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DFP Readers Produce 33 Novels’ Worth of Comments in 2019

Dakota Free Press fielded 26,205 approved comments (and a not insignificant number of spam and inadmissible anonymous comments) from approximately 700 distinct individuals in 2019. Who among you had the most to say in 2019?

2019 Top Commenters by Words
2019 Top Dakota Free Press commenters by calculated word count

I calculate the total word count by counting characters in all approved comments and dividing by 5.1, the average length of words in English. By that formula, excluding my comments, you commenters produced 2.14 million words, a 1.6% increase from 2018. For the year, that’s the equivalent of 33.15 novels (using the 64,531 words in Brave New World as our conversion figure).

Debbo jumped into the top commenting spot this year, writing almost 260,000 words. Seven other commenters—Jerry, Bearcreekbat, Porter Lansing, John Dale, Donald Pay, Mike from Iowa, and Robert McTaggart—each contributed over 100,000 words to the Dakota Free Press conversation.

The names remain similar but the order changes when we ignore length and just count separate comments:

2019 Top Commenters by Comments
2019 Top Dakota Free Press commenters by comment count.

41 of you hit the “Post Comment” button more than 50 times in 2019. Debbo led this count, too, with 3,164 comments (that’s 8.7 a day!). Mike posted 2,350. Porter, Jerry, John D., and Robert each posted over 1,000 comments; Bear, Grudz, Donald, Leslie, Roger, and O each broke 500.

For my part, I wrote a calculated 247,203 words in the comment section—3.8 novels’ worth of updates, questions, and responses to your comments. That’s on top of writing 1270 blog posts with over 1.11 million calculated words—17.2 novels. The 5.1 characters/word factor may be a bit low for my blog posts, since my posts also include a lot of HTML for links, tables, images, and other code tricks, but those elements take time to produce, just like words. Keeping things simple, everything I wrote on this blog in 2019 calculates out to just over 21 Aldous Huxley-sized novels… or a novel every two and a half weeks.

But for all my typing, you all still wrote 57% more than I did on this blog in 2019.


  1. leslie 2020-01-01

    Great service to us in this soon to be purple state. Thx Cory, as always

  2. grudznick 2020-01-01

    I love how the second graphing shows how my good friend Bob, as would be expected, is the one deviant from the pattern.

  3. Porter Lansing 2020-01-01

    grudznick … I think there’s a good chance that you might just be, Bob Newland. Wouldn’t surprise the insiders.

  4. Jeff Barth 2020-01-02

    I will try and do better with my new 2020 vision and 2019 hindsight.

  5. Loren 2020-01-02

    Less is more, no?? ;-)

  6. Eve Fisher 2020-01-02

    I’m going to have to up my game – but I also know I can always count on Debbo!

  7. leslie 2020-01-02

    Loren, massive GOP impeachment whining would dictate: NO

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-01-02

    Loren, I offer here objective measures of quantity. I invite your assessments of quality. :-)

  9. Debbo 2020-01-02

    Wow. Don’t know whether to be proud or embarrassed.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-01-02

    I wondered the same thing when I considered my numbers, Debbo. I like putting the word count in the context of novel size, because that reminds me of the other great writing project I’d like to tackle but haven’t. Our writing here has value—we educate the public—but imagine the value we could create by writing other tomes in other formats….

  11. Robert McTaggart 2020-01-02

    You mean like

    “Alas, poor grudznick! I knew him, Cory: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.” #Shakespeare

  12. Loren 2020-01-02

    Cory, I much appreciate your efforts and content. I was more referring to the comments section of said articles. ;-)

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