A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2018 Feb 26, 09:30 -0800
Brad Morris, you asked:
"Instead of a lament about a "quiet month", of greater interest would be those topics which generated the extraordinary traffic evident in your chart. That is, the chart shows a few spikes of very high traffic. It looks to be sbout 5 or 6 real spikes. What caused those? What were the hot topics?"
Not a lament, Brad. A descriptive observation! :) Fortunately, this topic title has generated enough conversation to save us from the lowest traffic in seven years --which could easily have happened. We beat that record, which was set nine months ago, this morning, and with more than two days to go in this short month, it will only end as a "quiet" month, not a stunningly quiet month. As I noted in my earlier post, there is no apparent decline in the long-term average sense.
You asked about those very active months. The general rule is that conversation generates conversation. In other words, it grows geometrically as sub-threads are spawned from one center of activity. That much is obvious, of course, but what's the center that generates all this activity? That "center" is not necessarily a "hot topic". Instead it's often a "hot" new arrival to the group. Someone new will find NavList and contribute questions and ideas on a dozen topics. Eager NavList regulars will reply with basic answers, suggestions, and extended essays. New conversations are spawned. Details get hashed out. It's all quite lively! And then the initial enthusiasm from the newcomer winds down within a few months. Questions have been answered. New ideas peter out...
Celestial navigation has a lot of little details to explore. It can keep a navigation enthusiast busy for years. But folks often get their fill and move on to a new pursuit. The key is "new blood". And this is true anywhere. If you run a restaurant, regulars are nice to have, but they either become fixtures with bad habits and a sense of entitlement, or they drift away (for any of a thousand reasons outside the restaurateur's control). You can't live on the business of regulars. New customers are essential to a restaurant's survival. It's similar here... It's not that NavList needs new blood in February of 2018. NavList needs new blood every month of every year.