Happy Birthday! Looking back at a year of GMMaS.

Well, folks. It’s hard to believe, but Go Make Me a Sandwich is officially a year old today.  When I first started writing this blog, I never imagined that I would acquire the kind of audience I now have. I honestly thought that I would be doing the internet equivalent of ranting crazily in the wildnerness, so I was pleased and astonished and even a little scared when this thing took off the way it did.

I started this blog as someone new to feminism and social justice issues and wound up trying to educate myself in a hurry when the popularity of this blog took off. (Sometimes I still feel like I’m faking it.) I’m very proud of some of the stuff that I’ve written, but at the same time I’ve said some pretty ignorant and problematic stuff too. (Though I’ve repented of some of my earlier positions and I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better as time went by.) So I thought this would be a good opportunity to look back at my experiences of writing this blog and some of the things that I’ve learned. This will probably wind up being two or three posts, depending on how much rambling I wind up doing.

First up: Traffic stats

Today’s post makes post #130, which means in the last year I have averaged one post every 3 days or so. I realize my posting frequency has fallen off in the last month, and that average is being spoiled by the frequency with which I posted while I was unemployed earlier in the year. But as I did do my best not to post filler, I’d say about 95% of the posts were actual content. Considered in that light, It’s pretty amazing to consider how many words I’ve put to virtual paper on this subject. (I did try to get a total word count on this blog that didn’t include comments, but I haven’t found a great way to do that yet. If anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears.)

Now recently, I’ve been freaking out quietly over social networks that I recently passed 300,000 views on my WordPress blog – an astonishing feat when you consider that I switched from Blogger to WordPress less than six months ago. What I neglected to remember is that there was still a substantial amount of traffic to the old Blogger iteration of GMMaS in those first few months after the switch. Even now, the old links out there mean that the Blogger site still gets a decent amount of traffic. So when I put the traffic numbers for Blogger together with the numbers for WordPress, the result was even more shocking than I’d thought it was:

Don't forget that this October is only 2/3 over. It'll probably be a drop-off from August and September, but not by as much as it looks like now.

…holy shit, people. At the time of writing this post, Go Make Me A Sandwich has gotten 564,834 views. That’s… astounding. Especially when you look at the average number of views per day:

Again, numbers for October 2011 are as yet incomplete.

Now all of this is averaging out the traffic spikes that tended to happen when I would talk about something particularly controversial. If I were a more cynical person who only cared about page views, I would have devoted this blog to talking only about gaming conventions, D&D, Paizo, Wizards of the Coast, and BioWare. The two largest traffic spikes I saw were in response to my series of posts about Mass Effect and my later series of posts about GenCon, with the largest single day number of views (6,347) happening right in the middle of my series of posts about Mass Effect. From the comments left here and following track-back links, it was pretty easy to establish that the really big traffic spikes tended to be mostly trolls. I came to dread any traffic spike that happened because of Reddit and very quickly learned to never follow trackback links to Reddit.

Seriously. It’s just a bad idea.

Most viewed posts and most-commented posts, some interesting differences

When you look at the numbers for posts with the most views, the subject matter is pretty diverse and wide-ranging:

Female characters done right: FemShep (Spoilers, of course)
A belated look at gamer Valentines: the good, the questionable, the pathetic
Industry artist fail: Hyung Tae Kim (so VERY VERY nsfw!)
In his words: why Jim Sterling is, in fact, very sexist
Porn as advertising (really NSFW)
League of Legends: SO MUCH character design fail
Industy artist fail: Wayne Reynolds (at least he’s not as bad as HTK)
Paizo: Thanks for not being full of race fail, but…
Et tu Nintendo?
TERA: competing with Bayonetta for the sluttiest women still wearing clothes?

I wasn’t particularly surprised to see one of my BioWare posts came out on top. What I was surprised to see was that half of these were about non-video-game-related fail, considering this blog does skew pretty heavily toward video games. I am particularly encouraged to see that my first post about Jim Sterling comes in at number 4. I’m very proud of the fact that that post is the number five Google result for “Jim Sterling”, and while I doubt it will ever affect his career I can at least take comfort in the fact that he’ll have a hard time explaining that to people outside the gaming community who ever feel like Googling him.

Also, I’ll note that number 10 there probably made it into the top 10 because there was quite a flap here and over other blogs about my use of the word slut. Yes I know it’s terrible. I’ve since repented its use and have stopped using it, as well as others of its ilk. I have mixed feelings about that post, because as problematic as the title was, I really was proud of the post itself (not the least of which because I got to make the nerdiest pun ever). Still, I’m leaving the title as is because I feel like changing it would just be dishonest.

Now interestingly, the list of most-commented posts doesn’t really have a lot of overlap with the list of most-viewed:

Some gaming news WTF: Eternal Light trailer; Duke Nukem Forever not sexist?
Female characters done right: FemShep (Spoilers, of course)
Industry artist fail: Hyung Tae Kim (so VERY VERY nsfw!)
New comment policy is coming
Why I don’t want Shelly Mazzanoble to represent female D&D players
Bayonetta and the Male Gaze
Photos from GenCon 2011: Part 1 of 2
League of Legends: SO MUCH character design fail
On the word slut: a rambling response long overdue

Given the previously-mentioned flap about my use of the word slut, again not too surprised about #10 there. What is surprising is that there’s a group of people more vocal than BioWare fans: Hyung Tae Kim fans. Despite the fact that I say pretty much the same stuff in my post on Blade and Soul as I do in the original post about HTK, the post still got dog-piled with comments. So that was pretty surprising.

Also surprising is the fact that the #4 most commented post was a post on how I wasn’t going to tolerate trolls anymore and was going to start moderating comments. I mean, honestly I don’t think that saying I don’t want to put up with people calling me fat/ugly/crazy/fascist/all of the above is controversial. Nor do I see the controversy in saying I don’t want to put up with people telling me that I should kill myself. But apparently, this being the internet, it was controversial to want to feel like my own blog is a safe space. So, go figure.

What I am not at all surprised at, though, is the fact that my post about DNF blows all of the others out of the water for comment volume. The comment thread for that post was pretty much a microcosm of all internet discussion of sexism ever, with some sane and rational discussion being drowned out by angry trolls, defensiveness, and flailing at strawmen. Which leads us to…

Trolls: a frightening reality of blogging while female

But instead of trying to cram that in, I’ll make that a post of its own, along with lessons learned and where to go from here.

23 thoughts on “Happy Birthday! Looking back at a year of GMMaS.

  1. There is a certain amount of calm to be found when simply ranting out in the wilderness, also less police officers.

    Intrigued to read your next article.

    GG on potentially spiking Jim Sterling πŸ™‚

    • Well, since we’re reflecting on your blog I’d like to add…

      You made me really ‘get’ feminism. I’ve known what feminism was for a very long time. I was familiar with the arguments for and against. I’ve written essays for and against. But it was always just a stock stance. Need to write an essay about a film and haven’t got much time to develop it? Just write it from a ‘feminist perspective’! It’s simple and easy!

      The very fact that you get upset, that you rant and you rave, made me understand that feminism is more than a stock argument for academics. I know that your tone has been criticised before, and will be in future, but it was precisely your tone that made me get why feminism is relevant to real life. Because sexist portrayals upset you and, I eventually realized, upset me too. They matter, and therefore so does feminism.

      So don’t change your tone. Rational arguments are all very well and good, but they lack… meaning, I guess. πŸ™‚

      Ok, I got the sappy out of my system! Cheers!

    • I looked into a submission form, but sadly the free wordpress service doesn’t really have any great solutions to that problem. But yeah, I hadn’t heard of this and… Yeah, that’s pretty awful. /facepalm

      • It’s not a great solution, but could you make a post dedicated to submissions, and link to it in the About section of your sidebar? It wouldn’t be that hard to find, and it seems like a better option than having people post in whatever post is most recent regardless of whether it’s relevant. (I’ve sent stuff through email, but it’s not that easy to find if you don’t know how to view profile pages, and I know you’d prefer that not to be easier to find than it needs to be =/ )

  2. Happy Birthday! Who’d of thunk randomly googling “feminist Otaku” to see if they exist, and clicking on a referral to “a blog that exposes sexism in the video game industry – but it’s funny, too!” would turn into a regular read for me where I “gasp” actually comment in.
    Keep doing what you do best.
    (So, for a blog called “Go Make Me a Sandwich,” do you still make/buy a birthday cake, or do you make something else… Sandwich cake?)

    • Glad to hear you’re enjoying things. If you like feminist otaku blogs, might I also recommend Gagging on Sexism? It’s not completely otaku, but there are quite a large number of posts about manga and anime that are good reads. (The most recent post is an interesting take on Sakura from Naruto.)

      (And no, I’m not that into baking, really. Though the idea of sandwich cake is pretty intriguing…)

      • Actually, I’m not an otaku, but I have friends who are female who enjoy anime, and that seemed contradictory to me considering… a lot of stuff anime is known for. So I did a google search, and here I am.

        On a related note, I did read in an article somewhere that argued the reason there are a lot of female anime fans is that the anime community is more open to females than the tabletop gaming/ videogaming community (Wish I had the link, sorry). Made a lot more sense after reading your blog for a while.

        Still, thanks for taking the trouble of posting the link. Maybe I’ll show it to a friend.

  3. OK so for a human being the standard response to a birthday is a celebration and gifts. What is the standard response for a blogs birthday?

    • Also keep up the good work as both wundergeek (your female character online) and Raelcun (your male character online).

  4. Happy Burfday! Very glad you are out in the world and doing what you do. It’s been great to see more people come to understand feminism and it’s role in our games/culture. You’re doing a bang up job- thanks!

  5. OK the new trailer for hearth of the swarm is out this is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG_3R9BoVvg

    I already mentioned this once before but The Hearth of the Swarm as it is Kerrigan’s tale has me interested (she has free will for the first time since she was forced into the ghost program and she is now a full Teran/Zerg hybrid) and worried (Nova is Kerrigan’s oposite in character and story and yet there is a part of me that is only thinkin they are going to make this a cat fight or one of them will be a one-dimensional character) at the same time so could you help me out a bit here and take a look at the new trailer and give your opinion of it and what caught your eye in it.

    And yes in this reply I am talking to wundergeek not the blog.

  6. Hey Wundergeek, you’re an illustrator right? I understand that you’re very busy, but it might be fun to try to sum up the year in one big epic picture. Femshop standing triumphant over Samara or Duke Nukem. Bayonetta wearing proper clothing (the more formal, the more hilarious) Gender swamping, sexy Abe, trolls, failing autonomy being corrected, strategically placed “Click here to play” signs, card/tabletop/video games, studio executives looking confused at a sign that says “How not to sell games to woman” ect. It might even make a good wallpaper or new border for the blog. Or, maybe one of your fans reading this might jump at the challenge.

    Just a thought. I can dream can’t I?

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