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October 21, 2005

Answering questions.

In a comment to the post below this one, Alan asked:

I really enjoy your site. Wonder why you have not addressed the disgraceful treatment of Lt.Colonel Anthony Schaffer? ... Thralan

Alan - mainly because other people with more time and better sources are doing it already, and precisely because of their sources, are doing it better than we could here. If I *had* good sources, that would certainly be different.

I made a decision two months ago to quit being an 'echo chamber' on what the big blogs were covering, and spend more time having fun and filling in the corners on what other people aren't covering. Hence the appeal to me of Blake's "Getting to the Fight" stuff, or the Hurricane Katrina Defense Coordinating Element stuff that Sarenyon was providing while he was deployed. That's good Castle-Fodder, providing a glimpse into things the MSM isn't going to cover (and that most people don't care about) but now it's there, good stories, and people get a little slice of life they've never seen before.

Readership is down as a result of that change, because Argghhh! doesn't show up in the meme-driven aggregators as much now, but I've always been more interested in the "average visit length" and "average page view per visit" metric than raw numbers (though ego does like the raw numbers, I admit). It also shows in our drop in the Ecosystem, as the politics of the SCOTUS nominations is driving the train these days, not the war. But in that respect, if it's the war that was keeping us up, well, sinking into obscurity because the war wanes (if it's *truly* waning) would be a Good Thing.

When we were much higher traffic than we are now, visit length was down to 1:15 (as low as 45 seconds at one point) and page views were down to 1.2 per visit. That generally means people were visiting from an external link, like NRO or Hugh Hewitt, reading the bit, and splitting.

Now we're at 2:40 and 1.9 pages. Which means that while fewer people (still 1500 plus) visit, they read more than one post. And that only counts the unique visits - so if you come in several times during the day (the run-on comment threads) that isn't affecting those numbers. It also means more Google visits to older posts, as people look for arcane stuff (like my grenade post this week) that aren't so tied to current events.

Since I'm not trying to sell advertising (and ain't sold much merchandise, either!) I've decided having people hang out and read everything is more satisfying than having a boatload of drive-throughs...

But certainly, if you *want* us to look at something, I encourage people to do what you did - ask!

As for LTC Shaffer, he's discovered the ugly truth of working for government. When whatever you are doing passes into the realm of politics, vice just getting the job done, life gets very ugly very quickly. Right or wrong. And it sucks to get caught up in that, because you generally don't know the rules and get handled roughly by all the pros.

Beyond that, I'm not competent to comment - yet.