The Hacker News Effect
Posted by Dave Fancher
It has been known by many different names: the Reddit effect, the Slashdot effect, the Digg effect; but whatever the source the result is the same – a huge spike in traffic due to a popular site linking to a lesser known one. Didactic Code experienced this first hand for the first time when Why F#? gained some traction on Hacker News.
My blog traffic is predictable to the point that I occasionally joke about how I can tell what time it is by looking at the stats. Lately my quiet little node on the Web had been seeing around 200 views on weekdays and generally about 1/4 of that on weekends. Sunday evening though I noticed something unusual – my view count had climbed to over 1000. The blog stats showed the traffic was coming from Hacker News so naturally I started watching to see how high the numbers would climb. Sunday ended with 1,575 views and the momentum carried on well into Monday until after the article peaked at #13.
The hourly traffic graph from the WordPress banner shows traffic for the past 48 hours. It maxed out at 705 views.
The daily traffic graph shows all traffic for the past 30 days. You can imagine my surprise when the traffic shot up on Sunday.
The weekly traffic graph shows 31 weeks of history. You can clearly see the annual dip around the holidays followed by this week’s spike.
The monthly graph is the most interesting to me because it shows how steadily my traffic has increased over the years and what an anomaly like this looks like in the life of a small blog.
For as much excitement as I got out of this I was really happy about the discussion the post generated here, on HN, and on Twitter. I didn’t jump into the HN conversation but I really enjoyed reading the comments, particularly those comparing languages that I haven’t even thought about looking at. So, to everyone that took the time to read my post and those that joined in on the conversation – thank you!
About Dave FancherDave Fancher is a Software Engineer at Performance Assessment Network in Carmel, Indiana, a Microsoft MVP for Visual F#, and author of The Book of F# from No Starch Press. He has been building software with the .NET Framework since version 1.1. Dave is active within the Indiana software development community as a member of IndySA, a speaker at user groups throughout the state, and a two-time contributor to Indy GiveCamp. When not writing code he enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, photography, and gaming on on his Xbox One.
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