Crawl Across the Ocean

Monday, April 25, 2005

Were #32! - and #58

Via #21, Capitalist pig vs. Socialist Swine, in turn via #1 (and #23 and #24) Warren Kinsella, check out this link for a much more interesting honours project than I ever undertook while I was in school.

As I understand it, the author, Wayne Chu, wrote a webcrawler (a computer program which roams around the web following links from site to site) consisting of essentially 3 parts: a module to validate whether a site was a blog or not, an algorithm for proceeding from one blog to the blogs it is linked to, and an iterative formula for ranking blogs - and then he set the crawler loose in the Canadian blogosphere.

The appendix in the report contains a list of the top #100 Canadian political blogs according to his crawler. Based on the top #100, it seems like the crawler had the good sense not to venture too deeply into the Conservative side of the blogosphere, and as Wayne admits in the paper, the blog validator could use some tweaking as the odd newspaper article snuck through. Plus, some simple de-duping (like google's 'omitted similar search results') might clean up the list.

But don't let my quibbles give you the wrong impression, this paper is really quite an excellent piece of work and well worth a read. And I'm not just saying that because it ranked CAtO ahead of both Coyne and Wells... (I'm guessing the crawler didn't like Wells since, when it comes to following links to Canadian political blogs, he's a bit of a dead end, sort of a blogospheric black hole, many links go in but none come out, you get the picture).

Speaking of Wells, his last post on the relatively small size of the corporate tax cut which the NDP is demanding that the Liberals repeal in exchange for their support of the budget, is a good one. Even though his description of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives as a "strictly and scrupulously non-partisan" organization, while tongue in cheek, still makes me want to reconsider my membership in the Alliance of non-partisan bloggers. Any club that would have Tom D'Aquino as a member is one I'd rather not join.

Did I mention we're #32?



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I know, enough meta-blogging. I'll get back to policy soon, I promise.

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3 Comments:

  • im a political science undergraduate (read: CLUELESS HACK), so i might be out of place questioning computer science methodology, but i think my ranking of 26 is inflated. having calgary grit as one of the first blogs might have skewed the results, no? perhaps one of those 'old flag 4 lyfe, homies' tories should have been included as well. secondly, i think my position in the rankings was propped up by reciproal links in both the initial blogs.

    at any rate, his search engine is cool. seems effective. really, the 100 top bloggers thing is a fun appendix... the real interesting side of this is the actual project.

    By Blogger angela, at 3:58 PM  

  • Nah I wouldn't say you're a clueless hack - at least not based on this comment :)

    The results did seem inflated for those blogs directly linked by the CalgaryGrit.

    And you're also right that the real story is the cool project - I just couldn't resist putting some faux-Blog triumphalism into my post.

    By Blogger Declan, at 11:46 PM  

  • Declan,

    It looks like from your citations that you went through a bit of a web crawl yourself to credit everyone. I also agree with your's and Angela's assessments. There's no way in Hell that my little 'blog even compares to Inkless Wells or numerous other 'blogs that were either lower on the list or not on the list at all.

    -Socialist Swine

    By Blogger Socialist Swine, at 11:51 PM  

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