The South Park Theory on Metrics for Determining Top Dad Blogs

The videos in this post contain strong language not suitable for your children or your boss to hear.

Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Somebody's gone off and done it again. I can't believe it. Someone went off and posted a list of the Top Daddy Blogs. I know, I know. I'm fuming about it too. Don't these people understand what this does to us guys?

I remember a few years back when there were no lists for dads, just mommy ones and we were all like, "How come we're not on a list? How come nobody's paying attention to us, huh?" Now, now there's lists all over the place, just take your pick. There's your basic list of favorites, ones offering prestigious-looking awards, those that want you to solicit people for voting your site to fame, then there's your good ol' fashion scams, and of course there's those like this latest one relying on arbitrary metrics to rate us. Hell, there's even a site blatantly named PostRank that rates our blog's weekly performance! It's complete and utter BS!

This is exactly what I was stewing over right before catching the latest episode of South Park a few nights ago, and boy am I glad I did because there was so many lessons from it that were directly applicable to the topic at hand. In this first clip for example you'll notice that the boys of South Park Elementary face the same problem of being inaccurately represented by things like numbers and measurements

After seeing that, you're probably thinking the same thing I did--it is a conspiracy. Seriously, that's exactly what it is. Think about it guys. Before, no one even considered our blogs influential enough to warrant ranking, that was until someone caught on to how much men enjoy ranking things--sports teams, movies, cars, whatever. Now all these parenting sites, market research firms, and medical billing sites are trying to get us riled up into enough of a frenzied state so that we'll club our own children between the eyes in order to get added to one of their Best Dad Blogger list. Don't you see it? They're enticing us to whack our kids in the head so they can write more articles about lousy male parenting, market more pediatric medical products to doctors, and put more children in the hospital to create increased demand for medical billing services. They're all in cahoots together, I'm telling you!

I mean, what the hell!? Even when these people use measurable criteria for rating us they can't even get the friggin' numbers right! Yet, sitting there on the couch, I realized that Cartman was on to something, that there was a way to get back at these people by sorting this best dad blog problem on our own amongst ourselves.

So, uh, yeah, that's probably not exactly the best way to do it for a lot of reasons, one of the biggest being the logistics involved with obtaining those measurements. Perhaps it could be something to incorporate as part of the upcoming Dad 2.0 blogging conference. During check it, measurements could be taken in room behind the registration table and that way the results could be added to our conference name badges. Just a thought.

In the meantime, however, we would need something else, something scientific and logical like the equation, Randy (who's also one of the fathers on South Park) develops to help the kids in school learn the proper method for charting things. 

Aside from the equation idea, I think this clip also illustrates that, like the little girl, a lot of people don't understand why it's so important to for us guys to settle this issue once and for all. The answer in my mind is easy: The reason we have to is that if we don't, then the medical billing companies win! I don't know about you, but I for one, can't live with that. This is why, after sixteen hours of calculating and recalculating various numeric combinations, I finally devised what seemed to be an irrefutable mathematical computation for ranking our sites. I call it ...The Dad’s Unilaterally Measurable Blogging Index, or DUMB Index for short.

DUMB Index2

Here's how it works. First, take the total number of posts over the life of your blog divided by the total number of comments during the same period and subtract this by the square root of your RSS feed subscribers and the multiply the difference by the Rate of Comment Reciprocation (the number of comments you leave on other peoples' blog posts divided by the number of those posts which you actually read). Now divide by one-third of your Facebook Fans plus one-fourth of your Twitter followers. Still with me? 

Okay, from here you need to multiply this by your Pull Factor which is like Klout, but stronger since the word "pull" can also be a verb implying your site's ability to influence. Now, to get your Pull Factor, take your Facebook Likes and Re-Tweets, divide them by 12 months and then add this to the sum total of the Reddits, Diggs, and Stumbles your posts have received over the same period. Almost done.

Finally, once you've multiplied your Pull Factor, multiply the product by the number you get from taking the length of your penis's shaft (Scouts honor here, men) multiplied by the erect girth (pi, r squared) plus yaw, divided by 6 inches which you then multiply by your estimated ego squared, and viola! You now have your DUMB Index number which can be used for ranking your site against all the other dad blogs out there. (Note: I left page views out to nullify any skewing of the numbers by those who are paying for their traffic.)

With the DUMB Index, I figured this would be a full-proof method to prove that such greats as Doug French, Shawn Burns and the bunch at DadWagon along with "lifers" and newbies like The JackB and Just Add Father, not included on the most recent list, would rate every bit as high as perennial stalwarts like DC Urban Dad, Jim Lin and the crew at DadCentricSurely, all of these dads would have DUMB Index scores higher than 6 --well above the collective average. (The only one I can speak for with any certainty is mine at a whopping 3.4. Hey, I'm comfortable with that. Like they say, it's not the size of your blog, but how you use it that matters.)

Eventually, though, I realized my DUMB Index was flawed. What I failed to account for in my calculations was a little thing called "M.I." or "Motivational Intent." In my fervor to invent a full-proof ranking system, I forgot all about the various reasons behind why dads blog. Some do it to be part of a community, some do it for fun or to express themselves, and some do it to counter negative images of fatherhood in the media. Others do it as part of their business--nothing wrong with that. And, yes, there are a few who probably dad blogging for less than altruistic reasons, but in any case, the high variability in M.I. is too great, and thus makes the whole thing immaterial.

But maybe being ranked isn't the point? Don't get me wrong, I'd be a hypocritical, lying sack of crap if I claimed that being left off of a Top Dad Blog list doesn't sometimes bother me a tiny bit, but I think that's a natural reaction for anybody. (Well, as long as you're not one of those guys out there who thinks they deserve recognition simply because they have a blog. If that's you, go delete your account--like, right now.) A lot of dad bloggers have put a great deal of time and effort into their sites, as well as contributing to the community as a whole; so to have all that work validated via some list or ranking feels good and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Still, there are many guys out there who are doing just as much and somehow manage to never receive any kuddos for it, and yeah, that has to sting.

By the same token, though, other than it being something to Tweet about and then add to a blog's "I-Love-Me" section, receiving such accolades doesn't really amount to much beyond that. Some might argue that it gives you credibility as a blogger, but I'd counter by saying that real credibility comes from the quality of your blog's content, not shiny trinkets. There's a line between seeing these lists for what they are and getting one's  URL in a wad. The best bloggers know this, and whether they're "on the list" or not, doesn't matter because that's not what they're doing if for in the first place.

This brings to mind those gimmicky lists where "Top Dad Bloggers" campaign for votes to be touted as the best. Sure, this basically amounts to nothing more than link bait, but like the recent Circle of Moms circus (read their note about the use of bots--bots? Are guys that desperate?), they also include guys who are really, really good bloggers, deserving of recognition. Despite my personal aversion to such contests and their tendency to bring annoying blow-hards to the forefront of my Twitter stream, I still go vote for the good guys 1) because I want to help promote them whenever possible and 2) because these dads' egos aren't so wrapped up with their blogs that they shatter whenever their sites aren't recognized. 

I guess that's what all this list business comes down to--maintaining a little perspective. If rankings and lists for dad blogs suddenly are so prominent, then that must mean we're at least on somebody's radar which is a big step forward from the days when many of us first registered our URLs. True, the finite nature of mathematical probability dictates that not every dad blogger out there can be named to a list of the Top 25, 50, 100 bloggers, and yeah, the criteria for all of these lists, rankings, nominations, etc. are without a doubt inaccurate. However, there will never be a way to accurately determine who should and shouldn't be a top blogger because it's every bit as subjective as the criteria for ranking us according to our skills as fathers. Ironically, it's being fathers that got us all into this racket to begin with, and so, assuming our "M.I." is pure, doesn't that sort of make us all top dad bloggers in a way? Isn't that enough?

Update: In what can only be defined as a quintessential moment of irony Cision just today posted a new list of Top 25 Dad Bloggers, the criteria for which is eerily similar to the DUMB Index. Hmmm?

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