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Which words do you own?–Moon Topples March 26, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Blogs and Blogging, history, linguistics, Other, statistical analysis, tagging, vocabulary.

[Note: This is part of a continuing series on the actual vocabulary in use in the blogosphere.  Posts on this subject started here and continue even as I type this word.]

Despite Mr. Topples fears of not adding substantially to this database of words in use in the blogosphere, he brought 1,332 new words with his posts–not the record, but damn close.  Here’s a cloud made up of words that he and only he used of the nine blogs I have sampled thus far (click to enlarge image):


And here’s the other cloud diagram that shows, additionally, words that all other blogs so far have used but Mr. Topples did not, as well as words that all nine blogs used and Mr. Topples used more often (also click to enlarge).


The composition of both of these clouds is, I see, heavily influenced by the short-story contest that he ran, and some of the entries were included, since they were posted in time frame which included the sample.   The word vote is one such.  Words relating to vision, like eyes, and saw are also from that, I think.  I’m interested in the size of the word history, one of the words that everyone but Mr. Topples used.  Does this paint him as a thoroughly post-modern gen-xer?  I wonder.

I enjoyed putting together a story for that contest back when I was writing fiction.  I hope to resume doing so again soon.  So I’m now going to restrict these vocabulary of the blogosphere posts to once per week.  I know I said I’d do that before, but not I’m serious.   Really.

In related news, Anxious MoFo has developed a program in Perl now that samples words in a different but also interesting way.  Click here to bug him to reveal his coding secrets.

Finally, I’m still looking for a volunteer for the next sample.   If you’re interested, just let me know in the comment thread (so that others will know as soon as I get one). 


1. maht - March 26, 2007


Thanks much for including me in your study.

Sorry to disappoint you on the “history” front, but I did a search and found 13 separate posts which use the word, all of which are apparently from before the sampling began. Can you tell me which dates were used? And the sample size?

While I do think the Fiction Contest influenced the outcome, I only see a couple of words that I couldn’t recall using myself in the data, so I hope it isn’t too skewed. I assumed you were going to skip contest entries, as they are not technically a real part of my output, but they are a part of the blog itself, so I guess it does make sense.

A little weird that neither “moon” nor “topples” made my list, though. I wonder if that means anything. Oops, I just used “nor.”

It’s all about the sample, it seems. I am delighted to have added anything at all to the total. I’ll write up a post praising you and showing off my Venn diagram this evening.


2. caveblogem - March 26, 2007


I don’t have that stuff in front of me right now, I think it’s at work. But I’m pretty sure that I started your sample on Feb 6 and stopped last Friday. If I find that’s wrong I’ll let you know. For whatever reason, perhaps because I usually go somewhere over 20,000 to allow for mis-spellings and names and your page stopped with far more than that, I preserved more than 24,000 words as your sample. If I pulled out the contest entries that would leave somewhere around 12,000. I could pull those out and see if you added anything, but I suspect that you did anyway.

I didn’t want to look like I was picking and choosing the sample, but as you say, it does skew things, probably.

And there’s no need to praise me for this, Maht. I appreciate your willingness to participate. People seem so averse these days to being put under a microscope. Although I have to admit, I don’t have the slightest idea what I’m looking at. Kuipercliff just termed it “digital phrenology,” which is probably as good an analogy for this as any.

3. kuipercliff - March 27, 2007

Although I have to admit, I don’t have the slightest idea what I’m looking at.

Ah, it’s “early doors“, as we say in the UK.

Yet another fascinating entry, Mr C. “Tomorrow” is really that underused? That’s interesting – perhaps we bloggers are so wrapped up in our egos now that we sometimes forget things still can be put off until the morrow?

Any luck prying the secrets of Perl away from Anxious Mofo?

4. anxiousmofo - March 27, 2007

I have revealed my Perl hackery in this post.

5. Daniel Miessler - March 27, 2007

If you’re interested, I’d love to see what you come up with from my blog. I have to admit that I’m rather worried you’ll reveal a very weak command of the English language, but I’m curious nonetheless.



–Daniel Miessler

6. caveblogem - March 27, 2007

Mr. Miessler,

I’d be happy to do yours next. I’m asking for a link in exchange, (and will link to you as part of the project.)

7. Shameless - March 27, 2007

I came to you via Moon Topples, and wondered if you could include me in your research! I would love to exchange links, of course! WOuld French words count – there are the odd one or two – but I find this whole exercise fascinating. :)

8. caveblogem - March 27, 2007

Shameless, I’ll do yours right after Daniel Miessler’s, unless he balks at the trading links requirement, in which case you’d be next.

Most French words are going to be filtered out, I’m afraid. Since I filtered everyone else’s foreign words, to include yours would result in a word cloud consisting entirely of French words, I think. It was hard to know where to draw the line early on. Since I started with my own, and thus took all the Latin words out, it set sort of a precedent that it is too late to back out of.

Thanks, Shameless. Both your blog and Miessler’s look very interesting and different from what’s already been included. I’m looking forward to putting them in the pool.

9. zorak163 - March 27, 2007

I’d like to offer up my blog for inclusion in your study – I enjoyed the one that you did for Maht and would be interested in seeing what mine would add. I will be happy to add your link to my blog!

10. caveblogem - March 28, 2007


I’ll put you in the queue. I wonder if MS Word will accept “snickerdoodles”? I may have to add it in.

11. Shameless - March 28, 2007

I am very excited to be on the list Caveblogem! A link to you is going up on my blogroll as we speak, anyway, given the richness of the posts here! :) I am looking forward to my own clouds and I hope I don’t walk away with my head in shame! :)

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