Top 32 Posts, by Comments

By Shamus Posted Sunday May 24, 2015

Filed under: Random 73 comments

On Friday Krellen said this to me:

Yeah, the Supergirl post exploded in just a few hours. Partly this is my fault. I was trying to do this hairpin turn argument where I would list all the ways the trailer looked awful and then pull a 180 and argue why it was just fine, and might even be a good thing. But either I whiffed the turn or some people stopped reading halfway through, because a lot of people pushed back, thinking I was attacking the show. That probably made the discussion a little more controversial than it needed to be. Ah well. We hammered it out.

But it did get me thinking: What are the most commentedAnd thus, probably the most controversial. posts on this site? So I did a little MYSQL querySELECT comment_count, ID, post_date, post_title FROM `wp_posts` ORDER BY comment_count DESC LIMIT 32; to find out. Below are the results and my analysis.

Number of
Year Post
1 1,035 2011 Autoblography Part 11: Roller Rinks and Jesus
2 817 2012 Mass Effect 3 Ending Deconstruction
3 729 2007 DM of the Rings CXLIV:The Long-Expected Parting
4 634 2011 Autoblography Part 40: A Word On Education
5 563 2012 Series that Went on Too Long
6 539 2011 Experienced Points: DLC for Dummies
7 520 2007 WordPress Plugin: Wavatars
8 517 2012 Mass Effect 3 Part 1: We Fight or We Doy
9 440 2011 Star Wars: The Old Republic Beta Impressions
10 431 2007 Would you have survived in the middle ages?
11 430 2011 Stolen Pixels #257: The Electronic Artists
12 426 2012 Science Fiction… in SPACE!
13 424 2011 The Old Republic NDA
14 419 2011 Spoiler Warning Season 4 Finale: Don’t Fear the Reaper
15 403 2011 All Word Processors Suck
16 402 2011 Skyrim Thieves Guild Part 1
17 400 2011 The Virus
18 400 2014 4 Reasons Why The Mass Effect 3 Debate Refuses to Die
19 395 2012 Protect IP / SOPA Act
20 390 2011 Femshep
21 389 2012 Mass Effect 3 EP9: Interocitor Cycles
22 388 2011 Diablo III
23 382 2011 Sherwood Showdown
24 382 2012 Mass Effect 3 EP2: Now I Have A Machine Gun
25 378 2012 Mass Effect 3 EP4: Gigantic Space MacGuffin of Doom
26 364 2014 Diecast #49: Broken Age, OOPS FEMINISM, Dark Souls
27 359 2012 Overthinking Zombies
28 358 2011 Spoiler Warning: Coming Soon
29 353 2012 Mass Effect 3 EP41: Artistic Integrity
30 352 2012 Errant Signal: Half-Life
31 349 2012 The Slow Death of Netflix
32 344 2011 Assassin’s Creed 2 EP30: Requiescat in Pace

As the title suggests, Autoblography Part 11: Roller Rinks and Jesus is about religion, which probably explains why it’s sitting at the top of the list. Number 4 is the finale of my personal story, and skirts around political issuesRoughly: How should society go about educating itself?. Number 7 is a bit of a mutant. It’s actually just hundreds of people testing to see what random face is generated from their email, so there’s not much of a discussion going on. One of these days I might just nuke all the comments on that post. Nobody cares about those comments and nobody will miss them. I dunno.

Entries 2, 8, 11, 14, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, and 29 are all about Mass Effect 3 – about a third of all the top posts. We could also give partial credit to number 5, since Mass Effect was a popular nominee for title of “Series that went on too long”. So maybe the Mass Effect 3 ending is just a major sore spot with this community.

However, if you look at the dates you’ll see all but four entries on the list are from either 2011 or 2012. Maybe Mass Effect is a big deal, but maybe this blog was just really, really popular at the time and Mass Effect just happened to be the most popular topic during our heyday2011 was my period of maximum output: Stolen Pixels Webcomic at the Escapist, a Let’s Play at the Escapist, a weekly column at the Escapist, Spoiler Warning, plus a steady steam of reviews and essays on the blog. I wish I could maintain that level of output forever.. I actually don’t know. I dumped all of the Google Analytics code when I went from advertisements to direct Patreon support.

That was incredibly liberating, but it does sort of deprive me of a way to study traffic trends. Then again, that’s kind of the point. I can just write what I’ve got in my head / heart and not worry about traffic, content, or ad placement.

For the curious: As of right now, the Supergirl post comes in around #40 or so in the list of top-commented posts.



[1] And thus, probably the most controversial.

[2] SELECT comment_count, ID, post_date, post_title FROM `wp_posts` ORDER BY comment_count DESC LIMIT 32;

[3] Roughly: How should society go about educating itself?

[4] 2011 was my period of maximum output: Stolen Pixels Webcomic at the Escapist, a Let’s Play at the Escapist, a weekly column at the Escapist, Spoiler Warning, plus a steady steam of reviews and essays on the blog. I wish I could maintain that level of output forever.

From The Archives:

73 thoughts on “Top 32 Posts, by Comments

  1. I just started a blog myself, and looking at my non-existent traffic is incredibly distracting. I’m tempted to turn stats off as well, and maybe just rely on comments to gauge my audience size.

    Also, I really need to read DM Of The Rings again.

    1. Ranneko says:

      For me the stats are at least an indicator that someone is looking at what I am writing or putting out there. I find it very difficult to get people to comment at all.

      1. Falterfire says:

        Are you making it easy to comment without having an account? I (And many other internet users) have 1.3 Billion accounts, so I’m unlikely to make another one just to comment on a small blog.

        Also, it’s always a bit weird to make the first comment if it’s been more than a few hours since the post was made.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      And Shamoose needs to make dm of the hobbitses.

      1. Zak McKracken says:


    3. NoneCallMeTim says:

      As an ex-Internet marketing guy, I strongly recommend you keep the stats there; it is very important to know where your traffic is coming from, particularly in the early days. You need to be promoting the blog in places, and know which of them is actually working based on the amount of time you are spending.

      I also recommend only checking it once a month or so, otherwise it is easy to get disheartened.

      @Shamus, do you still have server logs to show traffic?

      1. Shamus says:

        Now that you mention it, I think my webhost does have some sort of logs. They’re really annoying to get to and even harder to get useful information out of, so I don’t bother. But I suppose I could get some stats if I wanted.

        Maybe I was just spoiled by Googles tools. Their stuff really is amazing.

        1. Clint Olson says:

          The classic log-file analysis tool is AWStats, which gives you at least some of the same tools that Google Analytics did. It shows country of origin, referers, which pages are visited most, etc. Might be worth looking into.

        2. Bropocalypse says:

          You could probably still use google analytics without their ad program. I do on my site.

        3. Alec D. Generic says:

          There are enough open source tools out there that provide the same service without having to rely on third parties.

          I myself at one point used Piwik, which eliminates the middle man as it tracks directly into your own database. And it’s really easy to set up/integrate.

          If you are interested: Piwik

    4. Michael says:

      I just choose to forget to check my Google Analytics… or the Amazon Affiliate page, most of the time.

    5. I’m still at the point where I’m hoping to at least get a visitor, let alone a comment. Admittedly, it probably doesn’t help that my blog is all of one week old…

  2. Artur CalDazar says:

    Huh, 16 stands out as a bit odd to me, I don’t recall that being a big comment draw, but the rest are more or less what I expected.

    Do you like the fact these are your most discussed posts or is it something to which you have no preference? Because that’s a lot of one topic.

    1. Shamus says:

      I kind of wish some of my anti-DRM stuff made the list. And I’d feel better if this list didn’t make it look like I was, “That one guy that just can’t let Mass Effect 3 go.”

      1. krellen says:

        The problem is everyone agrees about DRM, so there’s nothing for us to fight about in the comments, while a lot of people both agree and disagree with you on Mass Effect 3.

      2. Dreadjaws says:

        If it makes you feel any better, I can’t let Mass Effect 3 go either. I don’t have a blog, though. Partially because I feel I’d spend a lot of it ranting about Mass Effect 3.

    2. Ilseroth says:

      Actually I think 16 is very understandable. Look at the date it was posted. A short month after Skyrim launched. At this point int time practically every form of media was still collectively shitting itself with positive things to say about Skyrim. It was still close to lanch so this kind of direct critique was very uncommon and Shamus wrote it in a way that put it’s stupidity on display.

    3. Humanoid says:

      #16 is why I’m even here. I had a whinge on the Obsidian forums (I think) about the Thieves’ Guild questline and someone linked me here. I must admit though, after reading that series of posts I tried looking for similar content here but couldn’t really find it, and so I wasn’t really a regular until some time after that – maybe around the point I finally got tricked into watching Spoiler Warning or somesuch.

      P.S. Another admission: I didn’t read, or even click on the Supergirl post (due to a complete disinterest in superheroes in general). If it wasn’t for this followup post, I’d not even have known that it had received a massive reception.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Entries 2, 8, 11, 14, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, and 29 are all about Mass Effect 3

    Actually,#14 is about mass effect 2.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I wonder how high the Forum That Should Not Be Named post would go if you didnt lock the comments when you did.Because all of those you listed about,while numerous,are more or less civil(in fact,I think the least civil we got was in some mass effect 3 topics).But that pre fallout 3 fallout 3 post was…not so civil.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    For the curious: As of right now, the Supergirl post comes in around #40 or so in the list of top-commented posts.

    A challenge people.Lets go there and add 49 random comments in order to put it bellow hashtag20!

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Because of reasons.

        1. poiumty says:

          Well if you put it that way…

          1. Mike S. says:

            The pilot has leaked, so in principle it’s now possible to say more about the questions and concerns raised re the First Look trailer…

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Honestly there isnt much to say about the pilot.It shines the context on the lines from the trailer,making some of them better,some of them worse.Ultimately,its just a tv pilot,and therefore not much better than a trailer as an indication of the whole show.

              Though it is smarter than the man of steel with how it goes around the “you shouldnt show your powers by saving people” thing.But thats not saying much.

  6. Dragmire says:

    Oh Mass Effect 3, you have left quite the long lasting internet footprint.

  7. Josh says:

    Oh cool, you didn’t even write the 9th one, I did.

    1. Trix2000 says:

      I’m disappointed Josh. I would have expected the top controversial post to be yours. :)

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        It will be his,once he does his most controversial thing yet:The ending to shogun 2 lets play.

        1. Trix2000 says:

          But… but… that was just a myth! R-right?

          1. Grudgeal says:

            Search your feelings; you know it to be false!

  8. houser2112 says:

    I’m rather disappointed that the pic at the top doesn’t actually depict 32 posts.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      It does if you count 0th post.

    2. PhotoRob says:

      I actually count 32 posts there.

      1. Zak McKracken says:

        so did I — the second-to-last may or may not be counted as two, it’s not quite clear in the picture. So I assumed it was two.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          31 is the most I managed to get.And thats if we count 7 and 8 as two posts,instead of one split in two like it may be the case,and if we count 20 and 21 as two posts instead of one differently shaded post as it may be the case.

          I guess you can count that smidge in the top left corner as a top of another post,but thats too much of a stretch even for me.

          1. krellen says:

            32 is sticking out from behind 29, just to the left of 30.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Fair enough.Then I say definitely that 7 and 8 are a single post split in two.Therefore,the count is still 31.


              1. Shamus says:

                True story: I got the stock photo long after I settled on making a list of 32. At first I was like, “What image would I use for lots of comments? People arguing? A mob? People in a conversation?” But that all sucked, so I searched for “posts”, and this was actually just the most artistically interesting picture of posts on the stock site that I use. The fact that it has ~31 posts is just a fun coincidence.

                Although now I wish I’d just cut one entry off my list.

                1. Andy says:

                  I count 33, if you count the smidge of post visible in the top left. There are a few double posts.

                  1. Scott Schulz says:

                    I hate double posts.

                    1. Scott Schulz says:

                      I hate double posts.

                    2. krellen says:

                      This would have been better if, instead of replying to yourself, you replied to him again.

                2. Otters34 says:

                  I thought it was a reference to that horrible fence you dug up at that old house years ago, with the implication this too was a random and annoying obstruction that had to be dealt with just to get it out of the way.

  9. Thomas says:

    This is a sequel to a post you did a year or two back right? I feel like it was around the ME3 time and possibly a direct consequence to one of those pieces?

    I suspect part of the reason why not many of your DRM posts are in this list is simply because most people agree with them. Even as a very contrary person I don’t think I could put up much of a spirited pro-DRM argument and then once you’ve agreed the conversation pretty much stops there.

    And like the CCP Grey video you linked to, factionalisation and anger are powerful idea spreaders.

    1. krellen says:

      I made the comment because I remembered he did a “top commented posts” post before. So yes.

  10. SlothfulCobra says:

    I like seeing surviving in the middle ages on the list next to all these people complaining about Mass Effect and debating important issues. The discussion sparked up there really stands on its own merit.

  11. Zak McKracken says:

    On Google analytics and metrics:
    The list above actually only gives the 32 most commented-on posts, so that means a combination of the following:
    * A topic people are interested in
    * a topic people have something to say about…
    * …which they think you haven’t mentioned in your post already
    * …which there is likely more than one valid opinion on, or else the discussion would end quickly.

    My comment to most of your anti-DRM posts would be something like “Yes, that’s right, and I wish fewer people would put up with it so companies knew they couldn’t get away with it.
    — something I probably said once or twice on this site, and after having said it, there’s little more to add.

    That does not by any means make those posts less interesting or valuable! In fact, one might argue that some posts got more comments because interesting aspects or information was missing in the original article, so in some respects, you could increase the number of comments by making a worse post …

    Google is trying to tell people that the information they offer could help you, and it probably could, but interpreting it correctly is not at all straightforward, and I’d rather you write about what you know and like to write about (because that’s good for quality) than what some easily-misinterpreted statistics suggest.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Those 32 up there are not google analytics.Shamoose said he discarded them all,so he cannot see stuff google would otherwise provide,like the number of unique visits and such.

      1. Zak McKracken says:

        The same applies to that:

        The numbers you see cannot capture how much people “liked” the posts (there isn’t really a measure of “like”). And even if they could tell you that, having the results ins your head when writing the next one will only make you liable to skewing your output to please others, and thus putting youreself at risk of producing something less than the thing you wanted.

        I’m all for taking feedback serious, and there will be some information in the form of “don’t do that again” in the numbers, but in the end, I think Shamus should write what he feels like writing and attract the kinds of people who like that rather trying to please any specific target demographic.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Ah,but what if Shamoose wants to spark a lively discussion?These metrics will give him great insight into that.

  12. Ivan says:

    So how meta would it be if this post got enough comments to make the list?

    Make it happen people!

    1. Alexander The 1st says:

      I am Alexander The 1st, and this is my favourite plan on Twentysided.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well we did push the religion thing over 1000 by spamming various stuff,like who is the best star trek captain,and quoting monty python.

  13. Adam says:

    All in favor of making this the new most-commented post, say Aye.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:


        1. Nataline says:

          Och aye!

          This’ll be the most-posted comment in no time.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Now I wonder how long would Shamoose endure this kind of pointlessness.Would he really allow us to go over 100 with noting but aye?300?1000?

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        As a bronie,shouldnt you say neigh?

  14. Ivan says:

    For the Noble cause of shenanigans and messing up Shamus’s list, USA REPRESENT!

  15. Dreadjaws says:

    #2 is actually one of my favorite posts in the blog, and I periodically go back to read it again. Regarding ME3’s ending, there’s a lot of silly objections that make the valid complainers look silly, and there’s all that deal with EA and Bioware trying to pass it all of as unfair nerd rage and using the silly complaints as a basis for their argument.

    But your deconstruction does a fantastic job of looking at the entire thing objectively in a way that can’t be just dismissed as fanboyism.

    By the way, I don’t remember, have you ever done a post on the Extended Cut ending? Have you even seen it? Some people seem to think it redeems the game, I prefer to think it makes things a just different shade of bad.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I dont seem to remember him specifically talking about it.He did mention it here and there though.

      And yes,the extended cut was pretty stupid in its own right.It also gave a giant “fuck you” to everyone who asked for a way to tell the catalyst to piss off.Though,that at least was a resolution to the liara conversation of earlier.Meaning that the writers cannot even do a bad thing without messing it up.

    2. Otters34 says:

      “…there's all that deal with EA and Bioware trying to pass it all of as unfair nerd rage and using the silly complaints as a basis for their argument.”

      Not to mention how all the varying complaints and issues are too often boiled down into “You just wanted a happy ending!” When games like Spec Ops: The Line have no non-miserable ending and that’s widely praised, that line is more than a little misguided. I like the ending where you fail and have to put your hope in the next civilization far more than the rest, but that’s practically an afterthought. In fact, that’s a major part of why the endings to all the Mass Effect games feel so underwhelming, they feel like afterthoughts, things slapped together so everyone could go home and they could be done with it.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Exactly. It’s one of the times I got really pissed off at Penny Arcade. They made a strip making it look like people were annoyed at the ending not being happy, and you’d think from all people they should know better.

        What we wanted wasn’t necessarily a happy ending, we just wanted an ending that wasn’t insulting, stupid and lazy.

  16. SlothfulCobra says:

    It’d be fun if this post gets enough comments to get onto the list the next time Shamus makes one.

  17. tzeneth says:

    Seeing the final post of the DM of the Rings comic has me thinking: any chance of you doing another comic using the Hobbit Trilogy (why oh god is it a trilogy?)

  18. Decius says:

    Since the comment count on each post is typically increasing, you should expect older posts to have more comments, all things being equal.

    Can you sort out “comments made within X days of the post being made”?

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