Ask Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant Midgets: Blogger is acting weird! Stop it!

>> Tuesday, June 14, 2011

For today's edition of Ask Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant Midgets we're going to take two questions, one of them out-of-order, but both related.

My realspace friend cursivearts wondered:

Why did I suddenly get thirty visits from your page alone today to my blog? Were you hitting refresh repeatedly?

I sent her an optimistic e-mail, hoping that I'd generated some traffic to her site; if you have any disposal income and are looking for some nice art, by the way, please take a look at what she's making and order something! (I have a lovely little shadowbox of hers on my fireplace mantle.)

But then the very next day my cyberspace friend, Mrs. B. raised a similar issue--

Cursivearts took my question!!! Blogger stats showed 25 visits from your blog yesterday (Wednesday), and I was so flattered ::bats eyelashes seductively as only a 56 year-old woman with grey hair can::, but Sitemeter was tracking a little more sanely and quickly burst my egobubble by showing that there was no traffic from your blog that day. I'd say Blogger still has a glitch or two or 7,042 going on.

As much as I would love to say I am Mr. McAwesomeblogger and all sites which I link to in the "Friends And Neighbors" sidebar to the right of this column (your right, not my right, it's my left) turn to Internet Famous™ Gold, it seems a bit improbable that my sidebar is suddenly driving traffic to an arts site and a politics site within the same twenty-four-hour period. I could imagine something in the sidebar driving traffic to one or the other, and would be thrilled to take credit for bringing a friend to wider notice, but, alas. Odds are it's a glitch, just like Mrs. B. says.

So, in the spirit of Ask Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant Midgets, I tried to do a little half-assed digging. I didn't do any real journalism, like dressing myself up as a mime and stalking the Google headquarters parking lot with a hidden camera, waiting for a member of the Blogger team to exit the building so I could ambush him and pretend I was trying to establish a blog written entirely in pantomime so that I could tape him and subsequently selectively edit the covert video so the Blogger employee appeared to be saying, "Hi... hate... mimes... eye... am a... mime... raci-... -ist... mime... h-... ate... -ing... big... it." No, I'm afraid I'm no Andrew Breitbart with his massive budgets for costumes and hidden cameras and editing equipment. Also, I'm pretty lazy when you get right down to it.

Nope, all I did was check to see if there was any kind of bug that had been reported, and Googled various combinations along the lines of "multiple hits from blogger rss" that I thought might yield an answer.

What did I find? Nothing definitive. People have been reporting an issue with Blogger's "stats" page that seems to be connected to the blogroll widget, but not to other tracking services like Google Analytics or StatCounter, which appear to report more accurate results, including more accurate returns for page sources (which is the particular issue raised by cursivearts and Mrs. B.). Some have speculated that the hits may be driven by spam sites, but I haven't seen any signs of that on Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant Midgets' stats page, myself, and that explanation doesn't make as much sense as the explanation that there's a bug with the widget and/or stats page that somehow involves the blogroll widget pinging Blogger pages it's linked to whenever the page the widget is on refreshes.

Google, so far as I can tell, hasn't acknowledged a problem exists at all. Which I can't wholly fault them for: it's a harmless inconvenience only affecting a percentage of users who can solve the issue by using a more reliable page hits counter than the stats page, which appears to have had some other reported issues. I expect that this is a low-ranked problem that will quietly go away without any fanfare when some programmer at Google HQ decides to take a little time to hack it, possibly while taking a breather from more important issues.

The most useful discussions I found with a bit of half-assed poking around, though none offer any solutions I could see (other than don't trust the stats tab) can be found here, here, here, and here. Notice something I didn't mention earlier that may be worth picking up on: this does seem to be a recent problem, with discussion threads being started over the past week.

While we're on the topic of Mrs. B.'s comment, she also asked:

Why am I so immature?

I prefer to think of it as "youthful", m'dear, particularly when addressing my own... youthfulness.


Tom Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 12:41:00 PM EDT  

See! It's Blogger. It hates me, but it's only playing with you. Maybe it's the computer version of twiddling it's thumbs. It has so many spare femtoseconds that it has to do SOMETHING with them. And while I love you like a brother, the content on SotSoGM lately has been a little less than highbrow intellectual. You need to occupy Blogger with some real content so it stops twiddling. Of course it will still hate me, but maybe it would stop playing with you and your link buddies. Oh wait, I'm a link buddy, too.
Golly! You're the one who told Blogger about me, aren't you. You're the reason Blogger hates me. Oh noes, y'all're all out to get me. I knew it. It's not just the Republicans and the Commie pinkos. It's the Giant Midgets, too. I'm undone!

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