Hey, who else could go for some flapjacks a quick statistics post right now?
This time something different, the ever evolving time of day pattern of LGF posts down through the ages. In the chart below, each blue dot represents the date and time something got posted on the LGF front page.
If you study it closely, or not at all, various questions arise, all ripe for groundless speculation. For instance:
- What’s up with the 3AM postings in early 2008?
- Why the unprecedented 11PM posting frenzy in 2009-10?
- And the dearth of activity between 9-11PM during the same period?
- What’s that thin area at about 4:30PM from ’08 through ’12? Siesta?
- Has CJ not taken a single day away from LGF in 10 years?
- Afternoons in late ’05, not much. Same time in ’06 you got rush hour.
- 2004-2008, first post NLT 8AM. Abrupt change to 9AM in ’09, now past 10AM
And finally, as you scan across the years you can’t help but notice that content is indeed getting a little thin.
Everyone here remembers Iowahawk, or should. He was one of the most entertaining and insightful commenters on LGF before Charles threw him under the Little Green FootBus merely for contradicting him (commemorated here).
Without going into the details of Iowahawk’s banning, his Twitterfeed is full of clever wit and awe-inspiring snark. Tuesday’s @iowahawkblog entertainment included one typically snarky Tweet, and someone named Kris Kendrick, aka @prosediva, thought she could nail The Hawk. I doubt she even knew who she was up against, but it was still fun to watch her try.
[Caveat: The tweets below were scutinized, screencapped and stitched together in some semblance of order for continuity purposes only. No words were altered.] Read the rest of this entry »
The series continues with the next batch:
These days, Johnson mocks those who voice concerns about “creeping Sharia”. But back in 2003, this kind of thing was a major concern at the old swamp. In this range of threads we find the beginnings of what would become a long string of warnings, and like some anti-Muslim weatherman, CJ would issue the regular “Sharia Watch”:
As usual, here’s the list for reference:
Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s the next batch:
In this one we continue to see more familiar classic LGF themes, like the sighting of “Arafish!” (#4709), and a shift to more vitriolic anti-Muslim “Religion of…” headlines like “Religion of Hate” (#4162), “Religion of Amputation” (#4238), “Religion of Murder” (#4459), “Religion of Slavery” (#4765), “Religion of Slaughter” (#4780), and “Religion of Submission” (#4949):
And the list, for reference, below the fold:
Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s the next one:
The batches now begin to get a little more interesting, as we start to see some of those old memory-holed threads that we’ve rescued and featured here awhile back. We’re entering that extended era that CJ doesn’t like talking about, featuring more blatant anti-Muslim themes like #3062 “peaceful religion watch” (a title recycled many times, as you’ll discover, and leading to the infamous “Religion of Peace” term), and #3323 “the mirage of moderate islam”:
Also worth noting in this thousand, I suppose, is some indication that CJ began to take himself and his site more seriously, as he finally converts to capitalization of the titles, starting with thread #3721.
The thread list, for reference, below the fold:
Read the rest of this entry »
…and we keep marching on:
This batch ushers in 2002, and we begin to see the kind of threads that would come to define the site for the better part of the decade. We’ll feature article #2091, the coining of “anti-idiotarian”:
Those threads, for reference:
Read the rest of this entry »
As spokesperson for the BRC, I’m going to preface what will become one of our more lengthy series with an admission:
The Battle for the LGF Archives may be lost.
Well, when you combine CJ’s decision to hide the 6+ million old comments with the “feature” that allows loozards to change the nics that appear in their comments retroactively, what’s left is a largely invisible and otherwise incomprehensible clusterf**k of an archive that spans 10-years of global contributions on a once-popular weblog. Based on anecdotes, a pre-2009 Charles Johnson would have been proud of the width and breadth of links, facts, and opinion gathered over the years, pristinely displayed and available to all, but it appears now that he’s more concerned with attempts to mask the past, and techie features just for their own sake. Simply put, the LGF comment archive is now a mess.
As noble warriors in the art of flame war, and as champions of logic, reason, and general fact-checking, collectively, we’ve looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and thrown up our arms. CJ’s lopped off his nose and successfully spited his face.
In response, we’ve decided to…*ahem*…”rescue” the entirety of the LGF archives, starting with the first 1000 articles. Going forward, we’re going to dump these files as they were gathered -including sekrit threads- with their original commenters and content completely intact, a thousand strawberries at a time. We’re doing this to provide a resource; it should come in handy for anyone who wants to peruse an older LGF thread without subjecting their account to Johnson’s sensors and alarms. Who knows, perhaps even CJ will find them valuable?
These will batches will come in the form of zip files containing a thousand html grabs, stored on a file sharing site. As we go, we’ll add these links to a handy page that we’ll keep linked under the masthead.
Here’s the first dump:
Note: In these batches, memory-holed threads will appear as a snapshot of the LGF main page (circa 2010). Of course, we’ve featured those threads individually over the last few years, but now we’ve dedicated them to their own batch (for the grand finale).
For reference, the list of the first 1k threads (and the location of the memory-holed articles) below the fold.
In the spirit of thoroughness, and since we’re still scratching our heads on this one, the BRC is going to take the opportunity to revisit a memory-holed LGF thread we featured back in October 2010, and update everyone with the complete text and all 79 comments from long-lost #6276.
First, the original screencap I grabbed from the wayback machine (while it was still unblocked by Johnson):
And now, we present the complete thread, as nabbed by ISTE while CJ was asleep at the switch:
In the past, The Boiler Room Crew has provided accurate “signs of the LGF decline” statistics, including commenting rates, unique nic participation, individual nic stats, and karma levels. These things are relatively easy to glean, since the data is sitting right there in plain view on the site. All one has to do is figure out a way to efficiently grab it and stick it into a spreadsheet, then activate the various filters for analysis (for the most part).
Now, I know we’ve noted it before, but the engineers of The Boiler Room thought we’d do a little more work to see just how poorly Johnson’s doing in another department: recruitment of new accounts (dubbed “hatchlings”). After all, this is a great gauge of the general popularity and community aspect of the blog (the site that was, not so long ago, a strong contender for “best online community”). In light of Johnson’s political 180° turn a few years ago, has he been able to attract a new base of lizards? Just how many folks are joining LGF in recent months/years, and how does that number compare to the old days?
For our purposes, this project was much more of a challenge. Unlike the commenting stats, the info we needed isn’t in plain sight. Sure, we could use an alternative method (see graph, left) to get a general idea, but that wasn’t giving us the true number. We thought that the info we needed was buried somewhere on the dashboard of the LGF blog engine, and virtually inaccessible to us, whether you’re logged in or not. What we discovered though, is that Johnson’s blog coding actually left the clues right under our noses, like unknowingly sailing over a shipwreck every day. (Some of the pieces we already had, and didn’t realize it!) Once the proverbial light bulb appeared, we grabbed as many strawberries as we could (over 2,500, as it turned out), and began to plug the figures in. Even if not unexpected, our findings are a bit shocking…and not in a good way for Mr. @Lizardoid.
First though, I’d like to quickly revisit a time back when Johnson was a wingnut, and registration windows were short. When the announcement came and they were opened, doors to the kingdom generally got busted. In those days, Johnson would usually follow up and tell everyone how successful it was (the following is a typical example, from July ’07):
Other info about registration was volunteered in the comment section by CJ in more popular days, as summarized by this gif montage:
But eventually, we assumed that the rate began to slow considerably, and as that happened, he just stopped talking about it. In fact, the last time CJ even mentioned the word “hatchling” was in November of 2010 (article #37494), when we saw this:
(A “sock”, for those who aren’t familiar, is an account which has characteristics of belonging to someone who has previously registered under another nickname. These days, a large percentage of new accounts are socks).
That last hatchling count indicates quite a drop off from those previous examples, but to some may seem still somewhat respectable. Going forward, however, we didn’t have Johnson’s report to work with, so we were kinda out of luck. He’d post up an open registration thread, but wouldn’t leave any clue as to how many were joining.
To give a full visual of Johnson’s announcements over the years, everything was plotted, and Engineer No. 5 presents and explains the timeline of those open registration windows and hatchling counts (or lack thereof):
Chart #1 – Plot (black lines) of the final registration counts for announced registration openings. These windows were typically 30-60 minutes long. The short red lines just mark when CJ announced an open registration, but failed to publish the count afterward — his method of hiding the decline.
Indeed, over the last handful of windows of the timeline, Johnson was actively “selling” the benefits of an LGF account, in an attempt to attract newbies. But how can we calculate a recent hatchling rate, if CJ’s too embarrassed to tell us how many actually signed up? Hence, the need for that hidden data.
Results of the 2nd Great Strawberry Heist
Well, luckily we have some smart and resourceful people here in The Boiler Room, and those aforementioned strawberries can tell us everything. For the time being, we’re going to refrain from explaining exactly how we got all this information*. But rest assured, because we have it, we can provide the following charts and analysis with confidence. It was only a matter of putting it all together. For that, we turn back to Engineer No. 5:
Chart #2 – A December calendar showing the open LGF registration windows… Green = Open, Gray = Closed (or unknown – I had a couple of glitches). For the 40 days shown, registration was open for a total of at least 282 hours (11 days, 18 hours).
I highlighted the 3 week period that we have registration information for. For that period, registration was open for at least 108 hours (4.5 days) during which CJ got at most 7 legit (non-sock) registrations.
#449 Charles 4/3/2008 18:10:48When I don’t announce open registration, it’s amazing how many fewer people notice it. It’s been open for almost 4 hours today, and less than 25 signups.
Let’s extrapolate that one. Back then, an unannounced open registration snagged about 6 regs/hour, or 1 every 10 minutes.
Flash forward to 2011. A 3 week series of unannounced open registrations snagged 7 legit regs in 108 hours, or 1 every 926 minutes.
Here’s where it gets really interesting. The data we grabbed allows us to plot the registration activity at LGF over the years:
This is the new accounts/month timeline. Notice that there hasn’t been significant activity in quite some time.
This is the timeline for total registration counts. Notice the flattening line over the past few years.
Bottom line, if you take this data and average it out by year, this is what it looks like.
Last we checked, there were 35,578 total user accounts registered since it was implemented in 2004 (we won’t mention how many are banned/blocked, as that is for another thread, and of course the number who are actively commenting these days is less than 1% of that). But check the “Grim Milestone” portion of the second graph: starting in mid-2007, the time to add the next 3,000 accounts keeps taking longer and longer, to the point where we really don’t know when (or if) they’ll get to the 36,000 mark.
Here’s a summary of the fun facts:
- LGF had about 1250 registrations during 18 hours on the first day it was open (6/15/2004).
- LGF has had about 1250 registrations during the 16 months from Sept 2010 and to the present.
- The number of new LGF registrations has decreased by at least 30% every year since 2007.
- The 4th year of decline, 2011, saw a whopping 67% fewer signups than 2010.
- During the period 2007-2011, the LGF registration rate declined by 92%.
- In 2007, open registrations typically netted 150-200 signups per hour. (The “announced counts” chart confirms that.)
- In 2011, perpetually** open registration netted about 50 signups per month.
It’s no wonder why Charles now keeps unannounced registration open so often, tries to boost signups with occasional announced “sales pitch”, and doesn’t mention how many hatchlings he gets anymore. The takers are scarce these days.
What’s more, the accounts that do sign up are socks, with increasing likelihood. Take the aforementioned 3 week span in December that we tracked as an example. There were a grand total of 11 accounts created, and we know that at least 4 of them were socks (which means that the real number could be much higher).
What’s not forgotten is the fact that the site currently has more bells and whistles than it ever has in the past: LGF spy, LGF Pages, auto-twitter updates, avatars, etc., plus at least one video posted per day… yet the rate still spirals.
♫ …oh what fun..it is to ride…on a (recently unblocked) Wayback Machine and The World’s Greatest Blog Search Engine™! ♪ ♫
That’s how the Archives captured this old thread, 3 days after its last comment showed up. Now, check how it appears today:
Wait a sec….
Oh yea… right: “Booger”
Update: If you click on the aforementioned Archive link now, you will see that teh Johnson has blocked the Wayback Machine again. Time to close the poll!
The 24-48 hr crowd has it!