Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Success

CWY alluded to an experiment I was running, and I must say it worked. Basically my hypothesis was that on political blogs the number of comments is inversely proportional to the quality of the post. And while my test wasn't exactly scientific, I think it proved a point.

Let me explain. I mean this in the nicest way, but most of the political posts on DB's blog are simplistic and make broad and weak arguments. DB is a smart guy, but it's completely understandable when he's posting a few times a day and thousands of times a year. My guess is he just sees an interesting topic and decides to post about it without thinking it through.

When I look at the blogs I read, it seems that the less well-written and intelligent the post is, the more comments it will get. Kos gets thousands of comments a day and most of their stuff is crap. Volokh, however, maybe gets 100 on a normal day and their stuff is top rate (I know they appeal to different people). It seemed to me that people usually comment when either they want to agree or to argue.

It seems like lower quality posts will have more comments because people will agree or because people can respond to the arguments (disagree). And that theme seems to have been true on DB this week. Pretty much every single post I wrote was crap. My minimum wage argument was especially simplistic, yet it garnered 76 comments. 76 comments! I'm not sure my blog had that many comments all year. Yet my co-guest blogger's posts, which were far superior to mine, barely received anything (with the exception of Mis-Nagid). Why is that? I believe it's because people like responding to poor arguments. They know they can beat the argument so they try. And in many cases they do. Yet well-reasoned posts (especially Jameel's Can Israel Win? and Noyam's Presumed Consent posts) barely registered any comments at all.

So what have I learned? That successful blogging (as measured by comments and probably hits) requires the ability to entertain. As DB constantly likes to point out he is an entertainer. He is witty, smart, and does a good job of providing the type of posts people like to read. He's like talk radio. People read him because they agree with him or because they hate him (well not really hate, but you know what I mean).

But entertainment and quality are two different animals. It's no coincidence that talk radio and mediocre newspapers get a greater audience than magazines like The Economist. You can't really have both (although DB's religion posts and Godol Hador seem to be a good mix). You have to choose. And that choice will often greatly affect the size of one’s audience.

You were all part of the experiment. Some of you figured out I was writing crap (although I agreed in part with everything I posted). I hope I didn't offend anyone. That was really not my intention.

If I have time in the next two hours I'm going to write one real, serious, jajc-quality, conservative post. If not, I'd like to thank everyone for reading and responding to my posts and DB for letting me post here. You guys were all great.

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