A Few Harriet Statistics
Ten years ago, I ran a site for teenage girls with over 4 million registered users. We had at least a million teenage girls posting on our discussion boards, especially the poetry board. Every once in a while, we'd have to "bozo" one of the mean girl commenters, which meant she could keep on posting till she was blue in the face, but she was the only person who saw her posts.
For a minute there, when the Harriet comments section resembled a roller derby, we thought about bozo-ing a few of you. Instead, we thought we'd share a few Harriet statistics and pose a question.
Harriet accounts for about 3% of poetryfoundation.org traffic. Guess what gets the most traffic by a long shot? Love poetry. More on that in another post.
Here in our little Harriet pond, we had 39 blog posts in the month of March, which generated about 829 comments. About 30% of those comments where generated by just three people. We don't have hard data for how many people are on Harriet each month, but it's certainly more than three. Yet too often, it seems, the comments section devolves into a spitting contest between a small handful of people.
We'd love to hear what a conversation between a larger group of poetry lovers would sound like. To that end, we're going to be experimenting with the format of the comments section in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you have ideas for how to open up the discussion here, please feel free to share them.
Catherine Halley is the editor of JSTOR Daily, an online magazine that draws connections between current affairs, historical scholarship, and other content available on JSTOR, a digital library of scholarly journals, books, and primary sources. She is the former digital director of the Poetry Foundation, where she served as editor...