# A taxonomy of The Straight Dope

A tax•on•o•my
Currently: Threads: 315,417, Posts: 6,720,002, Members: 63,028

How many paragraphs, sentences, words, letters and punctuation marks are there? How many question marks? How many marks?
Let’s guess there is an average of two paragraph per post, three sentences per paragraph, eight words per sentence, four letters per word and four quotation marks per sentence.

That makes:

4 letters per word X 8 words per sentence= 32 letters per sentence

32 letters X 3 sentences= 69 letters per paragraph

69 letters X 2 paragraphs = 138 letters per post

Plus: 4 quotation marks per sentence X 3 sentences = 12 quotation marks per post

138 letters + 12 quotation marks = 150 marks per post.
6,720,002 posts X 150 marks per post = 1,008,000,300 marks

Of the 12 quotation marks per post let’s say there are eight periods.

8 periods per post X 6,720,002 = 53,760,016 periods.
138 letters per post X 6,720,002 posts = 927,360,276 letters

Via wikipedia:

a is used 8.167% X 927,360,276 = 7,573,751.24342

Rounded off = 7,573,751 a’s here on straight dope… and counting

7,573,751 a’s divided by 63, 028 members = 120.1648632….

120 a’s per poster.

Though, of course, some members have produced no a’s, some many more then 120 a’s.

1,008,000,300 marks since 1973, 34 years = 29,647,068 marks per year.

29,647,068 marks / 365 days = 81,224.8438…

81,225 marks per day.

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I would say that someone needs to find a better use of his/her time, but I am sitting here reading this, so I guess I’m in no position to judge.

Yeah, but typos like this skew the results.

For me alone, that would add up to:
40,950 paragraphs
112,850 sentences
491,400 quotation marks
982,000 words
3,931,200 letters

Not counting this post, of course. I don’t find those numbers implausible, really - I’d say that’s longer than my average post, but then again, some long GD posts will balance that out. I was just thinking about how many words I’ve posted over the years. I never would have imagined it was so close to a million, but sure enough, 48.8 words per post would equal one million words in 20,475 posts.

A million words for you. Is that about 1/250th of the total?

Yes, and how many typos in 6.7+ million posts?

Every position is a position to judge.

But yes, everyone that has posted has done the same.

What you describe is not a taxonomy, it’s a concordance.

Why is it not a taxonomy?
I see it as a classification, which is closer to what a taxonomy is than a concordance.

Because you’re enumerating the contents of things that occur in all posts, rather than classifying the posts/threads themselves.

A taxonomy would be like a tree, starting with the forum titles, and breaking the threads into subjects, etc.

(I’m working in an educational taxonomy project at the moment, hence my notice of this particularly dull topic!)