Who or What Is Using “Commenter Archive” and “commenter-thread”?

Site Stats with Commenter Archive and Commenter-Thread in Top 10One 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.

comment-archive-icons-sotdI 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.

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Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

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Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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