Social Evolution Forum: 2012 in Review



Join 36.9K other subscribers sent me a nice annual report providing all kinds of statistics for the year 2012, so I am sharing these numbers here.

It turns out that there were 101 new posts in 2012, of which 54 were my blogs, and the rest mainly posts in Special Features (Focus Articles and Commentaries) and a few guest blogs. This works out to about two posts per week, a pace that I intend to maintain in 2013.

There were a total of 45,000 views in 2012. I don’t know how many unique visitors there were, because WordPress started showing numbers of visitors only about a month ago. But since these data became available, there were between 2 and 3 views per visitor, so you do the math.

The most popular blog by far was Cultural Evolution of Pants, with Cultural Evolution of Pants II not much behind.

kilts in summer

The most viewed picture (image from

The next three popular blogs were

After that come several of my blogs, again:

From this I conclude that our approach of having two distinct audiences, general public and scientists interested in social evolution, is working, because both types of content are actively viewed.

I also conclude from looking at the numbers that when I write a blog, I have very little idea on how popular it will eventually become!

What else? Overall, there were 650 comments, with the top-commented blog getting 40 of them. And vistors came from 141 countries.

In summary, while compared to truly popular blogs, the SEF is small potatoes. On the other hand, the SEF is barely a year old, and I started blogging less than a year ago. The dynamics have been really good: in December of 2012 there were 11 times as many views as in January of 2012. And, even more importantly, it has been an enjoyable and instructive experience for me, and I hope for others.

Thank you—contributors, commentators, and readers—and hope to see you back in 2013!

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Nathan Dean

I am not sure if it is within your control but this site and blog is devoid of graphics on the Mac or at least the two I tried. It leaves the blog unattractive while pictures and graphs do not load. I tried on several different browsers so it is most likely the Mac.

This may limit the audience who uses Macs, and if there are people who are still attracted through the Mac their experience will be diminished from being unable to view the graphs or other pictures.

Perhaps it is a different problem but either way it is a problem of note if it is widespread.

Peter Turchin

Thanks for letting me know about this problem. I myself use Windows (while cursing Bill Gates all the time). I will investigate. Seeing the pictures is important – I actually spend a lot of time trawling through Wikimedia and other sites looking for cool pix and it would be a crime if WordPress doesn’t allow Mac users to see them.

Nathan Dean

A quick search around the internet did not come up with really any results so perhaps it is not the Mac OS. Although I am not certain what else could have caused it. Maybe something weird with the network I was on at the time or a common plugin was, for some reason, missing. I don’t normally use a Mac so I cannot test it anywhere else, so hopefully someone who does use Apple can verify or dismiss.

Peter Turchin

So far nobody complained…

Nathan Dean

Let us hope that is because there is no widespread problem and not because there are no Mac users here.

Peter Turchin

Dear Mac Users: have you experienced any problems similar to what Nathan Dean describes?

david ronfeldt

i use three macs and have no problems seeing graphics here, whether visiting directly or via netnewswire blog reader.

Peter Turchin

Thanks. It looks like that only one person had problems…

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