FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Tools/How To

Tag Popularity and Tag Page Content Popularity

Tag popularity shows the most popular 50 tags over the time period you select for the content category you select.

Tag Page Popularity shows you the most popular articles, diaries, etc. for any one given tag, for the time period you select.

We've built a very powerful control panel that lets you select different ways to analyze popularity and more options are coming. 

The new system is designed to tap the bottom up, wisdom of the crowd to enable you have different navigation options. 

You can sort these by page views (we only started collecting them about a month ago, so our stats don't go back past then, even though our control panel does) by number of comments, by number of email forwards... and soon, we'll have a number of other ways, including rankings.

Frankly with 10,000+ tags, and some serious code involved, this was a challenging task and we're still working out the last bugs. But give these a try Tag popularity is working great and tag page popularity is working nicely too, though we don't have comment popularity running yet. 

And of course, there are all the other ways to use the popularity navigation control panel to see the popularity of articles, diaries, polls, links, events, members, news, op-eds, life-art-science content... 

We're calling this a navigation control panel because, rather than using the choices of the editors, you can also base your navigation of the site based on the wisdom of the crowd-- the actions and choices the readers of the site took or made and you can view them for each of the different categories of content listed above. 

This is new technology that we haven't seen on any other web 2.0, social networking, bottom up, wisdom of the crowd sites.

Two interesting phenomenon the popularity system repeatedly demonstrates are "the long tail"  and the power law curve or 80-20 law. Here's an illustration from wikipedia of the power law curve.

An example power law graph, being used to demonstrate ranking of popularity. To the right is the long tail, to the left are the few that dominate (also known as the 80-20 rule).
An example power law graph, being used to demonstrate ranking of popularity. To the right is the long tail, to the left are the few that dominate (also known as the 80-20 rule).


The power curve or 80-20 law, also often discussed as Pareto's law, suggests that 80 or more percent of the views of the site will be focused on 20% or less of the content. That's the green zone in the graph. Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody, gives a more focused explanation of it here.

We're seeing that the top 1-5 articles on most top 50 pages represent that green zone. We're routinely finding that the number one content item sees ten times the views of the 50th.  But there's still the long tail.

The Long Tail, is based on the power curve. It's the narrow yellow part of the curve on the right. Note it does not go to zero. We're routinely seeing articles that are a year or two or three years old among the top 50 for the last day or week. That means that those older articles are getting current views. The idea of the long tail suggests that even if a content item doesn't see a lot of views or comments immediately, over time, it still continues to get attention. This applies to selling music on iTunes and to content on just about any media or blog site. 

We think that our new system that enables readers to check popularity for any tag, by so many variables, will help "beef up" the accessing of our "long tail" and keep articles alive a lot longer than they might otherwise continue to be accessed. Of course, to make it work, writers have to tag their content-- the more the better. 

We've also added "favoriting" so you can save your favorite content for easy accessing later. We've made it easy for you to tag your favorites. That helps make our archiving system smarter. Look below the "Printer Friendly" icon for the Favorite button. 

We're hoping that the new systems will become a regular part of your use and navigation of the site. 

If you're a writer, contributing content, you can look to see how your content is doing, overall and for the tags you've selected. 

We'd like to know whether you would like an email sent to you automatically if your article or diary or poll makes it into the top ten or twenty or 50, for any category. Leave a comment on this. 


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