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Aug 17 2012

Finally, someone has some sense

There have been various accusations in recent months that blogs are all about generating controversy to bring in more hits. These accusations have come, largely, from people who don’t have a clue about how to grow a blog, and have been total nonsense.

Now Shane Brady actually looks at the evidence. He looked at the Alexa (not a particularly good service, but it’s what he’s got) traffic data at Skepchick and FtB during the recent rounds of battling with the anti-feminists. The conclusion: yes, some spikes are seen in Skepchick’s traffic, not really seen at FtB (we’ve got enough diversity here that we’re pretty well buffered against transients), and none of it translates into sustained increases in traffic.

This post cannot possibly answer all the questions on this subject, but I do think it offers some perspective on the effects of controversies on website traffic. Controversy does not appear to be a valid strategy for increasing long term web traffic on skeptical websites. Furthermore, people (including myself) should put to bed the criticism that web traffic is a motive for generating controversy. Intentions are hard to know, but the results tell me that it’s not worth discussing any more. Of course, I could be way off base, and all criticism is welcome.

I could have told him that. I’ve been at it for about ten years, with my share of controversy, and none of it really contributes to long-term growth: not Expelled, not the cracker, not every little sudden surge from Reddit and Fark and Digg. Those give little bursts of attention from people who weren’t interested in your blog in the first place; they visit to see the source of all the commotion, and then they leave.

What makes a blog grow is 1) regular updates, 2) consistent themes, 3) maintaining the attention of other blogs out there, 4) cultivation of an interactive readership that adds value to your blog, and 5) time (slow steady growth is best, and it can’t by definition happen overnight). Probably also good writing, but I wouldn’t know much about that, and I’ve also seen some gloriously well-written blogs that idle along with light traffic because they ignore my top 5 suggestions.

Now can the dweebs who dismiss blogs as noise generators for traffic please shut up?

54 comments

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  1. 1
    Worldtraveller

    Now can the dweebs who dismiss blogs as noise generators for traffic please shut up?

    Hah. You’re so cute when you’re naive like that.

  2. 2
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Not even the cracker??

    But, but, but that’s blasphemy! (wink)

  3. 3
    Tom Foss

    I can already see the spin on the anti-FTB sites and Twitter feeds: “PZ Myers calls DJ Grothe a ‘dweeb,’ tells him to ‘shut up’.”

    That said, I think Greg Laden ran the numbers back the first time that someone (cough) went off about “controversialist blogs” and arrived at the same conclusion. So, look at it this way: if the meme doesn’t die, it won’t be too long before we can perform a meta-analysis!

  4. 4
    Zeno

    Maybe this “controversy-generation” jazz has more validity for tiny blogs, where a traffic spike is just “OMG, I got 500 hits today!” However, it’s always seemed to me that a large majority of bloggers (of whatever magnitude) are simply people with enough appreciation of their own wit and intelligence to think they should share it with the rest of the world. I mean, if I weren’t so damned brilliant, I wouldn’t even bother. (Normally I am exceedingly modest, but this issue calls for the naked truth.)

  5. 5
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Now can the dweebs who dismiss blogs as noise generators for traffic please shut up?

    I would guess no, since these people seem to think that everyone else thinks like they do, and would do the same things, being suffused in a general culture where media and business operate in exactly this way, by and large. See, you aren’t special. Why would you do anything that didn’t involve satisfying cravings for attention, profit, or personal power?

  6. 6
    Bronze Dog

    I got a bit of traffic on my very short post about Zehnder and Frey that was one sentence with a link to PZ’s post and some clueless commentators who couldn’t grasp the point that taking and distributing lewd photos of an unconscious person is wrong and shameful, instead fixating on it not being rape, therefore presumably, they shouldn’t be encouraged to be ashamed.

    After a couple weeks, my traffic went back to its usual low level, probably because my Google rank lowered.

  7. 7
    carlie

    They will simply say “You’re only doing this because you think it will raise blog hits! And by the way it doesn’t, so you’re stupid too!”

  8. 8
    Anthony K

    Wait, you mean all of those skeptically skeptic super skeptics were making their claims without any backing data

    What a bunch of fucking wastes of space.

  9. 9
    tsig

    Facts have never fazed beliefs.

  10. 10
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Brownian:

    Wait, you mean all of those skeptically skeptic super skeptics were making their claims without any backing data

    Just another data point.

  11. 11
    Gregory in Seattle

    I’ve seen blogs that weren’t particularly well written, but which were consistently informative and/or entertaining. Give readers a reason to come back.

    The perception about controversy driving blogs probably comes from the blogsphere equivalent of shock jocks. I haven’t run across many of those, fortunately, but they do exist.

  12. 12
    aspidoscelis

    Now can the dweebs who dismiss blogs as noise generators for traffic please shut up?

    Ah. So you’re a noise generator for no particular reason, then? :-)

  13. 13
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    What I don’t understand is what these detractors think a blogger would do with the traffic. Garner some small personal fame? I just can’t connect the dots here.

    1)Get traffic by generating controversy.
    2) …
    3)Profit!?

    Maybe I’m not imaginative enough.

  14. 14
    brucecoppola

    Thomathy [etc...]: Chamge #3 to “Groupies” and you have PZ’s motivation. ;-)

  15. 15
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    Probably also good writing, but I wouldn’t know much about that, and I’ve also seen some gloriously well-written blogs that idle along with light traffic because they ignore my top 5 suggestions.

    Hmmm, did PZ make that sentence atrocious by design?

    Good writing and being a good human goes a long way. Unless of course, if you’re looking to get elected.

  16. 16
    coelsblog

    The conclusion: yes, some spikes are seen in Skepchick’s traffic … [but] none of it translates into sustained increases in traffic.

    It seems to my eye that the Skepchick data show a sustained increase in “routine” traffic beginning at the first big spike. Just saying (not trying to attribute motives to people I’ve never met).

  17. 17
    coelsblog

    Brownian:

    Wait, you mean all of those skeptically skeptic super skeptics were making their claims without any backing data. What a bunch of fucking wastes of space.

    Hmm, does this apply to the Pharyngulites who, in a recent thread, suggested that Sam Harris’s position on torture was in bad faith and only put forward to drum up blog hits? (I remember being unconvinced by the suggestion at the time.)

  18. 18
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    It seems to my eye that the Skepchick data show a sustained increase in “routine” traffic beginning at the first big spike. Just saying (not trying to attribute motives to people I’ve never met).

    (text altered to bold)

    Umm …no kidding. Remove the spike and follow the trend. Skepchick had been picking up traffic before the first spike. There’s no reason to think that that trend would stop and certainly the controversy brought more people to the site, but considering it just about flat-lines when you smooth the bumps, combined with the fact that the traffic, on whole, is at the same level (~0.0014) at the beginning of 2011 and up to the present, it’s kind of obvious that there isn’t even a significant uptick in their traffic even considering the slight upward climb.

    That is to say, there is a very slight increase in the routine traffic at Skepchick that appears independently of the large spikes and it really is only very slight. That’s normal.

    Seriously, did you even bother to think or to go to Alexa and look at the graphs for different time periods at all before you made your asinine comment? And what, you were just putting your thoughts out there, with no intention behind them?

    Also, get your eyes checked.

  19. 19
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Hmm, does this apply to the Pharyngulites who, in a recent thread, suggested that Sam Harris’s position on torture was in bad faith and only put forward to drum up blog hits? (I remember being unconvinced by the suggestion at the time.)

    Pharyngulites? Like it was a collective thing and everyone here totally agrees. Name names, quote quotes. Is this one person? Two people? Fifteen?

    If you have an argument to present (and you do, implicitly), then I suggest you make it better. For now, this is unsubstantiated bullshit.

  20. 20
    coelsblog

    Thomathy,

    Umm …no kidding. Remove the spike and follow the trend. Skepchick had been picking up traffic before the first spike.

    Well, we’re not going to settle this one without fitting lines to the data, however I stick to my claim that the data are well described by a roughly level routine-traffic rate, followed by a step-change to a higher routine-traffic rate coincident with the first spike.

    … before you made your asinine comment? …
    Also, get your eyes checked.

    That doesn’t bolster your case.

    And what, you were just putting your thoughts out there, with no intention behind them?

    Yep. Sorry if that’s too scientific an approach for you. Do you only consider data when you have an “intention” about what the answer “should” be?

  21. 21
    coelsblog

    Thomathy:

    Pharyngulites? Like it was a collective thing and everyone here totally agrees.

    I neither said not implied that.

    Name names, quote quotes. Is this one person? Two people? Fifteen?

    Two, since you ask. “Addressing Sam Harris” thread.

    Me:

    “What would [Harris] gain from being deliberately dishonest and disingenuous on this?”

    PatrickG (9 August 2012 at 10:15 am):

    “Page views? It’s what PZ is all about, after all.

    The other one was you, shortly afterwards:

    “Really? Without knowing his motives at all, one obvious and very large motivator could well be money. He makes shit-tonnes doing what he does …”

    (Admittedly “money” is not quite blog-views, but could be a consequence of additional publicity and controversy.)

    (By the way, as I said, I don’t find this argument convincing in any of these cases; I agree with PZ that I don’t think people are doing such things merely to get blog views or publicity, they’re doing it because they believe what they say.)

  22. 22
    grumpypathdoc

    PZ

    You’re comments within and about “Expelled” were what drew me to your Blog. One of these days I’ve got to write you about why I am and atheist. “Sigh”

  23. 23
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Coelsblog, I find you irritating. I find it irritating that you are implying that somehow my remark about your eyes and my description of your comment somehow detract from my argument. They don’t. If I had said nice things about your eyes, my argument would hardly be helped.

    If you’re going to suggest that my comment somehow detracts from my comment, just say so.

    Yep. Sorry if that’s too scientific an approach for you. Do you only consider data when you have an “intention” about what the answer “should” be?

    This is a non-sequitur. It makes literally no sense in connection to the comment you quoted:

    Thomathy wrote:

    And what, you were just putting your thoughts out there, with no intention behind them?

    I’m asking a question about the intention behind your post. I’ve said nothing about the data or what the answer should be regarding it. It’s clear you’ve not even considered the full breadth of the data and it’s also clear that you can’t interpret statistics. You made an observation and included a caveat that you aren’t speculating about motives. And it was an incorrect observation as there is absolutely no step-change in routine traffic, but a smooth and incredibly slight trend of increasing traffic over time on the order of 0.00005% over a two year period. To see this, you can look at the page views as a daily percentage.

    What you can see if you look at that statistic is that there are spikes in page views that correspond to the controversial posts and then dips back to normal levels. There are significant blips after the controversial posts, which might just be people checking back to see if anything else of note had been posted and then not coming back again. I would hardly count that as routine traffic, since, following the latest controversy to generate any significant spike just before the new year, the site returns to average page views.

    It’s also important to note that recent controversy hasn’t generated a spike at all. Interesting, however, is looking at the search statistics, which reveal a ramp up in searches that follow controversial posts. If that data is overlayed with traffic data, it’s clear that there was no step-increase in routine traffic, increases around controversies correlate well with the search statistics. The fact remains, that Skepchick has had a very slow and steady growth over the past two years and there was no step-increase in traffic, whatever your damnable eyes may see, blind to intention as they are.

  24. 24
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    This quote:

    Page views? It’s what PZ is all about, after all.

    is fucking sarcasm! Really? That’s your best? That and a quote by me about money being a possible motivator. Page views /= money.

    You even have to imagine extra information for my comment in order to even remotely interpret that I was talking about page-views, even when I specifically mentioned that he sells books. Look at his web-traffic and look at his book sales. His web traffic does not even touch his book sales.

    I don’t know whether you are stupid or dishonest, coelsblog, but you are irritating and you’re grasping at straws.

    In any case, so far you have a total of zero comments to substantiate your assertion.

  25. 25
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Also, fair point about Pharyngulites, you weren’t talking about the whole, but about some number. Apparently, it’s some number like zero.

  26. 26
    Rich Woods

    PZ, I’ll go with 1) and 4). That combination is enough to ensure I check back here every day or two in the realistic expectation of finding something (blog or comments) interesting, entertaining and/or educational.

    Please do feel free to throw in a few more educational items on biology (a science I had to skip at school in favour of taking physics and chemistry). You never know, it might get you extra traffic!

  27. 27
    coelsblog

    I find it irritating that you are implying that somehow my remark about your eyes and my description of your comment somehow detract from my argument. They don’t.

    I neither said that nor implied that. I said they didn’t bolster your argument; and they didn’t.

    it’s also clear that you can’t interpret statistics.

    Is it?

    And it was an incorrect observation as there is absolutely no step-change in routine traffic, but a smooth and incredibly slight trend of increasing traffic over time …

    To show that your claim is a better description of the data and that my suggestion is “incorrect” and that “there is absolutely no step-change in routine traffic” you need to produce some numbers comparing the two models, perhaps chi-squared values. Without that your claim is hand-waving. (And I fully accept that I, also, have not produced chi-squared values to compare the two models.)

  28. 28
    coelsblog

    Thomathy:

    … interpret that I was talking about page-views, even when I specifically mentioned that he sells books. Look at his web-traffic and look at his book sales. His web traffic does not even touch his book sales.

    Yep, and considering that he [Harris] takes a consistent line across his books and blog, and considering that he made one of his books downloadable from his blog, and considering that many authors use blog material for books, et cetera, the distinction between blogs and books is indeed huge and vital here.

    … you’re grasping at straws.

    Hello pot.

  29. 29
    Kristjan Wager

    First of all coelsblog, I think you might want to acquaint yourself with the new rules, especially the one regarding Reset, and the one regarding Motormouth.

    That being said, I have one comment to your nonsense:

    Hmm, does this apply to the Pharyngulites who, in a recent thread, suggested that Sam Harris’s position on torture was in bad faith and only put forward to drum up blog hits? (I remember being unconvinced by the suggestion at the time.)

    This is a distortion of the facts. What happened was that a lot of people presented the reasons for why the thought Sam Harris was arguing in bad faith, and you demanded an explanation of why he would do so, to which people offered a suggestion (which BTW wasn’t that he was going for blog hits, but let’s ignore that for now).

    This doesn’t mean that the arguments for why Harris was arguing in bad faith in any way was based upon the premise he was doing it for bloghits (or money, which was the real suggestion).

    That’s entirely different from the arguments for Skepchicks and FreethoughtBlogs arguing in bad faith, which are entirely based upon the premise that they are doing it for blog hits.

  30. 30
    Kristjan Wager

    Oh, and to make sure I don’t confuse anyone easily confused, I should probably point out that “distortion of the facts” = “lie”.

  31. 31
    Hank_Says

    Wait … Digg is still a thing?

  32. 32
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    I’m just here for the chimp porn.

  33. 33
    rorschach

    I get 300 blog hits a day from people googling “G-spot”, and have for months. None of them ever comments or stays longer than a few minutes. And as PZ said, the spikes from Stumbleupon or other links are always transient. It never lasts. *sniff*

  34. 34
    coelsblog

    Kristjan Wager:

    This is a distortion of the facts.

    No it isn’t. And it is a fact that on this thread some, such as Brownian, have sneered at people who have suggested that some bloggers deliberately generate controversy to generate blog-hits. And it is a fact that on a recent thread some Pharyngulites suggested that Sam Harris might be adopting a bad-faith position in order to generate controversy and thus blog-hits, books sales and money.

    This doesn’t mean that the arguments for why Harris was arguing in bad faith in any way was based upon the premise he was doing it for bloghits (or money, which was the real suggestion).

    Yes, agreed. The bad-faith claim was not predicated on the doing-it-for-hits idea. Rather, the doing-it-for-hits idea was speculation deriving from the bad-faith claim. Err, so? It was still the case that some posters here suggested that Harris was doing it for the hits and/or sales.

  35. 35
    Anthony K

    Hmm, does this apply to the Pharyngulites who, in a recent thread, suggested that Sam Harris’s position on torture was in bad faith and only put forward to drum up blog hits? (I remember being unconvinced by the suggestion at the time.)

    How fucking desperate are you?

    If I’ve made that claim, then quote the comments where I’ve done so.

    And it is a fact that on a recent thread some Pharyngulites suggested that Sam Harris might be adopting a bad-faith position in order to generate controversy and thus blog-hits, books sales and money.

    And you want me to denounce them, right?

    Hey, remember how you tried this tu quoque shit on Richard Carrier’s blog and he shut you down?

    Scum-sucking dishonest fucker.

  36. 36
    Anthony K

    For those who want to know what coelsblog is whining about, go here and read the thread and see if you think the little weasel is arguing in good faith.

  37. 37
    Anthony K

    Here’s slug face trying to drum up support for his “Pharyngulites are just as bad” bullshit:

    First, Thunderf00t’s behaviour was clearly wrong and unacceptable; second, I’m not a fan or follower of Thunderf00t (I’ve only read his pieces or read about him when he’s been referred to by Pharyngula).

    But, it does seem to me that FTB is somewhat reaping what it has sown. Thunderf00t’s first piece on FTB was not great, it rambled a bit and its central points weren’t clearly made. But nor was it the misogynist hate-filled rant that PZ claimed it to be; it was reasonable, and, analysed sensibly, not that far from FTB’s position.

    PZ’s reply was way over the top, gumby-quoting him and blatantly misrepresenting the piece, making it out to be far worse than it was. I raised my eyebrows about PZ doing that to a fellow blogger. Nowadays he seems to go into attack-dog mode about anyone who differs with him even a little. Perhaps he’s so used to it that he simply doesn’t see it.

    Clearly Thunderf00t was then going to defend himself, and as a result got accused of being obsessive on the topic. I wonder how different things would have been if PZ had just ignored the first post, and Thunderf00t then gone on to other topics. But from PZ’s 1st post it was clear there was going to be a bust-up.

    Nothing in the above excuses Thunderf00t’s subsequent escalation and behaviour; nor does it say that I agree with Thunderf00t’s pieces.

    But I do worry about the attitude of some on FTB (mostly Pharyngula) of vitriolic attack-dog posting and commenting, with a seeming attitude of “let’s make enemies of everyone who disagrees with us”, even when they might agree on most things and disagree on a few things (Sam Harris is another recent example).

    We need to be able to at least talk amicably with people who basically agree on much, even when there are disagreements (that doesn’t in any way suggest censoring differences or not arguing about them).

    The whole thing is a big pity (and I particularly sympathize with Natalie Reed): Thunderf00t is of course majorly to blame, but that doesn’t mean PZ and others are blameless.

    Richard Carrier is having none of it:

    I don’t care about any of that. That some people were a dick to Thunderf00t (even if that was an accurate description of what they did) would not in any way justify engaging in potentially criminal activity violating our human rights. He could have had the high ground. He decided to take the lowest ground possible and destroy all trust anyone could ever again have in him. That’s on him. Blaming the victim is bullshit and you ought to know it.

    (And I would also remind you, FtB is not PZ: tell me how my treatment of Thunderf00t’s argument rates, as well as my follow-up, and whether that justifies Thunderf00t violating my trust and my right to privacy. Oh, and while you’re at it, find me a single response from tf00t to anything I argued, in either of my posts, even though I was one of the first ones on the whole FtB network to post a response to him…then ask yourself why he ignored my arguments and only went on a rampage against PZ.)

    Having been shut down, Grima Coelstongue isn’t above some straight up ass kissing:

    Hi Richard,
    I thought your responses were appropriate and sensible (and a much better way of writing a rebuttal of Thunderf00t than PZ’s replies). I also agree entirely that Thunderf00t’s subsequent behaviour was entirely unjustified and wrong. You’re also right that FTB is not the same as Pharyngula (my criticism in my last comment was mostly about Pharyngula, not about anything you’ve said).

    But has he learned his lesson? No, of course not. Little fucker is gonna push his agenda every chance he gets. If someone disagrees, then it’s all “Of course, I was wrong, mea culpa.” but it’s not honest.

    Just so everyone knows what kind of person we’re dealing with here.

  38. 38
    coelsblog

    Brownian:

    How fucking desperate are you?

    Morning Brownian, grumpy mood?

    If I’ve made that claim, then quote the comments where I’ve done so.

    I didn’t suggest that *you* had made that claim.

    And you want me to denounce them, right?

    Nope I don’t, and I didn’t ask that you did. I’ll leave it entirely up to you who you denounce.

    Scum-sucking dishonest fucker.

    My Pharynguleeze to English online translator renders that as “I disagree with you”.

    ” … on Richard Carrier’s blog and he shut you down?”

    He didn’t “shut me down”, he gave a reply that I did not disagree with, but which concentrated on issues a bit different to those in my post. I wasn’t disagreeing with Richard, so gave a reply clarifying that and left it there.

    Little fucker is gonna push his agenda every chance he gets. If someone disagrees, then it’s all “Of course, I was wrong, mea culpa.” but it’s not honest.

    OK, I’m baffled, where did I say I was wrong?, where did I post a mea culpa? I stand by what I posted on that blog and here.

  39. 39
    Kristjan Wager

    My Pharynguleeze to English online translator renders that as “I disagree with you”.

    Then it is broken, and you need a new one. It means that we know that you are a habitual liar, and are not afraid to let the rest of the world know it as well.

  40. 40
    Kristjan Wager

    And it is a fact that on a recent thread some Pharyngulites suggested that Sam Harris might be adopting a bad-faith position in order to generate controversy and thus blog-hits, books sales and money.

    Again, the argument on that blog not about that.

    You asked what he might get out of arguing in bad faith, as some sort of argument against him arguing in bad faith. That was of course not a valid argument – arguments from ignorance never are.

    Since you asked, people said he might think he could get publicity and thus increased book sales. This was one suggestion that people could think of on top of their heads. Nobody claimed that this was the reason he did it – they said it was a reason they could think of. Two very different things.

    In other words, it wass an answer to your incredible bad argument against Harris arguing in bad faith, in which you never actually addressed the arguments put forth for this.

    This post is about the claim that some people (namely Skepchicks and FreethoughtBloggers) raise certain discussions because they want blog hits.

    Can you see the difference?

    1) People say that Harris argues in bad faith and put forth arguments why they think so. You say, that can’t be true, since I can’t think of anything he would get out of that. People say, well on the top of our heads, it could be something like thinking he’ll earn more money.

    2) A group of people defends feminism and want harassment policies. Another group of people say “you are just trolling for hits”. This blogpost links to evidence that this can’t be the case, since they don’t get anything out of it (your snide insinuations aside).

    Again, see the difference? Or are you going to continue arguing from willful ignorance?

  41. 41
    coelsblog

    Kristjan Wager

    ” … people said he might think he could get publicity and thus increased book sales. [...] Nobody claimed that this was the reason he did it – they said it was a reason they could think of. [...] This post is about the claim that some people … raise certain discussions because they want blog hits. Can you see the difference?

    Yes, there is some difference (to do with the degree of certainty about the suggestion, and the route by which they arrive at the suggestion). In addition to that difference, however, there is also similarity in the suggestion arrived at.

    People say that Harris argues in bad faith and put forth arguments why they think so. You say, that can’t be true, …

    I didn’t say “*can’t* be true …”, I simply found the claim unconvincing.

    … People say, well on the top of our heads, it could be something like thinking he’ll earn more money. [...] A group of people defends feminism and want harassment policies. Another group of people say “you are just trolling for hits”. [...] Again, see the difference? Or are you going to continue arguing from willful ignorance?

    Yep, I see a difference — indeed I stated and accepted that difference in my last reply to you, comment 34. There are also similarities.

    This blogpost links to evidence that this can’t be the case, since they don’t get anything out of it (your snide insinuations aside).

    Snide insinuations? Every time, every disagreement just *has* to be in bad faith, doesn’t it? I have made no “snide insinuations” on that topic, merely made a good-faith interpretation of a data plot. Admittedly chi-by-eye isn’t fully reliable, but I’m willing to back the suggestion with a proper chi-squared analysis if I could get the data in digital form.

  42. 42
    'Tis Himself

    Personally I believe Harris is arguing in bad faith and for a simple reason. He refuses to admit he might be wrong because of his ego. To say “I was wrong” would be wounding to his pride and so he doesn’t say it.

  43. 43
    Kristjan Wager

    I didn’t say “*can’t* be true …”, I simply found the claim unconvincing.

    Yet you have not at any time addressed any of the arguments for why people think that’s the case.

    Snide insinuations? Every time, every disagreement just *has* to be in bad faith, doesn’t it?

    No, many people argue in good faith. You’re not one of them.

  44. 44
    coelsblog

    Kristjan Wager:

    Yet you have not at any time addressed any of the arguments for why people think that’s the case.

    I have addressed that topic: I’ve replied that, as I see it, human biases and foibles are an adequate explanation.

    No, many people argue in good faith. You’re not one of them.

    You see, knowing that you are wrong in your assessment of me gives me reason to doubt your assessment of Sam Harris.

  45. 45
    Kristjan Wager

    I have addressed that topic: I’ve replied that, as I see it, human biases and foibles are an adequate explanation.

    They might be adequate explanations, but that doesn’t address the many arguments for why people think this is the explanation, but rather that Harris argues in bad faith.

    This sort of evations is exactly why I don’t for a second believe that you’re arguing in good faith. That, and the fact that you’re derailing – you did that in the Harris thread, and you’re definitely doing it here.

  46. 46
    coelsblog

    Kristjan Wager:

    They might be adequate explanations, but that doesn’t address the many arguments for why people think … that Harris argues in bad faith.

    Trying to discern whether someone is sincere in their own mind (though perhaps biased and deluded), or whether they are being willfully dishonest, is often quite tricky. So I come to a different conclusion on that regarding Sam Harris than you do; is that such a big deal?

    I know that your assessment of me in this regard is wrong, and thus I don’t regard your assessment of the same in Harris as entirely reliable. (The “your” there can be taken as singular or plural as appropriate.)

    This sort of evasions … and the fact that you’re derailing

    What am I “evading”? I have read all the reasons why people conclude that Harris is acting in bad faith. And I’ve replied that, in my opinion, all such bits of evidence can be adequately explained by sincerity coupled with human biases and foibles. Thus, on the principle of charitable reading, that’s what I conclude.

    That is not evasion, it’s a direct reply. And it is possible for people of good faith to come to differing conclusions on such issues! Why do you find that so hard to accept?

    And derailing what exactly, how?

  47. 47
    Kristjan Wager

    And derailing what exactly, how?

    By not addressing the topic of the OP. At all.

  48. 48
    coelsblog

    Kristjan Wager:

    By not addressing the topic of the OP. At all.

    FFS, your accusations are increasingly bizarre. About a third of my posts (see my first for starters) have discussed whether the data in the OP are compatible with the first skepchick controversy-spike leading to a long-term increase in traffic. That is about as on-topic as one could get.

    Another third have directly discussed accusations of bad-faith controversy generation in order to boost hits/sales; again, that is directly on-topic (see the first and last lines of PZ’s post).

    Now, admittedly, a further third of my posts have been rebutting idiotic claims about what I’ve written and red-herrings deriving from them, but then whose fault is that?

  49. 49
    'Tis Himself

    coelsblog,

    You may have started discussing the OP but now you’re arguing about whether or not Harris is arguing in good faith. That is derailing. Since you refuse to admit the derail which is obvious to anyone reading the thread, you’re now arguing in bad faith. Sorry if reality doesn’t match your opinion of yourself.

  50. 50
    coelsblog

    ‘Tis Himself:

    You may have started discussing the OP but now you’re arguing about whether or not Harris is arguing in good faith. That is derailing.

    The first person to focus a comment on whether Harris was arguing in good faith was you (comment 42). Before that I had made no attempt to discuss (on this thread) whether Harris is arguing in bad faith (I had made one, brief, factual rebuttal, stating that it was not true that I’d said it “*can’t* be true” — see comment 41).

    It was then Kristjan Wager who made a real issue out of this (comment 43), referring back to the previous thread, saying I had “not at any time addressed any of the arguments for why people think that’s the case”. Again, and not really wanting to re-hash that debate, which would be a derail here, I simply made a one-sentence rebuttal stating that I had addressed it previously (comment 44).

    It was then Kristjan Wager, again, (comment 45) who pursued the matter, again returning to the argument of whether Harris argues in bad faith, and then accusing *me* of derailing!

    It was only then, prompted by those two posts by Kristjan Wager directly criticising me, that I made a fuller comment (46) on this issue.

    I submit that, if anyone, it is you and Kristjan Wager who are derailing, and it is particularly Kristjan Wager who is seeking to resurrect a discussion of Harris’s good or bad faith.

    I am not seeking to do so, I’m entirely happy to avoid any discussion here of that issue — some consider he is arguing in bad faith, I don’t; since we all know what each other thinks on that, we needn’t discuss it further; end of that issue — unless one of *you* wants to derail the thread further.

    Since you refuse to admit the derail which is obvious to anyone reading the thread …”

    I do deny that *I* am seeking to derail the thread by discussing that issue. What is “obvious to anyone reading the thread” is that it was Kristjan Wager who was repeatedly pursuing that angle.

    I would also note that this derailment by accusations of derailment is another derailment started by Kristjan Wager and pursued by you.

    Does anyone want to discuss further the OP? I’m about done on that topic (absent a digital copy of the data to perform some statistical analysis).

  51. 51
    John Phillips, FCD

    Does anyone know of such a thing as a killfile for mobile Opera as I’m really tired of the boring maroons. BTW coelsblog, I suspect you suffer in the same way Harris does, i.e. you can’t stand the thought of being wrong, as evidenced by this thread. It would also appear from your propensity of inferring others’ posts negatively or just slightly twisting what they actually post to make it look as if they are saying what you want them to say, that you are not an intellectually honest person. Consider yourself in a virtual killfile where sight of your name means I flick the page down rapidly to avoid any more of your dishonest crap. BtW, you began the derail with your second post in reply to Brownian’s post where your claim in that reply, as later even agreed by you, only holds up by your twisting of other’s posts so as to claim they say more than they actually do. Though even after that you keep dishonestly claiming that others included blog hits in their original thoughts on Harris’ reasons.

  52. 52
    coelsblog

    John Phillips, FCD:

    It would also appear from your propensity of inferring others’ posts negatively or just slightly twisting what they actually post to make it look as if they are saying what you want them to say, that you are not an intellectually honest person.

    Amazing. I’d say that others on this thread have done that to a vastly greater extent than anything I’ve done.

    Though even after that you keep dishonestly claiming that others included blog hits in their original thoughts on Harris’ reasons.

    One person did explicitly include blog hits (“Page views? It’s what PZ is all about, after all.”, see comment 21), therefore it is not dishonest to refer to it.

    Also, the idea that there is some big distinction between blog hits (= publicity and notoriety) and money that might drive from any increased advertising revenue or books sales that might result, is fairly pedantic. Yes I note that distinction, but is that minor point really your worst critique of me?

  53. 53
    coelsblog

    But I do agree with you that this thread is unproductive and getting nowhere. I really only commented to make the (valid) point in my first comment (and the subsidiary and fairly minor point of my second comment). That then led to the usual idiocy of attacks on me, re-hashing of past threads, distortions, false claims, insults, red-herrings, derailment, accusations of bad faith, et cetera. I probably should have stopped replying after about my comment number 21, and my intention is not to reply any further (I’m sure you’ll all be glad to hear).

  54. 54
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I really only commented to make the (valid) point in my first comment

    Yawn, full of yourself are you? If you had a point, we would have agreed with you. Since we didn’t, you had not point other than your ego….

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