English language speaking countries.  The margin went down a bit from last year, but English speaking people oddly make up the majority of readers on a blog written in something resembling English!

Now for some pictures.  First, the chart from Flag Counter widget in the side bar.  It shows that people from 218 different countries… up nine from last year… have shown up here for one reason or another.  You can click on the side bar widget if you want more details.

Shows percentages!

Shows percentages!

And then there is the WordPress.com map, which this year features more shades of orange.

You're from that orange country, right?

You’re from that orange country, right?

Those shades are based on numbers are from Feb. 25, 2012 forward.  The lightest shade of orange represents anything from 1 to 7,000 visits.

Incoming!

Here are the sites that sent me the most traffic over the last 12 months, each one a mensch!

  1. Google
  2. EVE News 24
  3. Jester’s Trek
  4. Blessing of Kings
  5. VirginWorlds
  6. Popehat
  7. Reddit
  8. Hardcore Casual
  9. Player Versus Developer
  10. Google Reader

Search engines remain the primary source of traffic, with Google bringing in ten times the traffic of the second place on the list.

EVE News 24 breaks into the list this time mostly because Riverini’s syndication of my post on the battle at 6VDT, which included a link back to the screen shot gallery here.   Then we get into some of the usual suspects.  Jester and Rohan have large followings who like to click on their blogrolls, while VirginWorlds remains popular even in its automated age.  At Popehat I think I just gain from alphabetical preference, since my relevance there is debatable.  Somebody will link here on Reddit now and again, often about learning to play a druid.  SynCaine and I troll each other when not trolling Tobold.  And Green Armadillo, another blogger.com user, has a popular side bar.  I still envy the blogger.com blogroll features.  And at the tail end there is Google Reader, which was recently killed off.  I wonder what will replace it on the list next year?

And then, for the all time list, we have:

  1. Google
  2. VirginWorlds
  3. Blessing of Kings
  4. Jester’s Trek
  5. WordPress.com
  6. EVE News 24
  7. Google Reader
  8. Keen and Graev
  9. Player Versus Developer
  10. Hardcore Casual

Again, Google rules, and the departure of Google Reader will mean somebody else will be climbing the list.

EQ2-Daily fell of the all time list as did Massive Blips, neither of which have been going concerns for a while now.

Outgoing!

And where do I send traffic.  Here are the top ten recipients for the last year.

  1. Blizzard
  2. Civilization Fanatics
  3. Wikipedia
  4. The Mittani.com
  5. EVE Online Pictures
  6. Jester’s Trek
  7. Inventory Full
  8. Hardcore Casual
  9. Kickstarter
  10. Blessing of Kings

That seems like an odd list.  Blizzard gets a lot of traffic because of the April Fool’s thing.  I usually post about what they did and then link back to my posts from previous years, which ends up sending a lot of people their way.  I wasn’t aware that it was that many people.

Civ Fanatics is purely based around one post about how to run Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit.

Wikipedia is my link out for references I don’t want to explain, while The Mittani is good for updates about EVE Online that are out of the scope of my own knowledge.   Then there is my other blog, a source of EVE Online screen shots.  And finally I get to some of my fellow bloggers, with Kickstarter mixed in because of the flurry of Kickstarter stuff that interested me this year.

When we get to the all time figures, things continue:

  1. Pokemon.com (various sites)
  2. Nick Yee’s WoW Guild Name Generator
  3. Civilization Fanatics
  4. Wikipedia
  5. EVElopedia
  6. Blizzard
  7. Hardcore Casual
  8. Keen and Graev
  9. Blessing of Kings
  10. Kill Ten Rats

Most Viewed Posts

Most viewed posts over the last year.

  1. April Fools at Blizzard – 2013
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  3. Diablo III vs. Torchlight II – A Matter of Details
  4. 6VDT-H – The Biggest Battle in EVE History Ends the War in Fountain
  5. Type 59 Being Pulled from the World of Tanks Store
  6. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
  7. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  8. So What is the Verdict on Google Reader Alternatives?
  9. Who Holds the Oldest Null Sec Sovereignty?
  10. The Nostalgic Call of the Emerald Dream

I am actually a bit surprised that the last post made the list.  It hasn’t been a big draw on any given day, but over time people have wandered over to see it I guess.

Most viewed posts over the life of the blog

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  3. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  4. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  5. April Fools at Blizzard – 2013
  6. Diablo III vs. Torchlight II – A Matter of Details
  7. How I Got My 5,000 Turbine Points
  8. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  9. Upgrading: Golem or Raven Navy Issue?
  10. Saturday with Red 5

The weight of years keeps the top two posts on the list, but after that things are more recent, or at least continue to be popular with Google, start showing up.  I think the one about Turbine Points stays active because people are looking for freebies.

Categories and Tags

Over the life of the blog I have attempted to be consistent in my use of categories and tags in the interest of making like articles easier to find.

I have not been wholly successful to say the least.

Still, after all this time, a look at the usage totals for categories and tags will at least give some indication of what I have been writing about for the last seven year.  I leave aside the category “entertainment,” which gets applied to every post.  There was a WordPress.com reason for doing that at one point, though I would gather that has faded.

Categories are the most consistent and represent the number of posts in which I speak of a given game or topic in a general sense.  This list, in its way, also reflects the games I have spent the most time playing over the years, since I write about what I am playing for the most part.

Ten Most Used Categories

  1. World of Warcraft (787)
  2. EVE Online (664)
  3. EverQuest II (527)
  4. EverQuest (417)
  5. Lord of the Rings Online (318)
  6. Sony Online Entertainment (291)
  7. Instance Group (243)
  8. Blizzard (234)
  9. Humor (217)
  10. Misc MMOs (170)

Tags are a little more obscure.  They are assigned as something of a sub-category.  If I have managed to apply them consistently, they are useful.  You can, for example, find all my posts about the war in Fountain by clicking on the tag in one of those posts.  However, I tend to use them haphazardly unless I have a plan in advance, and often I use them to color or qualify how a post should be viewed.  So there are tons of tags on the site… almost 2,400 at this point… but few get more than dozen uses, and nearly 1,500 of them were used exactly once.  Here are the ones I have stuck with.

Ten Most Used Tags

  1. null sec (122)
  2. Fippy Darkpaw (76)
  3. Progression Server (70)
  4. Nostalgia (56)
  5. YouTube (56)
  6. Free-to-Play (44)
  7. Pokemon SoulSilver (38)
  8. contest (37)
  9. Cataclysm (34)
  10. Quote of the Day (32)

I am sure that says something.  I am just not sure what.  At least it seems to indicate that I kept consistent when tagging my null sec adventures in EVE Online as well as my posts about the EverQuest Fippy Darkpaw progression server.  Sort of.  Why don’t “Progression Server” and “Fippy Darkpaw” match up?  Or what isn’t “Progression Server” a larger number?  Not very consistent after all I guess.

Mistakes I Still Make Seven Years Later

Aside from how often my fingers type words that are similar yet different from what my brain expects them to type… which happens disturbingly often… there are still some dumb mistakes I make in posting even after years of doing the blog thing.

Proofread After Posting – I only seem capable of detecting typos and such once a post has gone live.  I can reread it a dozen times, look at it in preview mode, but the moment everybody can see it, the mistakes are suddenly highlighted in red for me.  Or at least the obvious ones are visible.  I would say that you should never read anything I have posted until the next day, when I have correct the problems, but I still go back to old posts and find mistakes I cannot believe I missed.  So clearly I am bad at the whole proofreading thing.

Posting Before I Am Ready – There are two buttons on the right side of the edit window that are too close for my own good, the “save” and the “publish” buttons.  I have hit that “publish” button by mistake too many times.  Sometimes, when I am close to publishing anyway, I will try and roll with it and just keep updating.  You might have seen posts that got longer as the day went on.  And sometimes I am not anywhere close to done and I have to try to undo the post, kill the automated syndication, and generally spend about half an hour in panic mode before I have cleaned things up.

I have found a work-around for this.  It has now become my norm to schedule a post in advance, setting its publication time/date as I am writing it.  This removes the “publish” button and replaces it with “update.”  That mostly works, except that once in a while “update” doesn’t quite work like “save” and I lose changes.  I lost that last paragraph once already.  And I worry that I will schedule a post, not finish it, and forget about it, only to find a half written article with no conclusion publishing itself one day.   Actually, I worry that nobody would notice anything out of the ordinary with that.

Forgetting The Title – When I start writing a post, I put in a placeholder title.  Then I go on to write the post, click the dreaded “publish” button, only to realize that I left the placeholder in the title field.  This problem is compounded by the fact that the title field is the only field on the editing page that gets ignored by spell check.  So I have posted any number of posts with misspelled and/or poorly worded titles.  You can tell when I fix them because I do not change the URL, so the mistake persists.

Department of Redundancy Department – I favor certain turns of phrase and patterns and connecting words and the like.  In fact, I favor them so much that I tend to over-use them.  I attribute this to the fact that I write in something of a conversational tone.  If you were speaking to me, I would likely structure my sentences in exactly the same fashion.  This shows up a lot in my “month in review” posts, in the sections cover events from one and five years ago.  I will get done putting everything in and realize that I have used the word “meanwhile” to start six different entries.  That isn’t so bad in conversation where the spoken word, once spoken, disappears never to be heard again.  But in text, there are six instances of “meanwhile” staring you in the face.  So I have to go back and fix that often.  Once I came upon 13 sentences in a row that started with the word “and.”  I don’t mind abusing the “rule” about not starting a sentence with a conjunction, but 13 in a row seemed like I was stretching the point.  Fortunately, the first 12 of those sentences worked just fine with “and” omitted from the front.  At least this seems to be one thing I can spot, for the most part, before I hit the “publish” button.

In-line Editing – I will write a post and begin to review it in the edit window before publishing.  And, in doing so, my eye will alight upon what strikes me as an awkward phrase.  So I will change it without bothering to read the rest of the sentence.  Why?  I don’t know.  There is clearly something wrong with my brain.  And then I will publish the post, read it, and wonder what in the hell I was thinking, as the whole sentence won’t make a lick of sense.  Generally I end up returning to the awkward phrasing, which is generally not awkward when viewed as part of a larger whole.

Anyway, I would like to think there was a lesson in all of this or that, in writing about it, that I demonstrated my ability to learn and adapt.  But the best I can really say is that at least I am aware of some of my flaws.

Some Numbers

As I have said in the past, I do not post page view numbers for the blog that often.  I quite enjoy looking at the numbers, but I don’t want them to become a sort of e-peen comparison thing.  Page views do not correlate to quality, nor do they bestow any special status.  My “best” posts, in my opinion, rarely get the most page views.  Many people write better or more insightful posts on their blogs and do not get as much recognition as they deserve.  And lots of dumb things get way more attention that they deserve.  One of the amusing bits about the whole AdBlock tempest in a teapot was the number of sites that came out and admitted that they posted mostly exploitative crap designed to drive page views as opposed to inform or educate.  The crap, they say, pays for the good stories.  Unfortunately, for a couple of the sites that brought that up, I am still waiting for those good stories to appear.  Free to play is the same everywhere, revenue drives what gets done.

Anyway, so page views are just a thing, I keep them to myself except on special occasions.

As it so happens, the seven year anniversary of the blog happened to coincide with passing the three million page view mark.  Special occasion!  So here is a glimpse into the page view history of the blog.

Page views per month

Page views per month

Average page views per month

Average page views per month

As you can see, I am in decline.  Whether that is me, the overall interest in MMO blogs, or changes to how Google works, if you don’t like the site you can take some comfort in the fact that it is fading in popularity, at least by the only measure I have.

But three million page views over seven years seems like a lot to me.  That is certainly a couple million more than I ever expected when I set off on this journey.  I expected something more akin to the traffic on my other blog.  So I am happy.  But there are sites out there that get that much a year, a month, a day, or even an hour I am sure.  So it really isn’t a matter of doing better or worse than anybody.  Well, except for SynCaine.  I want to have more page views than him.

The Future

This is the bit… very much like every other bit in this post… where I write nearly the same spiel I did the previous year.  So sue me.

As like as not, the routine will not change.  I generally say something about writing less and playing more… and I suppose I did write a little bit less, or at least hit the publish button a little bit less over the past 12 months… but in the end habits are tough to change.

So you can expect tales from whatever games I and the regular group end up playing, gripes about whatever is bugging me in the industry, and occasionally lapses into nostalgia.

For those of you who have been along for all, or at least some part, of the last seven years, thank you for dropping by.  The story will continue. Now I need to start working on a title for the “year 8″ post.  Eight is Never Enough?

And at this point, I will take any blogging related questions from the audience.  Anybody?

Comments»

1. HarbingerZero - September 12, 2013

Eighth and Roast is a popular coffee shop. I hereby demand that you let your fellow bloggers roast you on your eighth by making satirical TAGN posts which you will then link whore for us on this very site. If my demands are not met I may do it anyway, because it sounds fun. Who is with me?

2. JameslikesGames - September 12, 2013

Just wanted to say well done and keep on bloggin’

3. sleepysam - September 12, 2013

Kampai

4. CosrinHQ - September 12, 2013

Wow, that was an informative post. Enjoyed reading it as I love these kinds of blogging analytics. Here’s to another successful year at TAGN!

5. CosrinHQ - September 12, 2013

Can’t edit my comment so here’s a double post…

I’d like to see more posts regarding MUD/MMO design. I may be an outlier but I’ve browsed through most of your archive and those are the types of posts that tend to keep me the most engaged. Design topics related to character progression, economy, environments, game mechanics, etc.

6. Mekhios - September 12, 2013

I’ve always been impressed at the ability of famous bloggers like Wilhelm to continually post high quality and regular content to their blogs. I have tried the same but I simply can not maintain a regular blog.

I either exhaust content or I become complacent and let it fall by the wayside. I am also horrible at grammar and typing so that tends to act as a natural deterrent to my blogging efforts.

I will simply have to be content with being a regular reader and occasional comment poster. :)

7. Shintar - September 12, 2013

Loved the “Mistakes I Still Make Seven Years Later” section. I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t seem to spot a lot of mistakes until after publishing and keeps editing forever. And oh the misspelled post titles that haunt me in URLs…

8. SynCaine - September 13, 2013

You are winning the page views battle. In 2011 I was a bit ahead, in 2012 we were even, but 2013 has been a down year for me (hell I’ve more than a month behind on my yearly review post). I blame Blizzard.

9. bhagpuss - September 13, 2013

Congratulations on another year and long may it continue. I find these annual summations very useful – bloggers are almost as cagy about their stats as MMO companies are about their population figures so it’s great to have some hard numbers to benchmark against.

I make pretty much all the same mistakes you do and I don’t doubt that when I’ve been at it as long as you have little will have changed in that respect. The whole “only seem capable of detecting typos and such once a post has gone live” is particularly and horribly familiar. I think it’s a direct function of subconsciously knowing that there is no irrevocable cut-off point after which mistakes cannot be corrected. Short of hitting the “Publish” button nothing triggers the monitor function of the brain, and even then it’s not guaranteed because at some level the brain knows corrections can still be made.

I draw this conclusion from a comparison with the fifteen or so years I published hard-copy fanzines and apazines in which probably fewer typos/errors went to print in an entire year than I now publish in a single blog post. Back then, when the printing press or the photocopier finished its run you were stuck with what you’d got. If you really felt something *had* to be fixed then it would cost a meaningful amount of money and one hell of an inconvenience to correct it. On a blog it costs nothing and the deadline for corrections is the day the internet shuts down or the heat-death of the universe, whichever comes sooner so is it surprising the brain takes a holiday?.

I was delighted to see Inventory Full make an appearance in your outgoing traffic top 10. TAGN is 6th in my All Time Top 10 referents but doesn’t appear in the ten at all for the last month. I got a huge hit from the April Fool link and there’s a noticeable up-tick every time you direct-link me but on an average month I get more traffic from sites with the Blogger real-time updated blogroll, not surprisingly. You’re right to envy that function.

I’m pleased but not at all smug to report that my daily page-views are growing but like you I am more interested in seeing active, constructive comment threads. Fortunately those are also on the up. As far as page views go, I’m now around a third of your current, depleted total, which is way beyond what I ever expected to reach. I find it very hard to imagine that in five years time I’ll even be where I am now, let alone where you are, which really puts your achievement into perspective.

So congratulations again and keep on doing what you do so well!


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