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Iraqi Head Seeks Arms. > Criticism > An apology for posting website statistics. (11-13-03)
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An apology for posting website statistics.

Richard Tebrick, Moderator of Moderation

In the spirit of further moderator-generated exploration into the phenomenom that is, let me posit a few things, after the style of my friend Daniel Beckmann.

Background: I was reading Beckmann’s newest, the anti-plagarism thing, for which the front-page box contains also a link to the complete web usage statistics for From the early days, has purported a sensibility of “NO ZERO-SUM GAINS” and “NON-HEINOUS SELF PROMOTION”. I admit, I was nervous. What is the point of posting the web-site traffic statistics on the site itself? Is this heinous self-promotion? Are we bragging?

Tangent One: You are probably aware that on September 11, 2001, a fundamentalist terrorist group executed a plan to make a symbolic attack on the political and financial epicenters of the USA, and, by extension, their imperialist and inhumane policies worldwide. Not funny, just plain mean. You may or may not be aware that there is fairly good evidence to support that our representatives at the highest levels of government probably could have done more to prevent this. (Link to an article in the Toronto Star, fyi. There are plenty of places to procure this information, however, choose your favorite non-governmentally cock-blocked media outlet.) Caveat emptor.

This terrorist attack was subsequently used for a variety of unconstitutional acts by the high level adminstration of the American government. Perhaps the most evil and unethical act ever perpetrated on the citizenship of the United States, the USA PATRIOT Act, (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) falls under this umbrella. Stormy weather.

The USA PATRIOT Act is a piece of legislation that takes away many of the rights given to American citizens by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The First Amendment runs like this: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” It is a swell idea, and has more or less worked at about a xx% rate of efficiency (this is a totally fictionalized statistic, insert your own number here between 10 and 90) since it’s inception.

Ok, what am I talking about here? Let’s get back to the infinitely interesting topic of website statistics, and why we post them. You may think I am going to suggest that we post them because we can. That would logically follow from the previous paragraphs. You would be wrong. That is not why we do it, but it is true. We can. That was, as I said, a tangent. I warned you, in the first paragraph, that I was going to write this in the style of Beckmann. I am scared to death of the USA PATRIOT act, and TOMARKEN, the anti-plagarism hovel of the internet, is allowed, legally, by law. For now. Also, we will not lie to you. The information is yours, as it is ours. is the anti-blog! It’s true. Blogs are lauded by many cultural critics, not the least of which Clay Shirky, as freedom’s answer to the new and stringent publishing guidelines informally imposed on the USA media galaxy. Blogs are informal, they talk about what people ate for dinner and what websites people visited. Many that I read talk about how to design websites or how technology is affecting sex. talks about what the contents of a Star-Crunch are, what a vaginal air-embolism is. TOMARKEN is a site that is dedicated to many of the same things that people might just write about in their weblog. But first, it is dedicated to another way of archiving information. I have claimed, previously, that is an information anthropology. It is indeed. It is a website that is maintained for two purposes:

  1. Building a community. You are part of So am I. Like it or not. To me, hearkens back to a world of local Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes) that I used to love. I knew every participant by their handle, and developed a strange and tenuous relationship with each of them. Some of them I really liked, some of them I really did not. It was kick ass. I felt like I was a part of something. I ran a BBS for several years, which died with the medium around the arrival of the first America On-Line suite. I feel the same way about many of the writers on, many of whom I have never met, and know only through their silly or smart articles. At most websites that are in any way similar to TOMARKEN, I really feel like I know only the major players, ops, moderators, etc. Dr. Yarrum is rad.
  2. Pointing out a way of writing. With the sheer volume of personal and community weblogs in the world, the information-glut, and the attention-span shortening, TOMARKEN is doing a couple of things nicely.
    • Adding to the information glut. This website was started with the point of being a veritable barrel of cryptic, overdetermined, articles, structured in a way that would promote only info-mishmash. That worked.
    • Maintaining the essay format. The only thing I can think about that requires more attention span than reading and participating in is reading Being and Time. No weblog entries to be seen.
    • NO INFORMATION EUGENICS! Formats breed continuity, breed complacency. is a dangerous lad!

Tangent Two: There is a pretty common feeling in the world of professional tennis analysis that once a great player (genius) gets married, he falls completely out of “The Zone” - meaning that marriage eradicates the chance for stardom. This hypothesis exists in many places, not just tennis, and has tested true in a lot of cases. Why? Basically, marriage requires a huge level of committment, and requires one to give a lot of themselves to another. For a genius at anything, this kind of giving is not readily available. In the instance that it is indeed given, the thing that once took up so much of one’s life falls back a pace, and at a high level of competition this can mean the difference between winning and qualifying. (Again, tennis is just a metaphor here, what I’m really talking about is…) is not married. is not particularly friendly with other websites. We don’t have an external community-base for link-trading, and other forms of henious self promotion. TOMARKEN is the anti-blog and the anti-news orginization. It is the underdog, good at something that almost nobody wants.

That is why you, loyal reader of, get website statistics. This is your website, and the wilderness is gathering, so to speak. There are more of us around the world than there have ever been before. It is against all odds that our format would succeed! You should know. The impossible crusade continues.

One Response to “An apology for posting website statistics.”
  1. Dr. Yarrum, on November 16th, 2003 at 9:36 pm, said:

    I am delighted to observe the resurgence of Tomarken with these two long defiant articles. But there is a persistent echo in back of my mind,

    “Sancho, my lance!
    I ain’t afraid of no fuckin’ windmills!”

    Your comrade in arms,
    Dr. Yarrum

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