Poetry Book update, updated poem popularity stats

Eep! The last time I gave an update on the status of my “Poetry Book” project was back in July. I’m long overdue. Not that there’s much to report, so, as I mentioned earlier today, I should also talk about poetry posted (and popularity changes) since I selected poems for the collection.

Progress Report

The only progress I’ve made since July has been minor, refactoring of the project to reduce code duplication between the poemscol and poetrytex versions of my project and to split out different sections into different files.

My next big step was supposed to be illustrations. I had found one nearly-ideal image in a vector format, and a way to produce a format of it that \LaTeX supposedly could handle transparently.

And then two things happened.

First, when I continued searching for images using various terms, but always using the constraints I had established (commercial reuse with modification, and vector formats) I found nothing.

And second, when I decided to abandon searching for awhile and actually test with my one image, including the image in the project produced a blank page where the drawing was supposed to be.

Each of those setbacks frustrated me to the point I stopped working on the project for weeks at a time (only to come back, hit the same problem, and go away again).

I’ve now decided to accept raster formats, and have resolved to figure out how to use the picture \LaTeX environment, so I should have less trouble—once I get going again.

Poem Popularity Statistics

This is a follow-up to last January’s post.

I counted WordPress “likes,” Facebook “likes,” and WordPress and Facebook “comments” that could be construed as votes or approval. Because my previous spreadsheet was lost in my laptop’s disk crash this fall, I had to gather and record the data again; I didn’t bother weighting “votes” by person “voting,” as I remember at least trying to do last time.

However, I did make one improvement over my previous method: in addition to simply counting “votes,” with one WordPress “like” (many of which, I suspect, are essentially spam) equal to one comment-vote equal to one “Facebook” like, and so on, I developed a weighted total for each poem that treats the total number of each category of “votes” as equal to the other categories, and adds up the fraction of the total that each poem got—multiplying them by the total-total to make the numbers easier to work with. And, interestingly, the two methods do not produce identical results for which poem was most highly favored.

If anyone’s interested in the statistics, I can send my spreadsheet along, or upload it, but I suspect most readers will be only interested in the top-top results.

Unweighted Results

For the unweighted totals: the clear winner was my Advent poem O come, O King, with 22 votes. (One of those was a “comment” that was really a notification that a reader shared it on his blog; I didn’t count WordPress “likes” there.)

Next after that was a poem from this March, Radiance, with 17 votes, and “How do my knees”, the poem I reposted in a revised version after Maria’s sharp but warranted critique (which probably inflates the numbers), with 14.

The Dreams’ Master, from this March, had 13. “A new star heralds”, the last poem (I think) before I wrote the previous set of results (though another poem may have run between when I wrote the post and when it appeared), had 12, as did this past year’s Good Friday poem, Passion.

Heralds’ Rejoicing, this past year’s Easter poem, had 10 votes, as did last November’s poem Stories.

Next, my Celebratory Toast (from last September), Day’s End (from this September), and Triumphal Entry, this past year’s Palm Sunday-themed poem, all had 9 votes.

And lastly, eight poems had 8 votes:
“A wealth of food”
Taliesin and Blanchefleur
Rain
Christmas Dream
Thanksgiving
“Upon that head”
Metamorphosis
Blanchefleur Before Merlin

I’m not going to list the 16 poems with 7 votes, nor any others with fewer votes; this post is too full of links as it is.

Weighted Results

Using the weighted totals, as I described above, gives different results. There are, of course, few obvious ties, as the “totals” are long decimal numbers (which I’ve had my spreadsheet round to two decimal places). I’ll list the top nineteen poems, with their adjusted scores, to match the nineteen I listed in the unweighted results section above. I’ll put them in a table.

What counts here is not sheer number of “votes,” but votes via multiple channels.

I should mention that the “most popular” poem here (by a wide margin) is one I posted on Facebook a couple of times before I started this blog, and I counted results on those appearances too, so its total is probably inflated somewhat.

Poem Adjusted Vote Total
“Commence with Honor” 118.71
“Remember me, fair maiden” 85.14
On Time 78.65
The Traditional Poem 68.49
A Dream 59.42
“Let no one tell” 59.42
Untitled Metaphor #1 59.42
“A wealth of food” 53.23
Lingering Winter 46.44
“There are no words” 46.44
“And oh! for some sweet leisure” 45.09
In memoriam 41.71
“If, as Paul says” 40.05
Taliesin at the Throne of Arthur 40.05
A Love Unknown 40.05
“O come, O King” 34.98
“How do my knees” 34.29
“To dance the night away” 33.57
“If you’re not she” 33.57

Note how little overlap there is between the two lists.

Let me know if you’d like to see more detailed data (these were just the first nineteen poems by each count, and I didn’t itemize my results here), or if you think a poem deserves more votes for inclusion in my collection. Until I’ve finalized the art, I probably won’t have closed the collection to more of my poems!

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