One great thing about this site is the diversity of opinions and the willingness to hash out arguments without resorting to insults (with a few exceptions) and simplistic talking points (with a few more exceptions). Lately, however, it has seemed to me that the window of discussion has narrowed, that there is a “Glib” narrative just as pervasive here as the “liberal” narrative is in leftist media. Add in the occasional “What ever happened to so-and-so?” or “has what’s-his-handle been around lately?” comment, and I’ve been wondering if we aren’t becoming an echo-chamber or bubble with the same people making the same predictable complaints everyday, and fewer people deviating from the “Gilb” norm.
I try and be aware of confirmation bias, Its one of easier traps to fall into. Also I have some time on my hands and I know how eager you lot are to be put on lists, so I did some research to try and determine if my concerns are merited or not. I decided to see how many commenters have posted on the site over time, I imagine TPTB have access to more detailed statistics but for my simple experiment I looked at how many different commenter posted on the last Friday in March over the years.
At first blush it does appear we have shrunk, from 142 different posters in 2020 to 104 in 2021. However if you look at the last column where I checked if those who didn’t post on The last Friday in March 2021 had posted earlier in 2021, you see that 92 people had, in fact over 30 people had posted just a day or three before, and while I didn’t catalog it I know many also posted the next day. Of course, you can’t really just add those people into the ’21 number and compare it to the ’20 total because apples and oranges.
So what does this tell us? Nothing really, other than that carpenters probably shouldn’t crunch data, after compiling this list I realized the many flaws in my method, but I put in the time so if you want you can look at the chart and make your own conclusions. One thing I will note is that only 15 commenters who posted on the last Friday in March 2020 haven’t yet posted this year, they may be lurking or just busy with life, but even if they all have decided “The hell with this place” 15 out of a couple hundred doesn’t seem that bad.
In conclusion, are we becoming a echo chamber with dwindling numbers of contributors and viewpoints? Who knows? I don’t think so, at least not to any extent greater than we’ve always been.