Monday, 10 June 2013

Unpredictability and stats

I don't spend a great deal of time analysing the stats for this blog, but I decided to have a look today after I noticed that a post I wrote nearly a year ago called "The Lost World of Smoking" had yet again appeared in the list of most read posts. It's a slightly nostalgic piece about how perceptions of smoking have changed in my lifetime, and it also covered my personal experiences, although I have never actually smoked myself, with a non-smoking father who worked in the tobacco industry for about 40 years and a smoking mother. It was definitely not about the smoking ban, which I have covered elsewhere. This is my most read post with 1736 page views, which I find quite extraordinary.

From February 2011, second with 965 page views is "Nothing new under the sun" which explained how moral panics about drinking are nothing new and go back to at least Elizabethan times.

Third with 865 page views was a short piece I wrote in 2009 called "MP's bill to protect pubs". It was about a bill proposed by Greg Mulholland, Lib Dem MP for Leeds North West, to give local amenities such as pubs, banks, chemists, post offices, shops and restaurants extra protection. This gained 865 page views, but I'm not sure why; I had in fact quite forgotten about it. I even managed to get a fact slightly wrong and was corrected by Curmudgeon in the comments section. I have left mistake and correction unaltered.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, posts about the Southport Beer Festival always get quite a lot of page views. The average number of page views per post is 164, but this is deceptive as the range is enormous: a few of my posts in the early days had page views in single figures, a significant contrast to the top three scores. If I had tried to predict what my most read posts might be, I'm sure I'd have got them completely wrong.

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