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Readers in User Agent 007 Pepper sometimes shows wrong data

I have the User Agent 007 pepper installed, which works great. The only thing is that occasionally, when I select “Readers”, I get incorrect data. My current data reads like this:

50% Unknown
29% Google Reader
7% Apple-PubSub
7% Moreoverbot
7% Opera

Yesterday when I went to check my Readers stats, it said:

75% Opera
25% Unknown

I’ve noticed this a few times - probably somewhere between 10-20% of the time that I check Readers, I only get 2 or 3 listed, but they have very suspicious percentages like 75/25 or 66/33 which indicate that most of the data is being dropped for some reason.

It seems as though there is a rare, intermittent bug in the way that User Agent 007 collects its Reader data. Has anyone else experienced this?

Just now, only a few hours later, I get the following:

44% Unknown
25% Google Reader
13% NewsGator   (not listed in the post above)
6% Apple-PubSub
6% Moreoverbot
6% Opera

I have been using NewsGator to check this feed regularly for the past week and a half. Is it really possible that within two hours, the NewsGator stat jumped from 0% to 13%?

Right now it says:

75% Unknown
25% Opera

Something’s definitely not right here….

Am I the only person to experience this?

Shaun Inman
Mint/Pepper Developer
Posted on Apr 01, '09 at 10:49 am

Am I the only person to experience this?

In over two years of availability of Bird Feeder, yes. Is there any chance the Bird Feeder related plugin for Wordpress you’re working on could be responsible?

It seems odd that it’s intermittent - I can’t imagine how my WP plugin would intermittently affect the Mint page. Half the time, the data shows up correctly, so presumably the data in the DB is correct, it’s just an issue with either the query or the rendering code.

As far as I know, none of my WP plugins would get loaded when I’m viewing, so I can’t see how there could be any PHP namespace clashes happening.

I’ll do some more digging, then report back. Inspecting the Mint DB should at least give me an idea of whether or not the problem is with the query/rendering phase.

I’ve just done an SQL dump of the db that contains my mint stats, and the ‘mint_readership’ table only contains the entries that are currently showing up, which are a subset of the real data.

If Mint is reflecting the data that MySQL is showing in a db dump, but that data itself is changing, does this mean that my db is corrupted somehow? Do you have any suggestions on what could be causing it or how to fix it?

Reading through class.php from the Bird Feeder Pepper, on line 207 it looks like when you get a hit, all data from previous days is deleted. Is this the correct behaviour? If it is, that might explain a few things….

If that is indeed how it’s supposed to work, is there any specific reason why the Readers tab on User Agents doesn’t work like all the other tabs? In other words, why doesn’t it have “Show All | Past Hour | 2h | 4h | …. etc.” tabs at the top?

Shaun Inman
Mint/Pepper Developer
Posted on Jun 01, '09 at 10:16 am

Yes, this is the correct behavior. Subscriber counts are not aggregate. The people who are subscribed to your blog today may not be in a month. Similarly, if they were subscribed at one point but haven’t checked your feed today they aren’t subscribers today.

Fair enough,

Is there any reason not to use the “Show All | Past Hour | 2h | 4h …etc” bar though? Or can the pepper not distinguish between unique subscribers?

Shaun Inman
Mint/Pepper Developer
Posted on Jun 02, '09 at 09:26 am

Hourly breakdowns don’t make sense/have little value in the context of subscriptions.

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