It had seemed to me that the rate of articles in e-Sam had been down of late. Maybe it was just perception, but it was definitely there. A study was in order. Randall's articles are fairly accessible, thus there was no great degree of difficulty in getting the necessary data.
I decided to look back as far as January of 2004, and I would exclude the reprints from Amtgard Combat as they were written some time before. I plugged the counts in, did a simple chart which you see above.
Immediately the reasons for this perception became clear. The months leading up to the end of 2004 were indeed lucrative, and the month afterwards were a lull in activity. But the overall trend was not that far off. Indeed, in looking at the data, if anything the prolific output at the end of last year was the true anomaly, not that three months aftewards with only one article. I thought perhaps the spike might be normal, maybe it was the result of people having more time over the holidays to write, and be in a reflective mood at the end of the year. So I went back one month further and saw no such spike in December of 2003.
Indeed, if anything, it just appears to be that people wrote too soon, had that output been spread across the months that followed a relatively normal, even slightly above average output would have been observed.
I then split the articles into internal (produced by Randall) and external (sent in by others). The results show some deviation but pretty much follow the same spikes. I did average of each, on average we get 1.68 internal articles per month (with a standard deviation of 1.67) and 3 external articles per month (with a standard deviation of 3.64). This works out to 4.68 total (with a standard deviation of 4.67) total articles per month.
So you see that zero articles, in all cases, is within the standard deviation. Whereas the spike month of December 2004, with 21 total articles, is over three stanard deviations above norm.
Lastly, one cannot disregard that article writing can be a responsive trend, and there was a lot of news to resond to at the end of 2004 (7.0 rulebook, BLBOD and the future of Amtgard, etc). And maybe people just burned out a little. There is certainly no need to pad the ranks of articles with meaningless fluff and statistics to make up for a perceived loss.
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