Who Knew There Was a Law to Explain My Obsession with WordPress Stats

Sayre’s Law states: “In any dispute, the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake.” By way of corollary, it adds: “That is why academic politics are so bitter.”

Sayre’s law is named after Wallace Stanley Sayre (1905–1972), U.S. political scientist and professor at Columbia University.

The quote is often attributed to Henry Kissinger. He was questioned once about where he acquired his facility for political intrigue. He replied that he had learned it all as a college professor. Academic politics, he said, is so bitter precisely because the stakes are so small.

It neatly sums up my obsession with checking my WordPress stats constantly throughout the day.

The intensity of feeling I have for those stats is inversely proportional to both how small the numbers are, and any inherent value they have.

So it seems as if the solution to checking my stats way too often is to simply get more views, likes, and comments and I’ll be able to wean myself away from them.

But since that’s not likely to happen, it looks like I’m in for a lifetime of checking my stats again, and again, and again.

P.S. Sayre’s Law may also explain what drew me towards academia…

*image from Wired

40 thoughts on “Who Knew There Was a Law to Explain My Obsession with WordPress Stats

      1. Hm… it drained me, so I had to learn to ignore it. I’m bidding my time until I see that perfect stats… which probably will never happen 😂

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  1. I had written in a notebook and did not share my work for many years. I was happy just to write. But when I decided to share my work, and did so on a platform that had stats so readily available, I became a little obsessed too. Before, I had no measure of the quality or value of my work. And then, I had this way of knowing if something resounded with the readers. Stats will never be the deciding factor in when, how, or why I write, but they keep me going sometimes because they are the only visible return on my investment of time and effort. I would argue that anyone who is posting their work here, is doing so because they want their words read. And how do you know if anyone is listening? Stats!

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  2. I totally get where you’re coming from! When I first started blogging I was constantly checking my stats and notifications but over time I decided that I was only going to check them a certain number of times in a day and that’s helped reduce my weird stats obsession.

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  3. My obsession with my wordpress stats is also inverted to the number of readers. Strangely, last week views from Turkey were my highest. I wonder if that’s because I mentioned Erdogan may well be a compulsive liar??? That only just occurred to me. No wonder there have been helicopters overhead lately…

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    1. I guess we are members of the same club, and we aren’t the only members apparently. I think controversial statements like yours about Erdogan probably boost readership. And keep an eye on those helicopters – I hope it’s not your neighbors with a new way to bother you 🙂

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      1. My neighbours may read my blog. They now keep their back gates permanently open. He has told the council that it doesn’t impede my access. How does he know?He’s never tried to get in. On the other side of my gates, outside, is raised garden with a 3 foot brick wall. On the opposite side of the lane is a small house which just prevents reversing straight in. So to be at an angle when reversing between the wall and his 4ft wide gate is impossible. It was a challenge before he kept his gate open.

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      2. It is. However, I have communicated my complaint as it has morphed’ to the ombudsman. The council aren’t interested and the letting agent doesn’t care. I have never encountered such selfishness. No one else along the lane keeps their gates open, they don’t own the land or rent it either.

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      3. I have to trust that he or she will. I’m hoping there will a decision that makes their tenants as accountable as those in social housing are. No one should be able to cause a nuisance like this, and be a law unto themselves.

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