FiveThirtyEight’s Top 103 Commenters

I recently wrote a story for FiveThirtyEight about why people leave comments on the Internet. I surveyed a bunch of commenters (as well as some people who don’t comment) and the results yielded some interesting insights, which I discussed in the story. (You can hear a dramatic reading of some of the comments left on my FiveThirtyEight stories here.) I also wrote about how journalists think about comments at my blog, Last Word On Nothing, and the post includes data about how journalists think of and respond to comments. For these stories, I spoke with a few of our most prolific commenters at FiveThirtyEight.

Enough people asked about the list of top commenters (my story only listed the top ten) that I thought I’d go ahead an share the top 100 list, which is actually a top 103 list, since there were some ties. The list, created by my colleague Dhrumil Mehta, is based on comments made on FiveThirtyEight articles between March 10, 2014, and Nov. 17, 2016.

RANK NAME  Number of comments
1 Warren Dew 552
2 Norman Shatkin 360
3 James Deedler 308
4 Fel Martins 269
5 Joseph Michael 252
6 Glenn Doty 247
7 Django Zeaman 234
8 Harold DePalma 230
9 Nealy Willy 217
10 Davey Williams 214
11 Janet Stockey Swanborn 198
12 Robert Lash 196
13 Dan Frushour 193
14 Joe Schmitz 183
15 Aaron Baker 181
16 Bill Wild 175
17 James C. Higgs 163
18 Jack Springer 161
19 Samuel Xavier McPherson 161
20 Joshua Long 160
21 Frank Lee 159
22 Andrew Lang 157
23 Judy Konos 153
24 Morgan Alexander Mikhail 152
25 Robert Jensen 151
26 Brian Silver 150
27 Robert Davidson 148
28 Steve Olson 146
29 Williame Harrisone 145
30 Simon DelMonte 145
31 Rob Ross 141
32 Mike Stanley 139
33 Alan Snipes 137
34 Andrew Jones 137
35 Luís Henrique Donadio 131
36 Keith Bloomquist 128
37 Rutger Colin Kips 128
38 Don Incardona 127
39 Steve High 123
40 Richard Cowgill 121
41 Tim Thielke 119
42 Jason Turner 117
43 Don Wilber 116
44 Shi Gu 113
45 Steve Evets 108
46 Daniel Warren Curtis 107
47 Steve Veasey 106
48 Robert Grutza 105
49 Brandon Butcher 104
50 Matt Silver 103
51 Shawna Walls 102
52 Jeff Seifert 100
53 Jeremy Bailin 98
54 David Reid 97
55 Stellar Generali 97
56 Kevin McRaney 96
57 Tyler Cooper 95
58 Charlie Pluckhahn 95
59 George Craig 95
60 Jeb Makula 93
61 Robert Rio 92
62 Martin D. Kilgore 92
63 Adam White 92
64 Tim Blankenhorn 90
65 Sigmund Menbrodssen 90
66 Will Bishop 89
67 Mark Lantis 89
68 Brian Tucker-Hill 88
69 Peter Wolf 88
70 Pat Ziegler 87
71 Johann Holzel 86
72 Biff Guiznot 83
73 Antoine Guéroult 83
74 Grant Saw 82
75 Dave Barnes 82
76 Michael Brotzman 81
77 Tom Davis 81
78 Kar Nels 80
79 Barb Campbell 80
80 Dan Schroeder 80
81 Mark Charles Salomon 78
82 Julius Fazekas 78
83 Tatiana Romanova 78
84 Garrett Weinzierl 78
85 Brian Hess 77
86 Rupert Barker 76
87 Ed Gruberman 75
88 Jeff Maslan 75
89 Ben Slowen 75
90 Alex Whitworth 75
91 Steve Gibson 74
92 Robert Weller 74
93 Edward Chik 74
94 Dan Bruce 74
95 Jon Worley 72
96 Manny Longfellow 72
97 Daniel Song 71
98 Sayeeshwar Sathyanarayanan 70
99 Abiatha Swelter 70
100 Beverly Ray 69
101 Mark Jorges 69
102 Aaron Allermann 69
103 Ken Kornfeld 69


Neanderthals Don’t Deserve Their Bad Rep

Maybe it’s their famously protruding brow ridge or perhaps it’s the now-discredited notion that they were primitive scavengers too dumb to use language or symbolism, but somehow Neanderthals picked up a reputation as brutish, dim and mannerless cretins.

Yet the latest research on the history and habits of Neanderthals suggests that such portrayals of them are entirely undeserved. It turns out that Neanderthals were capable hunters who used tools and probably had some semblance of culture, and the DNA record shows that if you trace your ancestry to Europe or Asia, chances are very good that you have some Neanderthal DNA in your own genome.

Read more of my latest features at the Washington Post. Also, be sure to check out the cool graphics.

Dueling Claims About Flu Drugs

The CDC is telling doctors to prescribe more antiviral flu medications, because, “If you get them early, they could keep you out of the hospital and might even save your life.” But the FDA explicitly prohibits the drugs’ makers from making claims that these drugs can reduce hospitalizations or deaths, and scientists who’ve reviewed the evidence on these flu drugs say they’ve only been shown to reduce the duration of symptoms. Who’s right? Read more in my latest FiveThirtyEight story here, then listen to an audio discussion about the story.

WHYY interview: Every Time You Fly, You Trash The Planet — And There’s No Easy Fix

Earlier this month, I wrote a FiveThirtyEight story about aviation’s climate problem, Every Time You Fly, You Trash The Planet — And There’s No Easy Fix. (A companion story, Some Airlines Pollute Much More Than Others, examined a new study that measured the relative efficiencies of U.S. carriers.)

This week, WHYY’s science show, the Pulse, interviewed me about the story, in a segment titled, There’s Nothing Green About Flying. You can listen here.

The Case Against Early Cancer Detection

In November, I joined Nate Silver’s data journalism site, FiveThirtyEight, as the lead writer for science. My first feature for FiveThirtyEight was on a familiar topic, cancer screening. Specifically, I made the case against early detection of cancer. I realize it might seem crazy, but once you take a close look at the data, it doesn’t seem so irrational.

In a similar vein, this week, in JAMA Internal Medicine, I explain why I’ve opted out of mammography. The JAMA piece is a more detailed version of a story I first told in a Washington Post column. Click here to read the full text version and get through the paywall.

About Christie

ChristieSquareChristie Aschwanden is the lead writer for science at FiveThirtyEight and a health columnist for The Washington Post. She’s also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, a contributing editor for Runner’s World and a contributing writer for BicyclingHer work appears in dozens of publications, including DiscoverSlateProto, Consumer ReportsNew ScientistMoreMen’s Journal,, Smithsonian and O, the Oprah Magazine. She’s the recipient of a 2014/2015 Santa Fe Institute Journalism Fellowship In Complexity Science and was a 2013/2014 Carter Center Fellow. She blogs about science at Last Word On Nothing and she’s the former managing editor of The Open Notebook. Her Last Word On Nothing post about science denialism at Susan G. Komen for the Cure won the National Association of Science Writers’ 2013 Science in Society Award for Commentary/Opinion, and she was a National Magazine Award finalist in 2011. Find her on Twitter @CragCrest.

Continue reading “About Christie”

Stalking my dinner

Photo Oct 25, 8 03 19 (1)A few years ago, I decided to take up hunting. This was kind of a big deal, because I’d spent the first decade-plus of my adult life as vegetarian. I became a big game hunter for the same reason I raise chickens — to know where my food comes from and ensure that it’s raised and harvested humanely. I figure if I’m not willing to kill it myself, I have no business eating it.

I spent last weekend elk hunting. It was an amazing, wonderful, addictive experience that I wrote about at Last Word On Nothing. Read the full story here.