Sunday, March 20, 2005

how to build an atom bozzomb

Remember the Paul Simon lyric "Every generation sends a hero up the pop chart"? In the blogging world, you do not need a generation, you just need Tom Bozzo.

So, Tom linked to my blog seven hundred times yesterday, propelling me into the Top 100 of the TTLB ecosystem. This led to a post by Ann, which roused the TTLB proprietor, which led to Tom and Oscar--but not yet, oddly, me--being banished from the TTLB ecosystem.

Turns out, the guy who runs a site dedicated to the metaphor of creatures trying to claw their way up the evolutionary ladder gets angry when folks try to figure out shortcuts to sapiens status. Go figure.

At the core of all this is an interesting issue of measurement. The mass-linking among the Madison Men's Blogging Circle's began, if memory serves, from interest in the question of whether the TTLB system provided a very good ranking of the influence of blogs, which prompted speculation into how it actually worked and whether the program contained any built-in precautions against somebody trying to game it. As far as I can tell, if you link to the same post in another blog 100 times, that only counts once, but if you link to 100 different posts, that does count as 100 separate links. This led Tom to wonder whether there was any ceiling to this, or if linking to 1000 different posts from the same blog would net the same result as if 1000 different blogs had linked to that blog. Being a properly Madison Man of Science, he tested the hypothesis, with an affirmative result.

In any event, would this provide a better ranking? In his comment to Tom's post, the proprietor of TTLB seems to argue that this would turn it into a measure of how many links to the blog-in-general rather than specific-posts the blog had, meaning that it would be basically just a measure of sidebar visibility. But, let's presume that it is possible to write a program that would only count specific posts in the first place. Would that be a better measure?

In the abstract, it would seem like a blog that has 3 links from 50 different blogs is more influential than one that has 25 links from 6 different blogs. Then again, at the extreme, presumably there are One Hit Wonder posts that have had a single post that has generated a lot of links, and it's less clear what the just position of such a blog would be--should a blog that 500 people linked to once be ranked above one that 350 people linked to 3 times? One could argue that the best scoring system would be one that only counted different posts by different people, except this would probably have the effect of completely collapsing the distinctions among all the lower rungs of the hierarchy, because, few bloggers have many other people linking to many posts.

In any case, keep in mind that I don't check my reverse links or have a sitemeter, so all this is academic to me, albeit interestingly academic. Not that I minded being a Massive Mammal for a day or whatever the TTLB categories are.


dorotha said...

ugh. seriously, ugh.

Anonymous said...

I stand'th accused of fraternizing with the jocks
of being dull-witted, a lumbering ox
- having a head filled with rocks
in dire need of electro convulsive therapy shocks
but Yea! unto them who mocks
I wish'th a most festering pox
that dry rot befall'th their cocks
and their progeny frolic amidst nuclear mox
weevils to infest their bagels, rodents to gnaw their lox

Anonymous said...

LDM is in a chronic vegetative state. Only Jeremy can pull the plug on him. What say you?

Anonymous said...

N'er bite the Poet's hand
that give'th ye verse so lovey n' grand
Would'st thou me to the looney bin
then strike'th up thy band
with tunes so predictably bland?
the flames of consternation thou has't fanned
and forced the quill I hold'th in my hand!