I received an email from SkS user scaddenp who lamented that as he checks the Recent Comments page on a daily basis, the number of comments being posted each day exceeds the number displayed. So I jumped into the database to have a look at how many comments are being submitted. Of course, this provided the opportunity to plot a graph - an opportunity I never pass up (for fellow data-geeks, here's the raw monthly data including October which I didn't include in the graph).
The rise in the number of comments (with a spike coinciding with the release of the iPhone app) did surprise me a little. The Recent Comments page only showed the last 40 comments but we're now getting over 100 comments per day. Consequently, I've rejigged Recent Comments so the comments are now paginated. From now on, you can dig as far back as you like through past comments (if you're a glutton for punishment). The Comments RSS Feed was even more limited - it only showed the last 20 comments. I've extended this to show any comments submitted over the last 24 hours.
Before anyone gets excited about the hockey stick shape, note that this is not actually a lot of comments compared to many other climate blogs. In fact, other blogs get similar traffic to Skeptical Science but an order of magnitude greater number of comments. My guess is this is due to our strict Comments Policy and the fact that registration is compulsory before you can submit a comment. But I would argue the level of discussion here at SkS is also of a higher quality than at many other blogs - I know I learn a lot from the informed and intelligent comments. So I make no apologies for the draconian moderation. :-)
Posted by John Cook on Thursday, 7 October, 2010
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