What commenters say — and what they really mean

If you read “below the fold,” to borrow a newspaper term, then you’ve probably seen the comments on this site.

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The shocking top 10 posts of 2012 — and a surprise or two from me

Digital Hand/Shutterstock
Digital Hand/Shutterstock

The most viewed stories of 2012 on this site? You’d be surprised.

I was.

(Speaking of surprises, I have one or two of my own. I’ll get to them in a minute.)

But first, the list:
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5,000 posts — here are the top 5

5,000 posts.

That’s a remarkable milestone, considering that most of the posts are stories that take days, even months, to research and write.

Here are the five most popular posts that have appeared on this site since it launched in 1996.
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Best travel blogs, worst car rental companies, fees gone wild: The top 10 posts of 2010

If there’s a trend in the top blog posts of 2010, it is this: You like to be shocked.

Nothing brought in readers quite like stories about unconstitutional TSA patdowns, flight attendants flipping out and fees gone wild.

Oh, and you like reading about yourself, too.

This year’s top post, 10 travel blogs you should bookmark in 2010, is an example.

My methodology for pulling together a list of the top 10 travel blogs (I consulted my RSS reader) wasn’t going to win me any journalism prizes, but so what? They don’t give away prizes for the kind of journalism I do, anyway.

But since I was short-listed for the Pulitzer earlier this year, I tried compiling a list with a better methodology: a reader poll. It didn’t seem to carry as much weight and ended up ticking off a lot of my travel blogging friends, who felt snubbed when they didn’t win.

Sorry, guys. I’ll go back to my RSS reader for the 2011 list, which should be out any day now. And if it’s any consolation, I don’t win any popularity contests, either. Who would vote for a consumer advocacy blog?

Here are the other nine stories:
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8 most popular travel stories of 2008

The votes are in. Here are the most popular posts of 2008, as determined by you, my readers.

1. Stay home! 4 days when you shouldn’t travel — A look at the “B” list of blackout dates for 2008.

2. Banned for life for being too pretty — Can an airline kick you off a flight for being too attractive?

3. Grandmother arrested after refusing to delete JetBlue fight video — Beware of amateur videographers on JetBlue flights.

4. 6 secrets car rental companies don’t want you to know — Psst! Don’t tell anyone.

5. Scammed Southwest customer goes after con artist with nine iron — A golfer gets even with a scam artist.

6. Here’s the video that got grandma detained on JetBlue flight — Grandma has her revenge.

7. Bumping games: how American redefined ‘denied boarding’ — Depends what the definition of “is” is.

8. Illusionist reveals TSA is all smoke and mirrors — Required reading for TSA recruits.

Thank you for your tips, comments and visits in 2008.