Re: paper on FAQ's


James D. Murray (
Thu, 27 Apr 1995 08:17:00 -0700 (PDT)

> Surely, 2000-3000 is quite a high estimate for the size of the "silent
> readership?" Has anyone actually researched this? My guess would be an
> order of magnitude lower, but I have no real data to base this on.
I base this on there are an astounding number of programmers on the Internet.
10 years ago most of the visible Usenet community was academic types and most
of them were computer science people (and mostly male :-<). There is no reason
to believe the total number of programmers has dropped (although the overall
percentage certainly has). And it seems that all programmers, regardless of
specialty, seem to be at least casually interested in graphics file formats.

> But I
> can't even begin to guess how one would go about estimating the actual
> readership of any given FAQ...
I'd suggest using methods found in the book publishing industry. One person
may buy a book, but multiple people may read it (of course, one person may
buy many books, but one assumes each of those books will be read by at least
one person). A publisher might guess for each book bought there are 2.5
readers of that book. And they might say for every person that contacts the
author/publsher there are another 1000 (2500, 5000, whatever) people who have
also read (or at least used) the book.


James D. Murray POB 70 Tel: 714.288.0141 Orange, CA 92666 USA Fax: 714.832.9924

Maintainer of the Graphics File Formats FAQ on and coauthor of the O'Reilly book "Encyclopedia of Graphics File Formats".

"I'm not only an INTJ, I'm smug about it!"

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