March 2015 in review

This is the sixth of my month-in-review posts. My posts for the past five months (in reverse chronological order) are here, here, here, here, here respectively.

Some overall background

This was a pretty busy month work-wise, but I did spend some of my weekend and BART commute time working on some of my personal projects. But I wasn’t able to get as much concentrated time doing big projects as I had wanted to. So I ended up spending time doing relatively smaller pieces of work that I think would help with these longer projects.

The reason I took out as much time as I did for these activities (rather than less, given the workload) is that I don’t anticipate the workload going down in the coming months. And this other stuff needs to get done. Some of it is best done earlier than later (cf. the haste consideration).

Wikipedia editing

General background information: My site page about my Wikipedia contributions

I created 9 pages in March:

The pages related to migration were created by me as part of larger investigations into migration (and my interest in AC21 and the ACWIA was based on the current topicality of the H-1B visa status, that was shaped by these pieces of legislation). The autoscaling page was created in connection with some reading up I was doing on autoscaling in connection with my day job (writing the Wikipedia page wasn’t necessary for work, but when I noticed that such a basic topic didn’t have a page, and I calculated that it would take me less than an hour to write the page, I just went ahead and wrote it). The page on happened because I was poring over those analytics while considering writing a blog post on what the analytics say about interest in migration relative to other subjects (that blog post didn’t happen, but the Wikipedia page did).

March impact: Pages I created over my lifetime got a total of 141,951 views in March. My point estimate for pageviews in March was 139,000, so it seems like I was quite close to the point estimate.

You can see the pageviews by page for the month here. March isn’t yet included because the March 31 data is not yet in. You can also see pageviews for pages I created and all months here, and the corresponding numbers for all years here.

My point estimate had been 139,000, my 80% confidence interval for pageviews had been 111,000-157,000 and my 95% confidence interval is 90,000-175,000. (grade performance relative to estimates).

April forecast: My point estimate for April pageviews is 138,500. My 80% confidence interval estimate is 110,000-167,000, and my 95% confidence interval estimate is 87,000-190,000. The lower ends of the intervals are a little lower because April has only 30 days. My upper ends are higher because the creation of several new pages, some of which are particularly topical for April, might boost my pageview counts somewhat.

Two other miscellaneous pieces of Wikipedia-related content

Two of my pieces, long in the pipeline, got published this month:

  • My blog post on the great decline in Wikipedia pageviews: full version on my blog, condensed version on LessWrong. The post got 11 upvotes (and no downvotes) on LessWrong.
  • My blog post on the Effective Altruism Forum titled Should you donate to the Wikimedia Foundation?, March 28, 2015. The post got 6 net upvotes (7 upvotes, 1 downvote). According to Google Analytics, it has 293 pageviews and 255 unique pageviews. It is already the 88th most viewed webpage on the site, despite being online for only four days. I hope and expect that it will get a large number of views over time, and its view count will spike during the next Wikimedia Foundation fundraiser. Later views are critically contingent on the page getting ranked better in Google Search than it currently is, or being found and linked to from a more prominent source.

Subject wikis

General background information: My site page about the subject wikis

I spent zero time editing the subject wikis this month. Traffic to them grew at its usual steady pace, highlighting that the subject wikis have become sufficiently mature that they don’t need much ongoing supervision.

March impact: I’ve put the numbers for Groupprops in a table for easy perusal and comparison. Numbers are from Google Analytics.

Metric Mar 2015 Feb 2015 Jan 2015 Mar 2014 Feb 2014 Jan 2014
Pageviews 82,377 73,713 55,121 57,724 57,925 41,989
Sessions 40,280 36,417 26,717 29,249 29,123 21,466
Pages/session 2.05 2.02 2.06 1.97 1.99 1.96
Pageviews in sessions with at least 5 pageviews 27,641 24,338 19,408 17,924 18,354 13,166

Note that March 2014 was an unusual month because, due to math rendering problems, the site had a very small number of pageviews for a period of about 5 days (basically, only those pages that didn’t have math symbols got traffic).

The total number of pageviews in March 2015 was safely within my 80% confidence March forecast interval (75,000-100,000). The number would have been a little higher, and closer to the middle of the interval, if it hadn’t been for the server downtime issues (discussed later in the post).

Views of other important subject wikis:

  • Market: 22,231 views, compared to 20,848 last year (the rendering issue had affected this wiki too last year, but a much smaller subset of pages here).
  • Calculus: 19,750 views, compared to 13,487 last year (the rendering issue had affected this wiki too last year). In addition, for about a week this year (March 5 to March 13), math symbols weren’t displaying correctly, but this didn’t affect the rest of the loading of the pages. The issue went unnoticed because it didn’t cause the site to go down and I don’t check the contents of the wiki sufficiently frequently. It affected about 4,250 pageviews, and so an adjusted measure would be 15,500 pageviews that were not affected by poor math rendering problems. The issue had also affected Groupprops very temporarily but I fixed it more quickly there because of more frequent checking.

April forecast: Last April, Groupprops had 66,233 pageviews. Given the current year-on-year growth trend of 15-40%, my point estimate is 85,000 pageviews, my 80% confidence estimate for Groupprops for April 2015 is 74,000-103,000 pageviews, and my 95% confidence estimate is 60,000-120,000 pageviews.

Open borders

General background information: My site page about open borders

Two of my blog posts were published on Open Borders: The Case. Most of the work in drafting and editing the posts happened within the month.

Additionally, I wrote some of the posts published under the Open Borders Admin account for Open Borders Day (but not the manifesto post — that was done by my co-blogger John Lee).

You can see the site’s month-in-review here.

Other sites and forms of online presence

  • This website ( got 2,942 views in the month of March according to Google Analytics (and 2,884 views according to WordPress Analytics), tying with January 2014 for the highest ever.
  • Wikipedia Views got 1,264 views (compared to 627 in January). The additional views were generated partly by me doing research for my blog post about the decline in Wikipedia pageviews and partly by people discovering and exploring the site by following links in that blog post.
  • Quora now breaks views down by questions, answers, and posts. For March, my views were: 12.5K on answers, 11.7K on questions, and 237 on posts. The grand total was 24.4K.

On Facebook

For more background, see my site page about Facebook

Friends’ projects

Server downtime

There were serious server downtime problems on March 4 and March 5, but I figured out a stopgap solution that involved periodically restarting the PHP server so that downtime would not happen for too long. The restart frequency would be set to 5 minutes by default but I could increase it to 1 minute if downtime was getting more frequent (as I did a couple of times later in the month). Coincidentally, XKCD published this comic on Friday March 6. Overall uptime was about 96% for the month, almost entirely due to the problems on March 4 and March 5. There was also a brief downtime on March 31 due to the server running out of disk space, which in turn was due to too many backup files.

In addition to the server downtime, the Calculus Wiki was affected for about a week (March 5 to March 13) by an issue where math symbols wouldn’t display correctly. This didn’t affect the rest of the page loading, but likely led to an inferior user experience. Therefore a large part of the social surplus generated by those pageviews was destroyed for that week. The rendering issue was created when I was trying to fix the server downtime issue by making some hackish code changes, that I then reverted on Groupprops but forgot to revert on Calculus.


I bought just one MP3 song and did not otherwise spend money on entertainment. I did listen to old purchased music and watched snippets from some of my old favorite movies as background stuff while working.


I had originally intended to do some long-range financial planning in March, with the expectation that my savings would have crossed a threshold large enough to justify such planning. However, a brief review of my savings led me to the conclusion that at this stage it makes sense to just keep accumulating money in my bank account, and then to switch to other, higher-interest-bearing assets, a few months down the line if my savings cross a particular larger threshold. I would refrain from doing such shifting if I decided to make consumption or donation decisions due to which my savings failed to exceed the larger threshold. However, I would not proactively try to spend donate money. Rather, I’d do so only if some unusually good opportunities came up.

Meeting people in real life

I had the pleasure of meeting in real life a number of people I’ve interacted with extensively over the Internet, as I documented on Facebook here, here, and here.