One of my proudest moments when I first began working on Ordinary Times was adding two features intended to elevate comments and therefore commenters, or commenters through their comments – for instance by providing a resource for commenters in discussion, making it easier to find and respond to actual statements (rather than to distortedly recollected or too-hard-to-locate ones). It was also intended to reinforce the idea that a comment is or can be virtually a “post in another format,” and vice versa.
Another benefit or possible benefit would derive more from the actions of “robots” and “spiders” than of actually reading and writing human beings. The theory of the developer whose work I began by adapting was that, regardless of how commenters themselves used the comment archives that were created “on the fly,” whenever someone or -thing clicked on the archive link, the archives would register as unique pages or content, boosting a site’s Search Engine ranking.
I was and am more interested in the human uses of the two types of archive. After my little icon-links to “Comments This Thread” and “Commenter Archive” started appearing wherever a commenter did, I would from time to check the site stats to see how they were doing. The numbers were usually quite low, but I didn’t mind. I never really expected people to make major use of them except in extra-ordinary circumstances.
Lately, however, I’ve been noticing a significant traffic boost to the two virtual pages, and this morning, for the first time, when checking the stats on what looks likely to be a slow day traffic-wise at OT (after, I’ll note, some rather high traffic the last week or so), I noticed rankings like the ones I’ve screen-capped above.
To translate: The most popular page today 16 February 2016, other than the home page (grouped with other regular archives like “category” pages), as of around 0900 PDT, was the virtual “Commenter Archive” page. The eighth most-clicked page is “commenter-thread,” which is the name “Site Stats” extracts for the in-thread pop-up.
I’d like to believe that someone, or a group of someones, has suddenly discovered the usefulness of the two features, which I had originally set out to make much more convenient and appealing for real human beings than the Search Engine-oriented example with which I had begun. Sometime soon, I hope to do a “2.0” version of the features, but for now I’m wondering whether, indeed, it’s not robots and spiders but OGs who are responsible for at least some portion of the larger number of clicks.
I’ll be using other analytics tools already installed at the site and possibly the web-host to see what they can tell me, but if any of you human beings have anything to say on the major uptick in use of these commenting features, please let me know. The spiders and robots don’t answer questions directly.