About counters...

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What do I think about counters? They should be forbidden!

Why? Because counters falsify information - hopefully not for their "owners" benefit...

- First reason - most counters are based on a simple mechanism. There's a picture on the page, generated by a CGI script. The pictures shows some kind of graphical counter - most ofter pseudo-rolling wheels or pseudo-display.
This kind of counter counts only references from graphical browsers. It doesn't count references with lynx (pretty much!), and even references with graphical browser (like Netscape) with pictures turned off (many people do so for speed). That's better with counters based on server side includes - then all requests are counted.
- Second reason - shown number, even if generated by a counter of more effective kind, does not show real number of references for the page - it's lowered by caches. Altrough caches usually don't cache CGI output, they do so with pages with server side includes.
- And third reason - there are not only bugs in the job of the counters, but also their users describe them as displaying something different that they really do. The text "you are visitor number xxx" is a lie. It should be "this page has been requested from the server xxx times", or even better - "this counter has been requested from the server xxx times" - only the latter is true. But who needs such information?

If you really want to measure something, use server statistics. They, at least, really show what they are supposed to show - the number of requests for the documents.

Paweł Więcek <coven@vmh.net>
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This page's URL: http://www.coven.vmh.net/tech/counters.html