Readers' choice 2010: The DO Loop's most-read posts


When I wake up early to write my blog, I often wonder, "Is anyone going to read this?"

Apparently so.

I started writing The DO Loop in September, 2010. Since then, I've posted about 60 entries about statistical programming with SAS/IML software. Since this is a statistical blog, it is interesting to gather data to determine which posts were most popular, as measured by the number of people who read the entry.

Posts that were published earlier in the year have a greater chance of appearing on the "most read" list. I did not normalize the data by the length of time since the article first appeared.

Here, then, is the 2010 Reader's Choice Awards for The DO Loop:

  1. Five Reasons to CLOSE Your Data Sets: By far the most-read post, because it was featured on the home page.
  2. Statistics Can Save You Money: Estimates, Areas, and Arithmetic Means: I almost didn't write this post because it doesn't have much statistical content. But it got promoted on Twitter and people read it anyway. Now the whole world knows about my roof.
  3. Removing Observations with Missing Values: Missing values are a fact of life. This post shows how to find rows of a data matrix that contain missing values and how to remove those rows.
  4. Hello, World!: My first blog entry tells about my goals for this blog and topics I want to discuss. I've mostly kept to the plan.
  5. Filling an Upper Triangular Matrix from a Vector: This is one of the few posts that I didn't plan ahead of time. I whipped it out in 20 minutes in the middle of my day in response to a MATLAB question posed on someone else's blog.
  6. Ten Reasons I'm Thankful to Be a Statistical Programmer: My Thanksgiving post struck a chord with some readers. I originally started thinking about this topic on World Statistics Day.
  7. The Statistics of My Grocery Bill: Not only was this promoted on Twitter, but I had a total stranger come up to me on the street and say "Hey, you're that grocery bill guy. That happened to me, too!" No kidding.
  8. Twitter and the Fibonacci Sequence: Another post that I wrote in ten minutes in response to a blog I read. In contrast, my thoughtful explanation of why the ratio of Fibonacci numbers converges to the golden ratio received less attention.
  9. A Statistical Word Puzzle!: I'm so glad this made the list. I created a scrambled-word puzzle for my wife on our anniversary because she loves to solve the Jumble® puzzle in our newspaper.
  10. Reading SAS Data Sets: This "getting started" entry shows how to read SAS data sets into SAS/IML matrices or vectors.

The first few entries were read much more than latter entries. The following line plot shows the popularity of each post, relative to the #1 (most popular) post. You can see that there isn't much difference in the popularity of #5–#7, and the same for #8–#10.

Readers, which posts did you find the most interesting or the most useful? What topics would you like to see (or see more of) in the new year? Post a comment.


About Author

Rick Wicklin

Distinguished Researcher in Computational Statistics

Rick Wicklin, PhD, is a distinguished researcher in computational statistics at SAS and is a principal developer of SAS/IML software. His areas of expertise include computational statistics, simulation, statistical graphics, and modern methods in statistical data analysis. Rick is author of the books Statistical Programming with SAS/IML Software and Simulating Data with SAS.


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