2017 The Manifesto Year in Review

“And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne” constant reader, as we collectively celebrate another successful trip around the sun.   Here in the Manifesto HQ all is quiet…rountRee and Rutherford are sequestered in the lounge, donning their carefully constructed outfits for the much anticipated Father Time / Baby New Year cosplay spectacular.  I’ll leave it to you to guess how the roles are distributed, I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise.  In any case, the bar is fully stocked and the vomitorium has been steam-cleaned for your post-revels convenience.  Before the party gets started and the traditional games of grab-ass and jai-alai begin, why not join me for a statistical look back at 2017, your favorite blog’s second year of existence.

Let’s begin with the most important numbers, the total number of views, visitors, likes and comments.  I take the most pride in the last number, because for my money the Manifesto is all about the celebration and promotion of the lost art of conversation.   When you strip it all away we don’t really re-invent the wheel here, but what we are good at is active discourse, even if it’s mostly from a half dozen usual suspects.  And even though we are without question one of the smallest, shabbiest blogs in all the land, I doubt there are too many (if any) who can boast larger numbers of comments.  It is most impressive to me that even though we had significantly fewer articles posted this year (105 / 70), we managed to wrack up better stats across the board than our first year of operation in 2016.

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Here’s how the year broke down by month, I think it’s interesting that even in the stretch between August and October when there were no fresh postings, the blog still did decent numbers (relatively speaking) in comparison to the dead months from the year before.

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And now we move on to a short list of the most popular articles of the year.  Initially this data point seemed like a buzzkill because on my own fucking blog I should be able to at least crack the top ten! I don’t count the pinned Blog or Die! contest announcement and frankly I’m lucky to be sitting in the number 12 spot.   But after putting my considerable ego in check I think it’s actually something to be celebrated.  I want to issue a big THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to submit an article, you have no idea how much I appreciate it and clearly the readers responded in a big way.  It’s also quite interesting to note how a certain Mr. Van Cleave smoked the competition like a cheap cigar, no other contributor even came close to his gaudy numbers.  Cheers Aaron, you almost single-handedly made this year one to remember with your Art Hoax masterpiece and without a doubt you drew more eyes to the blog than anyone in it’s brief history.

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My favorite statistic of the bunch is without a doubt the global breakdown of where the Manifesto views are coming from.  Unfortunately most of these people never say a word on the blog, and some of the hits are no doubt bots, but I find it fascinating and inspiring nonetheless.  Malvides!  Paraguay! Gibraltar!…the international flavor is palpable, unbeatable and it’s great fun when I’m able to pair up an AFOL to his or her country like Kyle Vrieze in Bermuda, Angka in Indonesia and Gilcelio in Brazil.  I never expected to get much play at all outside of the US and Canada so all of this is delicious gravy.  Now if I could only get these far-flung readers to comment!

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If you’ve ever been curious as to the identities of the biggest gasbags on this august blog, wonder no longer.  The only surprise here is that King O’ Gasbags Rutherford is as low as he is and Wolff is as high.  I’m glad to see a young guy like Wolff crack the list because God knows we need a break from the geriatric crew from time to time.  What is absolutely crystal clear is that rowntRee should start a formal column on the blog, he’s practically conducting his own mini-blog in the comment section.  Art School Girlfriend, you need to formalize our relationship and give the people what they want!  Ditto to our beloved resident contrarian and bullshit artiste, Vitreolum, nothing would please me more than to give you your very own shiny podium from which to hold forth. Just like the guest-writers I’d like to offer a big THANK YOU to all of the people on this less than comprehensive list, without your commitment to keep the conversation going I would likely not bother with running this dump.

Screenshot-2017-12-31 Stats ‹ keithlug com — WordPress com.png

And we’ll conclude our statistical review with an unlikely bit of information, I always assumed our busiest day was Monday, when people returned to their places of employment and studiously began their weekly quest to avoid work.  The only conclusion I can draw is that the Friday Night Fights are more popular than I imagined.

Screenshot-2017-12-31 Stats ‹ keithlug com — WordPress com.png

I’m very optimistic that we can capitalize on this year’s momentum and make 2018 even better.  I think the new, slower posting pace has yielded clear dividends and we’ve certainly brought in more new voices than ever before.  You will continue to encounter all the boilerplate content you’ve grown to expect from the Manifesto and I’ve got some hopefully fresh ideas in the works to keep the action fresh in coming weeks and months.

So Happy New Year, constant readers, please accept my heartfelt thanks for making 2017 the best year yet for the Manifesto, you guys (and the occasional gal) make it all worthwhile.  Best wishes to you and yours for a safe, happy and prosperous 2018!  Now we’ll begin the traditional hallway melee! Gird your loins, it’s on Rutherford, you fascist rat bastard!


24 thoughts on “2017 The Manifesto Year in Review

  1. You know, I know, we all know the primary reason there’s such a disparity between my stats and everyone else’s is due to the boost *cough* Deus *cough* TBB gave The Last Straw and the article itself. I still find it quite ironic, like capitalizing on products that endorse capitalism, doubly so since Cameron published his contest entry.

    Speaking of which, I also have a couple…hundred…unblogged creations. What’s the policy on stealing article contest ideas?


    1. Even without rocket juice supplied by TBB you’d still have the most popular post of the year. If you’d limited the publicity to just a photo and link on your Flickrstream it would acted like a tractor beam and pulled readers over to the blog in droves,

      I’d love to see an entry from you regardless of topic and if that means stealing from your fellow competitors I”m all for it. While there is a hardcore policy against stealing words, there is no such policy against stealing ideas,

      Cheers Aaron and happy New Year!


  2. God, I’m adorable! It’s the hair.

    And god, I’m a gasbag! It’s the hair.

    Great year, hard to believe it’s already over. Not one for stats myself but these are rather impressive. I think in looking back on all the articles, my favorite observation is the conversations they all seem to generate. Nothing world changing, life affirming, or even choir preaching, the discourses are organic and honest. It feels like a healthy departure from the standard issue, product placing, Brick Headz reviewing, SW ejaculating, cotton candy blogs of normal. I do wish that more people would pipe in as it has been made quite clear throughout that every voice is welcome.

    As far as Aaron’s post, I could not be any more pleased as to the numbers it generated and the wound it seemed to exploit. Kudos! I wouldn’t mind more articles like that and experiments poking at all of us in this community. We deserve and NEED it because it proved how tall the wall is for our echo chamber outside.

    Thank you Keith and congratulations.


    1. I’m with you dude, I wish we could drag some new voices into the mix but at least the folks we do attract have something to say and generally speaking seem to stick around. We can’t possibly appeal to anyone and at least we get the right kind of drunks in here, loud and obnoxious ones who will wag an finger and tell you how things ought to be.

      You’re right, the Art Hoax by Van Cleave was awesome, it made the whole year in many ways. As my Art School Girlfriend I expect you to pick up the slack in 2018, if there is anyone capable of an Art Hoax it’s you, so get on it! Seriously dude, the fact that you don’t write a regular column is a crime against the blog. At least consider it, you could speak freely about rashes and cancer, take the medical approach right?

      Happy New Years my brother! See you in 4 days.


  3. Keith, I’ll just chime in with this. For years, TBB was my go-to blog. It seems to be overrun with set reviews, incessant pop culture references, and I CAN HAZ INSTRUKSHUNS.

    Now, you control the (Lego) blog action! Congratulations on a solid year of keeping up this loquacious outpost of scum and villainy, and I eagerly anticipate 2018.


      1. I think the only way to penetrate the North Korean market is to drop leaflets from an airplane with printed articles from the blog and miniature candy bars attached.


    1. Cheers Juan, I’m glad you’re digging the vibe here and I hope to see an article from you, if not for the contest then at least sometime in 2018. Happy New Year!


  4. Probably the only place where Romania is in top 5; totally put it on the map. :))

    Great to see things grow and a big thanks to all the contributors for giving me the opportunity to spew forth my nonsense (and a whole lotta it by the look of things)! Cheers!

    Regarding the podium, I can neither confirm nor deny details of any future spotlighting blah blah. It’s as common as it gets for me to say one thing and do another; I’m not the resident contrarian for no reason.

    And finally a happy new year to all you maniacs.


    1. I’m so glad to hear you are from Romania I used to think you were French and I just can’t abide a French contrarian.

      Cheers V, I Hope to read more from you in 2018, even if it’s only in the comments!


  5. You got any “number of words per comment” stats? Feel bad seeing Rutherford buried down the list for the count of comments. I bet in total words commented, it’s a photo finish between Rutherford and Rowntree…


    1. Alas, no, but as you say, there are only two candidate for the top spot. Although my Art School Girlfriend isn’t afraid to ramble a bit, she can’t hold a candle to Rutherford. The man turns a yes-no answer into Don Quixote.


      1. So that makes me… the Cervantes of El Manifesto? I’m good with that. Apropos, as this site is nothing if no Quixotic! In fact, if we could get rowntRees lanky ass into some armor? Hell, come to think of it, Keith would make a pretty good Sancho Panza. Bumping along right next to rowntRee… on a burro… Me gusto mucho!

        This is an excellent post. It exemplifies the values of your blog perfectly… Sancho.

        1. Candor and transparency. The data you offer us is raw and unfiltered. It is not cherry picked in order to support the message you want, but rather, it is displayed openly, for review by the audience. Sure, you subject us to your interpretation, but in that we can see the raw stats, your latitude in this regard is pretty severely limited. You basically restrict yourself to conservative assertions that are unambiguously supported by the data. That is the candor. And, the credibility of your assertions can be assessed by your audience because we are all staring at the freeking data… and that is the transparency. Most sites would not post this data publically. They would discuss the data only in oblique terms… siting “Positive trends” and “continued growth!”

        2. Egalitarianism. As far as you are concerned, this data sort of “belongs” to everybody who participates in this blog. Casual reader, Lurker, occasional commenter, active contributor… everybody. You don’t say as much… but you NEVER say as much. You don’t TALK about egalitarianism… you just DO it. Again, the post demonstrates your values. Most folks would consider sharing this data only within that groups “inner circle” of decision makers (and there disinterested cronies!) You don’t really want to interpret this data in some discrete bunker with your trusted allies. You WANT all participants to see this data for themselves. It really is sort of Marxist. Not Marxist in a “your a stinking commy” sort of way, but in a more legitimately philosophical sort of way. You really do often chafe at classic class based structure. Just to be clear though… in addition to being a practicing egalitarian… you are without any doubt, a filthy commy bastard.

        3. Discourse. A constant on this site. In this respect, this post is like most others here. You invite the discussion. You layout the info, proffer some sort of thesis, and invite not only hits, or comments, but actual discussion of your assertions. Agreement with the assertions of the source article is often NOT relevant (except where Absurde is concerned… that cat agrees with EVERYTHING EVERYBODY SAYS!). The discussions often drift far afield of the artical… but that is why they are discussions and not debates or lessons. The exchanges we have are not remotely bound to the start point. They drift in the direction that the participants choose. You not only allow that, but you encourage it in the way you run this dive. It kills me… if this were a bar, you would say that the sign saying “restrooms” was just a recommendation, and that guests should feel free to piss into the spittoons or onto the plastic potted plants! And then rowntRee does just that, Absured tells him he should have pissed into an empty bottle, and Werewolff writes a limerick about it! Fucking kills me.

        4. Inclusion. You really do dig that nation tracking system. You KNOW I dig it. Your international approach is not THE focus of your blog, but it is A focus which you never give up on. It is difficult to attract active participants from the international community, but you do OK. Your dedication to this effort is manifest, again, in your selections for MOC Highlight posts, FNF, and indeed, in your own rhetoric across this site. Other sites do OK in this regard, but it is generally by default. They are mostly larger, better known, and builders from across the world often regard being posted by them as a measure of success. NOT QUITE THE CASE HERE… in our muddy little pueblo on the edge of the digital world. You have to go out and recruit them… and you do! Much to the benefit of this blogs myopic and generally northern american population. Some small number of builders have actually chosen to come here on their own… but many more, from distant points are here due to your continued outreach. Also… Absured, I had you pegged as being from Quebec. What the hell do I know? The international deal is only one aspect of the deeper value you place on inclusion. Again, it’s that deep running social justice tick of yours. The way you set up the writing contest? All commers! Open mic night. You got stones? Then dip them in ink and write! (OK… not totally the image I was going for, but in this place? Close enough). You show no regard for past laurels, popularity, or proven skill. Just get on the track, wait for the gun shot, and go! That is profoundly inclusive.

        This is a good post that talks about a good year. It’s typical of your style. Your personal style, the way you run this div, is the only thing that keeps it from collapsing into just another slowly collapsing ruin on the long dusty road to Madrid… because god knows… it’s certainly not the quality of the writing, or the sites staggering popularity!

        I wish all of us a happy new year!

        Feliz ano nuevo!



      2. “You got stones? Then dip them in ink and write!” Yeah, I’m gonna ignore all the nice things you said and get to the important stuff you try and slip in, unnoticed.

        Okay, I’ll also give you points for this rhetorical gem, I think it perfectly encapsulates the blog and I might have to add it to the “about the blog” section:

        “if this were a bar, you would say that the sign saying “restrooms” was just a recommendation, and that guests should feel free to piss into the spittoons or onto the plastic potted plants! And then rowntRee does just that, Absured tells him he should have pissed into an empty bottle, and Werewolff writes a limerick about it! Fucking kills me.”


      3. There once was a matt from Nantucket
        who pissed on a plant in a bucket.
        Absurde gave him a glass
        saying he should show some class.
        matt replied, “It’s just the Manifesto. Fuck it.”

        I’ll show my way out.


  6. What a year! Great article Keith, though I think Rutherford’s already (extensively) covered anything I could reasonably say. I’ll get to writing the limerick, if you’d like 😀

    Also really interesting to see all the data and statistics. Really helps put the whole year in a different light, and just goes to show how diverse this community of readers really is (seriously, even one guy in Kenya’s read the blog)! Gotta say though, I was honestly shocked when I saw my name on the top ‘gasbag’ list. Did not expect that to happen!

    Another interesting read was the most popular articles, and I’ll admit I was pleased to see Mr. Van Cleave take the top spot! Not just for the great article that served as my own introduction to the blog, but for the light it shone on the issue of constructive criticism on models and builds. Gave me a lot of helpful advice for moving forward in the ABOL community 🙂

    Once again, a fantastic article for a fantastic blog. Really looking forward to the year to come!


  7. Laughing at Matt’s poetry skills so hard right now. Great way to usher out the old year. It is neat to see where the Manifesto is at, if not for any particular reason, at least to imagine where it is headed. With the right guy at the wheel, I know there’s good stuff over the horizon.

    Thanks for the data, Keith. The Manifesto’s got nice curves.


    1. Don’t encourage him Caleb, please. He’ll probably insist on his own weekly poetry column and we’ll really be screwed. Glad you enjoyed the post and all the best in 2018! I hope we’ll continue to see you in the comments, if not the writer’s room.


  8. Is there any way that the internet can get rid of “likes”, “thumbs-up”, and “favorites”? I think that is my most hated feature on any website. I’ve never done it or really understood it. It is a cheap and lazy way of interacting. I’d prefer to get one comment to 1,000 “likes” when I post anything on Flickr. The fact that you have tons of comments and very few “likes” makes me like this blog even more. The people here are more interactive and I think make this blog unique among the LEGO blogs or just blogs in general.


  9. Damn, I can only imagine most of those Japan views are from me. I may or may not have had an unhealthy obsession of reloading the page every day during that autumn hiatus.

    Anyway, here’s to another great year. Really happy with what we’ve done here so far and the direction we’re continuing.


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