In my youth I wandered the long plastic hallways where thieves and pimps run free, and one thing always gave grown men and women pause for thought: what did the public make of their offerings? Sophisticated measurements like the Audience Appreciation Index were pored over for signs of impact, which were often found. Then some wag had the bright idea of installing a small TV camera in the TV set, watching them, watching us. Those same grown men and women were, it is said, reduced to tears. Empty sofas sat watching the box. Couples snogged. Families fought over the remote. They read magazines, picked their noses, played with the dog, did anything but watch the programmes they appreciated so. 1

The point being, it is hard to know what people think of something when all you do is ask them to tell you or, worse, don’t even ask them.

I’m reminded of this by something that happened over at the other blog. We got an email from a friend and reader pointing out that the link to “a popular post specifically chosen for your delight” did not work. Indeed, it did not. It was bust.2 Trivially, but bust nevertheless. And as I fixed it, and wondered how long it might have been so -- probably about six months, I think, since a bout of housekeeping. I was forced to conclude that it was probably a waste of space having the link. We put it there in a fit of self-interest, hoping that some of the hordes we planned to attract from blog carnivals here and there would welcome a tasty little tidbit to gnaw on and would stay around for further helpings.

Either they never used it, or they couldn’t be bothered to tell us it was broken. Both entirely understandable. But not very encouraging.

  1. I’m pretty sure this was dealt with in one of the famous MacTaggart Lectures, but alas I cannot remember by whom or when.  

  2. 2021-10-11: And it is still bust, of course, because we removed its back end. 

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