On May 20th, 2013 I published my most popular post ever. It was The Canadian War on Science: A long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment. In it, I chronicled at some considerable length the various anti-science measures by the current Canadian Conservative government. The chronological aspect was particularly interesting as you could see the ramping up since the 2011 election where the Conservatives won a majority government after two consecutive minority Conservative governments.
As an exercise in alt-metrics (and here), I thought I would share some of the reactions and impact this post has generated. It's certainly been a bit of a ride for me. I have to admit to being very pleased with the reaction. So much so, it's gotten me to think more deeply about this slightly unhinged chronological listing thing that I do and perhaps it's relationship to higher principles in librarianship. Maybe it's a thing. More on this in the weeks and months to come as I further process and think about this particular activity and how it manifests in my practice of librarianship.
But perhaps the most compelling reason to do this post is very simple. To demonstrate that a blog post can raise awareness, that it can have some kind of impact in the real world, that it can be a lightning rod for participation and a space to pool the collective intelligence of the wider community to increase everyone's knowledge.
For example, the response in the comments was so overwhelming that within a week I was able to update the post, adding over 30 items to my initial 70 or so. Not only were suggestions made in the comments, I received numerous emails with suggestions, some from people who were obviously uncomfortable commenting in public. The incredible response also prompted me on May 23 to update the post with a Creative Commons Zero waiver, essentially waiving all copyright to the post. This facilitated 12 reprints of all or part of my chronology, all of which are indicated below.
As I said, my most popular post ever. In terms of page views, probably by an order of magnitude. My typical post gets on the order of hundreds of page views. A particularly popular post on the order of a few thousand. This one is approaching 45,000.
Some metrics (as at July 9, 2013):
- 43,137 page views (using Google Analytics)
- 53 links/mentions from other sources (see below)
- 12 re-postings of all or part of the original post
- 128 comments or trackbacks on the blog post itself
- 9900 (approx) Facebook likes
- 1600 (approx) Twitter mentions
- 255 Google+ +1's
For the page views, I thought I'd break down some of the traffic sources:
- Facebook: 17687
- Slashdot: 8861
- Twitter: 3633
- Boing Boing: 3311
- Stumbleupon: 2565
- reddit: 727
- Slate: 555
- Google+: 305
The post is still getting 40-60 additional page views every day.
So, here's the list of all the mentions/links for my post. And note where some of these links come from -- pretty cool, really, to get linked from some of these places.
- 2013.05.20. *Kimberley Silk
- 2013.05.20. Tar Sands Solutions Network
- 2013.05.21. Chronology of the Canadian Conservative government's war on science by Cory Doctorow / Boing Boing
- 2013.05.21. Canada is ‘treading water’ on its S&T performance by Léo Charbonneau
- 2013.05.21. Chronology of the Canadian Conservative government's war on science by Heavenarticles
- 2013.05.21. Chronology of the Canadian Conservative government's war on science by Slackpile
- 2013.05.21. Canada: It’s all about the oil. Too bad. by Everything is Connected (May 17 post update on 21st)
- 2013.05.22. *Shychemist (plus rebloggings)
- 2013.05.22. Driving The Porcelain Bus: The Harper Government’s Ware On Science – an excellent chronology by Thor / Progressive Bloggers
- 2013.05.22. Timeline of Conservatives’ Deeds Against Science by Joshua Chalifour
- 2013.05.22. Teen Skepchick’s Reality Checks 5.22
- 2013.05.22. *Canada’s seven-year war on science by Climate & Capitalism
- 2013.05.22. Has the Canadian Government declared war on science? by Luc Beaulieu
- 2013.05.22. Gary Goodyear rouses passions: more on Canada’s National Research Council and its new commitment to business by Maryse de la Giroday
- 2013.05.22. The Canadian Government's War On Science by Soulskill on Slashdot
- 2013.05.22. UPDATE: Canadian Research Agency Still Selling Out Science by Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy on Slate
- 2013.05.22. Tory science policies vs. Tory scandals: the battle for the limelight by Nassif Ghoussoub
- 2013.05.22. The Canadian War on Science: A long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment (scienceblogs.com) by mflower / reddit
- 2013.05.22. *The Canadian War on Science by Hans Howe
- 2013.05.22. *Canadian Lysenkoism by Bruce Sterling
- 2013.05.23. ThinkWork by Ben McCammon
- 2013.05.23. Canada: Trending Towards Ignorance by Dave Dumaresq (very cool visualization of the dates of the various items)
- 2013.05.23. Chronology of the Canadian wingnut government's war on science
- 2013.05.23. Riley Haas
- 2013.05.23. Gaz de schiste – 23 mai 2013
- 2013.05.23. 2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #21A by John Hartz / Skeptical Science
- 2013.05.23. Who Needs Science – More | Green Comet (post removed)
- 2013.05.24. Donnie's Civics 101
- 2013.05.24. The Canadian Conservative Party’s War on Science by Michael Tobis / Planet3.0 Beyond Sustainability
- 2013.05.24. *Science is in Trouble in Canada by PEI Curmudgeon
- 2013.05.24. Morsels for the mind – 24/5/2013 by Malcolm Campbell,
- 2013.05.25. This week in science: Perspective by DarkSyde / Daily Kos
- 2013.05.27. *The Conservatives's War on Science: A long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment by Tim McSorley
- 2013.05.27. Links by Tom Nelson
- 2013.05.27. Expiscor (27 May 2013) by Chris Buddle
- 2013.05.28. *Georgia Straight (requested by Georgia Straight to reprint with attribution)
- 2013.05.28. Another Week of Anthropocene Antics, May 26, 2013 by Coby / A Few Things Ill Considered
- 2013.05.29. *Conservative government’s war on science – This is a government beholden to big oil by Citizen Action Monitor
- 2013.05.30. Agricultural Institute of Canada
- 2013.05.31. *Ontario Humanist Society
- 2013.06.03. *OzHouse
- 2013.06.07. Compilation: The War on Science and the Global Climate EMERGENCY, or; The Betrayal of Life by Fossil Fuel Industry-Influenced and Funded Deception Networks, Puppets, Ideologues to Muzzle, Discredit, Intimidate Experts, Lie to the Public and Deny Physics by Glenn MacIntosh
- 2013.06.10. Librarian blogs 'long, unexaggerated, devastating' cuts to Canadian science by Carlos Tello / The Tyee (interview with me)
- 2013.06.10. Langley Teachers' Association Examiner
- 2013.06.10. Things I have learned…
- 2013.06.11. The Great Train Robbery by Stephen Rees
- 2013.06.11. *The Conservative Death Nell of Science in Canada by ButterflyStorms
- 2013.06.11. Government charges blamed for record new home costs by York University yFile
- 2013.06.11. The Canadian War Against Science by Scarborough Southwest NDP
- 2013.06.12. Dr. Katie Gibbs: Scientists call for evidence based decisions by governments by Carrie Saxifrage / Vancouver Observer
- 2013.06.18. Walking With Our Sisters, The Canadian War on Science, and C.B.B. by CHRY 105.5 FM – News Now Community News Collective (link to radio interview with Maggie Reid of York U campus radio)
- 2013.06.23. Canada 2012 – 2013 Science & Technology by Diana Thebaud Nicholson
- 2013.07.01. O Canada by Stephen Luntz / Forensics, Fossils and Fruitbats
- 2013.07.03. Not so quiet on the left-ern front by Aaron Larsen / Harvard Computer Society Policylab
- 2013.07.12. Skeptically Speaking #221 War On Science (Interview with Desiree Schell for the Skeptically Speaking radio show)
* Complete or partial reposts of my list.
A few key tweets of the many thousands:
- CBC Quirks & Quarks (with 115 retweets)
- Desiree Schell
- Craig Scott (NDP, Toronto-Danforth)
- Hélène LeBlanc (NDP, LaSalle–Émard)
- Carolyn Bennett (Liberal, St. Paul's -- my MP)
- Andre Picard
- Don Tapscott
- Canadian Association of Geographers
- Alex Wild
Thanks to everyone who tweeted, retweeted, posted, interviewed and everything else. Thanks for helping me spread the word.
Of course, if you know of any links or other metric-y stuff I might include here, please let me know. It's worth noting that there were a few media and other interviews that I did thanks to the commotion caused by this post that haven't yet resulted in anything visible yet, like an articles or interview. Yet. If some of those do materialize (and I'm pretty sure at least one of them is fairly imminent), I'll add them here.
As a closing note, I like this quote from Bruce Sterling:
Yes, you, Canada, formerly the adults on the continent.
2013.07.12. Added two more links, one to the Skeptically Speaking interview which went online today. It's the imminent one I mentioned above. The links/mentions is now up to 55 and the comments/trackbacks up to 128.
Interesting stuff. I'd like to run some of this through our tools at Plum Analytics to see if we can dig up any interesting metrics around this.
Do you mind if I play around with it a bit?
Hi Andrea, please do! And feel free to post here anything you might find!