Measuring the Influence of NRx Bloggers

The great ‘news drought’ continues…the news and blogging cycle has become moribund as of late, with many bloggers not posting as much, if at all. Then you have the usual hype, and journalists spinning their wheels about small matters, trying to evoke reactions out of readers to boost pageviews. I’d really hate to be a columnist because you’re still contractually required to write even when there’s nothing going on. There’s a story about Trump and some supposedly ‘racist’ comments he made about judge (read Ann Coulter’s take). Paul Ryan is virtue signaling by denouncing Trump, but Ryan has no clout anymore anyway. This is Trump’s show. And then there is the ‘brexit’, which for months Wall St. ignored until only last week when the European markets took a dive on growing concerns that ‘exit’ would win. It’s weird how no one seemed to care that much until only last week.

One question I have pondered is how can the influence, more specifically the intellectual influence, of a blogger be measured? A common way is traffic, but this is hard to determine because such stats are often only available to the blogger. However, the number of comments can give some clue to as to the amount of traffic. Second, another estimate is the number of links, blogroll, and or link-roundup mentions for said blogger. But the problem is this is only a snapshot, and far from the full picture. The number of bloggers is substantially smaller than the total number of people who read and comment about NRx/alt-right topics. A more accurate system is needed, to take into account this large readership.

One idea is to look at comment mentions – whether on social media, forums, and other blogs – for references of ideas pertaining to specific bloggers. If a blogger’s ideas are influential, we would expect a lot of mentions of such ideas on these discussion communities.

Moldbug, who stopped blogging a couple years, is still clearly is number one in this regard; his ideas and posts are frequently cited in forums and discussions, some of his most popular posts being Gentle Introduction, How Dawkins Got Pwned, and Sam Altman not a Blithering Idiot.

A very distant second is Nick Land. I occasionally see mentions of ‘accelerationism’ and ‘increasing entropy’, which are concepts he originated, as well as his 2010 opus The Dark Enlightenment.

An even more distant third is Foseti (who also stopped blogging), The Future Primeval (a highly pacifist take on NRx, run by Warg Franklin and Harold lee), ‘Jim’s blog’, and , I think, Spandrel (Bloody Shovel). But third place isn’t saying much though; I can count most citations with one hand and still sometimes have fingers left over.

Not sure if Scott should be included, since he’s not really a reactionary, but if he were he would fall somewhere around second place, as his hugely influential 2014 article I Can Tolerate Anything Except The Outgroup is still being cited.

Forth place is too insignificant to mention.

I estimate there are about fifty or so ‘alt-right/NRx’ blogs. By this new system of tracking comments and mentions, of these fifty, unfortunately, the depressing reality if very few have much influence. There are many brilliant bloggers (brilliant not only in an IQ sense, but also having a broad repertoires of knowledge) that I have yet to see cited. They write great posts and have great ideas, but I very seldom, if ever, see them mentioned in comments and general community discussion.

Also, it almost certainly helps to be early, as the most cited bloggers began writing about NRx in 2013, and that ‘early mover’ advantage carries through even many years later.

Another reason for this large disparity is because ideas, even great ones, are a dime a dozen. Despite the doom and gloom and hype about ‘dumbing down‘, the world, specifically America, is saturated with smart people and good ideas, and the internet has vastly enlarged the ‘marketplace’ of ideas, resulting in vastly more supply than demand can keep up, and hence unfortunately a lot of good ideas that don’t get as much attention as they deserve. Of the 200 million American adults, according to the normal distribution, 10 million have an IQ above 120, which is quite a lot of smart people – enough to fill 167 stadiums. Against ‘dumbing down’, there is also evidence High school was actually easier 60 years ago, and nowadays it seems everyone is taking AP courses and studying college-level work in high school.