Patterico's Pontifications


The Hiltzik Commenting Problem

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:16 pm

I think I may have figured out why I can’t leave Michael Hiltzik a comment with links debunking his posts. My new thesis [UPDATE: My thesis is wrong. See below. — Ed.]: his comments don’t permit links at all, whether coded in HTML or not. What’s more, if you include such a link, your comment will never be posted.

If this is what’s happening, it’s a real problem for a blogger. Your commenters need to be able to tell you: “You’re full of it, and here’s a link that explains why.” If you can’t provide a link in comments, it removes a great deal of the utility of comments.

I’m going to test out my theory by providing the links as a hyperlink to my name. If I’m right, I’ll tell you in an update.

UPDATE: Well, we’ll probably have to wait until morning for confirmation or debunking of my theory. I tried importing the Independent Sources link into my name, and the comment didn’t appear. But give it until morning.

UPDATE 4-18-06 6:31 a.m.: As of the last time I checked, someone named “Dirty Dingus” had managed to post a comment on Hiltzik’s site with a link to Hewitt’s Site Meter. But I still see no evidence of any comments referencing the Independent Sources post — including my two comments from 4/16, DWilkers’s comment from 4/16, and nk’s numerous comments from last night (including one that references the Independent Sources post with no hyperlink whatsoever). Curiouser and curiouser . . .

FURTHER UPDATE: Commenter Francis, aka Dirty Dingus, who successfully posted the link to Hewitt’s Site Meter, has tried to post a link to the Independent Sources post — so far without success.

11 Responses to “The Hiltzik Commenting Problem”

  1. This was my last effort:

    “ says you are 100% wrong about Hewitt’s Site Meter? In fact, the statistics they show are the opposite of what you represent.”

    Good night.

    [Well, no link there. That certainly will be a data point relevant to my link theory. — P]

    [Keep in mind that *all* comments may be going into moderation, and he may be asleep or away from the computer. (These things happen!) — P]

    nk (956ea1)

  2. I commented the comment below – with a link to sitemeter. We’ll see if it shows up:

    You might find the sitemeter monthly graph of Hugh Hewitt’s blog interesting –

    Unfortunately it hasn’t been on for long enough to do regression testing (it appears to have been switched on in july 2005) but it looks to me like it has clearly had an increase from August to September, then declines to december then an increae again back to approx September levels in January and then similar declines. If there is a periodic nature to Mr Hewitt’s blog viewership then it looks like April will also show a decline and then there will be a significant increase in May that counteracts that.

    [Francis: it looks like your comment took. So links are allowed. How about posting links to the Independent Sources and Armed Liberal posts? The rest of us are having trouble getting those links posted. Maybe you’ll have better luck . . . — P]

    Francis (d491c5)

  3. If so Patterico, it isn’t a blog. Allowing links back and forth is fundamental to blogging and internet interaction.

    To test the theory I went over there and looked through a bunch of previous threads to see if there were any links, but I didn’t see any. I did notice an interesting thing though.

    You know his post that criticised your post on the Costa Mesa thing? There aren’t any comments at all in that thread now. Weren’t there comments there before? I seem to remember perusing them.

    [No. There were comments to his earlier immigration post, including several excellent (and unanswered by Hiltzik) questions by someone calling himself “Disabuser.” But the “Patterico Punts Another” post garnered no comments at all. — P]

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  4. I don’t know the technical ins and outs of blog ratings. Could anyone please briefly explain why the Alexa ratings quoted by Independent Sources and those Sitemeter ratings appear to be so contradictory?

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  5. Tried to post the independant sources and alexa links – we’ll see if they show up.

    [They aren’t there yet. How very strange this all is. His comments software seems allergic to that Independent Sources link. — Patterico]

    In other news I find myself almots in agreement with Hiltzik WRT the cable and phone companies. I say almost because he can’t seem to avoid some sort of gratuitous swipe at evil conservatives and capitalists and because he can’t seem to bring himself to accept that regulatory incompetence is standard and hence won’t be fixed by adding regulators.

    Francis (d491c5)

  6. […] UPDATE: More on this strange business here, including the odd lack of success commenters have had in posting the Independent Sources link at Hiltzik’s site. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Is Hiltzik Censoring Critical Comments (Again)? Help Me Find Out! (421107)

  7. Do the test you really need to make: try sending a comment from a neighbor’s computer.

    I don’t know how his software works, but WordPress (which both you and I use) allows you to blacklist particular IP addresses. Use someone else’s computer, and you’ll be able to see if you’ve been banned.

    Dana (dd8e7e)

  8. To Dwilkers (comment #4): They measure different things and measure them differently. They both report every time a page is loaded somewhere — Sitemeter via code embedded in the page, Alexa via a browser plug-in — but Sitemeter is less sophisticated. For instance, many companies and some ISPs will show up as a IP address in Sitemeter, greatly underreporting visitor counts. Alexa does not depend on the IP address of the visitor and can identify different users sharing an IP address.

    Sitemeter also uses the internet-standard metrics of visitors and pageviews. Alexa uses the traditional marketing concept of “reach,” which is how many people out of a million visit the site per unit of time (day, week, or month). You can ballpark the relationship between them but it’s not perfect.

    The reason I used Alexa on the Hiltzik post is that it shows day-by-day data over time, something you can’t get off Sitemeter.

    Hope this (too long) answer helps.

    A Senior Administration Official (b4d546)

  9. After I gave him a lesson in statistics, Hiltzik has banned me from posting on his blog!

    James Chen (d1de1b)

  10. I stand corrected. He appears to be screening comments, with most (but not all) of my responses getting posted.

    James Chen (e1f2bf)

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