The Dakota Free Press comment section saw a decline in activity this year. This blog fielded 18,336 approved comments consisting of approximately 1.495 million words (characters divided by 5.1, the average length of English words) from around 580 distinct authors. That maintains a pandemic-era decrease on comments from 2019, when this blog saw 26,204 comments, approximately 2.386 million words from around 740 distinct commenters. Curiously, the decline in commenters does not indicate a decline in readership: Total views rose from 1.414M in 2019 to a DFP-record 2.036M in 2021. More people are reading Dakota Free Press, but fewer people are responding in the comment section. I invite your speculation on the reasons for these cross-trends.
The volume of commentary is still remarkable. In 2021, you commenters produced the equivalent text of 21.4 novels (using the 64,531 words of Brave New World as our measuring stick). My responses in the comment section contributed another 1.8 novels’ worth of text. That’s still well short of the over 33 novels’ worth of text you readers generated in 2019, but 2021’s commenter output, if printed and bound, would still take up a lot of shelf space.
By the way, since launching Dakota Free Press in March 2015, over 3,000 distinct commenters have generated 173,171 comments consisting of over 230 novels worth of text. I’ve responded in the comment section 11,840 times with 16.8 novels worth of text. If we bound all those comments into 247 inch-thick volumes, our conversations (just the comment section, not the blog posts that spark them) would require over 20 feet of shelf space.
My responses to your comments made up 7.8% of 2021’s comment sections. That percentage has decreased over time: in 2015, my comments made up 15.1% of the conversation below the posts. Hmm… is it good or bad that I take up less of that conversation space?
Here’s a chart showing the 30 most loquacious Dakota Free Press commenters in 2021; below that is a chart showing the top 100, all based on calculated word count:
|Cory Allen Heidelberger||114,819||1,216|
|mike from iowa||64,683||1,378|
|SD is 20 per cent nonwhite||26,204||224|
|RST Tribal Member||19,409||107|
|Bonnie B Fairbank||11,499||170|
|John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.,||3,030||18|
|Sion G. Hanson||1,746||24|
|Dr. Terry LaFleur||1,344||27|
|kj trailer trash||1,328||16|
|W R Old Guy||1,005||13|
|El Rayo X||963||14|
|JOHN F CUNNINGHAM||953||8|
Whether you write to agree or disagree, I thank you all for your contributions to the conversations. Approach the comment section with good faith, good humor, and good information, and we can all profit from each other’s company.
Now, how many novels shall we write together in 2022?