Administrivia: Doing the Numbers, 7/2023

Time for another “State of the WIST” post.  I last ran this report in September 2022; time flies when you’re having fun.

I’ve been pretty consistent about getting new quotes loaded in over the past year — my goal is  5-6 quotes posted per weekday. A gradually increasing number of quotes in my backlog turn out to be ones that I already have in the system, in which case, if I end up making substantive improvements (sourcing, adding notes, expanding alternate translations), I count that upgrade as a “new” quote in my head for purposes doing my quotational duty (even if it doesn’t actually add to the “count,” doesn’t show up on the front page, and doesn’t go into my RSS feed).

What’s happened over here since last time?

Some changes that took place on the WordPress site the past year:

  • Went over 20,000 quotations in the database. That was about 10½ years since I topped 10,000 — manually curating everything takes time and effort.
  • Had a major behind-the-scenes upgrade done to my theme, as detailed here, to make it responsive to different sized screens (mobile, tablet, laptop, desktop).
  • Kept things updated — WIST is currently on WordPress 6.2.2.  I usually wait a month or so after each point release, as the RSS feed program files have to be serviced manually when I do an update, and 0.x and 0.0.x can be fairly frequent after a release (though Automattic seems to be doing a better job about beta testing the past few releases).  I have not updated to using the Gutenberg stuff that the WP folk seem so insistent on; I run a pretty basic blog here, and they keep trying to turn WP into a site editor. Sigh.
  • I withdrew from Twitter, like so many others, and opened up a mirror shop in Mastodon. I also have my Diaspora* site still running, though that’s a more manual effort.
  • I played with a Dark Mode tool that have a few technical problems I am currently trying to get fixed.

Doing the Numbers

Let’s look at the numbers:

WIST post counts 2023-07

So continued progress, despite some housecleaning — deleting duplicates, and updating old posts with better metadata.

Broken out into a graph (and normalizing the time frame):

WIST author and post graph 2023-07

Working from Home much of the time does help keep those numbers up.

Note that, as always, all of these quotations are personally curated to some degree or another — digging out citations and online links when possible, finding author photos, etc. No mass uploads for me.

I currently stand at 710 quotes flagged as meme/visual quotations. That number’s gone up from 685 last September, though slowly; I generate one of these every few weeks.

Top Authors

Of the authors I have, who are the most quoted in WIST?

WIST Top Ten Authors 2023-07

As the numbers get higher, it’s harder folk to do more than shuffle around, esp. barring I find any massive new source of quotations (and time to put them in). That said, Terry Pratchett did manage to push Martin Luther King, Jr.,  off the Top Ten list this year, in part because I have had a bunch of Pratchett’s quote in the queue to add, in part because I shifted the Good Omens quotes to under his name rather than Neil Gaiman (given Gaiman’s own estimate of how many of the words each of them did on the book) (Gaiman gets a “with” credit on the quote, but only one author can be posted in the database, as currently structured).

And, yes, there we are with a bunch of white guys. Sigh.

This table is more for curiosity’s sake than any real meaning, showing not just how prolific these folk are, but how interested I am in recording things these individuals said.

The Top Ten Author list is shown “live” in the sidebar (“Prolific Authors“).

Top Quotations

Here are the Top 10 Most Visited Quotations Ever (with how they’ve changed since September 2022). I find these interesting, since it’s not driven anything I do, but page hits by visitors:

  1. – (12,036, was 10,505) John Kenneth Galbraith, “Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National Policy Committee on Pockets of Poverty (13 Dec 1963)
  2. – (7,763, was 6,743) Aeschylus, Agamemnon, ll. 175-183 [tr. Johnston (2007)]
  3. – (6,393, was 6,288) Robert Frost, “The Lesson for Today,” A Witness Tree (1942)
  4. – (6,072, was 5,716) Bertand Russell, “The Triumph of Stupidity” (10 May 1933)
  5. ↑ (5,812, was 4,407) Republic, Book 1, 347c 
  6. ↑ (5,390, was 4,678) Rainer Maria Rilke, Letter to Clara Rilke (1 Jan 1907)
  7. ↑ (5,226, was 4,910) Fran Lebowitz, “Tips for Teens,” Social Studies (1981)
  8. ↓ (5,013, was 4,972) John Steinbeck, Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962)
  9. – (4,649 was 4,590) William Hazlitt, “On The Conduct of Life” (1822)
  10. ♥ (4,635, new on list) Sa’adi “Bani Adam [The Children of Adam]” (1258)

The quote from Plato, which debuted last time in 9th, has crept up to 5th. Steinbeck’s entry here slipped a lot, and we lost a delightful Isaac Asimov quote. Sic transit gloria mundi. In its place we have a lovely quote from the Persian poet Sa’adi, which has been in my database forever, but for which I did a lot of research, created a meme image, etc., which drove a lot of traffic.

Since 9/2022, the Top 10 viewed quotes were, according to Google Analytics:

  1. ↑ 1,287 views – Sa’adi“Bani Adam [The Children of Adam]” (1258)
  2. ↓ 1,192 views – PlatoRepublic, Book 1, 347c
  3. – 854 views – Aristotle(Attributed)
  4. ♥ 837 views – Aeschylus Agamemnon, ll. 175-183
  5. ↑ 660 views – AristotleNicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια] (c. 325 BC) (paraphrase)
  6. – 650 views – Rilke, Rainer Maria —  Letter to Clara Rilke (1 Jan 1907)
  7. – 627 views – Franz KafkaLetter to Oskar Pollak (27 Jan 1904)
  8. ♥ 474 views – Zora Neale Hurston(Attributed)
  9. ♥ 445 views – Eric HofferThe Temper of Our Time (1967)
  10. ↓ 420 views – HomerThe Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 6, l. 180ff (6.180) [Odysseus to Nausicaa] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Rieu (1946)]

Dropping off from the list were quotes from Fran Lebowitz, Charles Lamb, and that perennial John Kenneth Galbraith quote.

A side note on Kafka — there was one quotation that remained in the Top 10, but within the Top 10 were also 2,237 views for Kafka’s overall archive, which might have also been referring to that one quote — or maybe for others.

Who Are You People?

As Google Analytics gets more complex, figuring out old simplistic stats becomes a bit more difficult. As far as I can tell, though compared to 9/2022, I am getting 196 visitors / day (vs 177) and 215 pages visited / day (vs 228). So visits are up, but pages viewed are a bit down. Which sounds  fairly stable, but I also had a significant upsurge in both stats at the beginning of March, with the new theme, and it’s been disappointing to see the numbers on the decline.

More research is called for.

I also have 11 follow-by-email users with

Over in social media, I gave up on the cess pit that is Twitter 2.whatever, and shifted over to Mastodon; I ostensibly had 143 Twitter followers (including an uncertain number of bots), while on Mastodon I currently have 68 followers — but I’m getting a lot more interaction than I was on Twitter in terms of likes and forwards, so I’m happy there. I have 86 contacts on my Diaspora* mirror (up from 69), and I actually get some good engagement over there as well with likes and discussion.

In fact, that’s one of the interesting things about the Internet — my home blog gets a lot of hits — but it’s nearly all through search, rather than (as in the old days) people visiting through RSS or dropping in every few days.  View counts on individual posts used to be in the tens, twenties, forties; these days, on the front page it’s a whole series of zeroes.

Google Analytics isn’t giving me data on gender or age any more, alas. As far as national representation, we have the US (49%), UK (7%), China (7%, a big surge), Canada (5%) and India (5%). That mirrors the language, with English (82%), Chinese (7%) as the vast majority of users.

(There is a 2%-ish German contingent, too, which is kind of cool.)

Browser-wise, Chrome increased its lead to 60%, with Safari at 31%, Edge and Firefox just about 4% each. That’s interesting to cross-reference with OS, where Windows is 33% of the users, iOS 24%, Mac another 20%, and Android at 18%, ChromeOS at 3%.  The iOS and Android numbers are interesting, having gone up only slightly, given the effort to make the screen presentation responsive.

The Year Ahead

  • I’d like to figure out how to drive up traffic (or, framed another way, understand if I am somehow keeping traffic away).
  • I want to settle on a Dark Mode tool, since all the cool kids are doing it (and there are times when it is handy).
  • Continue backfilling tags as I come across quotes that have captured my eye again.
  • Maybe do some tag cleanup (there are some that are redundant — plural vs singular — and others where I’ve inadvertently concatenated terms). I poked at that a bit, and it’s a heck of a lot more difficult than it should be, so we’ll see.
  • Continue making some author sweeps to normalize how some works are organized.
  • Continue work on parallel translations of foreign works.

And that’s the end of the Q3 report for 2023. See you next time I get an urge to do this!

Added on 14-Jul-23; last updated 20-Jul-23
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