I've noticed a BIG DECLINE of the postings on DP. Have you? Even an article like this has only received about 30 posts. THAT is LOW.
If by "posts" you mean "comments", then I agree. It seems to me that commenting on top stories - defined as those which have been "stickied" to the front page -- has been down. But where you cite potential self-censorship out of concern for government monitoring, I disagree, and think there is a likely alternative explanation. It springs from my own experience here at DP. To wit:
My own habit when I visited DP has always been the following:
1) Look at the most viewed articles (prominently displayed on landing page)
2) Look at Top Recent Topics (right side of landing page)
3) Look at Active Forum Topics (also on the right side of landing page, below Top Recent Topics)
Rarely, if ever, did I explore beyond these 3 sections.
Recently, however, a lot of my posts began being "picked" to be "stickied" to the front page (something I've been flattered by, to be sure). But in the process, I noticed that this apparently removed my posts from "Top Recent Topics." And I realized this was happening for the others which had been "stickied" to the front page as well. It was apparent, then, to me, that this had caused many of them to be viewed less, which is obviously quite contrary to the purpose of being "picked" to be a featured post, and therefore something worth examining further.
So if my viewing habit is any indication -- and having had the experience of hearing from and witnessing first-hand the work of Tom Tullis, a former NASA scientist who now works on web design for Fidelity Investments, I really think it is -- then browsing habits, which include certain predispositions that are common among internet users, dramatically impact what is viewed and why, and I think the "stickied" featured posts no longer counting among the "Top Recent Topics" has a lot to do with it.
Of course, one must also consider that there's a lot going on all at once, especially on this site, and there is a confluence of factors that influence which posts get the most views, and subsequently, the most comments.
Where they are featured, for how long, and their rating are certainly among them. But so, too, on the other hand, are how many prominent and important stories there are at the same time; the preferences of the users of the site; the reputation of the poster; and the context included with the post itself, which illuminates the importance/relevance of the story.
In the end, there are no silver bullets or easy answers. But for me, the biggest factor for stories which truly deserve more exposure and otherwise meet all the criteria which this audience expects, but still fall short of what one might expect in terms of response, is the disappearance of it after being pulled from "Top Recent Topics" in favor of being stickied to the front... even as that is intended to increase exposure.
Just my two cents. Or ten... cuz it's kinda lengthy. lol. My apologies.
And, though it needn't be said I'll say it anyway: In spite of any perceived shortcomings along these lines, the site is still among my top resources for news, bar none; and I imagine it is likewise for most.
Want DP delivered to your inbox daily? Subscribe here: