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5.6.03

Kevin Drum has a post up about which blogs have comment features, spinning off a comment that JoeF left on Matt Yglesias, saying that left-wing bloggers are more likely to have comments than right-wing ones. Kevin says that sounds right, given five of the top six lefties have comments, whereas only one of the six top righties do. The comments section on the post is full of anecdotal evidence and hypotheses to explain it (including that old canard "liberals are open-minded and want to hear multiple perspectives, but conservatives don't"). I, however, was interested in getting some data.

In an earlier post, Kevin linked to a map of the blogosphere. I decided to use this as my sample, since it did the work of classifying blogs into left and right for me (since I don't read many of them regularly). I visited all the sites and tallied up how many had comments. On the left, 22 out of 42 blogs (52%) had comments. On the right, 21 out of 34 (62%) have comments. So it seems JoeF's impression is incorrect.

Caveats:
1. Usual concerns about the problems of a one-dimensional left-right political spectrum.
2. Any methodological concerns affecting the blog map (both in terms of representativeness and in terms of left/right classification) carry over to my analysis.
3. The map listed LGF twice for some reason, but I only counted it once.
4. The map listed a blog called "SSDB: My Precious" which I was unable to locate, so I left it out.
5. I used a "one blog, one vote" technique, but depending on what you want to make of this data, an analysis weighted by number of hits/day might be more appropriate.

UPDATE: 1. I forgot to add a sixth caveat, which is that a blog using an external commenting service such as Yaccs or Haloscan may have appeared not to have comments when I visited, as the comments links sometimes won' appear if the host site is screwy (I've noticed this happening on my site a number of times).
2. For whatever reason, I can't open my own comment boxes (or those of anyone else using Yaccs) from this computer. I can read the comments by logging in to Yaccs (so go ahead and post), but be aware that I can't reply.

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