Nahm’sayin?: Getting to the Bottom of It
The Link Investigates Our Most Read Article
Why so much traffic? Was the article linked somewhere in a Wikipedia article about anal prolapses? Did Vice have it linked in their article on the same topic? Was it part of some reddit thread? Did perhaps Concordia’s health services have it linked on their site, you know, just in case a student needed the information? Photo Carl Bindman
There’s a mystery haunting The Link.
I’ve long wondered, but having been unable to find the answer, I often just prefer to pretend that I’ve forgotten.
But the haunting won’t stop until I get the answers. Let me explain.
It all started sometime after Sept. 4, 2012. As part of a former Linkie’s column Sex and Pancakes that answered readers’ questions about sex, an article was published on the topic of anal prolapses.
“I have a question regarding a most unfortunate incident I recently saw in a pornographic film,” it begins, from a reader who called themselves Butthurt Bottom.
“In the film, a woman was being anally penetrated doggy style by a rather well endowed man. At one point, the man pulls completely out of her, and, in the process, takes her intestines with him. I do believe this is called an anal prolapse and I’m scared of it happening to me. I love being anally penetrated, so tell me, what am I to do?”
Titled “Total Prolapse of the Butt,” a play on Bonnie Tyler’s hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” the article goes on to explain what anal prolapses are—ultimately assuring Butthurt Bottom that anal prolapses are quite rare.
But for some reason, it’s also our most read article. On a weekly basis, it gets the most traffic, and it’s extremely rare that on any given week another article surpases it in page hits. Our site has a feature that lets us see what’s being read in live time, and there’s almost always someone reading it when I go and look.
Since being published, it’s gained over 34,600 hits, but it was only after Sept. 6, 2015 that the article really went off the charts. 34,600 hits is a big deal, considering that as an independent student publication we tend to get an average of 30,000 to 40,000 page hits per month.
This September, an article about Concordia Student Union executives accepting gifts and being accused of conflict of interest at a council meeting surpassed the “Total Prolapse of the Butt” article. It was something our masthead had never seen before. If that’s not a barometer of success, I don’t know what is.
Why is this the case? I wanted to get to the bottom of this—no pun intended.
Was the article linked somewhere in a Wikipedia article about anal prolapses? Did Vice have it linked in their article on the same topic? Was it part of some reddit thread? Did perhaps Concordia’s health services have it linked on their site, you know, just in case a student needed the information?
My hypotheses were incorrect. Google analytics shows us this isn’t the case.
Less than 600 of the views on the article come from links on external sites. The majority of the views actually come from search engines like Google. Our site stays afloat not because of our constant dedication, but actually only because there’s a sizeable number of concerned people on the internet googling about rectal things falling out, apparently.
But I’m still not satisfied. Why was the article ignored until Sept. 6, 2015? I wonder, did my research really lead me anywhere? Or am I still face to face with the unresolved, an impenetrable fog? Why even try? And what if it’s not even real humans going to the link, what if it’s just porn robots?
That’s the issue with journalism. Great journalism strives to ask the important questions, the tough questions, the very very meaningful questions. It strives to get to the bottom of things. We all strive to reach the truth, but we’re constantly faced with limits. There are limits to our knowledge. Sometimes the answer, and its shape, remain obscure to both the author and the reader.
And what if it’s not even real humans visiting the page. What if it’s just porn robots?
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