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I don't see anywhere else to post this request. At first glance, it's a simpleminded question. But, it eludes me. Hopefully, there's a corresponding simple answer. Please define precisely what trips the download counter on an SOL story by 1 unit? I always cut and paste page by page, chapter by chapter to a text file, but never see reliable tracking of the download counter in R/T enough to know. (Is it 1 to however many pages accessed and scanned? 1 to however many pages actually downloaded? A chapter? In a series, do revisits count as additional downloads? Other?)Please explain?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater


There are two counters - one for the story as a whole and one for each chapter. It matters not how many times you visit the story page or the various chapters of the story the story count will only go up by a count of one during the 24 hour day of the SoL server. The same is true of the chapter count.

If a story has ten chapters and you visit them all on the same SoL day the story will count one, each chapter will count one, and that's it. But if you read 5 chapter before the SoL day rolls over and 5 chapters after it rolls over each chapter will have a count of one while the story will get a count of one for each day you visit, so it has a count of two.

Visit the same story or chapter ten times in the one day and it still only gets a count of 1.

It is explained on the site somewhere, but I can't remember the link and can't be bothered looking for it at the moment.

Ernest Bywater

OK, I found the page and I had an error in my understanding of how the chapter counter works.


How are the story/chapter stats gathered?

The story's download counter counts accesses by readers during log in periods. That means that when a reader accesses a story today, that counts as one story access on their account and the story's download counters (daily, weekly and global) are incremented. If the same reader accesses the story again during the same day, their counter is not incremented, neither are the story's counters.

However, if the same reader accesses the story again the next day, then all counters are incremented; the reader's and the story's.

Chapters have download counters too, but those work differently. Due to the large number of chapters on the site and the large number of users, it becomes somewhat impossible to track who accessed what during a log in period. So due to this lack of tracking, chapter counters are incremented all the time. So if a reader accesses a chapter and then clicks the reload button on their browser, the chapter's counter gets incremented again while the story's counter doesn't.

These differences between the way downloads are counted for stories and for chapters makes the correlation between story download counts and chapter download counts impossible.


Thanks, but I'm still confused on what increments the dnlds counter by +1 on the Update page. Digital programming isn't usually ambiguous, when working properly. Say I go into a story that's been up a while with maybe 12 chapters posted. I guess I get a +1 on the whole story counter and then a +12 on the chapter counter. Does the dnlds counter (eventually) register an increase of 1, 12, or 13 for that day?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater


on what increments the dnlds counter by +1 on the Update page

The first quoted paragraph above is what's important here.

The Downloads count for the story goes up by a count of one when a logged in reader accesses the story, regardless of where they access the story, for each time they're logged in on each day. The same happens for their count of the number of stories read that day.

The number of times that reader visits the story, or any part of it, during that logged in period that day isn't relevant, it only counts the once on the story and downloads count.

Now, when the story has multiple chapters every time you visit a chapter it gets a count of one, but that count does not affect any other counters.

For example, some hours ago I loaded a revised version of Play Ball and then went to sleep. Seven hours later I wake up and find it's been processed by the submission wizard, so I go to the story and check how it's displaying. I see a display fault, I check every page of the story, four pages have display faults. I contact Lazeez and we work it all out, I recheck the story a few times, and visit each of the pages with the faulty display. Thus, in the course of two hours I log on, go to the story Play Ball twice, check every page once and four pages twice - I left it up and refreshed twice after that. The counts are affected in this way:

The stories I read today +1 - despite going to the same story four times.

Play Ball story download count +1 - despite what ended up being four visits to the story before it was all fixed

The correctly displayed chapters count +1 each - this was from the first time through.

The four faulty chapters count +4 each - because I visited them each four times.

Hope this helps you to understand it. Download or read count is the same thing.

Crumbly Writer

Also keep in mind, regarding chapter counts, that ANY page read counts as a new chapter read. Thus if your browser does a preload 'read ahead', it counts as a read, even if you don't read that chapter. That's why the counts for a first chapter (or in many cases, for a cast list) is so high. Each time a reader accesses the story list, it counts the first chapter whether they read it or not, as well as counting the chapters they do read (and the following chapter read-ahead too).

Thus, if you back up and reread the previous chapter, the current chapter will be reread multiple times. This is where the chapter counts become largely meaningless, since most browsers load the expected next page before the user ever clicks on anything.

I'm sure that further confuses an already unclear issue, but that's how the unread counts mount.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

The read ahead is covered on the page I linked to, just left it out to simplify the main part under discussion. I ignore the chapter and page counts and just look at the downloads, when I bother with them at all.


Yeah, thanks, EB. Something that seemed odd struck my attention. Numbers are fascinating. I was trying to reconcile dwnlds by raw vote totals. The disparity is huge, even where an author breaks a series into 3 to N books--all having different raw vote totals for each succeeding book of the complete series. If you watch carefully, there are even some strange 'wobbles' of successive dwnlds and raw totals of votes. And, I would expect that plotting voting frequency or raw dnlds totals by increasing book count would give me 2 reverse J-curves, with maybe an anomalous point for the last book. So, getting a U-curve along with a reverse J, OR 2 U-curves is perplexing. Definitely, it's counterintuitive. But, thanks again, you gave me what I needed to have a shot at piecing my puzzle together.

Hey, for what it's worth, quick and dirty analysis shows you wrote 26 stories of file size 50 KB and up.[Anything smaller to me is a crap shoot, though I loved your shorty, 'Always a Marine' rated 9.23.] The range was 66 KB to 1437 KB, with mean 386.31 KB. Your average story got you 1315 votes, ratings range 7.13 to 8.55, mean rating 7.9435 (not too shabby, congrats). Going too far based upon linear regression/correlational data is foolhardy. But, I would bet with 98% statistical confidence that if you began writing stories of file size 1500 KB to 2000 KB, you would begin to rack up quite a few 9.00+ ratings and I'm 99.999% statistically confident that you would find more readers casting votes for your stories. Mirabile dictu.


Ah CW, when I cut out and refreshed the screen you popped up right on cue to add more good intel AND a great example of what I was lamely describing to EB. Your 6 part 'Catalyst' series is nearly ideal as a model. See how the ratings rise to a plateau in the 8.20 range, then nicely kick up on Part 6? [Part 4 sags some; you might want to look at that.] And, see how the voting totals drop gently to a floor by Part 5, then kick up modestly as an end effect? Textbook results. The readers warm up to some arbitrary asymptote, then peak at the end in ratings. Vote casters and downloads, slightly distorted by varying file sizes fall off, then there's that little jump at the end. When I don't see something like that, it bugs me. My own subjective human behavioral model gets violated. The cognitive dissonance eats at me. I want to know how and why my mental model was violated. Ah, time to take my canine pal for a walk. He doesn't talk much, but following the merry chase he leads often clears my thinking. Thanks for the timely intel and example.

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