## How December 2021, The Month I Crashed, Treated My Mathematics Blog

On my humor blog I joked I was holding off on my monthly statistics recaps waiting for December 2021 to get better. What held me back here is more attention- and energy-draining nonsense going on last week. It’s passed without lasting harm, that I know about, though. So I can get back to looking at how things looked here in December.

December was, technically, my most prolific month in the sorry year of 2021. I had twelve articles posted, in a year that mostly saw around five to seven posts a year. But more than half of them were repeats, copying the text of old A-to-Z’s, with a small introduction added. I’ve observed how much my readership seems to depend on the number of posts made, more than anything else. How did this sudden surge affect my statistics? … Here’s how.

This was another declining month, with the fewest number of page views — 1,946 — and unique visitors — 1,351 — since July 2021. As you’d expect, this was also below the twelve-month running means, of 2,437.7 views from 1,727.8 unique visitors. It’s also below the twelve-month running medians, of 2,436.5 views from 1,742 unique visitors.

I notice, looking at the years going back to 2018, that I’ve seen a readership drop in December each of the last several years. In 2019 my December readership was barely three-fifths the November readership, for example. In 2018 and 2020 readership fell by one-tenth to one-fifth. But those are also years where my A-to-Z was going regularly, and filling whole weeks with publication, in November, with only a few pieces in December. Having December be busier than November is novel.

So I’m curious whether other blogs see a similar November-to-December dropoff. I’m also curious if they have a publishing schedule that makes it easier to find actual patterns through the chaos.

There were 46 things liked in December, which is above the running mean of 40.5 and median of 38.5. There were nine comments given, below that mean of 15.3 and median of 11.5. On the other hand, what much was there to say? (And I appreciate each comment, particularly those of moral support.)

The per-posting numbers, of views and visitors and such, collapsed. I had expected that, since the laconic publishing schedule I settled on drove the per-posting averages way up. The twelve-month running mean of views per posting was 323.4, and median 307.4, for example. December saw 162.2 views per posting. There were a running mean of 228.4 visitors per posting, and median of 219.2 per posting, for the twelve months ending with November 2021. December 2021 saw 112.6 visitors per posting. So those numbers are way down. But they aren’t far off the figures I had in, say, the end of 2020, when I was doing 18 or 19 posts per month.

Might as well list all twelve posts of December, in their descending order of popularity. I’m not surprised the original A-to-Z stuff was most popular. Besides being least familiar, it also came first in the month, so had time to attract page views. Here’s the roster of how the month’s postings ranked.

WordPress credits me with publishing 16,789 words in December, an average of 1,399.1 words per post. That’s not only my most talkative month for 2021; that’s two of my most talkative months. There’s a whole third of the year I didn’t publish that much. This is all inflated by my reposting old articles in their entirety, of course. In past years I would include a pointer to an old A-to-Z essay, but not the whole thing.

This all brings my blog to a total 67,218 words posted for the year. It’s not the second-least-talkative year after all, although I’ll keep its comparisons to other years for a separate post.

At the closing of the year, WordPress figures I’ve posted 1,675 things here. They drew a total 150,883 page views from 90,187 visitors. This isn’t much compared to the first-tier pop-mathematics blogs. But it’s still more people than I could expect to meet in my life. So that’s nice to know about.

And now let’s look ahead to what 2022 is going to bring on all of this. I still intend to finish the Little 2021 Mathematics A-to-Z. Those essays should be at this link when I post them. I may get back to my Reading the Comics posts, as well. We’ll see.

## How December 2020 Treated My Mathematics Blog

And a happy new year, at last, to all. I’ll take this chance first to look at my readership figures from December. Later I’ll look at the whole year, and what things I would learn from that if I were capable of learning from this self-examination.

I had 13 posts here in December, which is my lowest count since June. For the twelve months from December 2019 through November 2020, I’d posted a mean of 15.3 and a median of 15 posts. So that’s relatively quiet. My blog overall got 2,366 page views from 1,751 unique visitors. That’s a decline from October and November. But it’s still above the running averages, which had a mean of 1,957.8 and median of 1,974 page views. And a mean of 1,335.7 and median of 1,290.5 unique visitors.

There were 51 likes given to posts in December. That’s barely below the twelve-month running averages, which had a mean of 54.6 and a median of 52 likes. The number of comments collapsed to a mere 4 and while it’s been worse, it’s still dire. There were a mean of 15.3 and median of 15 comments through the twelve months before that.

If it’s disappointing to see numbers drop, and it is, there’s some evidence that it’s all my own fault. Even beyond that this is my blog and I’m the only one writing for it. That is in the per-posting statistics. There were 182.0 views per posting, which is well above the averages (132.0 mean, 132.6 median). It’s also near the averages in November (191.5) and October (169.1). Likes per posting were even better: 3.9, compared to a running average mean of 3.5 and running average median of 3.4. The per-posting likes had been 4.0 and 4.4 the previous months. Comments per posting — 0.3 — is still a dire number, though. The running-average mean was 1.1 per posting and median of 1.0 per posting.

It suggests that the best thing I can do for my statistics is post more. Most of December’s posts were little but links to even earlier posts. This feels like cheating to me, to do too often. On the other hand, I’ve had 1,580 posts over the past decade; why have that if I’m not going to reuse them? And, yes, it’s a bit staggering to imagine that I could repost one entry a day for four and a third years before I ran out. (Granting that lot of those would be references to earlier posts. Or things like monthly statistics recaps that make not a lick of sense to repeat.)

What were popular posts from November or December 2020? It turns out the five most popular posts from that stretch were all December ones:

It feels weird that How Many Of This Weird Prime Are There? was so popular since that was posted the 30th of December. (And late, at that, as I didn’t schedule it right.) So in 30 hours it attracted more readers than posts that had all of November and December to collect readers. I guess there’s something about weird primes that people want to read about. Although not to comment on with their answers to the third prime of the form $10^n + 1$ … well, maybe they’re leaving it for other people to find, unspoiled. I also always find it weird that these How-A-Month-Treated-My-Blog posts are so popular. I think other insecure bloggers like to see someone else suffering.

According to WordPress I published 7,758 words in December. This is only my fourth-most-laconic month in 2020. This put me also at an average of 596.8 words per posting in December. My average for all 2020 was 672 words per posting, so all those recaps were in theory saving me time.

Also according to WordPress, I started January 2021 with a total of 1,581 posts ever. (There’s one secret post, created to test some things out; there’s no sense revealing or deleting it.) These have drawn a total 122,051 views from 69,848 logged unique visitors. It’s not a bad record for a blog entering its tenth year of publication without ever getting a clear identity.

My Twitter account has gone feral. While it’s still posting announcements, I don’t read it, because I don’t have the energy to figure out why it sometimes won’t load. If you want to social-media thing with me try me on the Mastodon account @nebusj@mathstodon.xyz. Mathstodon is a mathematics-themed instance of that microblogging network you remember hearing something about somewhere but not what anybody said about it.

And, yeah, I hope to have my closing thoughts about the 2020 A-To-Z later this week. Thank you all for reading.

## How December 2019 Treated My Mathematics Blog

I have not been putting off the regular monthly review of my readership statistics because I didn’t like how they looked. I’ve had things occupying my day and haven’t had time to tend the blog is all. That’s come to a stop now, though, and I can look seriously at how things went around here last month. Later, I hope to do a review of the last year.

So, I don’t like how the readership around here looked. I knew there’d be some falling off, as last year’s A to Z project wrapped up. Fewer posts correspond very well with fewer page views, and fewer unique visitors. I wasn’t expecting the fall-off to be this severe, though. Here’s how it looked.

There were only 1,386 page views around here in December. That’s the lowest page views count since July. It’s well below the twelve-month running average of 2,057.1 visitors per month, too. The consoling thing: there were “only” eighteen posts in December. This is 77.0 views per posting, which is well below the average of 114.7 views per posting of the past year. But it’s basically identical to November’s record of 77.8 views per posting, and to September’s 81.5 views per posting. October 2019 is and will long remain an anomaly, unless someone else discovers me in some forum.

There were 909 unique visitors in December, again the smallest number since July. And well below the running average of 1,390.3 unique visitors. Per post, it’s 50.5 visitors, which is again way below the running average of 76.7 visitors per post. But it’s right in line with November’s 52.3 and September’s 46.2 visitors per post.

Still there’s things to be discontent about. There were 44 things liked in December, a mere 2.4 likes given per posting. That’s below the running averages of 69.7 likes per month, and of 4.4 likes per post. And then the most shocking statistics of all: zero comments in the whole month. I can’t find that that’s ever happened before, even in the earliest days of the blog when I would hit refresh to make the place seem busier than it is. The running averages are 16.4 comments per month, and 1.1 per post, and it’s hard to believe how far short of that I fell.

Well, there’s not much for me to do but lick my wounds. And to think about what I want in the blog: do I want a chatty comments section? If so, why? I like writing. But I do seem to not be good at blog conversations. I can either work to be better at that, or I can focus on what I am already enjoying. There are good things to say about both approaches.

There were popular posts in December, no matter how much I wasn’t particularly liked. The five posts most often read in December 2019 were:

All told there were 224 pages, including the home page, that got at least a single view in December. That’s down from November’s 300 and October’s 311. 102 of them got more than a single view, down from 160 and 187 the previous few months. 27 got at least ten views, down from 42 and 52 in recent months. Mm.

There were only 60 countries that sent me any page views in December. That’s down from 94 in November and 116 in October, although it’s getting close to September’s 69. There were 18 single-view countries, down from November’s and October’s 24. Here’s the readership figures for them all:

United States 875
India 62
Philippines 58
Australia 55
United Kingdom 35
Germany 28
Brazil 23
Finland 13
Italy 13
Singapore 13
France 10
Denmark 9
Sweden 9
Israel 8
Belgium 7
Mexico 7
Indonesia 6
Netherlands 6
Pakistan 6
Romania 6
Turkey 6
Russia 5
Spain 5
Switzerland 5
Thailand 5
Poland 4
South Africa 4
South Korea 4
Belize 3
Japan 3
New Zealand 3
Portugal 3
Chile 2
Colombia 2
Egypt 2
Nigeria 2
Serbia 2
Taiwan 2
Ukraine 2
Vietnam 2
American Samoa 1
Belarus 1
Bolivia 1
Bulgaria 1
Czech Republic 1
Georgia 1
Greece 1
Ireland 1
Jordan 1 (*)
Kenya 1
Kuwait 1
Latvia 1
Myanmar (Burma) 1
Norway 1
Oman 1
Saudi Arabia 1
Slovakia 1
Sri Lanka 1 (*)

Jordan and Sri Lanka were the only single-view countries in November, and neither of them was a single-view country in October too.

In December I had 18 posts. These had a total of 8,842 words, for an average of 491.2 words per posting. I’m surprised there’s so few of them too. This is obviously quite below the year’s average of 861 words per posting. December did a fair bit at bringing my words-per-post count down, too. December ended with my having written 201 posts over the whole year, my second-greatest number ever. And 173,087 words in total, my third-most-verbose year. I’ll get into the statistics for the full year in the look back at all 2019 that I mean to write soon. But 861 words per posting is the median of my words-per-posting average, so far.

From the dawn of time to the start of 2020 I’d had 1,403 posts around here. They drew a total of 97,577 views, from 52,978 logged unique visitors.

Nevertheless, thank you for reading, however it is you do it, and however often you do it.

## How December 2018 Treated My Mathematics Blog

With the end of December it’s the time to see what was popular around here, and just how popular it was. I keep figuring I’ll learn something useful from these explorations. Now and then I come to conclusions and one of these months I’ll even act on them.

December was an exhausting month. The last couple weeks of any A To Z sequence always are. These sequences are great fun, of course, or I wouldn’t keep doing them. But fatigue sets in, especially as I discover I’m not getting as far ahead of deadline as I imagined I would be and I get to the difficult letters of the alphabet’s end. And the Fall 2018 A To Z made up for being less frequent than past glossaries — two, rather than three, essays a week — with being crazily longer. So I was exhausted by that. And then the mathematically-themed comics for my Reading the Comics posts completely dried up. Add to that real-life obligations that I would not skip — being with family, and going to pinball events — and I ended up posting 17 things in December. Which is more than usual, yes. A typical month is 12 to 14 posts. But it’s down from the 23 of October and November, and I’m as convinced as I can be without evidence that the number of posts determines how many page views I get.

So October 2018, aided in part by my hosting the Playful Mathematics Education Blog Carnival, had 2,010 page views from 1,063 unique visitors. November I got in 1,611 page views from 847 visitors. December, well, that saw 1,409 page views from 875 visitors.

There were 82 things liked in December. It’s a slight drop from November’s 85, and October’s 94. I suppose it’s a rise in likes per page view, at least. The number of comments utterly collapsed, which probably reflects the end of the A To Z project. In October and November I had appeals for suggested topics; December didn’t have time for them. So what was 60 comments in October and 36 in November dropped to 17 for December. It’s not my least talkative period of the last year, but it’s up there. I need, seriously, to work on opening my posts to more comments. I’d ask people for suggestions how to do that, but who would answer?

The most popular essays around here in December were two perennials, two A To Z pieces, and some comics:

What countries sent me page views, and in what quantity? These, and these:

United States 819
United Kingdom 68
India 46
Turkey 39
Philippines 31
Singapore 31
Australia 27
Denmark 23
Indonesia 15
Slovenia 14
South Africa 13
Italy 11
New Zealand 11
Sweden 10
Greece 9
Netherlands 9
South Korea 9
Ireland 8
Lithuania 8
Germany 7
Brazil 6
Hong Kong SAR China 6
Poland 6
American Samoa 5
European Union 5
Mexico 5
Russia 5
Switzerland 5
Finland 4
France 4
Norway 4
Belgium 3
Czech Republic 3
Ghana 3
Hungary 3
Israel 3
Kenya 3
Pakistan 3
Serbia 3
Austria 2
Chile 2
Egypt 2
Libya 2
Romania 2
Spain 2
Taiwan 2
Ukraine 2
Vietnam 2
Albania 1
Algeria 1
Argentina 1
Botswana 1
China 1
Colombia 1 (****)
Iceland 1
Iraq 1
Japan 1
Jordan 1
Kuwait 1
Latvia 1
Palestinian Territories 1 (*)
Portugal 1
Puerto Rico 1
Saudi Arabia 1 (*)
Sint Maarten 1
Slovakia 1

That was 68 different countries sending readers, down from November’s 70 and October’s 74. There were 17 single-reader countries, up from November’s 13 and down from October’s 23. The Palestinian Territories and Saudi Arabia were single-reader countries in November too. Colombia’s been a single-reader country five months now. I don’t see how China can be a single-reader country, even given that English isn’t a primary language there. More than one person has to stumble across here just by accident. There’s something going on there.

According to Insights, I start the month and year with 72,915 total page views, from an admitted 36,260 unique visitors.

I published something like 18,587 words here in December, which is a drop from the 26,644 of November. I write “something like” because I don’t know how WordPress tallies stuff like words in captions, and I don’t think it counts words in comments. And the idea of a “word” in a count like this is difficult to make precise and indisputable. So don’t be fooled by the digits into thinking there’s any precision there. Also it’s still 1,093 words per post, which is a bit down from the 1,158 in an average November essay but still.

For the year-to-date, by the end of December, I was writing an average of 1,025 words per post. That is, posts for the whole of the year, rather than just in December. That’s down from the end-of-November average of 1,108 words per post. I averaged 5.2 likes per post, down from the end-of-November average of 5.3. And 2.8 comments per post, up from the end-of-November average of 2.7. That’s certainly not a significant change.

## How December 2017 Treated My Mathematics Journal

Before I even look at the statistics I can say: December 2017 treated my mathematics journal better than it treated me. A third of the way in, our pet rabbit died, suddenly and unexpectedly. And this was days short of a year from our previous pet rabbit’s death. So that’s the cryptic plan-scrambling stuff I had been talking about, and why my writing productivity dropped. We don’t know when we’ll take in a new rabbit (or rabbits). Possibly this month, although not until late in January at soonest.

And … well, thank you for the condolences that I honestly do not mean to troll for. I can’t say we’re used to the idea that we lost our rabbit so soon. It’s becoming a familiar thought is all.

But to the blog contents. How did they, quantifiably, go?

I fell back below a thousand page views. Just under 900, too: 899 page views over the month, from 599 unique visitors, as if both numbers were trying to tease Price Is Right Item-Up-For-Bids offerings. That’s down from the 1,052 page views in November, but only technically down from the 604 unique visitors then. October had 1,069 page views from a basically-equal 614 unique visitors. And it turns out that while I thought I stopped writing stuff, especially after our rabbit’s death, I had 11 posts in the month. That’s low but in the normal range for a month that has no A-to-Z sequence going. Curious.

There were 71 pages liked around here in December. That’s technically up from November’s 70, but not really. It’s less technically up from October’s 64. Still makes me wonder what might have happened if I’d scraped together a 12th post for the month. And the other big measure of reader involvement? 24 comments posted in December, down from November’s 28 but above October’s 12. I may need to start offering bounties for interesting comments. Or, less ridiculously, start some open threads for people who want to recommend good blogs or books or Twitter threads they’ve found.

2018 starts with a total 56,318 page views from 26,491 tracked unique visitors. The numbers don’t look bad, although I keep running across those WordPress blogs that’s, like, someone who started posting an inspirational message once a week two months ago and has just broken a million page views and gets 242 likes on every post and wonder if it’s just me. It’s not.

How about the roster of nations? For that I figure there were 53 countries sending me readers in December, technically down from November’s 56 and technically up from October’s 51. There were 15 single-reader countries, down from November’s 22 but slightly above October’s 13. And who were they? These places:

United States 553
United Kingdom 41
India 35
Ireland 19
Philippines 16
Austria 13
Germany 12
Turkey 12
Australia 11
Sweden 9
Singapore 8
France 7
Italy 7
Slovenia 7
New Zealand 6
Spain 6
Indonesia 5
Norway 5
South Korea 5
Brazil 4
Hong Kong SAR China 4
Malaysia 4
Poland 4
Belgium 3
Denmark 3
Finland 3
Japan 3
Netherlands 3
Portugal 3
Taiwan 3
Thailand 3
Argentina 2
Colombia 2
Serbia 2
Slovakia 2
United Arab Emirates 2
Albania 1
Croatia 1
Egypt 1
Israel 1
Jamaica 1
Lebanon 1 (*)
Mexico 1 (*)
Peru 1 (*)
Romania 1 (*)
Russia 1
South Africa 1
Switzerland 1
Uruguay 1
Venezuela 1

Lebanon, Mexico, Peru, and Romania were also single-reader countries on November, and there’s no nation that’s on a three-month single-reader streak.

So what was the roster of popular posts for the month? My perennials, plus Reading the Comics, and some of that Wronski π stuff just squeaks in, tied for fifth place. What people wanted to read here was:

Have I got plans for January 2018? Yes, I have. Besides keeping on Reading the Comics, I hope to get through Wronski’s formula for π. I know there’s readers eager to find out what the punch line is. I know at least one has already worked it out and been surprised. And I’m hoping to work out a question about pinball tournaments that my love set me on. I’ve done a little thinking about the issue, and don’t believe the results, so I’m hoping to think some more and then make my computer do a bunch of simulations. Could be fun.

And I’ll be spending it hoping that you, the reader, are around. If you’re here now there’s a good chance you’re reading this. If you’d like to follow on your WordPress reader, there’s a ‘Follow on WordPress’ button in the upper right corner of the page. If you’d rather get it by e-mail, before I’ve made corrections to things that are only obviously wrong two minutes after publication, there’s the ‘Follow by e-mail’ button near that. And if you’d like to follow me on Twitter, try @Nebusj. I’m currently running only like four weeks behind on responding to follow-up tweets or direct messages, which is practically living a year in the future compared to my e-mail. Thanks for being here.

## How December 2016 Treated My Mathematics Blog

I’m getting back to normal. And getting to suspect WordPress just isn’t sending out “Fireworks” reports on how the year for my blog went. Fine then; I’ll carry on. Going back to the Official WordPress statistics page and sharing it for whatever value that has we find that … apparently I just held November 2016 all over again. Gads what a prospect.

As ever I exaggerate, and as ever, not by much. There were 956 page views from 589 distinct readers in December. In November there were 923 page views from 575 distinct readers. There were 21 posts in December, compared to 21 posts in November. Both are up from October, 907 page views from 536 visitors, although that was a nice and easy month with only 13 posts published. I’m a little disappointed to fall under a thousand page views for four months running, but, like, I tried posting stuff more often. What else can I do, besides answer comments the same year they’re posted and chat with people on their blogs? You know?

There were 136 pages liked in December, down from November’s 157 and up from October’s 115. Comments were down to 29 from November’s 35, and while that’s up from October’s 24 I should point out some of January’s comments are really me answering December comments. I had a lot of things slurping up time and energy. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to count the comments I wrote in January as anything other than January’s comments, though.

According to Insights, my most popular day for reading is Sunday, with 17 percent of page views coming then. I expected that; Sunday’s been the most popular day the last few months. It’s only slightly most popular, though. 17 percent (18 percent last month) is about what you’d expect for people reading here without any regard for the day of the week. 6 pm was the most popular hour, barely, with 9 percent of page views then. That’s the hour I’ve settled on for posting stuff. But that hour’s down from being 14 percent of page views in November. I don’t know what that signifies.

My roster of countries and the page views from them looks like this. I’m curiously delighted that India’s becoming a regular top-five country.

Country Views
United States 587
United Kingdom 61
India 47
Germany 25
Austria 22
Slovenia 15
Philippines 13
Netherlands 10
Spain 9
Australia 9
Italy 7
Puerto Rico 7
Finland 6
Norway 6
Singapore 6
France 5
Ireland 5
Switzerland 5
Indonesia 4
Sweden 4
Thailand 4
Bahrain 3
Estonia 3
Israel 3
Turkey 3
Chile 2
Greece 2
New Zealand 2
Nigeria 2
Peru 2
Poland 2
Sri Lanka 2
United Arab Emirates 2
Belgium 1
Denmark 1 (*)
Egypt 1
European Union 1
Japan 1 (**)
Kuwait 1
Lebanon 1
Luxembourg 1
Nepal 1
Pakistan 1
Romania 1
Saudi Arabia 1 (**)
Slovakia 1
South Africa 1 (**)

There’s 50 countries altogether that sent me viewers, if we take “European Union” as a country. That’s up from November’s 46. There were 15 single-view countries, the same as in November. Denmark was a single-view country last month. Japan, Saudia Arabia, and South Africa are on three-month single-view streaks. “European Union” is back after a brief absence.

For the second month in a row none of my most popular posts were Reading the Comics essays. They instead were split between the A To Z, some useful-mathematics stuff, and some idle trivia. The most popular stuff in December here was:

There weren’t many specific search terms; most were just “unknown”. Of the search terms that could be known I got this bunch that started out normal enough and then got weird.

• comics strip of production function
• comics of production function theory
• comics about compound event in math
• comics trip math probability
• example of probability comics trip
• population of charlotte nc 1975
• a to z image 2017
• mathematics dark secrets

I, um, maybe have an idea what that last one ought to find.

January starts with my mathematics blog having gotten 44,104 page views total from 18,889 distinct known visitors. That’s still a little page view lead on my humor blog, but that’s going to be lost by the start of February. My humor blog’s been more popular consistently the several months, and the humor blog got some little wave of popularity the past couple days. Why should it have had that? My best guess: I’m able to use that platform to explain what’s going on in Judge Parker, which I can’t quite justify here. Maybe next month.

If you’d like to follow my mathematics blog, please, click the buttons in the upper-right corner of the page to follow the blog on WordPress or by e-mail. You can also find me on Twitter as @nebusj where I try not to be one of those people who somehow has fifty tweets or retweets every hour of the day. But I haven’t done any livetweeting of a bad cartoon in ages. Might change.