84 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1149 (2006)
The Plural of Anecdote Is Blog

handle is hein.journals/walq84 and id is 1165 raw text is: THE PLURAL OF ANECDOTE IS BLOG'
[111 Like most of the participants in this conference on, excuse the
term, Bloggership, I get to play because I'm a law professor who has a
blog that includes some discussion of legal issues. For reasons that almost
entirely escape me, a writing project that I think of as my hobby
Discourse.net is routinely counted among the most popular law-related
blogs . When I say the reasons escape me, I am            not for once engaging in
false modesty: much of what I write is idiosyncratic and personal
commentaries on technology and politics; I am uncertain as to whether
Discourse.net really qualifies as a law         blog3; and to a great extent it
amazes, puzzles, and, of course, pleases me that anyone reads this stuff.
[2] I've been using the Internet in one form or another since long
before it went graphical. For someone who has coded web pages by hand,
it's hard to see blogs as anything more than a shortcut to making nice web
pages. Discourse.net, started in 2003, is only one part of my online
-  Posting of Alex Harrowell to A Fistful of Euros, The Plural ofAnecdote Is Not Data, It's
Blog, http://fistfulofeuros.net/archives/002493.php (Apr. 20, 2006, 4:52 p.m.).
* Professor of Law, University of Miami. Blog: Discourse.net, http://www.discourse.net.
1. This comment uses web-friendly paragraph numbering.
2. See Paul Caron, Are Scholars Better Bloggers? Bloggership: How Blogs are Trans/brming
Legal Scholarship, 84 WASH. U. L. REV. 1025 (2006). Personally, I have serious doubts about the
metrics commonly used to rank blog popularity, as each seems flawed in fundamental ways. Measures
of links by other blogs, such as the Truth Laid Bear ecosystem, measure popularity with all the
sophistication of a high school clique. See The Truth Laid Bear, http://truthlaidbear.com/
ecosystem.php (last visited Nov. 16, 2006). 1 would be surprised if there were absolutely no correlation
between being frequently blogrolled and being frequently read, but even so I'd expect enormous
variance between these metrics. Many blogs may be more blogrolled than read; some others
undoubtedly will be very widely read by people who are not bloggers themselves and thus don't have
blogrolls. Indeed, from what little I know of my audience-and it is not much I suspect
Discourse.net tends to attract readers who are not themselves bloggers, nor even law professors.
Indeed, a substantial part of the audience appears to be techies with an interest in law.
My experience with SiteMeter and its competitors also leads me to believe that they tend to
exaggerate hitcounts, are subject to manipulation, and often work poorly when readers use privacy-
protection software such as proxies, cookie-blockers, or referrer-blockers. See Site Meter: Counter and
Statistics Tracker, http://www.sitemeter.com (last visited Nov. 16, 2006). Depending on how the
counter software is designed, proxies and blockers can prevent hits from being counted at all. More
commonly these privacy-enhancing tools can prevent the counter from recognizing a repeat visitor,
leading to an inflated count of the number ofunique visitors.
3. Why, for example, is Discourse.net so often called a law blog, but Is That Legal? by UNC
Prof. Eric Muller, http://www.isthatlegal.org/, which contains extensive discussion of legal and
constitutional history, so often counted out? See, e.g., posting of Roger Alford to Opinio Juris, Most
Popular Law Blogs (Jan. 9, 2006) (stating I am excluding blogs by law professors that are not true
law blogs .. as well as those blogs that straddle the fence (e.g., Is that Legal?)). If there's a method
to this madness, it escapes me.


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